Formalwear and costume rental
Proms and weddings may be joyous occasions, but there isn't much smiling these days for those in the business of formalwear and costume rentals.

The old-school business model was fairly simple. Important events demanded expensive attire few would wear often enough to afford and, therefore, rented the outfit instead. There are new ways these days to go black tie, however.

"China and other low-cost apparel manufacturing countries have been able to produce lower-cost suits and costumes for the U.S.," van Beeck says.

As the cost is driven down, consumers are increasingly weighing the value of renting an outfit or, for slightly more, buying one to keep and reuse.

Not everyone is suffering equally. Men's Wearhouse ( MW), with about 50% of the market, is the largest in the marketplace, and that scale gives it a leg up on the competition, according to van Beeck.

"But the industry as a whole, when you include all of the smaller players, is getting hit pretty hard," he says.

IBISWorld says the industry pulled in roughly $736 million in revenue last year, a decline of 35% from 2000. It forecasts a further revenue drop of 14.6% through 2016.

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