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What's the Deal With the She Pays, He Pays?

September 19, 1996|WILLIAM KISSEL

It's common for women to pay more for products and services than men. He will pay about $1.50 to have a cotton dress shirt dry-cleaned; she might be charged $4 to $8. His $20 haircut costs her $32. Laws prohibit clothing makers from price-fixing, but they can and do suggest retail prices for their products. And men often seem to get off cheaper. Here's a sampling of gender-related price variations on fall clothing items, as well as explanations for the discrepancies from the manufacturers' representatives.

ITEM: Easy-fit indigo denim jeans

LABEL: Calvin Klein

MEN'S PRICE: $45

WOMEN'S PRICE: $52

COMMENT: None

ITEM: Original low-top lace-up sneaker

LABEL: Vans

MEN'S PRICE: $32

WOMEN'S PRICE: $30

COMMENT: "In the garment business, women are often charged more than men because the stores know women will pay the higher price and men won't. That's not true in the shoe business. The reason the men's shoe is $2 higher is because there is more material involved to make the men's shoe. It's as simple as that."

ITEM: Wide-wale corduroy jeans

LABEL: Old Navy

MEN'S PRICE: $26

WOMEN'S PRICE: $28

COMMENT: "First of all, our pricing strategy is proprietary knowledge. But it has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with a whole lot of factors, including where it's made [men's and women's clothing may come from different factories], the weight of the fabric and the variances in detail [which may be indiscernible to the untrained eye.]"

ITEM: Novelty-print flannel boxer shorts

LABEL: Joe Boxer

MEN'S PRICE: $12

WOMEN'S PRICE: $14-$16

COMMENT: "Actually, our suggested retail prices for both men's and women's boxers are lower than that, so it depends on the store and how much of a profit margin they meant to build into the product. If they are charging more for Joe Boxer Girlfriend, it's probably because the demand is there and they have the ability to charge more for it."

ITEM: Children's black denim shorts

LABEL: Guess

MEN'S PRICE: $30 (boy's)

WOMEN'S PRICE: $22 (girl's)

COMMENT: "Our boy's and girl's lines are produced by two separate licensees working in different factories, which might explain it. But also it could be due to variations in size, the weight of the fabric and the actual cost of manufacturing."

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