Express men's wear

Express Inc. is now letting shoppers try on men’s clothing before they buy. 

The retailer, which launched a rental apparel service for women two years ago, launched the Men’s Style Trial on Tuesday. For $59.95 a month, consumers can rent men’s wear. 

Express Men's wear

Express launches Men’s Style Trial for $59.95 a month.  Courtesy Photo

“We’re living in extraordinary times. And an ever-changing climate calls for an ever-changing wardrobe,” the company said in a statement. “Whether a guy is settling into a work-from-home lifestyle full of comfy basics or gearing up for a big (virtual) interview where polish and poise is essential, Men’s Style Trial will meet him there.”

Items are shipped in sets of three, with free shipping and unlimited exchanges included in the membership fee. Members can also choose to buy pieces at a later date for a discount. Sizes range from XS to XL in men’s. Customers who sign up between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 will receive their first month free. 

The program is another example of Express trying to reach more consumers in a creative way amid the pandemic.

The retailer reported sharp sales declines during its most recent quarter, thanks to store closures and declining mall traffic. Shares of Express, which closed down 8.33 percent to 61 cents a share on Tuesday, are down more than 82 percent year-over-year. 

But the company’s chief executive officer Tim Baxter told Oliver Chen, Cowen managing director and senior retail and luxury analyst, during the “Thoughts on the Future of Fashion and Virtual Product Preview” earlier this month that a number of changes were coming to Express.  

“We’re returning to our roots as a fashion-driven brand,” Baxter said. “Our assortments had gotten quite stale to be honest. We always did well in men’s suits. It has quietly become our worst trending business [during the pandemic]. And it is no longer our largest category. 

“We are taking a much more modern approach to how a consumer approaches their wardrobe with versatility,” Baxter continued. “The customer today is looking for versatile pieces that can be worn in several different places.”

That includes a larger selection of men and women’s jeans, which Baxter said the company plans to invest heavily in. 

“Our research is telling us that the consumer is ready to get dressed up again,” Baxter said. “Comfort will still be there, but they’re ready to get dressed up.” 

But Express isn’t the only retailer going after men. On Monday, Amazon revealed that its Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe, the e-commerce giant’s monthly styling service exclusively for Prime members, will be extended to men. Stitch Fix also offers personal styling services for men. 

Meanwhile, rental-apparel giant Rent the Runway, which has been struggling amid the pandemic closing stores, laying off retail associates and raising membership prices does not offer men’s wear.

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