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Chicago (January 14, 2011) – Whether they’re looking for a business suit or a little black dress for a night on the town, women enjoy clothes shopping. In fact, according to latest research from Mintel, 87% of women have gone clothes shopping for themselves in the past year and 84% have made a purchase. While shoppers search the sales rack and examine the garment tags, there’s one phrase in particular they don’t want to see: dry clean only.

Indeed, three out of four female clothes shoppers (75%) say they avoid items that require a trip to the cleaners. Meanwhile, 59% are loathe to purchase clothing that has to be hand washed separately – and women aged 65 and up are even more likely to pass on fashions with tags that bear the hand wash separately mandate, with 68% reporting as much.

“Dry clean only or hand wash separately account for one more errand or household chore that busy women simply don’t have time for,”says Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “When you consider the demands of work, family obligations, children and a social life – some women may just find it easier and less time-consuming to purchase an item that doesn’t have specific cleaning instructions. “

What women want

So, if women are turned off by dry clean only or hand wash separate garments, what clothing attributes constitute the perfect fit? It seems 84% of female clothes shoppers are seeking out easy to mix and match separates, while 78% are drawn to classic styles that don’t go out of style and 71% are looking for items that don’t have to be ironed.

“From what we’ve seen, most women want to look great without much fuss. They’re looking for clothing that’s easy to accessorize and layer, but can also transition seamlessly from work to an evening out,”Kat Fay notes. ” add in larger dressing rooms and faster checkout for long lines and you could have some very happy shoppers. “