Women will spend almost six months of their working life — deciding what to wear, a study has found.
Cluttered wardrobes and anxiety about wearing the right outfit means the average woman spends almost 17 minutes a day rifling through their wardrobes.
This amounts to more than four days a year or almost six months between the ages of 18 and 60.
But, the poll, by Marks & Spencer’s Shwopping campaign found the huge amount of time spent staring at their clothes trying to make a decision has led to 62 per cent of women suffering ‘wardrobe rage’ – irrational tantrums about not having anything they want to wear.
And while men might not be as bad, they aren’t immune – spending 13 minutes a day or the equivalent of three days a year deciding what to wear.
One in five men even own up to throwing clothes around the room as they struggle to pick an outfit, while more than a third have succumbed to a bout of ‘wardrobe rage’ at least once in the past.
The poll was commissioned by M&S, who are partnering with Oxfam to encourage people to donate – or ‘Shwop’ – their unused or unwanted clothing to clear out their wardrobes.
Fashion stylist Bay Garnett believes it should take no longer than two minutes to pick and outfit in the morning, with a carefully curated wardrobe needed to put an end to the morning tantrums.
She said: “We all need a regular closet detox: it helps us to not only easily choose what to wear, but also clear our mind.
“Opening our wardrobes in the morning can bring a startling range of emotions. Why do we put ourselves through it?
“We need to start thinking about dressing for the present – for the size we are now, for the job we’re in now.
“It’s a process of streamlining and getting rid of some past negativity before we add anything new.
“Shwopping these items will not only make your wardrobe more manageable for the first time in years, but also make your mind instantly clearer.”
The study of 2,000 Brits found the average wardrobe contains 152 items, but just 44 per cent of these are worn regularly.
On top of that, 57 items are left unworn, a staggering 3.6 billion items of clothing across the nation with an average of 16 items only worn once, while 11 still have tags on.
Shockingly, one in 20 of us has over 50 items in our closets with the tags still on, while one in eight (12 per cent) own more than 300 items of clothing
Despite the staggering amount of clothes in the nation’s wardrobes, one in twenty adults will complain that they have nothing to wear at least once a week.
But this has led to 28 per cent of adults throwing clothes around their room in frustration, while almost one in five admit they have ended up upset or angry at not finding an outfit they are happy with.
Fifteen per cent even say the drama around choosing their outfit has often ruined their mood for the rest of the day.
It has also seen one in ten regularly arriving late to work because of the time spent choosing their outfit for the day, while one in twenty have missed an occasion altogether because they too so long deciding what to wear.
One in five (21 per cent) women even admitted that it has caused them to row with their partner and 14 per cent have refused to go out as a result of struggling to choose an outfit.
Three in ten (29 per cent) of adults admit their wardrobe is a mess, with another 48 per cent admitting they need to declutter.
Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are calling on the nation to edit their wardrobes and release the power of good in their once-loved items of clothing, if all these items were donated, it could be worth over £2.7 billion.
M&S and Oxfam’s Shwopping collaboration is urging shoppers to donate – or ‘Shwop’ – and release the power of good in these once-loved items of clothing. If just a fraction of these clothes were donated, Oxfam could help hundreds of thousands of people around the world out of poverty.
Just £5 raised from the sale of a shwopped cardigan could provide safe water for five people.
Joanna Lumley, M&S’s Shwopping ambassador said: “I have seen first-hand how a humble old pair of trousers can help to build a community for women, or provide clean, running water to those without it.
“We are a nation that holds onto everything, because we feel it may be of use to us again, but it won’t.
“By tidying your wardrobe regularly, you will not only get a tidy mind, but also a clear conscience by Shwopping.”
Joanna Lumley has joined the decluttering trend and her shwopped items will join a host of celebrity supporters’ items and clothes from the public at an online sale this summer. The Oxfam Shwop Shop will see all proceeds going to the charity’s work to alleviate global poverty.
Since its launch, Oxfam has received 24 million items of clothing thanks to Shwopping, worth an estimated £16.4 million for the charity. All money raised by the campaign is used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world.