U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows that as the first decade of the 21st century ended, annual spending on clothing in U.S. households had declined by $174 over a period of five years. As of 2010, American families were spending -- on average -- $680 per person on clothing. Clothes form an important part of your image, but you also don't want to go broke trying to look good. Setting a budget can help you have the money you need to maintain a wardrobe without making a huge dent to your wallet.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent $1,700 on clothing in 2010. With the average after-tax income of $60,712, clothing expenses equaled 2.8 percent of average annual household income.
Financial advisers may recommend that you do not exceed a certain percentage of your take-home pay for clothing. For example, Money Management International, a nonprofit consumer-counseling organization, recommends that you spend 4 percent of your monthly income on clothing, with a "comfortable or affordable" range -- to account for variables such as type of clothing required for work -- of 3 percent to 10 percent.
Where you live can impact the amount of money that you should budget for clothing. Designer clothes are more popular in city areas, causing the clothing in urban areas to be more expensive than clothing typically available in rural settings. If you live in a city, you may want to budget accordingly, with 6 percent to 7 percent of your monthly income set aside for clothing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend almost twice as much money on clothes as men spend. If you have more females in your household than males, you may want to increase your budget to 5 percent or 6 percent of your income.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2006-2010
- North Dakota State University Extension Service: How Much Should We Spend?
- Union Plus: It Pays to Do the Math in the Budget Game
- Learn Vest: Budgeting for Work Clothing: What Percent of Net Income?
- United States Department of Agriculture: Expenditures on Children by Families, 2010
- Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images