Very cool info. Another angle on the elevated spending on clothes of the white collar woman - and something I felt when I first started working on Wall Street - is that dressing "appropriately" is part of how you are perceived by your employer and clients and can effect your career opportunities. Since many of these jobs blend social and work - a client outing, a customer dinner, going to some professional sporting event with your work "team," etc. - you needed (and your spouse needed) an appropriate wardrobe not necessarily becomes you wanted to "keep up with the Jones," but because you didn't want to hurt your career chances by not dressing consistent with others. That's what drove me. I knew next to nothing about suits, ties, dress shoes etc., when I started working in finance, but quickly realized I needed to learn to be taken more seriously. In my mind, it wasn't so much that dressing appropriately was going to get me ahead, but not dressing appropriately was definitely going to hurt my chances. I've never hidden my modest background at work / with clients / with potential employers (I also don't lead with it as a badge of honor as that, IMHO, can be obnoxious), but dressing (especially when I started in the '80s) consistent with Wall Street's norms signaled you were part of the community, understood its culture and rules which, consciously and subconsciously, led others to be more comfortable with you and see you as another "professional." We can discuss if this is fair or not, but that is a different discussion from if it is. And since it is, for me, the decision was easy - dress like others as I saw nothing wrong with that and wanted to build a long-lasting career. Away from that, it's funny how things like hemline height seemed so important to so many - I assume that is part of what is implied by the "do not make much of an attempt to keep up with seasonal trends beyond altering their existing clothes to keep up with The Mode -" whereas, today, while there are things that are in or out of fashion, it seems that the, what was, "great importance" of skirt lengths being in or out of fashion is all but dead.