The History of a Cheap Dress

This article caught my eye because only a couple of days ago I explained to my daughter why pajamas were invented: because once upon a time we wanted to keep our expensive daytime clothing clean and wrinkle-free because it was difficult and destructive to clean them. An essay at Etsy explains more about the way clothing used to be. In 1900, a new dress could cost a couple month's wages. Thanks to overseas labor, modern machinery, and synthetic fabrics, it only takes abut an hour to earn the price of a discount store dress.
As clothes have become cheaper, our clothing consumption has gone through the roof. In 1930, the average American woman owned an average of nine outfits. Today, we each buy more than 60 pieces of new clothing on average per year. Our closets are larger and more stuffed than ever, as we've traded quality and style for low prices and trend-chasing. In the face of these irresistible deals, our total spending on clothing has actually increased, from $7.82 billion spent on apparel in 1950 to $375 billion today. And the discounters are reaping the rewards.

Sixty pieces of new clothing a year? Really? Even my growing children don't buy that much! Link -via Boing Boing

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Goodness, Bobbi! I buy one pair of jeans every year, one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of sandals, and just a few underthings. Well, right now I get the shoes and socks my daughter outgrows. I haven't had a new coat in a decade.

However, around the first of August I can easily buy 60 items in one trip - basic school clothes for four teenagers!
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That seemed like quite a lot... but then I thought... half a dozen pairs of undies... 4 bras... half a dozen pairs of socks... a dozen pairs of pantihose... half a dozen pairs of tights... a couple of pairs of mittens or gloves and a hat for winter... sneakers/running shoes, which must be replaced regularly... winter boots (I live in an area where WAY too much road salt is used, and I'm lucky to get one winter from a pair of boots!)... 2 pairs of shoes (I work in an office and wear pumps 5 days a week)... By my count, this is 41 items, without even considering clothes for special occasions, or those we buy just because, gosh darn it, we work hard and like a treat every now and then! Suddenly, 60 doesn't seem so high. Thank goodness for consignment shops!
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Trouble with data is that it's often picked from narrow sets and applied widely. I expect that 60 items is from a survey of people who buy a lot of clothes!
You're right, though - even counting individual socks I don't suppose I buy more than 20 items of clothing a year.
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