Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Women Want From Clothing

According to research by Mintel, women are still enjoying shopping for clothing but they are picky about what they want -- and even pickier about what they don't want. And what they don't want is clothing that requires dry cleaning, hand washing, or ironing:

Indeed, three out of four female clothes shoppers (75%) say they avoid items that require a trip to the cleaners. Meanwhile, 59% are loathe to purchase clothing that has to be hand washed separately—and women aged 65 and up are even more likely to pass on fashions with tags that bear the hand wash separately mandate, with 68% reporting as much.

“Dry clean only or hand wash separately account for one more errand or household chore that busy women simply don’t have time for,” says Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “When you consider the demands of work, family obligations, children and a social life—some women may just find it easier and less time-consuming to purchase an item that doesn’t have specific cleaning instructions.”

...So, if women are turned off by dry clean only or hand wash separate garments, what clothing attributes constitute the perfect fit? It seems 84% of female clothes shoppers are seeking out easy to mix and match separates, while 78% are drawn to classic styles that don’t go out of style and 71% are looking for items that don’t have to be ironed.
While it's true that dry cleaning is expensive (and the chemicals are no good for the planet), and that hand washing and ironing take time, perhaps if more people know how to iron and launder clothing by hand, it would be less a matter of "fuss" and more a matter of pride.


Val said...

Good point. I've recently starting sewing with more fussy fabrics that require specific care, like silks. While they are more time consuming and potentially expensive to clean, the truth is that they are also far lovelier than cheaper, easier to handle fabrics. I think that every woman should have at least a few special pieces made of delicate fabrics, even if she only wears them a few times a year. Isn't looking really good every now and then worth it?

Little Black Car said...

I don't mind hand-washing a few things, but dry-clean-only is usually a deal-breaker. I don't want to run any more errands after work and on weekends, and I don't want to spend that much money on something that can be spoiled so easily.

Cee said...

I find most women don't even know how to read garment tags aside from the wash "instructions". The wash "instructions" are a joke, and I for one never read them...I read the fabric content. Most modern fabrics can be machine washed. If you read the label, know your fabric and its likelihood to shrink with heat (maybe buy a size up), most are even able to go in the dryer. The only fabrics I can think of the top of my head that would be an absolute NO for machine wash would be wool and silk. And those can both be handwashed.

Stacy McKenna said...

I have both time and know-how for hand wash/ironing, but I hate doing it. It comes down to plain old "I don' wanna" lazy in my case. Dry-cleaning is just too darn expensive, though.

Jen said...

Funny, I hand wash even items that can go through the machine, simply because it seems to help these items last longer; most of my clothing I allow to drip/hang dry instead of putting them in the dryer.

"Dry clean only" is almost certainly a dealbreaker, though, unless it is on a formal-type item that isn't going to be worn as frequently. It's a lot less painful to drop a wool coat or satin dress off at the cleaners once or twice a year than it is to take that skirt every couple of weeks. Too expensive (and the chemicals are gross).

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