back to article You're not fooling anyone on that vid-conference call: Walmart says shirt sales soaring, pants not pulled up

With workers opting to telecommute and dial into video conferencing amid the coronavirus lockdowns, where possible, sales of formalwear are up... partially. Walmart, the world's biggest company by revenue with $0.5tn in annual sales, reports that people are buying more dress shirts yet fewer pants (trousers for you Brits, lest …

  1. Shadow Systems

    Trousers? BAH! I go nekkid!

    *Inflates the bag of my neon plaid bagpipes, squeazes the bloated blob betwixt my knees, & wanders off twerking merrily to "You drive me crazy"*

    1. Zarno

      Re: Trousers? BAH! I go nekkid!

      Take your upvote.

      Take it.

      I would love to see that as a halftime show, but only if you at least wear a kilt.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Trousers? BAH! I go nekkid!

        My partner looked ver my choulder and commented that she would be amused to see them without a lit (and the use of traditional underwear for the kilt).

  2. Anonymous Cowherder

    It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

    As we've seen the parade of charlatans and spivs in suits impart falsehoods and make catastrophic strategy choices over what has felt like an aeon but only been a matter of weeks, a dangerous and useless nincompoop doesn't become competent by wearing the ridiculous accoutrements that comprise "business wear".

    I know this pales in to insignificance against Covid 19 but I hope the sudden and rapid change to more working from home puts the final nail in the coffin of the suit and tie as essential clothing to go to work in. We're being forced to accept doctors wearing bin liners yet not one person would protest at being treated by a person dressed in such manner, the ability to perform their role and the merits of their skillset are far more relevant.

    We've currently got a Chancellor who hasn't even started shaving yet, delivering a £300+ billion spending package wearing what looks like a suit his mum has bought for him (But probably cost more than my entire wardrobe) and she's made sure there's a couple of months growth in it. We've also seen him in a hoody at a desk pretending to use a computer and manage the economy.

    Neither Covid19 or the economy will be resolved by a single or double breasted suit, ties have been found wanting and Oxfords or brogues in black or brown have so far had limited effect.

    The people who have imparted the most wisdom and value have been those experts at home over Skype using their grey matter to provide information for us unwashed. I've become seriously concerned about the wellbeing of our academic community's bad choices for décor in their spare rooms but not given a second thought for what they were wearing.

    A nice suit is a wonderful thing to wear on occasion and if you want to wear a suit and tie to work then please feel free to do so, or put a shirt on to use Teams but they don't give you special powers, you're just a person overdressed in a chair that's ruining your posture, you're a bad Vincent Adultman pastiche.

    Clothing keeps you warm and stops others being put off by your interesting bits, when we build the new normal after Covid19's effects have waned let us kill off business casual, smart casual, formal business and what other nonsense we've let permeate our thinking. Never again should we mistake looking smart for actual smarts. The people who will develop the treatments and eventual vaccine won't be wearing smart clothes, the people who try to monetise the vaccine will definitely be wearing suits though.

    As for Johnson, his habit of selecting suits that look like he is in the middle of putting it back on, quickly, doesn't make him our Churchill. It just reveals his lack of overall competence. Looking the part isn't anywhere near enough, being capable is what butters the parsnips

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

      being capable is what butters the parsnips

      Why would you waste good butter on something as foul as a parsnip?

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

        You must have been fed rotten vegetables. In soup, honey roasted and many other ways they are delicious. I don't butter ours though - a matter of taste I suppose.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

      I wish I could find the Dilbert cartoon "What your clothes say about you". The sharply dressed oily cad, the peon in an ill fitting suit, and the guy in shorts, sandals and tie-dye tee shirt "I'm the only one who knows how the IT system works; treat me like God".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

        this it?

    3. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: It's 2020, what you wear is irrelevant

      Anonymous Cowherder: "What you wear is irrelevant" - Have an upvote.

      I worked for a company, that got bought by a larger company, that then outsourced it's IT to another company, so have seen some management fads. First company, formal attire, shirts and ties. Tie was mandatory. We got bought, casual wear, jeans are OK, Express Yourselves! So jeans and long sleeved tees it was. We got outsourced, 'smart casual', so shirts polos, chinos, dress trousers, tie was not mandatory. At no point did I look at my self in the mirror, and think 'what would the guy in the tie do?''

  3. kjrunner

    You missed the real question....

    What were these people wearing on the top to work just prior to lock down that they needed new shirts?

    1. I am the liquor

      Re: You missed the real question....

      Well yes, quite. If you need a shirt for working from home, surely you already had one for going to the office, and no-one can see whether it's clean and pressed in a tiny window over a low-bandwidth video stream.

