Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Women buy 62 pounds of clothing each year"

Women may literally shop till they drop. Photo by Thinkstock.

[Women may literally shop till they drop]

Women love clothing, and even though most of us have enough, we're always buying more. Have you ever gone on a shopping spree and had your hands or arms get sore from holding so many garment hangers? We have, and it's an embarrassing problem. According to a new book, "To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World?" the average female takes home 62 pounds of clothing every year. That's a lot of shopping!

The author, environmental journalist Lucy Siegle, conducted research at Cambridge University on the amount of garments produced and purchased. The Independent reported these other unsettling statistics from her findings:

  • women spend around $216,136 in a lifetime on fashion
  • women own at least 20 garments they have never worn
  • women own four times the amount today than they did in 1980
  • between 2001 and 2005 spending on womenswear rose 21% while the price of items dropped 14%

These statistics are all averages so they may not ring true for all, but we'll admit we have a handful of items in our closets with the price tags still on them waiting to be worn. Our dressers and closets are all bursting, even after donating things to Goodwill, and despite all the shopping we still only regularly wear a small percentage of our wardrobes.

Why is there such a desire to always buy more clothing? Is it because of celebrity culture and the desire to stay on top of trends? The exciting rush of buying something new? The affordability of "fast fashion" stores like H&M and Forever 21? The accessibility of being able to shop online with the click of a button?

Another thing Siegle's book discusses is the way we don't save up for clothing the way previous generations did, which perhaps makes us appreciate items less. Regularly buying new clothing is now expected. We shop as a hobby, not out of necessity.

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