How Much Should Your Clothes Cost?
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,581,977 (+0.10%)       Melbourne $970,512 (+0.23%)       Brisbane $885,023 (+0.03%)       Adelaide $813,016 (+0.20%)       Perth $760,003 (-0.11%)       Hobart $733,438 (-1.28%)       Darwin $643,022 (-0.79%)       Canberra $970,902 (+1.87%)       National $1,000,350 (+0.23%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $721,725 (+0.37%)       Melbourne $488,237 (-0.76%)       Brisbane $495,283 (+1.37%)       Adelaide $404,022 (-2.77%)       Perth $405,420 (-0.69%)       Hobart $498,278 (-1.60%)       Darwin $339,700 (-0.58%)       Canberra $480,910 (-0.04%)       National $502,695 (-0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,626 (-230)       Melbourne 15,220 (+56)       Brisbane 8,417 (-24)       Adelaide 2,720 (-9)       Perth 6,897 (+56)       Hobart 1,234 (+5)       Darwin 281 (+5)       Canberra 1,079 (-30)       National 46,474 (-171)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,563 (-253)       Melbourne 8,007 (-12)       Brisbane 1,824 (-34)       Adelaide 493 (-16)       Perth 1,902 (-1)       Hobart 176 (+4)       Darwin 388 (-7)       Canberra 858 (+2)       National 22,211 (-317)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $775 (-$5)       Melbourne $570 ($0)       Brisbane $600 ($0)       Adelaide $580 (+$10)       Perth $625 (-$5)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $690 (-$10)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $642 (-$2)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 ($0)       Melbourne $550 ($0)       Brisbane $625 ($0)       Adelaide $460 (+$10)       Perth $580 (+$5)       Hobart $460 (+$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $576 (+$2)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,654 (+231)       Melbourne 5,764 (+128)       Brisbane 4,271 (-9)       Adelaide 1,259 (+101)       Perth 1,944 (+50)       Hobart 337 (-36)       Darwin 168 (+19)       Canberra 647 (+18)       National 20,044 (+502)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,121 (+505)       Melbourne 6,022 (+34)       Brisbane 2,066 (+18)       Adelaide 366 (+1)       Perth 600 (-5)       Hobart 138 (-17)       Darwin 306 (+12)       Canberra 736 (+20)       National 19,355 (+568)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.55% (↓)       Melbourne 3.05% (↓)       Brisbane 3.53% (↓)     Adelaide 3.71% (↑)        Perth 4.28% (↓)     Hobart 3.90% (↑)        Darwin 5.58% (↓)       Canberra 3.64% (↓)       National 3.34% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.26% (↓)     Melbourne 5.86% (↑)        Brisbane 6.56% (↓)     Adelaide 5.92% (↑)      Perth 7.44% (↑)      Hobart 4.80% (↑)      Darwin 8.42% (↑)        Canberra 6.06% (↓)     National 5.96% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)      National 0.9% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 28.0 (↑)      Melbourne 29.2 (↑)        Brisbane 30.6 (↓)       Adelaide 23.8 (↓)     Perth 34.2 (↑)      Hobart 29.4 (↑)      Darwin 39.9 (↑)      Canberra 28.2 (↑)      National 30.4 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 29.4 (↑)      Melbourne 29.6 (↑)        Brisbane 30.3 (↓)       Adelaide 22.5 (↓)       Perth 39.2 (↓)     Hobart 26.1 (↑)        Darwin 36.1 (↓)     Canberra 34.4 (↑)        National 31.0 (↓)           
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How Much Should Your Clothes Cost?

As the cost of living skyrockets, many shoppers are paying extra-close attention to the price of everything from denim to cashmere. We break down what it’s reasonable to pay for four quiet, high-quality menswear staples that will last.

Fri, Jan 20, 2023 9:06amGrey Clock 5 min

WITH INFLATION at record highs and a possible recession looming, shoppers are scrutinizing clothing price-tags hard right now. Few will welcome what they’re about to see, said Margaret Bishop, a supply-chain expert who teaches at three top fashion schools in New York. “The cost of raw materials, labor and transport, and logistics have all risen…and I don’t see how we could avoid higher retail prices in 2023,” she said.

