back to article A woman spends 287 days choosing what to wear

The average woman will - between the ages of 16 and 60 - spend 287 days deciding what to wear. That's according to Matalan, which polled 2,491 females and found that this essential activity accounts for an average 16 minutes on weekday mornings, 14 minutes after getting up at weekends and up to 20 minutes bothering the …


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  1. LuMan


    My mate used Einstein's trick of wearing identical clothes every day, thus saving the brainpower required to decide what to wear. Unfortunately, he didn't actually bother with a dozen sets of identical clothes, choosing instead to just wear the SAME clothes.

    As far as I'm aware he's still single...

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    and the record is .....

    > What we want to see, though, is a Matalan poll of 2,500 Reg readers to see just how long they spend mulling the comparative merits of a suit and tie, or jeans, trainers and that favourite black t-shirt.

    Version 1.

    Open chest of drawers (or wardrobe, if a special occasion) , pull out first thing that comes to hand. Check trousers have no unsightly holes in the wrong places. Check shirt for same. Check underware looks and smells clean (note: qualifiers in previous sentence). Repeat checks until selected apparel passes, dress, exit room.

    Total time: 30 seconds.

    Version 2.

    Pick up items from floor, dress, exit.

    Time 10 seconds (possibly faster if her husband arrives back unexpectedly)

  3. Richard 39

    whats sad about this article

    What we want to see, though, is a Matalan poll of 2,500 Reg readers to see just how long they spend mulling the comparative merits of a suit and tie, or jeans, trainers and that favourite black t-shirt

    The sad thing is, Monday-Friday I wear a suit and tie and on weekend I wear Jeans, Trainers and a Black Vest. I thought I was a rebel but it turns out i'm a conformist :-(

  4. Richard 81

    Biased sampling

    That's like polling a Gym and claiming that the average male spends umpteen hours a week working out. Average for your customer base maybe, but not necessarily nation-wide.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    what about wearing time?!

    after selecting the blood thing, they have to wear it don't they? and what about makeup?

    "What we want to see, though, is a Matalan poll of 2,500 Reg readers to see just how long they spend mulling the comparative merits of a suit and tie, or jeans, trainers and that favourite black t-shirt."

    I literally pick whatever is in front of me, as for my hear and beard.... I take care of it once a month when I go to the barbershop.

    oh... and I don't fell ashamed about picking my nose when I am alone

    mine is the one that is "hopefully" is still clean enough to wear again.

  6. mark 63 Silver badge

    surely not

    16 mins , every weekday morning??

    gtf outa here...

  7. Scott Mckenzie

    Key Fact Missing

    What about the further 3 years spent changing their mind again? Then re-doing their hair, make-up.... were shoes included??

  8. ark
    Black Helicopters


    I am a regular reg reader and need less than a minute to pick a suit. all are black.

    anonymously for obvious reason

    My coat is the one with a neuralyzer in the pocket

  9. Anonymous Coward

    And how long...

    ...asking her partner what he thinks of the said outfit, and if her bum looks big in it?

    It's not the dress that does that, it's the number of cakes eaten before hand.

    AC, for obvious reasons.

  10. Daniel 1

    I think my girlfriend must be skewing the figures

    She spends more time thinking about what her horse is going to wear than she does dressing herself. The last time I saw her deliberating over clothes, was to fumble along her jackets, in the hallway, trying to work out which one had the cigarettes in.

  11. Neil Porter

    Wrong - their claims were way to quick

    So they polled women? That was their first mistake, if they'd polled their partners they would've got a more accurate figure. In reality it takes much longer...

  12. ElNumbre


    "polled 2,491 females"

    Did they get Russell Brand to do the polling? I suspect he may also be in the closet with those women.

  13. The First Dave


    "up to 20 minutes bothering the wardrobe prior to a night out"

    Yeah, right.

    20 minutes on average I might believe, but not max.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    How many years does the average man spend staring at tits, fawning over cars and shiny / matt black gadgets, watching football, etc etc?

  16. Annihilator Silver badge

    Men time

    "What we want to see, though, is a Matalan poll of 2,500 Reg readers to see just how long they spend mulling the comparative merits of a suit and tie, or jeans, trainers and that favourite black t-shirt."

