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A third surrendering their savings for style

Published on 24 October 2014 11:00 PM

A third surrendering their savings for style

As Age UK launches The Big Bag Challenge, new survey reveals the lengths Brits go to for fashion

  • One in ten would eat basic meals like beans on toast to buy clothes
  • 36% of women buy clothes every couple of months with over third of women (37%) spending between £30 - £100[i]
  • Men less concerned - a third spend less than £10 a month on clothes
  • Yet a quarter of population don't wear 25% of clothes in their wardrobes.

A new survey(1) for Age UK reveals some of the sacrifices Brits will make to maintain their commitment to fashion with nearly a third (31%) dipping into their savings to buy clothes. Women are most likely to sacrifice their savings with one in three confessing to using money they had put aside but men are less fussy with 33% spending less than £10 a month on clothes.

Published to coincide with the launch of the Charity's biggest stock appeal, The Big Bag Challenge, which is calling on people to donate their unwanted items to meet a massive 200,000 bag target to help Age UK combat loneliness, the survey also importantly found that despite the nation's fixation with fashion, a quarter of the population admits to not wearing at least 25% of the items in their wardrobe.

Women are the most determined to remain fashion forward, with 36% buying clothes every couple of months and over a third (37%) spending between £30 - £100[ii]. Suggesting men are less concerned with their appearance, four in ten (42%) of those questioned about their seasonal wardrobe said that they believe clothes are all the same. In stark contrast women admitted to being excited about stocking up on this season's must-haves, with a third looking forward to wearing woolly jumpers and a quarter thrilled at the thought of winter boots.

Whilst 60% of women remove or separate clothes in their wardrobe when the seasons change[iii], men are less organised, with just 38% doing the same[iv]. Four in ten women like to split their wardrobes by seasons, with a further two in ten removing items altogether when the seasons change, in contrast to just under one in ten men. In fact men seem to be mystified by women's orderliness, with nearly half (48%) admitting that they don't do anything at all[v]. Some partners even go as far as removing clothes from wardrobes and storing summer clothes for their loved one - 8% of men say their partners do this versus 1% of women.

This autumn Age UK is encouraging the nation to take an honest look at their wardrobe and bag up their unworn items as part of a nationwide stock appeal. The Big Bag Challenge calls upon people across the country to donate as many bags of quality goods, including quality clothes, shoes, books, accessories and home wares, as possible to their local Age UK shop. The goal is to get 200,000 bags in just four weeks, helping the Charity raise much-needed funds to support vital national and local services which provide the only human contact some older people have.

Leading psychologist, Donna Dawson, says: "Keeping up with fashion is certainly more of a female interest, but regularly buying clothes can soon cause storage problems. An over-crowded wardrobe makes it hard to find what is available, with ‘perfect' items getting lost in a crush of less-perfect ones. Heaving through hangers and drawers is time-consuming and women could certainly take a tip from the nation's men and save money by being more discerning. However, it seems that the nation as a whole could benefit from a good sort out, liberating the best items and giving people the space control and sense of ease that accompanies a thorough de-cluttering."

Hugh Forde, Managing Director for Retail at Age UK, said: "We're asking everyone to clear out their clutter and join The Big Bag Challenge and it couldn't be easier - simply drop a bag of unwanted items to your local shop which are reliant on the kind donations of the local community to keep the shelves stocked. Only with your support can we continue our work to raise vital funds to support lonely older people both in the local area and across the country and give everyone a chance to love later life. Any bag will do and every bag you fill really does count!"

With around one million older people regularly going an entire month without speaking to anyone[vi], loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life. With Lord Sugar, Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair and Liz McClarnon all donating items, take part in Age UK's Big Bag Challenge this autumn to help be the difference between someone feeling the desperation of loneliness and having the joy of friendship.

Go to to find your local store and get more information.

Donations can be maximised by signing up to gift aid. By simply completing a basic form when you donate goods means that Age UK will receive an extra 25p for every £1 that is raised from donations from the government. The extra money doesn't cost a penny and will help raise valuable funds for people in later life.

Age UK helps to prevent and reduce loneliness by supporting a range of services and activities such as a friendly telephone call, weekly visits, social activities such as lunch clubs exercise classes and tea-dances, advice when there's nowhere to turn, and the chance to get out and about into the local community all which play a crucial part in helping make later life better. Regular contact from local Age UK services can be life-changing and give older people the confidence they need to feel more connected and less isolated. Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65.

- Ends -


For more information about The Big Bag Challenge and Age UK, please call Hannah Barker-Green in the Age UK Media Team.

020 3033 1427 |

Notes to Editors:

Age UK Research

1. All results taken from the TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus (online) survey (October 2014) unless otherwise stated.

The TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus (online) survey interviewed 2,342 GB adults aged 16+ between 09/10/14-16/10/14.

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

[i] TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus survey (October 2014) Figures based on those who selected spend of £30-£49, £50-£79 and £80-£99

[ii] TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus survey (October 2014) Figures based on those who selected spend of £30-£49, £50-£79 and £80-£99

[iii] TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus survey (October 2014) Figures based on women who said that they separate items within their wardrobe and those that remove from the wardrobe to store in a suitcase or in the attic

[iv] TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus survey (October 2014) Figures based on men who said that they separate items within their wardrobe and those that remove from the wardrobe to store in a suitcase or in the attic

[v] TNS Big Bag Challenge OnLineBus survey (October 2014) Figures based on men who said that they do not want/need to change clothes with the seasons and those who selected nothing-I don't have enough clothes

[vi] TNS Loneliness Omnibus Survey for Age UK (April 2014)

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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