Even so, you needn’t get ripped off. If you want quiet, well-made items that will last—and you don’t require a hyped brand name or luxury logo, both of which hike up prices—how much should you expect to shell out? Here, we do the math for four wardrobe staples.

1. Cashmere Sweater

Look to pay: $325 and above

Much of the world’s cashmere comes from Mongolia, but not all cashmere goats’ shags are created equal. An all-important, industry-wide grading system delineates fibers according to length and width. Grade A denotes the finest, longest and most expensive cashmere, which creates the softest and most-durable sweaters. Fast-fashion brands peddling sub-$100 knits tend to use Grade B or C hairs, meaning they’re shorter, scratchier and more liable to pill and break down over time, said Edouard Leret, co-founder of New York cashmere brand Leret Leret.

If you crave a cozy sweater with stamina, Grade A is the way to go. But determining the hair pedigree of a prospective purchase isn’t exactly easy: In the U.S., brands aren’t obligated to list grades on tags—“100% cashmere” is no guarantee you’re getting top-quality fuzz. A good workaround? Look to brands that specify Grade A on their websites, and shop for sweaters in-person so you can feel for softness, a telltale sign. Grade A creations needn’t cost eye-watering, four-figure sums. Some brands manage costs by producing close to the cashmere source. Leret Leret, for instance, manufactures in Mongolia, “which allows us to sell at the price we do,” said Mr. Leret. His playful knits are emblazoned with contemporary artists’ designs and start at $475. Simpler sweaters will be cheaper still. Massachusetts brand Billie Todd is a good benchmark: Its unfussy crew necks, which use Grade A fibers spun at a leading Scottish mill, start at $325.

A soft, subdued cashmere knit

  • Knit in Scotland, it features a ribbed, sag-resistant neck.
  • Solid, ribbed trim at the cuffs and waist refuses to lose shape.
  • Grade-A cashmere—the softest, most-durable variety. Sweater, $325,


2. Oxford Shirt

Look to pay: $125 (or $175 for made-in-the-U.S.)

“A basic Oxford is pretty simple,” said Atlanta designer Sid Mashburn. What separates a prize button-up from a flimsier, forgettable one are nuances related to construction and finish. Brands make a calculated decision about how much their customer cares about these price-increasing details. For instance, Mr. Mashburn’s shirts are sewn with 22 stitches per inch as opposed to the standard 16. This more time-intensive construction results in a sturdier, more-polished product. Other features to consider: Are the buttons made from cheap plastic or lustrous trocas shell? Is the collar blessed with an inner lining that softens pleasingly over time or is it a cheaper, “fused” collar that remains rigor-mortis-stiff forever?

Mr. Mashburn’s Oxfords, which feature many such nice-to-haves, will set you back $125. He’s able to sell them for this amount—a reasonable sum considering the quality—because they’re sewn in Honduras, where manufacturing costs are lower than in the U.S. and much of Europe.

If you desire a made-in-the-U.S. shirt, prepare to cough up about $50 more. Philip Saul, owner of Boston store Sault New England, produces his shirts a mere 50 miles away in Fall River, Mass. They feature premium details similar to Mr. Mashburn’s but cost $178. “The same workers that make maybe $18 an hour were maybe getting $8 an hour 10 years ago, so it makes sense that quality, made-in-America things should cost more [now],” said Mr. Saul. When manufacturing costs for an item go up $5, he added, “the retail price goes up $10.”

An Oxford shirt with thoughtful details

  • A nicely rolled collar not a forever-stiff ‘fused’ variety.
  • Pearly, trocas-shell buttons as opposed to plastic versions.
  • 22 stitches per inch—sturdier than the standard 16 stitches. Shirt, $125,
3. Jeans

Look to pay: $100 for a megabrand, under $300 for an independent maker

All jeans begin with more or less the same quality cotton, but this seemingly simple raw material boasts “one of the most complex. supply chains because it’s so global,” said Ms. Bishop, the professor. Cotton is often grown on one continent and spun on another, before it is transformed into a specific denim via a seemingly infinite choice of washes, blends and finishes—selvedge, vintage, raw, bleached, stretch, you name it. The deluge of jeans styles makes it tricky to determine a universal standard for quality and value, said Aaron Levine, a designer who consults for brands including Aimé Leon Dore and Vince and was formerly senior vice president of men’s and women’s design at Abercrombie & Fitch. The quality of rivets and zippers, and presence of flourishes like embroidery, nudge up the cost, he added.

