May 29, 2008

NOTHING COSTS MORE... (via The Mother Judd):

Dress for Less and Less (ERIC WILSON, 5/29/08, NY Times)

SINCE 1998, the price of a “Speedy” handbag — the entry-level style at Louis Vuitton — has more than doubled, to $685, indicative of a precipitous price increase throughout the luxury goods market. The price of Joe Boxer’s “licky face” underwear, meanwhile, has dropped by nearly half, to $8.99, representing just as seismic a shift at the other end of the fashion continuum, where the majority of American consumers do their shopping.

As luxury fashion has become more expensive, mainstream apparel has become markedly less so. Today, shoppers pay the same price for a basic Brooks Brothers men’s suit, $598, as they did in 1998. The suggested retail price of a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans, $46, is about $4 less than it was a decade ago. A three-pack of Calvin Klein men’s briefs costs $21.50, only $3.50 more than in 1998. Which is the better buy?

Factoring for inflation, each of these examples is actually less expensive today. In current dollars, the 1998 suit would cost $788, the jeans would be $66 and the underwear would be nearly $24. As consumers adjust to soaring prices for gasoline, food, education and medical care, just about the only thing that seems a bargain today is clothes — mainstream clothes, anyway.

Do we even want to know what licky face underwear is?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 29, 2008 7:46 AM

Where does Levi's 501 cost $46? The most I have paid in the last 10 years for one of those is $30.

Posted by: sam at May 29, 2008 10:01 AM

The interest level sort of depends on who is going to be wearing the licky face underwear.

Posted by: Brandon at May 29, 2008 10:35 AM

Responding to your question: No, no you don't. It's bad enough that they got advertising space in the guy's locker room in my high school.

Posted by: Jay at May 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Factor in that you can buy the same things on Ebay for half of retail or less and the point is even more profound.

Posted by: Scott at May 29, 2008 12:29 PM

I don't know if I would buy underwear on eBay.

Posted by: Bryan at May 29, 2008 1:19 PM

It's like the Instapundit post about food costs and Memorial Day cookouts. The prices quoted included well over $4 per pound for hot dogs. I pay less than that for Hebrew National brand by stocking up when they get discounted. Who in their right mind pays over $4 per pound for hot dogs?

Posted by: Patrick H at May 29, 2008 1:30 PM

I got my Levi's--with tags still on--for $2.75 at the local thrift store.

Posted by: oj at May 29, 2008 1:51 PM

Blue people.

Posted by: oj at May 29, 2008 2:31 PM

Apparently Blue People have never heard of places like Kohl's: Dockers, which is a sister brand of Levi's, can be had at that store for as low as $20 a pair. As for Levi's, my neighborhood WalMart had pairs of those for $19.99 apiece as recently as last week.

Posted by: Brad S at May 29, 2008 3:46 PM

Ho-hum. This is like the folks at the marina bitching about how much it costs to gas up their cabin cruisers.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 30, 2008 6:14 AM

@ Brian

I've bought sealed in the package underwear on ebay for 30% of store cost. I guess I have trouble paying $25 for a package of underwear.

Posted by: Scott at May 30, 2008 8:58 AM