The other day, I was chatting with a few other women about jeans shopping, and one woman mentioned that she always bought men's jeans because they were significantly cheaper. Naturally, that devolved into a discussion of how women's clothes are much more expensive than men's. In light of my recent blog comparing the same outfit purchased at several different stores, I thought it might be interesting to find an outfit that was reasonably comparable between men and women and compare the price when purchasing that outfit at three different stores: Kohls, JC Penney, and Nordstrom.
Let's start with a super-easy outfit: Levi jeans, a plain crewneck T-shirt (house brand, if available), a v-neck sweater, and white Adidas sneakers. I'll compare the men's and women's pieces side-by-side. The more expensive of the two pieces is bolded.
At Kohls, I chose these items:
Levis 550 men's relaxed fit jeans: $60
Men's Apt. 9 solid tee: $10
Croft and Barrow Men's classic fit 12gg v-neck sweater: $27
Adidas men's NEO Baseline sneakers: $60
Kohls Women's Grand Total: $144
****Kohls Men's Grand Total: $157****
At JC Penney, I found these pieces:
Levis 550 men's relaxed fit jeans: $60
Arizona men's basic crewneck T-shirt: $6
St. John's Bay men's long-sleeve fine gauge sweater: $20
Adidas men's NEO Advantage Clean VS athletic shoes: $55
JC Penney Women's Grand Total: $130
****JC Penney Men's Grand Total: $141****
At Nordstrom, this was what I found:
Levi men's red tab 501 straight leg jeans: $47
James Perse men's crewneck jersey t-shirt: $30
Cutter & Buck men's "Broadview" cotton v-neck sweater: $78
Adidas men's Stan Smith sneaker: $85
****Nordstrom Women's Grand Total: $251****
Nordstrom Men's Grand Total: $240
So let's summarize: women's jeans were more expensive at Nordstrom (mainly because they don't even carry the more "basic" styles), but men's were significantly more at both Kohls and JC Penney. For the remaining items (tee, sweater, and sneakers), however, the men's version was less expensive at Kohls and JC Penney (the sneakers were the same price at JC Penney) but more expensive at Nordstrom. The women's outfit was cheaper overall at Kohls and JC Penney, but slightly more expensive at Nordstrom. But considering that there were four items purchased and the total ranged from $130 to $251, the price difference between the men's and women's outfit only ranged from $11-$13, at most 10% of the total price. I'd call that pretty insignificant, wouldn't you?
Let's try one more quick comparison, shall we? Let's look at the least and the most expensive men's and women's version of non-distressed Levi jeans and plain crewneck tees in each store.
At Kohls, the cheapest full-length Levi brand jeans are 505 straight jeans, priced at $33, and the most expensive are 535 super skinny jean leggings for $50. For men, the cheapest are 501 original fit jeans, for $18, and the most expensive are 508 regular taper fit jeans for $70. So men can get both cheaper and more expensive jeans.
At JC Penney, the cheapest women's Levis are 535 super skinny jeans for $22 and the most expensive are slimming skinny jeans for $55. For men, prices range from $35 for 511 slimline 8 jeans to 513 slim fits for $70. Women's jeans in general are cheaper here.
And at Nordstrom, women's jeans run from "Mile High" high rise skinny jeans for $90 to the vintage flare jeans listed above for $98. Men's jeans range from 513 slim straight leg jeans for $40 to 511 slim fit jeans for $148. Men's prices are a much wider range than women's here.
Moving onto the crewneck tees, at Kohls, a women's white crewneck tee ranged from $9 for Sonoma Goods for Life crewneck boyfriend tee to a tail coral glam Bridget crewneck tennis to for $63. For men, prices ranged from $7 for the excelled slim-fit raw edge tee to $30 for a New Balance Accelerate tee. Men's are slightly cheaper here.
At JC Penney. women's prices ranged from $6 for a Liz Claiborne short-sleeve fitted knit t-shirt to $18 for a Stylus short-sleeve pocket T-shirt, while men's ranged from $6 for an Arizona crewneck jersey t-shirt to a Dickies Dri-Release pocket tee for $34 (although it's on sale for buy one, get one 50% off, so the true price, assuming you buy 2, is only $26). So the low end is similar, but there are more pricy options for men (mainly because of high-performance athletic options).
And at Nordstrom, women's prices ranged from $12 for the Topshop pocket tee to $210 for the Helmut Lang cotton and cashmere tee. Men's ranged from $10 for the Topman slim-fit crewneck t-shirt to the Orlebar Brown "Glover" cotton and linen t-shirt for $110. Similar on the low end, but women have more high-end options here.
Again, I think the bottom line is that you can find a wide range of price options for both genders, but a careful shopper can find a good deal but checking out a variety of stores and finding the best price for the style you're looking for.