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UK Travel Trends

UK women spend more on holiday wardrobe than on trip itself

Jul 09, 2011

LIVERPOOL, England - As UK spending cuts start to bite, it seems there is one area where British women aren't prepared to scale back - their holiday wardrobe - with the most prolific holiday shoppers being fifty-something women.

According to recent research by online retailer, four in five (85 per cent) women over 50 plan to blow a staggering GBP1,500 on their holiday wardrobe, which in most instances is more than they paid for the holiday itself, with the average cost of a trip abroad costing GBP677 per person*.

The startling research by the mature ladies fashion brand found that while more than half (54 per cent) of 50-something women take up to 10 individual outfits, almost all (96 per cent) cram in five pairs of shoes and a further 91 per cent haul an average of five handbags with them on seven-day trip. The rationale for over packing, according to adult psychologist, Susan Quilliam, being a need to boost confidence when hitting the beach or enjoying a night out.

Despite this excess baggage and immense cost, 65 per cent of ladies only wear half of what they pack, coming home with at least five items unworn. Nearly half (48 per cent) splurge on more clothes while on their break because what they have with them doesn't fit or 'isn't me', with one in three (36 per cent) spending an additional GBP50 on new items while away from home.

And when it comes to packing, one in three (33 per cent) spend up to three days getting organised, 10 per cent take between seven and 10 days to pack their case, and almost three quarters (72 per cent) over pack. In fact, half (52 per cent) even admit to shoving items in their partner's case before jetting off, with many men finding their packing allowance reduced by half.

Despite the reduced wardrobe options for men, making sure their other half looks good on holiday is also a priority for mature women with half (48 per cent) taking responsibility for packing their partner's case, with 48 per cent admitting to under-packing for him to make room for their own clothes.

Women in the East Midlands spend the most on clothes and accessories and take the longest to pack, with 17 per cent admitting to taking between two and four weeks. Women in Yorkshire pack the most, admitting to taking six handbags, ten outfits and six pairs of shoes for a week away.

Adult psychologist, Susan Quilliam comments: "While mature women may effortlessly balance work and family life for 50 weeks of the year, when it comes to holidays even the most self-aware women may find their confidence slipping.

"Shedding layers and revealing what's underneath can make mature women feel vulnerable. Surrounded by toned and tanned perfect beach bodies, a mature woman can lose confidence, making her feel insecure and unloved.

"It's clear from the findings that a woman's answer is very practical - to make sure that she has every advantage when it comes to what she wears on holiday. She needs clothes and accessories that flatter, show off her good points and make her feel great about herself. And because such outfits can be hard to come by, she'll pack everything just in case, and then buy a little more while she's away. This may sound like over packing and overkill, but it's a solution to a very real psychological dilemma."

Lynda Bellingham, brand ambassador for believes that the study shows that wanting to look stylish has no age limit, and comments: "Women like to plan ahead and pack for any eventuality, which often means many clothes come home unworn, while some may change their mind about an item while away because it just doesn't fit. My advice is to pack smart and to recognise your body shape, so choose fashionable clothing created with the shape of 50+ women in mind to fit and flatter your best assets. That way you can splurge on enjoying yourself while away, rather than trawling the resort for replacement clothes.

"A great swimsuit that holds you in, in all the right places is a must, as well as a sarong or cover up for the beach. And to look stylish, as well as stay cool, a fitted linen jacket and a stunning maxi dress should be staples in every woman's suitcase."

To help stop overspending and over packing, here is Lynda's fail-safe capsule holiday wardrobe for a seven day break abroad:

Clothes: Linen jacket, Cardigan, 2x dresses, one for daytime, one going out dress, such as a bright maxi dress, 2x skirts - floral prints are stylish and summery, 3x t-shirts / vests - opt for stylish Breton stripes and block colours, 2x shorts - in neutral colours like khaki or denim, 2x ladies swimsuits.

Shoes: 2x wedges and 2x flat sandals - chose colours that go with everything, such as tan or white.

Accessories: 3x handbags - one large bag for the beach, one smaller for daytime and an evening bag, such as a clutch - a sarong and a hat that is easy to pack as this will not only prevent sun stroke, but will save hair colour from going orange which is never a good look!

UK women spend more on holiday wardrobe than on trip itself
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