Dressing for Success, Or for the Lack Thereof

For some consumers, the annual clothing budget is the pivot around which all their finances revolve. For others, the term is a misnomer in its tacit assumption that we couldn’t possibly go through a whole year without spending something on clothes. (We could and we have.) Where on this spectrum does the average American fall? According to a Zogby poll, 1 percent spend in excess of $5,000 a year on clothes and 4.9 percent spend $2,000 to $5,000. Another 11.5 percent fall in the $1,000-2,000 range. This leaves the vast majority of people short of four figures on their yearly buys. Half the population spends less than $500; 30.4 percent shell out $500-1,000. Is there any factual basis to the stereotype of the clothes-crazy female? Not much. Women do outnumber men in the $5,000-plus ranks (1.3 percent versus 0.6 percent), but men edge women in the populous $500-1,000 class (31.3 percent versus 29.6 percent).