Labor Day, a traditional fashion demarcation point, is at hand. Sweaters reappear, students return to classrooms and more traditional office wear replaces casual summer looks.
Clothing sales tend to tick up in the fall, reaching a spending crescendo at the holiday season.
That climax may be relatively muted this year, according to a new Harris Poll survey of American fashion attitudes and plans, in which more than 7 in 10 (72%) Americans who purchase fashion items for themselves said that they have spent less on clothing over the past year. Similarly, two-thirds of fashion shoppers (67%) identified price as a factor when shopping for clothes—the top element they consider, more than quality (62%) and style (55%), the next two most popular answers. And 9 in 10 Americans set a budget before they go shopping. An astounding 4 in 10 shoppers identified fashion spending as a source of stress.
This practical streak far outweighs considerations such as where apparel is manufactured (22%), brands’ sustainability efforts (17%), stand on social issues (15%) or employment standards (13%). Socially conscious shopping, in other words, remains the province of a relatively small group.