Fashion and shopping has traditionally been seen as the domain of women. But new data from Roy Morgan Research is helping to put that stereotype to pasture – as well as highlighting some potential implications for Australians' credit cards these holidays.
According to a survey conducted on 658 men aged 14-24 this year, more men are shopping for clothes in an average four-week period than in 2011. Not only that, but they're doing it for less money, spending an approximate $325 million less every year.
"Over the last few years, the average amount spent by young men has fallen across all product categories, with prices being pushed down by the availability of cheaper imports, the local launch of numerous low-cost clothing brands, and increased online shopping," said Geoffrey Smith, Roy Morgan Research general manager of consumer products.
Is this all there is to it? What is the secret of these frugal fashionistas? Here are a few tricks you could use to put yourself in their company, whether male or female.
1. Go online
As Smith suggested, online shopping – not to mention the rise of mobile shopping – has helped contribute to a drop in the amount spent on shopping now compared with four years ago. As with other products, online retailers are often much more affordable when it comes to clothes. The trick is buying a product you'll be happy with when you don't have the chance to try it on.
Of course, it's essential to get your measurements right, first of all. Make sure they match the product's details. Beyond that, read up on reviews of both the product and the website before committing to a purchase. Finally, look into the retailer's exchange policy and know what you're dealing with – for instance, if a product is unsatisfactory, will you receive a full refund, or will you simply get store credit? And, what is the cost of returning the item to the store?
2. Rent instead of buy
True, this may not technically count as shopping. But choosing to rent an outfit can help save you from throwing money away on expensive frocks you're unlikely to wear again.
If going to a black-tie or red carpet event, many people choose to dip into their hard-earned savings account and fork out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on a designer gown or suit. But there are businesses out there that rent out high-priced clothing and accessories for this very reason. If you want to save some money, particularly on something you're unlikely to wear again, consider this option instead.
If online shopping isn't an option, consider using price comparison websites – such as Shopbot or Getprice – to compare retail prices before you hit the shops.
3. Op-shops a shopping option
Not everything that's brand new is best. You can find pre-loved clothes that are just as good quality at op-shops and other second-hand stores, and often for a much cheaper price.
This not only has the benefit of saving some dollars. It can also give you a certain amount of cultural cache, as well as reduce your carbon footprint – remember that the use of certain synthetic fibres and materials involves the use of large amounts of petrochemicals and arable land, along with releasing toxins into the atmosphere.