    That would be dependent on how long it takes me to consult Outlook for my daily calendar. It's then a binary decision between suit and jeans.

    Any other decision based on clothes is a quick judgement of "what can pass as clean" and "do I need to iron it"

    Total time, 30seconds per day, max.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone fancy a quick poll

    on how many misogynistic comments Reg commentards can make on one article in a single day?

  18. Steve Foster

    Sample Bias?

    I'd guess that their sample set included a large proportion of nuns, because there's no way the "average" woman only spends 287 days choosing what to wear ("20 minutes preparing for a night out" - yeah *right*, that's on a par with a man's "I'll be there in a minute" when mid-Halo/Quake/GTA/etc.).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    decisions, decisions

    Should I wear the black t-shirt with blue jeans and black converse or the blue t-shirt with black jeans and blue converse...

    Gah, this is going to take me all of 3 seconds!

  20. Jan 7

    My missus...

    ...reaches that count in an average week.

  21. Richard 102

    Time not wasted

    While 287 days deciding what to wear seems excessive, how much time between the ages of 16 and 60 do we men spend trying to determine how to get women OUT of the clothes?

    Mine's the one with the stopwatch ... and the hourglass.

  22. John Miles

    I assume that it is

    287 days out of each year

    anonymously for obvious reasons ;-)

  23. Ray0x6

    For more gender bothering irrelevance

    See Tanya Gold's latest article on The Graun, here:

    At least Matalan will have done their research.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    drive for efficency?

    Workday -

    two pairs over black trousers, whichever is on the radiator

    ten shirts, all dark and hung up, whichever is to hand

    tie, if I can be bothered, all match the shirts, whichever is first out of the rats nest

    shoes, one pair, black...

    weekend -

    jeans, tshirt... top of the pile on both counts...

    evenings out -

    clean jeans, decent shirt (this one may actually take 5 min)

    I never realised my lazy-ness was actually a drive for efficency but I'll take it!

    Oh, and coat - never wear so none :)

  25. Anonymous John
    Paris Hilton


    And we don't have wardrobe malfunctions.

    Paris because she's a woman.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wasn't sure at first

    Then it occured to me that quite a few women wear a uniform to work, which would skew the averages a little. Also, the time spent deciding on an outfit for a special occasion is an average which includes all the times they buy an outfit specifically for the occasion (2 days deciding what to buy probably doesn't come into deciding what to wear) - which again will bring the average down a bit.

    Having said all that, I reckon I will spend at least 260 days deciding what gadgets to buy in my life time - and another 620 posting comments on El Reg. Most worrying is the hundreds of days I will waste following my wife around Matalan whilst she decides what buy (for both of us).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the rest...

    ...of their waking lives they spend deciding what to buy .

  28. Schultz


    ... know better than to waste their time on clothes . That would steal valuable time from discussing browser functionality, the relative merits of programming environments, or whether it might be worth switching away from Adobe reader.

  29. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Paris Hilton

    How about how many days the average man spends w..

    No let's not go there.

    Paris, because it works for some.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @How about how many days the average man spends w..

    i believe the average is about 1 hour a day - although those figures are skewed a bit by the 16/17 year olds

  31. Psmiffy

    Re: Annihilator

    What is this "iron" that you speak of and how does it apply to clothing?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I prefer my system. The shirt/jacket/trousers that has worked its way to the right hand side of the rail. The socks/underpants that has worked its way to the front of the drawer. If cool, the jumper at the bottom of the pile. Does it for me.

  33. Nick G
    Paris Hilton

    20 mins??

    "up to 20 minutes bothering the wardrobe prior to a night out"

    My wife's taken that long just deciding on which knickers to wear, let alone dress, accessories, shoes etc...

    Lay back & enjoy the view is my motto...

  34. Xris M

    You gotta have a system

    Work shirts are on a rotation system and trousers are choosen to match the shirt except that they cant be worn on two consecutive days.

    Leisure wear consists of favourite pairs of jeans and shorts on a rotation policy plus t shirts of multiple colours depending on either my mood or what is clean.

    You got to keep it simple.

  35. stuart Thompson


    when i die i'd like to think that i spent more time having sex than getting dressed.

