London, Jan 07 (Agencies): The average British shopper wastes 71 pounds in clothes that are 'too small to squeeze into', resulting in a total expenditure of 3.5 billion pounds across the country each year, according to a study.

The poll, conducted by weight management brand Shape Smart, said people bought clothes in smaller sizes 'in the hope that they can be slimmed into', the Daily Mail reported. 

Women were the main culprits when it comes to such blunders, with 27 percent admitting they regularly bought clothing in a too-small size. 

Men were found to be equally guilty, with 17 percent owning up to wasting cash on unwearable items.

One in 20 women, who do succumb to buying the right size, said they are so ashamed of their bulging waistline they will cut off the offending label. 

Around 53 percent of women start diets in the beginning of every year. 

Many diets are, however, doomed from the outset. Some 21 percent said they had started a New Year diet - but the vast majority did not expect to succeed. 

If past experience is anything to go by, 57 percent predicted they will give up by Jan 22 - while five percent lack the willpower to last 24 hours. 

Mary Strugar, a nutritionist and behavioural therapist, said: 'Many of us set unrealistic goals when it comes to weight loss, which is why so many of us give up on new healthy eating resolutions within a month.' 

Now, it seems women are equally happy to fall back on an old tried-and-tested fashion trick - just wear black.  The black colour's ability to camouflage bumps and bulges means 21 percent of women - and 10 percent of men - refuse to wear anything else, another poll found. 

Psychologist Jane McCartney said the right cut can be as important as colour.  'If you're happy in what you are wearing, you carry yourself with much more confidence,' she said.