Arguably a bigger price determinant: the size of the denim brand. “[Household brands] have such massive economies of scale that they receive price breaks on both raw materials and manufacturing,” said Mr. Levine. Such breaks are seldom extended to smaller brands, he said, which is why jeans from independent labels often cost more than, say, Levi’s or Wranglers.

When assessing a potential purchase, Mr. Levine asks himself: “Does the fabric feel like it’s got guts and integrity? Is the stitching straight and even?” Though he might splurge on tough-to-find vintage jeans, he has hard limits when buying new styles. “[Even] if a pair of new jeans fits me perfectly, I won’t go over $300.”

A solid pair of jeans from a big-name brand

  • Mid-weight denim washed using less water foreco reasons.
  • Precise, even stitching is a sign of quality jeans. Jeans, $98,
4. Leather Belt

Look to pay: $100 max

A great belt can cost $100 or even less. At around that price point, you can get leather of sufficient quality that you see the grain and, when you touch it, “you feel ‘leather’—not plastic or enamel or any finishes,” said Yuki Matsuda, the founder of Los Angeles fashion brands Monitaly and Yuketen. Because it’s rarely complicated to make a belt, raw materials usually account for the bulk of the final price. “Most of [that] goes into the leather. but buckles can incur really wild prices,” said Mr. Matsuda, if they’re a masterfully handcrafted creation rather than a basic brass design.

For some of the best—and best-priced—belts, Mr. Matsuda advises seeking out seasoned, small-scale brands. One such standout: Narragansett Leathers in Damariscotta, Maine, whose owner, Alan McKinnon, has handmade vegetable-tanned, bridle-leather belts since 1969. “When I first started [my most popular models] were $7 and now they are $55, 50 years later,” said Mr. McKinnon.

Can’t make it to a one-man shop in Maine for your new cincher? Visit independent retailers closer to home and peruse their in-house lines. Sault, the Boston retailer, makes agreeably understated belts at a nearby factory; they cost $89 a pop.

A handsome belt featuring first-rate leather and a no-nonsense, stainless-steel buckle

  • Hand-stitching around the buckle is straight and even.
  • English bridle leather with some graininess—not overly smooth. Belt, $89,
Blue Buys

We asked men in Midtown Manhattan what they’d fork over for a pair of jeans.

“Probably, like, $50. I love to thrift—that’s where I find most of the jeans I like.”

—Dalton Bleckman, 19, student

“Up to $200. It depends on the occasion, what I’m wearing it for. [I’ll] go down to $40-60 but if it’s a name brand I’ll go up.”

—Frank Henderson, 62, works on convertible bonds desk

“100 bucks, 150 maybe. I like Levi’s. I think this pair [I’m wearing] are from Uniqlo. They’re quite cheap: 30-40 euros.”

—Tommaso Noseda, 32, consultant

“120 bucks. I like AG and Diesel. These [ones I’m wearing] are Zara, [they cost] under 60 bucks, probably.”

—Yoni Ron, 37, works in software sales


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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The Embarrassment of Having to Explain Your ‘Monster’ Diamond Ring

Couples find that lab-grown diamonds make it cheaper to get engaged or upgrade to a bigger ring. But there are rocky moments.

Mon, Dec 11, 2023 4 min

Wedding planner Sterling Boulet has some advice for brides-to-be regarding lab-grown diamonds, which cost a fraction of the natural ones.

“If you’re trying to get your man to propose, they’ll propose faster if you offer this as an option,” says Boulet, of Raleigh, N.C. Recently, she adds, a friend’s fiancé “thanked me the next three times I saw him” for telling him about the cheaper lab-made option.

Man-made diamonds are catching on, despite some lingering stigma. This year was the first time that sales of lab-made and natural mined loose diamonds, primarily used as center stones in engagement rings, were split evenly, according to data from Tenoris, a jewellery and diamond trend-analytics company.

