The average woman spends almost five months of her working life choosing what to wear, a study has revealed.
Researchers found deciding what to wear for work, at weekends and for nights out mean women will spend more than an hour of each week simply considering their outfits.
Over the average year, this amounts to the equivalent of almost three days – and almost 20 weeks between the ages of 18 and 65.
It also emerged 45 per cent of women find the process of deciding what to wear to work stressful thanks to fears their outfit will be inappropriate for work or won’t adhere to the dress code.
And more than half even claimed they spend so much time fretting about their work outfits, they reckon they would better off if they had to wear a uniform to have the decision taken out of their hands.
Simon Jersey, which provides uniforms to more than half a million UK workers and commissioned the research, said: “Many of us have a huge variety of clothes in our wardrobes, and picking what to wear can be a nightmare at the best of times.
“Not only do you have to consider the dress code of where you work, or where you are going, you have to consider whether an outfit is practical for your plans and also whether they will be suitable for the Great British weather.
“Regardless of where you work and what job you do, if you don’t wear a uniform to work, picking the right outfit can be a minefield.
“You don’t want to wear something which is inappropriate or too casual, but at the same time you don’t want to appear over-dressed.
‘’Over time, it seems many women get around this by developing their own suit of uniform, whether it’s by wearing the same clothes on a loop, or keeping their work and personal wardrobes completely separate.”
The study of 2,000 women found the average woman will spend more than 12 minutes of each weekday morning choosing what to wear to work that day, and a further 10 minutes picking out clothes at weekends.
On top of that, 55 minutes of each month is spent choosing and trying on outfits for two different nights out.
But for some, these figures could be much higher with half of women worrying about what they are going to wear before getting out of bed in the morning, or even the night before.
And 49 per cent admit they lie awake planning their outfit for their next day at work.
An organised 54 per cent even lay out their clothes the night before to save the last-minute panic in the morning.
It also emerged two thirds of women often have mornings where they end up trying on more than one outfit before settling on what to wear for work that day.
But as a result of their indecision, almost one in four have ended up late for work.
Fifteen per cent have had mornings where they have left the house for work, only to turn around and go home again so they can change their outfit, while one in ten have even gone home at lunch to get changed because they weren’t happy with what they were wearing.
Of those who find choosing a work outfit stressful, 37 per cent put it down to worries about whether their outfit is appropriate for work, while 16 per cent fret about whether it suits the dress code.
Other concerns when choosing a work outfit include whether they look OK, if their outfit flatters their shape, and what the weather is going to do.
But the study found that because of these concerns, two thirds reckon it would be less stressful in the mornings if they wore a uniform to work rather than their own clothes.
And 86 per cent of women reckon they tend to just wear the same outfits on a loop, to the point where they almost end up wearing a uniform of sorts.
A spokesman for Simon Jersey added: ‘There’s no doubt that a uniform can make mornings easier – whether it’s one we’re given or one that we create based on our fashion preferences and employer’s dress code.
‘If you work in a job where you have to wear a specific uniform that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. Professional uniform companies such as Simon Jersey take our cues from high street trends and incorporate them into our designs to ensure they offer both style and function. We also offer each of our garments in a wide range of colours to ensure that they reflect both the brand and individuals’ personalities.
‘There are more than 900 garments in our catalogue, so no matter what your role or what industry you work in, we can create a uniform for you and your team.’