Men are From Mars, Women are From Primark

  1. Rob
  2. June 16, 2011 11:13 am

I’ve long held the belief that for women, shopping for clothing is akin to a sport.

We had a ladies department for two years at one of the stores; to observe the difference in the way men and women shop was a real eye-opener. Generally, guys have a rough idea of what they want, and a desire to achieve their objective as quickly, and with as little hassle as possible.

Maybe it’s a deeply ingrained part of the male hunter/gatherer psyche. Man wants jeans, man hunts jeans, man finds jeans, man buys jeans. Job done!

Our female customers would spend ages making selections, and would then proceed to try a whole rail of items on. Lady would fall in love with one or more items, would look a million dollars, would have the funds with her, but….. She would prefer to then procrastinate for a few hours, a day, or a week, before returning for said items.

Here’s a fundamental difference, although it’s a pretty broad generalisation; women enjoy a drawn-out process, the comparisons, the indecision, getting friend’s opinions, a real thought process, before making buying decisions. Men (again, a generalisation), want a quick-fix, and as soon as enough boxes are ticked (style, fit, price, brand), they’re done.

I could digress here, and draw a smutty analogy about girls enjoying a longer build-up before reaching satisfaction, but I won’t. OK, I just did.

I believe that part of the reason for the difference in habits explains why men tend to be more loyal to brands, and tend to maintain that loyalty for long periods.

Let me explain; our lady shopper is really happy to spend ages sifting through styles, brands, shops and towns to find items she is really satisfied with. Ladies have developed a brilliant knack of combining designer brands with cheap, fast fashion items. Prada with Primark, Hermes with H&M, Missoni with Matalan, you get the idea.

Our more impatient male, on the other hand, has historically used the brand as a reassurance that his selections are OK. A lot of the work’s done for him using this subliminal process.  OK, I need a cardigan…. This is an Armani cardigan, therefore it satisfies my needs.

Although the decision-making process for the fairer sex is more complex, and longer (as you’ll know if you ever go shopping together), their decisions are actually smarter. They end up with something they’re really chuffed with, regardless of whether it’s cost £5 or £500.  There’s probably even more satisfaction from the £5 purchase.

The girls are smart, and we need to learn from them. I’m not suggesting we all spend 3 days choosing our next pair of socks; we merely need to broaden our horizons, and shop smarter.  Nothing beats the buzz of a luxury purchase, but unless we’ve had a bit of luck with the weekly pink ticket, or we’re in receipt of a tax-payer funded banker’s bonus, it makes sense to “mix and match” like the girlies.

Uniqlo, H&M and Primark all have some fabulous pieces, if you’re prepared to do the legwork. I’m not suggesting for a moment that we abandon our penchant for designer brands; it’s just that, if we get in touch with our feminine side, we can look just as good, buy more often and save a fortune.

Below is a little test – which do you think is the designer garment? Click the images to discover!!
No prizes – just a bit of fun.

This one…..

Or This….?

Well done if you got it right! I think we’ve made a valid point here though…. blokes don’t need to always have the label to get the look. Although saying that, we at are partial to a bit of Smedley!

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Men are From Mars, Women are From Primark, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings


  1. Tom says:
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Interesting post, I am not stalking the site by the way.

    From spending hours shopping with my partner, me waiting outside of a number of stores (Primark and Next) I have ended up picking up her traits in some respect.

    When we first met I was a huge label junkie, still Am in some parts, but over the course of several years of being and living together (now married) I will now not turn to a designer to get an item of clothing. I will spend hours thinking about an item of clothing and will split it down into items rather than just going out for the sake of spending money on some of my favourite brands.

    I will go in a shop try on, then think what it might go with and how it looks/fits, if my partner is with me the decision is abit quicker by just looking at her reaction. I still have the know roughly what I want and go in with that in mind, but I am bit more prone to humming and haarring over items that I did before.

    I do shop more with GAP and similar companies for basics as the item they produce for that do have a good quality compared to more expensive items that are for the same purpose.

    I think you just learn or grow older and know what you really want to start with and narrow down your choice, plus the internet has helped with choosing and researching your items and of course finding the best price.

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    • dave says:
      Posted February 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I think guys generally go one way or the other in their teens – they either get into designer brands or they don’t. For those that do, I think the awareness and desire stays in the blood forever. However, as you rightly say, as you get older (and wiser), your choices are more careful and considered, unless of course you have unlimited funds with which to indulge yourself. Immersed as I was for the best part of two decades in designer brands, I never thought “outside the box”. On my annual pilgrimage to Bluewater with the missus, I was always a bit unnerved wandering through the likes of Zara, where loads of items were retailing for less than the wholesale prices I was paying. This was a bit scary for a retailer who was selling Armani shirts for up to £150. Of course, quality plays a big part, up to a point, but the switched on male shopper is, I think, beginning to adopt the clever habits that the ladies have had for years. Mix and match – it’s the way forward!

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      • Tom says:
        Posted February 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I think the other reason is the amount of choice that is available to the different sexes, which I feel applies more so now than before.

        Men are always second where the highstreet shops are concerned and the local shopping for most men is dire. If you live in a smallish town or even a large town that has a reputation for cheaper clothing you will not get the brands that you wish for.

        I was having this discussion with my other half the other day, where I saw someone where a Helly Hanson jacket. This led me to remember when I was at college and buying from this brand at store called AV (which I think was part of First Sport who was owned by Blacks) this store came to the front in our town as it had the labels (Helly Hanson, Lacoste, Sonneti, Firetrap and more) which was like a big wow to a teenager of 16. There was another store for men which had the higher end stuff (Burberry, Thomas Burberry Lacoste, Diesel etc – Where I did end up working for a period of time)

        These stores where the only ones that mattered, we had Debenhams at the time but they were nothing in my mind to these 2 stores. They had the items I wanted to spend my cash on with out going too far to the likes of Lakeside which was a wow moment and then came Bluewater – with Braintree Shopping Village close by also. But then the stores locally started to close for what ever reason, a large local chain ended up closing over night in our town.

        Now there is just one real proper mens store, we have GAP and H&M but the ladies in the town have a huge choice, Monsoon, Next, Primark, DP, Oasis etc. There are mens sections in some of the stores but it must be due to the town we are in where we get the average brands Debenhams being a example where we have none of the big brands that other chains have.

        Not the choice or more to the point the availability that the ladies have. Again this could be that we (men) want a quick fix with knowing what we want, more are shopping in Primark etc as it does make sense with the basics, but then as I say to my other half we become a throw away socity and won’t care about the clothing. Then the quality could suffer along with everyone being the same mold, highstreet stores doing similar looking garments that look like the designer from afar (TopShop Polo’s and Penguin Earl’s is a example, I don’t own any Earl’s now for this reason) but basics is fine, plain T’s etc.

        So aslong as we can have the quality that we expect from designers to still be there, then there is no problem in mixing a pair of Nudie or PRPS jeans with a GAP long sleeve T.

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