  36. James O'Brien

    Arnt we forgetting

    Not only spending 287 days choosing what to wear, but also the questions such as "Do I look fat in this?" and the man spending double that time trying to figure out just how to answer it without getting in trouble? What about putting the outfit on finally and then realizing it doesn't math with their nails and the function and spending that same amount of time to find a new one? Or even better how about finally figuring out what to wear, then getting halfway to where your going (No matter if its 4 hours away) and realizing that you NEED to go back because you forgot your perfume?

    /I say this now, to all the women who read this and don't go through those things I apologize but in my lifetime I have met maybe 2-3 that don't.

  37. Bucky 2
    Thumb Down

    Come again

    "What you wear has a direct impact on how you feel about yourself and it is important a woman feels exceptional in her outfit. Whatever the occasion your clothes portray an image and we understand this is fundamentally important to women."

    The statement seems completely reasonable on its face. But then if you think about it for a second, it doesn't explain why anyone would have anything in closet the which makes her feel like crap, nor indeed, why it takes that kind of time to rule out such clothing.

    I need a better reason than that for such alarming indecision.

  38. jake Silver badge

    Tie? Suit?

    "Matalan poll of 2,500 Reg readers to see just how long they spend mulling the comparative merits of a suit and tie"

    What are these things called "suit and tie"?

  39. Annihilator Silver badge


    "What is this "iron" that you speak of and how does it apply to clothing?"

    It's the metal thing you use, when you *have* to wear a suit, to flatten the front of the shirt. Back and sleeves not necessary, just keep the jacket on

  40. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    But it's so important not to arrived dressed like someone else!

    I went to a formal dinner a few weeks ago and the was another man there also wearing a dress shirt, bow tie and dinner jacket. I was so upset I had to go to the bar.

  41. Scott Mckenzie

    Try going to a formal dinner in Scotland...

    Everyone's wearing a skirt!

    Maybe that's why they have a drink problem???

  42. Chris 67

    No Moderatrix?

    Is Sarah Bee on holiday? She's usually laid into someone by now on these kind of threads.

  43. Quirkafleeg


    I'm wearing a navy blue polo shirt. I AM TEH REBEL!

  44. Scott Mckenzie

    @Chris 67

    She's probably still deciding what to wear in order to be suitably attired for comments.


  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    meh, I pick up stuff of the floor... smell it.. if it fails? FEBREZE!!!! Absent spills and stains from food, you can get WEEKS out of clothes before they need laundering...

    And my jeans NEVER lose that worn in feel...

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Always wear a white shirt

    and use non-coloured toothpaste. That way, when you spill toothpaste your shirt just gets whiter and smells minty fresh!

    To help with any male equivalent survey- for me it's just black jeans, black shirt, black shoes, black socks, black boxers. For special occasions I'll jump into one of two suits. I can go shopping for clothes in less time than it takes my flatmate to decide which jacket she'll wear to go shopping for clothes (achieved on, so far, 3 occasions).


    Adobe reader sucks, so yes you should change from it. Next problem!

    @"misogynistic comments" AC

    It's not misogynistic if it's true, is it? And the point is that- according to the survey, at least- it IS true.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    I think you'll find most Reg readers just start putting on clothes as they find them, usually from the floor, until they think they've covered enough of their body to cover legal requirements.

    The brilliant thing about nerds is we're incredibly environmentally conscious. That means we understand that the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions come from showers, washing, etc. Heating all that hot water is terrible for the environment and I'm not even being facetious, it really is.

    So we shrug our indifference at wearing the same clothes for weeks at a time, even longer if it's possible to hide stains by turning things inside out or using other long-term garments to hide what's sticking to the lower layers. Sometimes we'll pretend the stuff smeared and sticking to our clothes is a nerd fashion statement that regular people can't understand, just like the rest of our lives. Smelling of beer, cigarettes and sex is a badge of honour amongst IT workers, as it proves we have a life outside of World of Warcraft.

    Personally I keep a no-more-than-twice-worn tee-shirt and jeans on hand for interviews, socks are an annoyance so forget those and not even the hardest of nosed geeks would want to know about my boxer shorts unwashed half-life.

  48. MadonnaC


    "How many years does the average man spend staring at tits, fawning over cars and shiny / matt black gadgets, watching football, etc etc?"

    90, at the last estimate

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