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Shop till you drop: Top 50 fashion-spending cities

Julie Sherrier

sm-mint_fashionable.pngA survey about clothes shopping got my attention this morning — particularly the statistics on how much people around the country spend every month on clothes and accessories.

On average, according to the survey, people spend between 15 percent and 23 percent of their discretionary spending on the stuff we wear. Not surprisingly, Manhattan ranked No. 1, with folks there doling out 21 percent or $362 a month on fashion. San Francisco is No. 2, and Dallas (which is no surprise to us Texans) came in at No. 3.

In my lovely, record-breaking-hot and now-wildfire-burning hometown of Austin, we rank No. 19 on the top 50 list, spending around $207 a month on apparel. What we spend it on is another question, as GQ magazine named us as one of America’s worst-dressed cities (present company excluded, of course).

The national average (thanks to the miserly shopping habits of shoppers in Tucson, Salt Lake, Madison and Milwaukee, who balance out the Barneys and Burberrys addicts in the top 10) is $161 a month, which is comprised of 1.9 clothes-shopping transactions equaling about $84 each.

The average doesn’t seem that high to me, considering my own retail therapy habits. Time was, however, Austin was not such a hotspot for shopping. In fact, it was pretty dismal. Locals would go to Houston or Dallas to get their gear — where the word “galleria” inspired images of designer duds, diamonds and dollar signs. But over the past 15 years, as Austin’s population changed from nonmaterialistic, free-spirited musicians to more bi-coastal transplants, big-name stores such as Nordstrom’s, Anthropologie, Barneys, Free People, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus have all found their way here and into our wallets.

And Tiffany’s. Having hailed from Manhattan myself, the thought of a Tiffany’s in Austin really shocked me when one opened several years ago. Very few of my friends had ever had the delight of passing through those heavy brass-and-glass doors to gaze upon some of the most expensive baubles they had ever seen. I grabbed a fashion-forward friend and went just to pass through those holy doors. And I said to the store guard that it was truly a novelty to see Tiffany’s in Austin.

But I digress. Check out Mint’s cool graphic representation of our nation’s shopping habits and see where your state falls on the list. Do your spending habits match up?

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