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Once worn, thrice shy – British women’s wardrobe habits exposed!

Release Date: 11 Jun 2015

Modern women have adopted a "wear it once culture" when it comes to their wardrobes and only wear items a handful of times before considering them ‘old’, according to a new study by Barnardo’s Retail.

A detailed survey of 1,500 women aged over 16 into women’s fashion habits found the majority of fashion purchases see the light of day just seven times.

The study from children’s charity Barnardo’s to support its #MyBarnardosDonation campaign found the average woman typically spends £64 per month - or £768 per year on clothes. Yet most of these clothes are left languishing in wardrobes unworn.  The charity is calling out for women to tackle their bulging wardrobes and give away the clothes and accessories they are no longer wearing. All donations will be sold to support the many vulnerable children across the UK.

It also emerged around 33 per cent of women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them fewer than three times.  The main reason given for ditching new purchases was changes in weight (49 per cent), with women also disregarding clothes that were bought on a whim (23 per cent).

And one in seven said Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were strong influences for the culture, because being pictured twice and “tagged” in the same dress on different nights out was a fashion no-no.

Zoe Abrams, Director at Barnardo’s, said:

We’re all guilty of wearing an outfit a few times and then forgetting about it, but we were surprised to find the average woman’s wardrobe has at least 10 items that will never be worn again.

That is why we have launched the #MyBarnardosDonation campaign to encourage women across the UK to donate those unworn items to our stores, which we hope will generate over £100,000 worth of clothing donations. The profits from selling the items will fund Barnardo’s work with some of the UK’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people.

So this Saturday, instead of going shopping once again for another outfit, we’re asking people to put aside an hour to sort through their wardrobe and put those items they no longer wear to good use by donating them to their local Barnardo’s store.

Linda Blair, clinical psychologist and the author of The Key to Calm, is supporting the #MyBarnardosDonation campaign. She says:

Having a clear out is a great way to help you feel more in control of your wardrobe and your life. People think they need lots of clothing, that they need to be surrounded by choices, however, psychological research shows that having more choices actually leads to indecisiveness and less satisfaction rather than greater contentment.

Why not take a good look at those clothes you no longer want or need, and give whatever you can to Barnardo’s? Not only will you feel better, but your donations will make a huge difference to vulnerable children across the UK.  Please join me in supporting the #MyBarnardosDonation campaign.

Barnardo’s sells clothing and other items in over 590 stores across the UK, and 100 per cent of the profit goes towards transforming the lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

To find out more visit

Additional  Survey Statistics:

•Dresses were most likely to be bought for a one-off event and then discarded, with wedding and holiday outfits topping the list

•Of the women who said they regularly wore items on a handful of occasions before putting them to the back of the wardrobe, one in three said they ‘went off clothes after wearing them a couple of times’

•Just over one in four said they were unlikely to wear clothes again because they had put on weight

•It also emerged typically women now spend £37.43 on a new piece.

•One in five women polled claimed “seasonal changes in fashion trends” left them feeling unenthused about a recent purchase

•One in 10 women wear a piece of clothing just three times before it is left gathering dust in the back of the wardrobe.  

About Barnardo’s:

In 2014, unwanted items donated to Barnardo’s raised over £10 million for the charity.

The clothes and other items are sold in approximately 590 stores across the UK, with 100% of profits going towards transforming the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

Barnardo’s believes in bringing out the very best in every child through the work of its services, campaigning and research expertise.

Barnardo's works directly with over 200,000 children, young people and their families every year. We run over 900 vital services across the UK, including counselling for children who have been abused, fostering and adoption services, vocational training and disability inclusion groups.

Every Barnardo's service is different but each believes in the potential in every child and young person, no matter who they are, what they have done or what they have been through.

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