So our fashion niche is an interesting one in that it’s probably the only one, except for maybe a few classic sneakers, that sells the same stuff season after season for literally decades. Most high fashion brands have a new collection every season and maybe a few carryover staples, for us it’s pretty much all carryover.
Like Red Wing has been selling the Iron Ranger for 15 years now, Filson has been selling the same briefcase since the 40s, and Levi’s don’t even get us started there. So we have the unique ability to look back and see how prices have changed, which we did for the last ten years on archived versions of webstores from 10 years ago.
Have prices of consumer goods in the heritage menswear sector doubled in the last ten years? The short answer is no, some prices have risen, some have fallen, and some have stayed the same. We take a look at the inflation of various products that you might recognize, discuss what’s changed since 2010, and what the many factors that might have caused those changes. We are far from an economic publication, but we thought it was important to take a look at what changes, if any, the state of the economy has had on the gear we love.
In 2010 we were still recovering from the 2008 recession, unemployment was prevalent, and the State’s economic future was uncertain. Inflation of the dollar has risen 20% since 2010, and 20 cents might not sound like much, but it is in a decade following a major economic recession when a lot of Americans didn’t have a reliable form of income.
Red Wing Iron Ranger Workboot
The Red Wing Iron Ranger is a mainstay of the brand’s work boot line up, made to last and look good while you work, chances are good there’s a pair of these sitting on your shoe rack right now. They’re an iconic pair of workboots originally made for miners, but you don’t have to have black lung in order to wear these, they’ve since been gracing the soles of baristas and modern businessmen alike.
- 2010 price: $269
- Adjusted for 2021 inflation: $323
- 2021 actual price: $330 at Nordstrom
What’s changed: 22% increase in price. We don’t know exactly why there’s been about a 20% increase in price for the Iron Ranger, but the dollar has inflated by the same amount in the last ten years—it’s safe to assume that general inflation coupled with rising wages is the reason for an increase in price.
Alden 405 Indy High Top Moc-Toe Workboot
The Alden 405 Indy is a classic workbook style from the New England shoe company known for their quality and timeless design.
- 2010: $435
- Expected: $522
- 2021 actual: $589 at J.Crew
What’s changed: 35% increase in price. The likely culprit for a <1/3 rise in price is a higher demand, inflation of manufacturing costs (cost of leather included), and increased wages/cost of USA-made labor.
Levi’s 501 STF
Levi‘s iconic first pair of denim-cut pants are the 501 jean, they’re a regular straight pant that have existed so long for a reason, you can wear them almost anytime, anywhere.
- 2010: $59.50
- Expected: $60.70
- Now: $59.50 at Levi’s.
What’s changed: no change in price. The classic Levi’s 501 price remained the same over 10 years, perhaps due in part to tastes evolving past the brand and their iconic 501 fit, decreasing labor costs (with much of Levi’s production taking place abroad), or Levi’s wanting to keep prices accessible.
Levi’s Type III Trucker Jacket
Levi’s Type III Trucker Jacket has persisted because of its wearability and good-looking silhouette that many have imitated and copied over the years, but how has its price changed?
Image via Levi’s
- 2010: $68
- Expected: $81.60
- Now: $89.50 at Levi’s.
What’s changed: 31% increase in price. 1/3 of an increase in price means there could have been some increase in demand, and Levi’s has cashed in on the trend. Increase in labor costs could be another factor, odd that the 501 remained pegged though.
RRL Made in USA Straight-Fit Selvedge Denim
RRL‘s Selvedge Denim are an American take on third-wave denim manufacturing, and they’re loved and worn continuously for a reason, they’re reliable and as beautiful when broken-in as almost any pair of raws.
- 2010: $300
- Expected: $360
- Now: $295 at RRL.
What’s changed: 1.6% decrease in price. Not much changed in the way of prices of USA-made denim for luxury brand RRL. There’s only been a $5 drop in price since 2010.
