Does it cost more to be a woman than it does a man ?

According to the Business of Fashion (BoF), when comparing prices of similar items in 2016 as listed in e-commerce stores of Saint Laurent, Valentino, Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, Balmain and Alexander Wang, it was found that male and female versions of styles had different prices. In most cases, women’s clothes were more expensive than that of men. In honour of International Women’s Day, Moneybags writer Alina Hardcastle determines whether or not this is the case.

Clothing price comparison

Unlike international buyers, a majority of South Africans could only dream of purchasing sought after designer labels. Instead, we take a look at more affordable clothing stores such as MRP and H&M clothing. The costs of their basic items were as follows:


Prices accurate on 8 March 2017.

Based on the table above, it’s evident that men’s clothing items are more expensive than females’. This is as one would expect, as it requires more fabric in general to produce men’s clothing than what it would for women’s everyday clothing items.

Toiletry price comparison

We also take a look at toiletries purchased on a monthly basis as men and women’s facial and body cleansing regimes differ.


Prices accurate on 8 March 2017.

Surprisingly, the above table indicates that men’s hygiene and toiletry products are more expensive regardless of the fact that women have to fork out additional costs on a monthly basis for sanitary wear. However, some women would include the cost of make-up and other ‘feminine’ products that most men would not use. As such, the cost of maintaining your appearance as a women could be higher, as societal expectations and stereotypes require women to look a certain way, such as always having make-up on, wearing sometime uncomfortable and even inappropriate foot attire such as high heels, and being seen in the ‘right’ type of clothing.

These expectations are currently being challenged in the United Kingdom, where the government has launched an enquiry into discriminatory dress requirements.


So, is it really more expensive to be a woman? According to table above, no. But one needs to keep in mind that the above comparisons only look at the basics of men and women’s wardrobe and hygiene needs.