Short Take: More Clothes Than Ever

In 1930, the average American woman owned about nine outfits. Now, thanks to cheap labor in other countries, we pay less for what we wear, and today the average American woman buys 60 pieces of clothing a year.

Even in these tough economic times, our total spending on clothing has increased, from $7.82 billion spent on apparel in 1950 to $375 billion today. According to the latest Standard & Poor’s Industry Survey, the average American consumer is primarily looking for value with an impulse-buy standard of quality when they purchase clothing. This means they’re heading in record numbers to outlets and discount stores. Increasingly, shoppers buy clothing they think of as disposable, not as well-constructed, good quality clothing bought as investment pieces.


Sources: Elizabeth Cline for The Daily Beast and in The Week.

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