A new survey commissioned in support of ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’, the UK’s largest charity clothes collection in partnership with brands-for-less retailer, TK Maxx and the UK’s leading cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, has revealed that the nation’s wardrobes are being pushed to excess with a surplus of different sized clothes that no longer fit. It suggests that almost 20 million women in the UK – around eight out of ten in the survey – are hoarding clothes in their wardrobes that don’t actually fit them.*
More than one in four of the more than 1,000 women surveyed had been four or more different dress sizes during their adult lives**, and one in 12 (eight per cent) of the women surveyed currently have four or more sizes of clothes in their ’four-drobe’ – this could be equivalent to just over 2 million UK women*.
Among the women questioned who hold on to clothes that don’t fit them, four out of ten (43 per cent) hope that those clothes will come in handy again at some point; a quarter (25 per cent) keep them because they were so expensive they don’t feel they can part ways; around one in eight (13 per cent) deliberately bought some clothes too small in the hope of slimming to fit in to them; and more than one in ten (12 per cent) also admit to holding on to clothes for sentimental reasons as the clothes remind them of a happy time in their life. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of these women were also holding on to clothes which don’t fit them in the hope they will fit into them again.
According to the survey, the most common dress size for women aged 18 to 29 is size 10, a size 12 for women in their 30s, size 16 for women in their 40s, size 12-14 for women in their 50s and size 14 in their 60s onwards.
‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ is calling upon the nation to clear out its wardrobes from 1st-30th April and drop off a bag of unwanted quality clothing at TK Maxx to help beat children’s cancers. Each bag could be worth up to £30 and every penny will go to Cancer Research UK to fund the treatment and cure of childhood cancers. Launched in 2004, ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ has raised £10million to date and hopes to raise in excess of £2.5million this year.
The top five clothing items women keep hold of in their wardrobes, despite not being able to fit into them anymore are:
- Jeans (36 per cent)
- Occasion wear (36 per cent)
- Tops (28 per cent)
- Skirts (23 per cent)
- Trousers (not jeans – 23 per cent)
And it’s not just women that are afflicted with bulging wardrobes; six in ten of the almost 1,000 men questioned (60 per cent) are keeping clothes that don’t fit, with just under a quarter (24 per cent) having three clothes sizes or more in their wardrobes. Of all the men and women surveyed aged 50 and over, almost four in ten (38%) admitted they have been four or more different sizes or more during their adult life.
But holding on to clothes that you don’t wear does more harm than good, warns top psychologist Linda Papadopoulos. She commented: “There are many reasons why people keep clothes they no longer wear but clearing out your wardrobe of sizes and styles that no longer fit and giving them to ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’ will help you to love and value the person you are today. You’ll feel even better knowing that you’ll be making a huge difference through your donation by helping to beat children’s cancers.
“People can also develop an emotional attachment or sense of nostalgia to clothes making them hard to let go of – whether it’s the dress you wore when you got engaged or that lucky suit you wore for a job interview. Donating clothes to charity helps to release that reluctance to part ways with the item because you know that you’re giving a child the chance to have a better life as well as giving your clothes a new lease of life.”
On a regional basis, the research also revealed:
- People from Wales and London are the biggest closet hoarders, with 80 per cent of people surveyed from Wales and more than three quarters (78 per cent) of Londoners surveyed keeping clothes in their wardrobes that don’t fit
- People in the North East (40 per cent), South West (34 per cent), East Anglia (30 per cent) and Wales (30 per cent) are the most likely among those surveyed to have been four or more clothing sizes in their adult life
- Around one in seven people (14 per cent) in Wales currently have four or more different sizes of clothing in their wardrobes, followed by people in the North West (8 per cent), South West (8 per cent), and West Midlands (8 per cent), according to the survey
Helen Gunter from TK Maxx commented, “Through our research, we have identified that there are potentially almost 20 million women in the UK who have clothes in their wardrobes that don’t fit them; if they all donated a bag of clothes to the cause, it would be possible to fundraise a staggering £60 million*** to help fund valuable research into children’s cancers.”
To support ‘Give Up Clothes for Good’, drop off a bag of unwanted quality clothing at TK Maxx from 1st-30th April 2012. Special donation bags available free in all TK Maxx stores from late March, however, any bag will do – from bin bags to carrier bags.