Walk down the aisle of a supermarket, high street pharmacy or clothes shop and you’ll know which is the women’s side, thanks to the abundance of pink and gimmicky frills that are still (somehow) being sold to us.
And we know it comes with a cost. Known as the “pink tax”, it’s no secret that women’s toiletries are more expensive than men, even if they’re the same item (think razors, skincare, hair products).
But our clothes are also more expensive than our counterparts. According to Office for National Statistics data, even women’s underwear is not safe from inflation (despite having less material than men’s).
Sky News analysis found that your knickers cost on average 37% more than they did five years ago (whereas mens’ smalls have gone up by just 25%).
Bras have also gone up in price, by about as much as wages. Items such as nail varnish and perfume have soared by 40%.
Inflation has seen widespread price hikes, linked to supply chain disruption as a result of the pandemic, Brexit and the Ukraine-Russia conflict. So it makes sense that all clothing is more expensive, too.
Even budget retailers such as Primark reported higher price tags. But why is there so much discrepancy between men and women’s items?
Well, it could be to do with post-pandemic demand. Think about it, for the past two years, our shopping habits have stalled due to lockdowns and lack of occasions to get dressed up. Now people are keen to make up for it.
And Kayla Marci, market analyst at retail intelligence platform Edited, told Sky News that customers haven’t been deterred by higher prices yet.
“That could be due to the post-pandemic ‘revenge spending’ phenomenon where, after being indoors and wearing sweatpants for so long, people are meeting up with friends again and looking to buying new outfits,” she says.
But given the cost of living crisis, it’s unlikely that the consumer zealousness will continue. Let’s hope that prices come down – even if our underwear stays up.