Your wardrobe is worth more than you think

Closet full of clothes

Blanche Clark

Posted May 26, 2022


Whether your wardrobe is bursting with every garment you’ve ever owned or it’s a more refined collection of designer threads, the cost of replacing those clothes is probably higher than you think.

You don’t need to be a fashionista to care about the clothes you wear. National data shows the average household spends $44 to $66 a week on clothing and footwear. These weekly figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Statista amount to about $2200 to $3500 a year.  

Of course, some people spend more than others but the cost of school uniforms, work attire, activewear and everyday clothes can add up significantly over time.

Australian personal stylist Cindy Newstead says it’s easy to overlook and undervalue your wardrobe. 

“If you think about how much you spend on clothes every month and do the maths, times that sum by 12, you end up with a very interesting annual figure,” she says.

 


Investing in your wardrobe

Newstead, who runs Style with Cindy, says many recent clients are refreshing their pandemic-era wardrobes, and that involves a considerable financial investment.

“Many people seeking our service have a budget of between $6000 and $12,000-plus a year – that’s being conservative – to spend on clothes,” Cindy says. 

This increased spending on clothing, footwear and personal accessories is backed by Australian Bureau of Statistics retail data for March 2022.

Newstead says consumers are also seeking clothing that reflects sustainable values, such as Australian made with eco-friendly fabrics, and that can be more expensive than fast fashion and increase the value of your wardrobe.

"There seems to be more people who are becoming conscious of the environmental impact of fashion, and also more conscious of what they already own and not wanting to overdo it,"  she says. "That's a strong trend."

Handbag and accessories

Don't forget to include handbags and accessories in your wardrobe inventory. Image: Getty


How much would it cost to replace all your clothes?

When it comes to the cost of replacing an entire wardrobe of clothing and footwear, the figure is often surprising. The average woman has 110 items in her wardrobe and the average man has 83 pieces of clothing, according to research by UK brand Marks & Spencer. 

Although those figures may differ in Australia, the cost of replacing all your clothes, shoes and bags could be tens of thousands of dollars. All it takes is a good pair of R.M. Williams boots, a tailored suit, a wool coat that’s locally made, the wedding dress you never sold and a designer handbag to push up the value of your wardrobe. 
 
Consider whether you need to update your insurance policy to cover the current value of your favourite clothes, shoes, and accessories. 


How to calculate the value of your wardrobe
 

Start with a stocktake

Create categories such as suits, dresses, tops and jackets and list how many items you have for each category. This will help you work out your average spend for each category. You can multiply this figure by the number of items you own. 

Find receipts

It’s also a good idea to keep receipts for expensive items because the cost of similar items can vary significantly. Tailored suits, for example, typically cost between $1000 and $3000.

Don’t forget your shoes and accessories

The average person owns between 10 and 20 pairs of shoes. Bags are another big-ticket item, especially if you’ve forked out $1000 to $3000 for a designer handbag or luggage.

woman folding clothing

You'll be surprised how many items of clothing you own. Image: Unsplash


The rise of vintage clothing

Do you have any vintage clothing? The vintage clothing market is booming as eco-conscious consumers reject cheap fast fashion. Research online to find out if similar clothing is increasing in value.

Take photos of your clothes

This is a useful way to record your clothes and their condition, and may be handy if you make an insurance claim.


Ensure your belongings are protected with RACV Contents Insurance. 
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This is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination. For copies, visit racv.com.au.

RACV Contents Insurance issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed.