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Busting the myth...

  • Women often complain that their clothing is more expensive than men's
  • People share their personal experiences when shopping for clothes
  • Fashion industry experts explain how prices might be determined 

Dubai: Have you ever noticed pricing differences between menswear and women’s wear? Women often complain of having to pay more for similar clothing items than a man but is that just a myth?

Gulf News spoke to people about their personal observations and also looked at the pricing discrepancies between clothing items from various retail stores - both high street and luxury fashion.

Abhilash Polassery, 35, business owner based in Dubai

“I usually get exposed to women’s clothing prices when I go shopping with my wife. I haven’t observed a difference between the prices between the genders. I’m of the opinion that women’s clothing is usually more or less the same price as men’s clothing. For example, a white men’s shirt from a high street store is usually the same price as a woman’s white shirt from the same store. I personally haven’t had a woman complain to me about clothing prices either.”

I personally haven’t had a woman complain to me about clothing prices.

- Abhilash Polassery

Natalie Verghese, 22, food blogger based in Dubai

“I’ve personally noticed the difference when it comes to shoes, where a man’s sneaker will be at least 10 per cent less than a woman’s or even when it comes to basic T-shirts in a general retail store. I think it’s predominantly because of the fact that stores or brands think that women shop more than men, so naturally they choose to make more money through the gender that demands more. I personally don’t think this difference in price is fair considering that the quality of men’s clothes is also better than women’s - yet they pay less. We, women also indulge in seasonal collections a lot more than men so in theory, brands would still make up their cost of production if they reasonably price items for females.”

I personally don’t think this difference in price is fair considering that the quality of men’s clothes is also better than women’s - yet they pay less.

- Natalie Verghese

Ahlam Hashim, 22, Sharjah resident

“I usually observe the prices when shopping for my father or fiancé. I haven’t really noticed a major difference in prices. I think that the prices for both men and women garments are very similar, dependent on the quality, material and brand. However, I believe that the women consumer base is more ‘profitable’ because of the wide variety of clothing products directed to women. Also, due to the frequency that women shop, which is inspired by the continuously changing fashion trends.”

The women consumer base is more ‘profitable’ because of the wide variety of clothing products directed to women.

- Ahlam Hashim

Maria Aga, 25, researcher based in Dubai

“Men’s clothing items are usually cheaper I’ve noticed. Shopping for my father and brother I’ve especially observed the variation. I think there’s a difference because women’s clothes are much more stylistically complicated. They sometimes have embroidery and accessories attached to pieces catered to women. Whereas, men’s items are more basic.”

I think there’s a difference because women’s clothes are much more stylistically complicated.

- Maria Aga

Comparisons

Here are prices of some similar items that were compared from both the menswear and women’s wear sections in different stores in the UAE.

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A basic crew neck T-shirt at a highstreet clothing brand costed Dh30 for men and Dh20 for women. The women’s T-shirt was on sale whereas the men’s item was full price.

A sweater from also a highstreet but slightly higher priced store cost Dh199 for men whereas, there was a similar option for women for Dh59. A men’s hoodie cost Dh79 and women had to pay Dh59 for a comparable option.

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In terms of formal wear, a high street brand offered a formal shirt for Dh149 to men and a similar option for women that was priced at Dh59.

Image for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied.

Footwear seemed to have a slightly different pattern when it comes to pricing. A luxury brand offered similar pairs of sneakers to men and women for, Dh938 and Dh1,032, respectively.

Expert comment

The prices of the clothes depend on the design, the material used and the demand for the product, according to Parisa Yaaseen, a fashion designer based in Dubai.

“The myth of women’s wear being more expensive may be true because those items maybe high in demand but I don’t think the products are marked up just because they are catered to women,” said Yaaseen.

The pattern, fabrics and accessories used and the production cost all affect the price. There are menswear with comparatively higher price sometimes because of the production value. Pricing may vary based on the simple market rule of supply and demand and not gender. Some items that are in high demand by men have higher prices.

The myth of women’s wear being more expensive may be true because those items maybe high in demand but I don’t think the products are marked up just because they are catered to women.

- Parisa Yaaseen

Commenting on consumer patterns, she said: “I can’t really tell if women shop more than men but generally women tend to go for items that are more complicated, which makes it costlier to produce. Whereas, men mostly go for simpler items. However, this does not mean that all brands are fair like that, there might be some brands that are actually setting their prices biased on gender.”

Spending patterns between genders

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According to a British commerce website, Ecommerce Platforms, male shoppers go for the first item that seems workable. However, women tend to plan their purchases more, based on future needs.

However, women are more likely to buy an item if it’s on sale and retailers target the group with such strategies.