Women FINALLY find their fashion feet and ideal clothes shop aged 57 (having spent over 40 years searching)
Women in their fifties are most confident shoppers – and return fewest items
Over-50s enjoy one shopping trip a month and spend 45.60 each time
18:04 GMT, 2 October 2012
If you've ever become exasperated trawling the high street on a Saturday, trying (in vain) to find a dress that accentuates all your good bits and conceals all your worst, don't sweat.
It takes the average woman an exhausting 40 years to finally find her fashion feet and 'perfect clothes shop', according to new research.
American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, left, aged 62, looks fabulous in whatever she wears, as does actress Dame Helen Mirren, right, aged 67.
Women don't get the hang of clothes shopping until they reach the grand old age of 57, and it is only then that we begin to feel confident in the clothes we buy.
At that age women are also least likely to return clothes they have invested in, try on items in store before purchasing or need compliments in order to feel good about what they are wearing.
The study also found the average 57-year-old enjoys retail therapy once a month, with 43 per cent describing their shopping trip as 'well thought out'.
Niki Blackmore, spokeswoman for www.myhigh.st which conducted the study of 2,000 women, said: 'This report is a clear indication that it takes a considerable amount of time before women really start to know what they are looking for when going clothes shopping.'
Actresses Meryl Streep, 63, left, and Dame Judi Dench, 77, right, have perfected their sartorial sensibilities.
She added that the previous forty or so years are spent working out what clothes are the right fit, deciding whether to shop online or in store, and taking advice from family and friends.
She added: 'But once in their mid-fifties, ladies start making their own minds up about clothing, and become cleverer at selecting the right shapes and sizes.
'And with age comes confidence, our older respondents have come to accept their body shapes, and able to shop and dress with self-assurance.'
AT THE AGE OF 57, WOMEN….
Finally 'get the hang of' clothes shopping.
At last feel confident in their clothes.
Find their 'perfect clothes shop'.
Are less likely than ever to return clothes.
Spend, on average, 46.50 once a month on clothes.
Buy the majority of their clothes in just two or three shops.
Know what suits them and 'feel nice' in what they buy.
Rarely return items to shops.
Have only four unworn items in their wardrobe.
Consider themselves great bargain hunters.
Understand how to barter.
The survey also revealed nine out of ten women in their mid-fifties believe they get good value for money every time they shop, and one quarter think nothing of discussing the possibility of a price reduction with staff.
Around eight out of ten in this age group consider themselves to be great bargain hunters, able to seek out the best buys wherever they go.
And six in ten will always conduct research online before considering buying anything, with a quarter purchasing the majority of their clothes from websites.
Eight in ten ladies think they know what suits them when it comes to buying clothes, and consequently, 97 per cent usually feel nice in what they have bought.
Interestingly, by the age of 57 women buy the majority of their wardrobes in just two or three shops, after being familiar with the sizing and product offering.
Women are modest with their spending habits, splashing out just 45.63 during their once-a-month shopping trip.
And once items are bought, they are rarely returned to the shop – with ladies estimating they might take back just one or two outfits out of every 20 bought.
Women aged 57 are also more likely to have worn most of the items in their wardrobe – with the average person claiming to have just four unworn items.
Miss Blackmore added: 'Women aged 57 might not spend an awful lot of money on clothes, but they do put a lot of thought into what they are buying and there are far less frivolous purchases by this age.
'This survey shows shopping for clothes is all about knowledge – the ability to recognise where to shop, what to shop for, and what looks good.
'It's also having that confidence to ask for a reduction if the price isn't right, hunt out bargains rather than settle for the first thing you see and shop around.
'All these concepts are perhaps why more and more ladies of a certain age are going online to seek out fashion items, either to research or buy them.
'The great news is that here we have a generation of women who are sassy, savvy and sensible when it comes to clothes shopping.'