The rise of lab-made stones, however, is bringing up quirks alongside the perks. Now that blingier engagement rings—above two or three carats—are more affordable, more people are dealing with the peculiarities of wearing rather large rocks.

An engagement ring made with a lab-grown diamond at Ada Diamonds in New York City. PHOTO: CAM POLLACK/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Esther Hare, a 5-foot-11-inch former triathlete, sought out a 4.5-carat lab-made oval-shaped diamond to fit her larger hands as a part of her vow renewal in Hawaii last year. It was a far cry from the half-carat ring her husband proposed with more than 25 years ago and the 1.5-carat upgrade they purchased 10 years ago. Hare, 50, who lives in San Jose, Calif., and works in high tech, chose a $40,000 lab-made diamond because “it’s nuts” to have to spend $100,000 on a natural stone. “It had to be big—that was my vision,” she says.

But the size of the ring has made it less practical at times. She doesn’t wear it for athletic training and swaps in her wedding band instead. And she is careful to leave it at home when traveling. “A lot of times I won’t take it on vacation because it’s just a monster,” she says.

The average retail price for a one-carat lab-made loose diamond decreased to $1,426 this year from $3,039 in 2020, according to the Tenoris data. Similar-sized loose natural diamonds cost $5,426 this year, compared with $4,943 in 2020.

Lab-made diamonds have essentially the same chemical makeup as natural ones, and look the same, unless viewed through sophisticated equipment that gauges the characteristics of emitted light.

At Ritani, an online jewellery retailer, lab-made diamond sales make up about 70% of the diamonds sold, up from roughly 30% two years ago, says Juliet Gomes, head of customer service at the company, based in White Plains, N.Y.

Ritani sometimes records videos of the lab-diamonds pinging when exposed to a “diamond tester,” a tool that judges authenticity, to show customers that the man-made rocks behave the same as natural ones. We definitely have some deep conversations with them,” Gomes says.

Not all gem dealers are rolling with these stones.

Philadelphia jeweller Steven Singer only stocks the natural stuff in his store and is planning a February campaign to give about 1,000 one-carat lab-made diamonds away free to prove they are “worthless.” Anyone can sign up online and get one in the mail; even shipping is free. “I’m not selling Frankensteins that were built in a lab,” Singer says.

Some brides are turned off by the larger bling now allowed by the lower prices.When her now-husband proposed with a two-carat lab-grown engagement ring, Tiffany Buchert, 40, was excited about the prospect of marriage—but not about the size of the diamond, which she says struck her as “costume jewellery-ish.”

“I said yes in the moment, of course, I didn’t want it to be weird,” says the physician assistant from West Chester, Pa.

But within weeks, she says, she fessed up, telling her fiancé: “I think I hate this ring.”

The couple returned it and then bought a one-carat natural diamond for more than double the price.

Couples find that lab-grown diamonds have made it more affordable to get engaged. PHOTO: CAM POLLACK/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

When Boulet, the wedding planner in Raleigh, got engaged herself, she was over the moon when her fiancé proposed with a 2.3 carat lab-made diamond ring. “It’s very shiny, we were almost worried it was too shiny and was going to look fake,” she says.

It doesn’t, which presents another issue—looking like someone who really shelled out for jewellery. Boulet will occasionally volunteer that her diamond ring came from a lab.

“I don’t want people to think I’m putting on airs, or trying to be flashier than I am,” she says.

For Daniel Teoh, a 36-year-old software engineer outside of Detroit, buying a cheaper lab-made diamond for his fiancée meant extra room in his $30,000 ring budget.

Instead of a bigger ring, he got her something they could both enjoy. During a walk while on an annual ski trip to South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Teoh popped the question and handed his now-wife a handmade wooden box that included a 2.5-carat lab-made diamond ring—and a car key.

She put on the ring, celebrated with both of their sisters and a friend, who was the unofficial photographer of the happy event, and then they drove back to the house. There, she saw a 1965 Mustang GT coupe in Wimbledon white with red stripes and a bow on top.

Looking back, Teoh says, it was still the diamond that made the big first impression.

“It wasn’t until like 15 minutes later she was like ‘so, what’s with this key?’” he adds.


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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