National Survey Finds Nearly Three Out of Four Americans Are Stressed About 'What to Wear' During the Holidays

Sears Offers Simple Style Tips to Dress Slimmer and Look Great This Season

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) "stress out" about what to wear to at least one holiday occasion, according to a recent national survey commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S). More surprisingly, and contrary to popular belief, the annual office party narrowly beat out New Year's Eve as the occasion most worrisome among consumers pondering the question, "What will I wear?" Another 15 percent of Americans stress about what to wear to a religious service, and the family "photo op" and New Year's Eve party tied for third place with 14 percent.

Just in time for the holiday shopping season -- Sears commissioned Harris Interactive to poll 1,045 U.S. adults about some of the stresses of the holiday season. Other key findings include:

What are YOU wearing?

When it comes to deciding what to wear to a holiday party this year, nearly a third (32 percent) of Americans buy something new, from a few key pieces to a whole new look. Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults polled (23 percent) buy just a few key pieces to mix-and-match for their upcoming holiday celebrations while another 17 percent say they plan to wear a holiday outfit that is already hanging in their closet.

A Familiar Face Across a Crowded Room

Almost half of survey respondents (43 percent) said that their biggest concern before attending a holiday get-together is whether or not they will know someone to talk with at the party. Another 39 percent of people polled hoped they didn't eat too much at the party and 36 percent said they hoped they were dressed appropriately. Nearly one in five adults polled (17 percent) said that before they get to the event, they hope they can leave quickly and return home!

Women Want To Look Good ... But Men Spend More

True to stereotypes, women are much more likely than men to buy something new for the holiday season, with 40 percent of women versus 24 percent of men. However, when it comes to buying new clothes for the holidays, men beat out women in the spending department saying that on average they are willing to shell out $116 for a new holiday outfit, compared to women saying they will spend on average just $76.

"The Divine" Versus "The Office"

Men are more likely than women to stress about what to wear to a religious event such as church or synagogue during the holiday season (18 percent of versus 12 percent). In contrast, the office party is the occasion most likely to cause fashion stress in women than men (19 percent versus 13 percent.)

Santa, I Want Clothes

Almost three quarters of U.S. adults (73 percent) survey like to give and/or receive clothes as a holiday gift. A quarter of respondents said they do not like to give or receive clothing as a gift and would prefer Santa to keep the clothes this year in lieu of something else.

Shopping on a Shoestring

Most Americans are very budget conscious when shopping for holiday clothing with 59 percent of respondents spending $100 or less on a new holiday outfit.

Pass the Eggnog, Please

A whopping 90 percent of adults polled said that they do not diet or "fast" to fit into a special outfit during the holidays, according to the Sears holiday survey. However, women are twice as likely as men to try to shed a few pounds to fit into a special holiday outfit (12 percent versus

6 percent).

"Everyone wants to look great for the holidays -- whether it's to attend a religious service, an office party or a New Year's Eve party," said Juanita Fields, Sears Fashion Director. "Sears created these easy-to-follow style suggestions to help women look their very best and still be able to indulge during the holidays."

   -- Dress in tone-on-tone color from head to toe.  This tricks the eye and
      creates one clean, solid line. Although it sounds simple, it really
      works to create a slimmer silhouette.
   -- Add sparkle for the holidays.  Pearls and rhinestones add instant
      "light" to the face. Use accessories to draw attention to your
      positive features and detract from problem areas. Cluster brooches on
      sweaters, jackets or scarves to draw attention to your face.  Or,
      consider the "bling factor" by wearing long earrings to give the
      illusion of a long neck.
   -- Undergarments are our friends.  Wearing the right bra can create
      cleavage that doesn't exist or can minimize the assets that one wants
      to hide.  Body slimmers are also great for smoothing out unwanted
      bulges especially under silky or shiny holiday fabrics.
   -- Layering the right pieces creates depth.  For example, wearing a
      silky, sexy camisole or blouse under a boucle jacket covers problem
      spots like untoned arms or a thicker midsection while highlighting the
      positives (i.e. cleavage, neck, face).
   -- Wearing dark opaque hosiery is a great way to slims and tone the
      appearance of legs.

"The most important tip for dressing slimmer is knowing what clothing and silhouettes best suit your shape," Fields continued. "When you feel confident in what you're wearing, others will only notice how terrific you look."

What's New at Sears for the Holidays

As the holidays near, Sears stores nationwide and are featuring eye-catching, affordably priced holiday apparel. Apostrophe, Sears' contemporary line of women's fashions for work and weekend, is showing lacy, flirty skirts, hip faux fur shrugs, sleek tuxedo-style pants, pretty pearl- button sweaters with broach accents and feminine shoes and accessories. All of the Sears holiday looks are priced affordably so shoppers can stock up on many mix-and-match options to wear throughout the season.

About Sears

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2003 of $41.1 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,300 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can find each of the Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands together -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the largest provider of product repair services with more than 14 million service calls made annually.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: Media Contacts, Victoria Christensen, +1-773-248-5024, or
Rochelle Mangold, +1-847-286-2081, both of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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