Advertisement
Economic Forecasts

Fashionistas Take a Hit in the Wallet

After declining for decades, clothing prices are headed higher.

Like countless teens, Olivia Smith of Bethesda, Md., spends the lion's share of her allowance on clothing. She may have to do some extra chores next year, as higher production costs threaten to make fashion statements more expensive.

For decades, apparel has claimed an ever-smaller share of our pocketbooks relative to other expenses. For the ten-year period through 2009, consumer prices overall rose 29%, but apparel prices declined 8.6%. "That will change in 2011," says retail analyst Eric Beder, of Brean Murray Carret & Co.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Manufacturers are getting squeezed by higher cotton prices, increased transportation costs and upward pressure on wages in China, where so much of what we wear is made. Retailers are expecting to pay more for merchandise, and it won't be long before some of those hikes are passed along to customers, says Beder. "The age of deflation for apparel is done, and it's not going to come back anytime soon."

Markups are likely to remain in the single digits, percentage-wise -- $1 more for a $20 graphic T-shirt, for example. You may not even notice the increase, with pricing changes masked by a change in seasons or the launch of a new trend -- a shift from clean denim to distressed denim, for example.

Retailers selling low-cost basics, from underwear to khakis, will be least able to pass on increases. Instead, shoppers should be on the lookout for a decline in quality.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You
Tax Breaks

What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You

President Trump issued an executive order to suspend the collection of Social Security payroll taxes. How much could it save you?
August 13, 2020
8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas
retirement

8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas

From the mountains to the beaches, North Carolina and South Carolina offer retirees plenty of incentives.
August 14, 2020
7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement
happy retirement

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

If you want a long and fulfilling retirement, you need more than money. Here are the most valuable retirement assets to have (besides money), and how …
August 3, 2020

Recommended

Vote by Mail: A State-by-State Guide to Absentee Ballot Voting
Politics

Vote by Mail: A State-by-State Guide to Absentee Ballot Voting

With health authorities recommending people continue to social distance, the idea of voting by mail is becoming an increasingly hot topic.
August 4, 2020
Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 presidential election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden has said …
July 22, 2020
Answers to PPP Loan FAQs (Now That There's Fresh Funding for the Loans)
small business loans

Answers to PPP Loan FAQs (Now That There's Fresh Funding for the Loans)

Small business owners are getting another crack at Paycheck Protection Program loans. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the lo…
July 21, 2020
Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus
Travel

Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

Insurance may not cover canceled vacations, but airlines and hotels may be flexible.
June 11, 2020