A mum has been shamed for admitting she's been wearing and returning $300 dresses for nine years — because she doesn't want to wear the same outfit twice.

Mum-of-two Chelsea, from New South Wales, said she's worn and returned around 15 special occasion frocks all ranging in price from $150 to over $300.

But while new statistics from Finder show she's not alone, it hasn't stopped people from branding her hobby "disgusting" and "revolting".

Chelsea said she first returned a pre-worn outfit after a big party when she was just 16 as she "had no money".


Despite admitting to feeling guilty, it didn't stop her from doing it multiple times over the years, she told news.com.au.

She said: "I try not to do it too often because I feel a bit bad about it. But (I will) if I have a special occasion like a hens' night or a wedding that I have to buy an outfit for."

Revealing she'll only wear the outfit once before she returns, Chelsea said she did it "once every couple of months".

The key to returning the garment without getting busted is keeping it completely clean when you wear it — and definitely don't wash it.

She makes sure she tucks any tags into outfit but will remove them if visible — and simply claim they broke off when she tried the garment on.

"If it's dirty I won't wash it and send it back. I'll keep it," she told Mamamia.

Her tactics have clearly worked, as she said she's never had a refund rejected, adding she didn't see too much of an issue with her habit, because the stores weren't actually "losing money".

She said: "I kind of felt bad about it, but it was still in really good nick and I kind of justified it in my head as, as long as there's no damage to it, why not?"


"As long as that item is in really good nick then they can sell it," she said. "It's kind of a win-win situation for everyone, so I don't really feel as guilty. I still feel a tiny bit guilty, but not as much as I did."

"If it's dirty I won't wash it and send it back. I'll keep it," says Chelsea. Photo / Getty Images

However, people haven't been very understanding of the cash-strapped mum's plight.

"Wearing and returning clothing after one wear is just disgusting!" a horrified social media user wrote.

Another added: "Suggesting that there's insurmountable pressure to buy new clothes for every event is a bit silly, and is just an excuse to justify bad behaviour!"

"How revolting for the person who eventually buys that dress that you've already had your sweaty body in it," another fumed.

But some agreed that it was a handy trick to use when struggling for money.

"I regularly wear dresses to more than one event," someone said.

According to research from online deals website Finder, one in eight shoppers have bought clothes with the intention of wearing then returning them — with "cash-strapped millennials" being Australia's biggest offenders.

It's such a big problem, brands like ASOS are reportedly black-listing serial returners and even snooping on their social media accounts to see if the clothes have been worn on nights out.

ASOS Australia told news.com.au that these reports weren't "strictly true" but were unable to comment further.

The fear of being caught out though doesn't seem to be enough to deter the 2.3 million Aussies who've admitted to buying clothes for a special engagement such as weddings, engagement parties, hen parties and other formal occasions.

There are even are returnaholics who admit they do it "all the time".