Why Do Men Stop Buying Clothes After 50?

Photo (cc) by annieb

Financial newsletter writer Harry Dent noticed a mystery: Statistics show that our clothes shopping peaks around age 50 and then drops off.

It’s true for all kinds of clothes, and for both men and women, though it happens much faster for men. NPR’s “Here and Now” took a look at the data and tried to come up with theories about why it happens, focusing particularly on the guys.

“In the early 50s, [men] are just shirt-mad, and then it just stops. The line plummets,” said guest Robert Krulwich, a Radiolab host who has been puzzling over the figures for months.

The same is true for men’s coats, jackets, shoes, pants — even underwear. The trends are similar for women in their early 50s, but what happens to men takes more than twice as long to happen to women.

Krulwich had several theories about why it happens to men so quickly:

I first thought this has to do with body shape. … When men turn to their mid-40s, early 50s, you can really change. You can grow outward, so maybe that’s a discouraging event.

So maybe men stop shopping because they don’t like the way they look. Or “maybe you just fall in love with what you have,” says Krulwich, who buys the same shirt over and over.

There’s also the wife-won’t-do-it theory. “It may be simply spousal. The woman says. ‘I’m tired of this, your turn.’ And the men, dumbfounded, never shop,” he says.

In general, maybe the reason for the decline is simply money. “Your purchasing power goes down, you just don’t have that much more money to spend,” host Meghna Chakrabarti suggests.

That theory seems the most plausible when you look at all of Dent’s other data graphs. The same drop-off occurs for many other things, including cellphone service, cigarettes, gasoline, computers and software.

Why do you think men stop buying clothes? Let us know on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs

Here’s how to lower your health care costs without skimping on care.

12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier
12 Tech Gadgets That Make Daily Life Easier

These products on Amazon will ease worries and simplify your routine.

5 Secrets to Keeping Your Brain Sharp as You Age
5 Secrets to Keeping Your Brain Sharp as You Age

Forget young at heart — science says these tricks will keep you young in mind.

4 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less
4 Streaming TV Services That Cost $20 a Month — or Less

Here’s how to ditch cable and satellite TV — and save a bundle — without giving up your favorite shows.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.