The average Australian women spends how much on clothing?

“The real test of a savvy shopper is finding clothing that’s on-trend AND wallet-friendly.”

We all have to save up for fashion splurges but the real test of a savvy shopper is finding clothing that’s on-trend AND wallet-friendly.

After all, Australian women overspend a combined $945 million a year on fashion.

When you consider that a pair of designer jeans starts somewhere around $150, that doesn’t leave much leftover. Especially if your job requires you to have a wardrobe separate from the one you want to wear on the weekend.

According to a new study by fashion retailer Best&Less, a staggering 71% of the Australian women surveyed stated that they thought fashion in Australia is overpriced. It also found that more than 20% of the shoppers ended up spending more than they had anticipated when buying new clothes.

And it’s true.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Best&Less. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

We’ve all found ourselves in a clothing boutique with cool music, mood lighting and intimidating sales staff and ended up buying something we couldn’t afford. The euphoria of buying something new is soon replaced by feelings of guilt and regret.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps the most interesting finding from the research is that we don’t actually know why we’re paying too much for fashion. Only 18% of the women believed that a higher price equalled better quality, and only roughly 20% associated certain brands with quality, with another 20% believed more expensive items to be more fashionable.

You only have to look at the clothing choices of some of Hollywood’s most Rich and Famous to know that expensive clothing isn’t necessarily more stylish.

This begs the question: are we paying more because of the bells and whistles that come with shopping in a fancy designer store? And are we paying too much for fashion?

Yes, and yes.

LAB store – Westfield Sydney, Level 4.

One store challenging our perceptions has just opened up in Westfield Sydney (or Shopping Mecca if you haven’t been there).

On appearance the experimental LAB Store looks like any other designer retailer. It has the spotlit mannequins, trendy clothes, the designer logo, snappy in-store advertising, and beautifully designed interior, but it has one very big difference.

Despite the price tags stating otherwise, nothing in the store costs over $40.

Their nifty scheme catching shoppers unaware, is to reveal at the checkout that the gorgeous floral print kimono they were willing to pay $140 for is – BAM! – only going to cost them $40.

The sales staff also then reveal the clothing is from the designers at Best & Less.

You see, LAB? It’s B&L backwards. Clever.

There isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t like a reduced price at the checkout but this revolutionary shopping experiment is changing the psychology behind shopping.

For years, we’ve been buying into designer brands and store’s marketing brilliance. Stylish clothing needn’t cost a week’s paycheck, and this experiment proves it.

The LA streetwear inspired range features everything from fringed shawls to coated jeans and floral maxi skirts to printed pants.

LAB is open until March 9, and online here. Run, don’t walk.

Take a look at through these pics from our visit to the store:

How much do you estimate that you spend on clothing a year? Do you find it difficult to find  affordable fashion in Australia?

Watch A Current Affair’s feature on the LAB store below.

Best & Less will continue to challenge Australian’s perceptions on price, with the LAB store open until 9 March. With the average Australian woman spending $834[1] on their wardrobes every year, fashionistas are encouraged to visit LAB and find fashion at a price everyone can afford. Check out the Facebook page here.