fashion

Australian women are spending $10,000 on clothes each year. Here's why.

The pressure to look fresh, on-trend and, well, Instagram-able has never been higher than it is in today’s day and age. But according to data released this week, it’s a desire that’s getting seriously out of control.

Like, engulfing credit card debt, out of control. Like still living with your parents because you can’t afford to pay rent but needing a second room for your wardrobe, out of control. Like being broke by the end of payday, out of control.

According to a study by social media buy-and-sell site Carousell, 30 per cent of Australian women now actively avoid posting multiple photos in the same outfit, with a few even going to the extreme of spending over $10,000 a year on clothes in a bid to keep up with the fashion Joneses and boost their social media followings. Others, the study found, use clothing hire sites to somewhat reduce costs, and almost all agree that when it comes to major events the dress code of the day is strictly ‘wear it once’.

And while it would be easy to place blame on major retailers and social media personalities, it’s worth looking a little deeper to what’s actually going on and how to break out of the need-to-please phenomenon.

According to The Second Row blogger and fashion journalist Bianca O’Neill, who says she has occasionally found clothes in her wardrobe that she forgot she ever bought, the findings are hardly surprising given today’s fashion climate. But Bianca explains that, in her opinion, the reason behind it has more to do with our approach to fashion than the industry itself.

“I don’t think these people exist en-masse. I would argue that anyone doing this is unhealthily worried about keeping up appearances – and that’s not what personal style is about. This isn’t a fashion problem or an industry problem – it’s a personal confidence issue that has been channelled into one specific outlet,” the 34-year-old Melbournian tells Mamamia.

Listen: Stylist Sarah Elizabeth Turner on how to turn your wardrobe around. Post continues… 

27-year-old Western-Australian blogger Monique Ceccato agrees, saying that while “having a lot of outfits comes part and parcel with the industry,” ultimately, the way a person approaches fashion, is much like the clothes they are wearing, a personal choice.

“I approach my wardrobe and shopping on an ‘I love it, I’ve got some spare cash and I could use a new dress’ basis,” Ceccato says. “It’s more if I see it and I love it then I’ll buy it more than just the sake of buying for the sake of it.”

For O’Neill, the change in her approach has been a gradual one that has come about thanks to a number of different factors.

“I think when I was younger I spent a lot more on trend-driven purchases. Now that I’m older, I buy for longevity,” she says, adding, “I think I’ve finally worked out what my personal style is, after all these years.

And perhaps most importantly to us mere mortals that aren’t sent clothes for free in exchange for social media shout outs. O’Neill says, “I don’t have endless money to spend on clothing, so it follows that I don’t really spend a lot of time worrying how ‘new’ everything is. I think it’s important, as a real person who wants to show who I am IRL, to translate new trends into wearable outfits that you could put together with any wardrobe collection.”

Agreeing, Ceccato says the key thing to consider before handing over your money is understanding “the difference between wanting to fit in and actually loving something you’re wearing.”

She adds, “people notice what you’re wearing far less than you think. A lot of people worry that someone will recognise their outfit or that they’ll be embarrassed, but honestly, very few people are ever thinking about it.”

Follow Bianca O’Neill here and Monique Ceccato here

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Top Comments

MySharona 5 years ago

I'll be the first to own up that i spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothing/shoes/bags every year. I am under no illusions that it's unnecessary, but...i love it. I love wearing a new outfit, and feeling polished and crisp and (ugh, hate that i'm about to say this) "fashionable". It makes me feel more in control of my life, makes me feel more powerful and authoritative at work, and boosts my confidence no end. 99% of my wardrobe was purchased solely for my enjoyment and empowerment - 0.5% was for my husband, and another 0.5% was to show up someone (almost always my sister :-))


Me 5 years ago

And people wonder why they can't get into the housing market...