Women know all too well just how high inflation is.
Women’s clothing prices are a pain point for us. We can skip buying new shoes or jumping on the latest clothing trend to save money, but one closet necessity is inescapable. A wardrobe staple close to every woman’s heart–quite literally–is the bra and thanks to inflation we are paying a lot more to wear one.
Inflation hits your underwear drawer
The prices for all goods rose 8.5% from one year prior–a four-decade high–according to recent inflation data.
Prices on women’s dresses are up even higher at 10.1% as we noted in our recent inflation tracker. Underwear (and other items in that category which includes swimwear and nightwear) are up 5.7%.
That broad data point is likely lower than what many women pay when they go to Victoria’s Secret, Lululemon, Macy’s, or their favorite undergarment retailer.
According to market-research firm NPD Group, bra sales increased 36% over 2020 totaling $10.2 billion in 2021.
Prices are rising for women’s bras as producers struggle with rising raw materials, shipping, and labor costs. Concerningly, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed a number of bra makers and retailers about their price increases.
Victoria’s Secret’s Wear Everywhere bra is offered at 2 for $54, up from 2 for $52.
Lively increased prices in the fall of 2021 to $45 from $35–the first time since its founding in 2016.
The lingerie company Journelle, which makes the Natalia Underwire Bra sold at department stores and specialty boutiques since it was introduced in 2016, raised its signature bra price to $98 from $68. That prompted some retailers to stop carrying it.
What’s driving inflation
On a macro level, prices are rising fast because of stimulus spending that inflated demand for goods even as companies dealt with constant disruptions in producing raw materials and final goods as well as volatile energy prices that impact transportation, shipping, delivery, home heating, and more.
Inflation is a major headwind for the economy, and increasingly more economists predict a coming recession.
Every industry is impacted by rising prices making for a tough puzzle to solve. In the case of bras, one retailer explains the fluctuating costs of materials, labor to sew garments, and freight.
Congress passed three major spending bills during the pandemic that provided stimulus payments, generous unemployment benefits, expanded the child tax credit and disbursed it through monthly payments for six months, and other direct payments.
President Biden recently renewed the student loan pause again until the end of August. For over a year, renters enjoyed a moratorium on paying rent thanks to the Center for Disease Control. The Federal Reserve has also kept interest rates at zero until recently, to stimulate economic activity.
All of these actions led to a flood of cash in the economy and fueled prices.
Yet, President Biden still wants Congress to pass his multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better plan, which economists predict would increase inflation.
Washington has done enough. We need our national leaders to halt efforts to continue flooding the American economy with cash. Pushing ahead on new entitlement programs to subsidize spending in areas such as childcare will not slow prices, but accelerate them.
Women don’t go bra shopping each week. However, as they begin to refresh their post-pandemic wardrobes in preparation for trips, events, and even returning to the office, they may be shocked at the price tag on bras.
Many elites in government are shockingly out of touch with the impact of inflation on family budgets. Their solutions will only make life costlier for women and families.