Sugar Cane Made in Japan 1947 Selvedge Denim
Sugar Cane‘s popular 1947 model is based on Levi’s original 501 STF model, and is still a go-to choice among raw denim enthusiasts, it’s as straightforward (and legged) as you can get. It’s also as accessible in price as a pair of Made in Japan jeans gets.
Now: $199 at Self Edge.
What’s changed: 33% decrease in price. According to Self Edge, they no longer had to work through a distributor to acquire Sugar Cane denim, the lack of a stop-gap between the retailer and consumers allowed for a significant decrease in price.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing Sawtooth Western Shirt
Levi’s is responsible for many a western shirt in the closet of folks across America, and chances are good there’s a Sawtooth flap pocket shirt in some of yours. Did these instantly recognizable shirts cost more sawbucks?
Then: $205 in 2010.
Now: $178 at Levi’s.
What’s changed: 15% decrease in price. We’re not sure why there’s been a decrease, potentially a decrease in labor costs has allowed a drop in price, but with Western shirts being in fashion over the last 10 years, this is a little surprising.
Eastman Leathers WWII US Army/AAF Officer’s Trousers
Eastman Leathers‘ Officer Trousers are a straight-legged pant you can wear in contrast to all that denim, while still being an easy wear, and good-looking. Just be prepared for the wide leg opening.
- 2010: $170
- Expected: $204
- Now: $180 at History Preservation Associates
What’s changed: 6% increase in price. There’s a small inflation visible in this product, it’s not much, but more than likely reflects a general increase in cost of materials, wages paid to manufacturers, and cost of import fees.
Buzz Ricksons’ Flatlock Seam Crewneck Sweater
Buzz Ricksons‘ accessible loop wheeled knits are a solid choice for layering in the colder months, or even those cold morning commutes, let’s be honest. Few do repros better and as affordably than Buzz.
- 2010: $155
- Expected: $186
- Now: $155 at Self Edge.
What’s changed: no change in price. We don’t know why the price has remained completely stable for this product, but it has—through steadily rising taxes/import fees/shipping costs, and the fluctuating cost of cotton. We can infer that the demand hasn’t gone up too much.
Saint James Cancale Wool Fisherman Sweater
Who doesn’t love a good wool sweater? Saint James high quality knitwear is a quality choice when it comes to hairy and warm sweats to wear when it’s too chilly for just a base layer.
- Then: $225 in 2010.
- Expected: $270
- Now: $255 at Saint James
What’s changed: 13% increase in price. This noticeable difference in price likely reflects a general inflation due to increased demand for Saint James’ products, the slowly rising cost of wool, and inflation of wages likely also is a factor.
The Flat Head Loopwheeled T-Shirt
The Flat Head‘s Made in Japan loopwheeled T-Shirt is held in high regard among fans of the brand, and those who are conscious of high quality basics that you can pair with your raws, or with anything— it’s a T-Shirt.
- Then: $95 in 2010.
- Expected: $114
- Now: $98 at Self Edge.
What’s changed: 3% increase in price. Flat Head’s classic heavyweight T-Shirt didn’t go up much in price at all.
Filson Twill Original Briefcase
Filson‘s classic Original Briefcase can be found on the shoulders of rugged business and salesman across the globe. This durable, functional, and good-looking bag has remained a favorite among high quality menswear lovers because it compliments all the other hard-wearing goods they wear.
- 2010: $210
- Expected: $252
- Now: $325 at Filson.
What’s changed: 54% increase in price. There seems to be an increase in popularity and demand for this particular product, customers are obviously more willing to pay more for Filson’s iconic briefcase. We don’t know exactly why prices increased so dramatically, we reached out to Filson, but haven’t received any response. It may have something to do with their sale to a new owner, Bedrock Manufacturing Co. in 2012.
So up, down, and staying the same. Hard to predict what things are going to cost a decade out. Are there any pieces you’re interested in seeing the price fluctuations of?