      It couldn't possibly be that Wally-world have made the whole thing up as a viral marketing ploy, could it.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: You missed the real question....

        > Wally-world have made the whole thing up as a viral marketing ploy, could it.

        A new aspirational marketing campaign ?

        Nothing says business success like owning a Walmart dress shirt

      2. a_yank_lurker

        Re: You missed the real question....

        I doubt Wally World is making up the numbers. I am not sure how many people are video conferencing at home vs screen sharing. With my company we screen share but almost never video conference internally. Plus our dress code in the office was business casual with ties being very optional.

        If the sales are driven by anything, it is probably because getting the shirts nicely pressed is not always that easy so it is simpler to buy them.

    2. Elsmarc

      Re: You missed the real question....

      I was wondering the same. I'm retired and have a closet full of dress shirts (most still on hangers covered with plastic and neatly pressed). I am still wondering how I got them all. I guess, since I traveled a lot, I some how lost count at some point.

  4. Povl H. Pedersen

    Not new

    See the danish reporter here, Jesper Steinmetz. Full suit on top, reporting from the lawn in front of the white house.

    As for trousers and footwear see the image in top of article.

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Not new

      Nothing new in this. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford during shooting of parts of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Just goes to show that with telework, we can all dress like movie stars.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm in Zoom or similar meetings several times a week, have been for 20+ years. Hardly anyone even bothers to turn the video on. audio & shared screen is usually all we need.

    1. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Video?

      I agree completely, I have no interest in a moving mugshot,... most video conferencing apps allow you to use a static pic, and that's good enough, file and screen sharing are far more productive than stacked up rows of faces, like that composite they used to have in 'University Challenge'.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Video calls are for people with no imagination.

    1. BebopWeBop

      And frequently no sense of humour - how can imagine the 'real' shape of the irritating tit on the other end?

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The old cartoons of ITV news anchor Trevor McDonald had him in shirt jacket and tie above his desk, and boxer shorts and cricket pads below the desk.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Remember all the non-PC and sexist jokes about Angela Rippon's legs when she started reading the news, until that Morecombe and Wise Christmas show?

  8. I am the liquor

    Dilbert did it

    Are all these shirts they're selling really tiny, by any chance?

    I can't believe Dilbert's been going 30 years. If I recall correctly it first came to the UK in Eddie Shah's pioneering but ill-fated Today newspaper, which barely anyone remembers any more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dilbert did it

      There is talk about us WFH and having webcams. I don't want my colleagues looking at me at home. If forced to, I'll just point the camera at a Muppet cuddly toy instead!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dilbert did it

        Cookie monster devouring a stack of biscuits/oreos, Elmo face first in a pile of icing sugar, Kermit with a cup of tea...

        I like that idea.

  9. GruntyMcPugh

    Meanwhile I'm WFH,....

    .... have had a couple of conf calls today, no video, and I'm sat here in a fleece and combat trousers, same outfit I wore first thing when I walked my dogs. I'm not doing costume changes, I'm not Britney frikking Spears.

  10. Roger Kynaston

    this is an April fool right?

    Tell me it is. Has the hallowed El Reg been had by a retail giant?

  11. jelabarre59

    Film at 11

    But wearing pants/trousers would necessitate wearing underwear.... (now try getting THAT image out of your head).

    Film at Eleven...

  12. Anonymous Coward


    This gets right on my tits.

    Pants means trousers in the north of England.

    It's only the south where they speak bollocks that it means something else.

  13. holmegm

    What is the point really of having video in remote meetings? Sharing desktops and documents, yes, video of faces, why?

    Especially if we are in a world wide sudden bandwidth uptick, but honestly never saw the need in normal times either.

  14. SuperGeek

    I'm "pant"-ing here!

    "people are buying more dress shirts yet fewer pants (trousers for you Brits, lest anyone get the wrong idea about what's happening here)"

    I'm a Brit, and we have always referred to trousers as pants. Underwear is "undies". But then I was born in '85, so I'm classed as "millennial".

    Icon because let's hope you're not conferencing in your undies, and had a bad vindaloo the night before. Things could get a bit.....brown!

  15. Mike 16

    Formal wear?

    I first imagined folks checking in to the video conference in white tie, or at least Tuxedos (Yes, the ladies too, where have you been?)

    Of course I was also amused by imagining the market for tops exceeding that for bottoms. Have the B&D clubs disappeared?

    Lastly, we (in engineering) used to call the ties worn by the MIS guys as their EBCDIC Flag. (yes, some time ago...)

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