Thursday, March 18, 2010


Couture Allure does a great regular segment on vintage clothing, priced for today - in light of inflation.

For example, these lovely dresses - which sold for $20.00 (left) and $15.00 (right) in 1961, would sell for $144.00 and $108.00 in today's dollar.

I imagine they are beautifully constructed (though what do I know, the photo doesn't clarify that) and, if I were to find them in Holt Renfrew new, I'd be paying 4 or 5 times that amount.

Nonetheless, it's fascinating to realize that $15.00 wasn't a cheap sum for clothing back then.

What do you think?


  1. Absolutely true. It's like back in my teenager time I used to get some pocket money of my parents and then I was 15 years old, I got 50 German Marks which is equal to nowadays 25 EUR. I don't believe that any teeanger in this age could work with only 25 EUR for a whole month. Even a dress at H&M is more expensive!

  2. I've always found those price comparisons fascinating. Everything really IS relative, isn't it?

  3. I love to read about current how much clothes and other items cost in the past and what those prices represent in current dollars.
    It seems clear that women of our grandmother's and mother's generations bought fewer but more expensive and better quality clothes. They didn't have walk in closets full to the brim with stuff.

  4. Ossie Clark by Radley dresses used to be sold for a hilariously low (in today's terms) price. Weren't bad for that time either.

  5. Now I understand why I had to fight with my mum and and dad for a pair of Jordache jeans.. lol

  6. Now I understand why I had to fight with my mum and and dad for a pair of Jordache jeans.. lol

  7. It's all relative, I suppose. I see really great quality vintage stuff and marvel at how "inexpensive" it is compared to new pieces.

  8. This is fascinating. I guess I'm not surprised, either that $20.00 was a lot of money in 1961 or that it has inflated to $144.00 today, but it does bring inflation home.

  9. Fascinating!
    But everything is relative - production costs (and quality) of clothing has come down a lot. So on a basic level it takes a lot less of your income to clothe yourself and your children presentably.

    I cannot even imagine only having one or two good dresses to put on my girl. And to somehow make her "play nicely" to keep them clean for another wear. I guess that's why little girls used to wear pinafores over their dresses.

    Whereas little boys would wear shorts and shirts and be allowed to get messy.

    I can't imagine my girl in anything that tailored either!

  10. Fruchtswerg: Isn't it amazing?

    Sal: I'm surprised that we can buy more for the money now than they could then.

    Belle: I think that poor manufacturing just wasn't as available - if that makes any sense. So you were "stuck" with good quality, and that costs more.

    Wendy: What was the price?

    April: Oh those Jordache's were expensive!

    E: That's the thing. Back then, the dress would have cost 15 bucks which was a fortune in those dollars (relatively). Now we find it, if we're lucky, for 25. And we've got a dress that has stood the test of time.

    Stacey: If you see my post on the Singer 185J (after this one), it's amazing how that machine cost a living fortune by our standards.

    Hammie: I know. Imagine your kid having two nice outfits and 3 "moderately" nice ones. My kid regularly wrecks denim. Seriously. I don't know how those young ladies managed.