Pandemic pushes clothes shopping online


Contributed As workers set up their offices at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, some learned they liked online shopping more than visits to brick and mortar retail stores.

Online shopping already had been challenging brick and mortar stores for the spending dollars of consumers.

But the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for online shopping as consumers were reluctant to patronize retail establishments.

Several workers interviewed said their move toward working remotely also has driven them to use online options when shopping for wardrobes.

“I buy more online now than I did before,” said Tabitha Koscinski, an insurance customer service representative in North Branford. “If COVID never happened, working from home wouldn’t have changed my shopping habits.”

“I used to not love online shopping,” said Grace Gagnon, a former Bristol resident working in Boston as a product marketing manager. “I am a huge mall lover.”

However, Gagnon said, “WFH has made me appreciate the convenience of shopping from my bed.”

With more workers performing their jobs remotely, consumers also are directing more of their dollars toward casual wear.

“I’ve only been buying the cute comfortable clothing from Target and stuff I see on TikTok,” said Molly Westfall, a former Harwinton resident working as a college admission officer.

Phalla Touch of Stratford, who works at Sikorsky, probably would have been shopping for business attire. Now, she said, she’s only shopping for joggers and hoodies. That’s also true for Tracy Ceresky, an accountant based in Boynton Beach, Fla.

“I shop for comfortable sports-like shorts to wear at home and am no longer shopping for work clothes,” Ceresky said. “I can’t remember the last time I bought a dress. … I also now have a good collection of Old Navy flip-flops in every color just to make every day different.”

Working from home, Hartford’s Erika Porras, an insurance employee at the Prudential, said she no longer finds herself buying clothes just for work. “I can spend my money toward clothing I would actually wear on a regular basis” when shopping online, she said.