FANCY PANTS

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Jeans are out, slacks are in. That's the word according to the latest figures released in July by Cambridge, Mass.-based STS Market Research. The organization, which tracks apparel trends and sales, found that Americans purchased a staggering 116.3 million pairs of men's and women's slacks during the first quarter of 2002, up from 88.6 million pairs sold during the first quarter of 2001. Meanwhile, sales of denim remained relatively flat: Only 100.3 million pairs of men's and women's jeans were sold in the first quarter of 2002, compared with 98.1 million pairs sold during the same period last year. Art Spar, chairman and chief executive officer of STS, says that men are stocking up on dress slacks and buying fewer casual wear items — a move that supports anecdotal evidence that men are dressing more professionally in the workplace now than they did during the dot-com '90s. Women's denim decline, on the other hand, is driven primarily by jeans overload. “Having previously purchased a lot of denim, women's closets are basically full,� Spar says. “Women are turning their attention to casual pants now and are building wardrobes and outfits around them.� As they say, a woman's work is never done.

PLEATS, PLEASE

Sixty-two percent of men who bought dress slacks this year say they were pleated, compared with just 52 percent who said their new dress slacks had pleats last year.

PERCENT OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO SAY THEY HAVE PURCHASED THE FOLLOWING STYLES OF SLACKS:*

MEN WOMEN
2001 2002 2001 2002
Pleated 52% 62% 22% 24%
Plain 33% 27% 61% 64%
Cuffed 25% 28% N/A N/A
Capri N/A N/A 5% 7%
*Refers to slacks purchased between January and May for each year. Numbers do not add to 100% because multiple answers were allowed.
Source: STS Market Research
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