Photo by BOB ZELLAR Nick Blake has seen a lot of fashion trends in 25 years at Desmonds men’s store.
In 25 years, Desmond’ Men’s Store has changed with the times dress codes first gave way to casual Fridays. Sometime during the ’90s cotton khaki pants edged out wool slacks as everyday office attire, These days, it’s not unusual to see your acand office footwear for men no longer means countant, your attorney or your dentist dressed in wingtips. a polo shirt and khakis. “The dynamics have changed, and you have In 25 years that Desmonds Men’s Store has to evolve,” Blake said. “We still sell suits and sport been in downtown Billings, owner Nick Blake has coats, but we’ve added a lot of different categories seen quite a few fashion trends come and go. He in casual wear.” has also adjusted his merchandise to reflect the Some fashion observers have claimed there’s less formal atmosphere of the modern workplace. a correlation between necktie sales and the state Over the past several decades, strict office of the economy. One study from the United
By TOM HOWARD
I November 2015
Kingdom found that tie sales boom during lean economic times, in part because workers want to avoid layoffs by demonstrating to their bosses that they’re serious about work. Others say that narrow ties come into fashion during an economic downturn. Blake said that tie widths do change over time, just as hemlines rise and fall. However, ties tend to match lapel widths on suits. When John F. Kennedy was elected president, his skinny ties matched the narrow lapels on his Brooks Brothers suits, he said.
But despite the trend toward more casual workwear, one seemingly counter intuitive fashion trend has been a surprise even to Blake. “I still do as much neckwear business today as I did 10 to 15 years ago,” he said. “We still sell a lot of ties. In fact, we had to add a new tie line.” When Desmonds opened in the former Hart Albin men’s store in the Stapleton Building in 1990, it was one of four men’s stores in downtown Billings. Jason’s moved to the West End a few years later, and two other stores closed. A dozen years ago, Desmonds moved to its Billingsbusiness