It may not come as a surprise that a study has found women spend almost six months of their working life deciding what to wear. Picture: Phill Magakoe

London - Hanging on to those trousers you hope to fit into again, or that dress you bought in the sale and never wore? You’re not alone.

Researchers have found that in the past year we left an astonishing 1.7 billion items of clothing unworn – that’s an average of 28 items for very man, woman and child in Britain. The total cost of these unworn clothes is £30 billion, they say.

A third of all unwanted clothes – 430,000 tons of them – end up in landfill when they could be given to charity shops or given a new lease of life, according to Wrap, the waste reduction body.

In a report, Valuing Our Clothes, it says that unworn clothes make up 30 percent of a typical wardrobe. The most common reasons are not fitting in to them any more, saving them for an occasion, or not getting round to throwing them away.

Wrap’s report studied the behaviour of nearly 8,000 adults and found that the average household spends £1,700 a year on clothes, second only to food and drink expenditure.

It said the average item of clothing gives us two years and three months of useful wear. But extending its life by nine months – for example, by doing the laundry at a lower temperature and not tumble drying so much – could save £5-billion in resources. - Daily Mail