Luxury markets in everything

Some khaki pants are now selling for as much as $1055; $400 and $500 khaki pants are becoming common.

See The Wall Street Journal, May 13-14, p.P7.  Makes you want to sign up with Peter Singer, doesn’t it?

One Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director noted: "For some of these brands, that’s a lot of money."

If you know of other absurd luxury markets, please mention them in the comments.


The Vertu phone has always struck me as an absurd attempt at exclusivity.

To clarify the example: Peter Singer argued that it would be morally indefensible to not save a child from drowning in a shallow pond just to avoid ruining your pants.

The relative moral value of the pants are far less than the moral value of someone else's life. Taking this to it's logical conclusion means we should spend less of our own money on things of relative moral importance and donate it to famine relief instead.

There are plenty of $800-1,200 jeans available here in Moscow. In fact, other than Chinese knock-offs at the market it is just about impossible to find any jeans for less than $300

My "khaki pants" are hand-tailored in Hong Kong and posted to me. Much cheaper and wonderfully comfortable.

Doesn't "luxury market" almost imply "absurdity" in prices? After all, if it wasn't expensive it wouldn't be luxury.

The Saleen S7 (a car) lists for $395,000 - quite absurd for a car, one might think. Of course, living in Northern VA, that car still costs less than a house.

There are baseball card packs that carry a MSRP of $100 (not vintage packs from the 1950s). I believe it was 2004 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection. And you only get 4 cards. And no gum.

I swear that I saw something about how Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt buy (or used to buy) $300 t-shirts.

There's that $1,000 sunday in NY.

But, as a young, single male who's current girlfriend is looking pretty good in ye olde marriage market, I have to say that engagement/wedding rings are an absurdly priced luxury market. My sister's attitude is that anything over $6,000 is absurd. $6,000?!?! Three entire months take-home pay (hey, some of us are recent college grads with the same entry-level job as the rest of them) for a scrap of metal with a rock in it? Even the third of that I'm willing to spend is ridiculous, ostentatious tomfoolery.

My roommate just purchased a $300 (CAD) jacket liner to accompany his $300 (CAD) windbreaker.

Not even close to $1000 khakis, but still terrible.

For Real Babes, Denim Gets Pricey. $135 toddler jeans that are outgrown within three months? Here's
the kicker: "Jennifer Lattuca, a mom in Dixville, N.Y., was horrified when her 2-year-old
daughter drew on her $106 True Religion jeans with permanent markers. "She only wore them
a couple of times," says Mrs. Lattuca. After the incident, she vowed never to spend more
than $40 on a pair of kid's jeans."

I called my beloved spouse and asked her to fill in the following:
"I vow never to spend more than x on a pair of kid's jeans"
The answer: eight bucks

I thought Juicy Couture was overpriced, but I guess that's nothing compared to some other brands. Still, $88 for a Juicy Couture t-shirt is pretty outrageous.

Reminds me of this post from Boing Boing:

I have such a pair of khakis. I also sh*t gold nuggets. As a somewhat avid golfer, I'm aware of graphite shafts (yeah, just the stick part) that cost around $2000. There are also putters that cost over $10k. Crazy.

Might there be a market for ultra-expensive products where 50% of the revenue goes to charity, thus giving the buyer a chance to signal his wonderfulness in two ways? Do such products exist?

The obvious and economically significant luxury markets are housing in elite exurbs, luxury and exotic cars, private jets, yachts, etc. All have experienced increases in prices that have outstripped inflation significantly in recent years.

Also, the Pete Seeger ought not to be extrapolated to imply that people should not spend money on items of conspicuous consumption -- which are after all a form of income redistribution from the rich to the clever and industrious. A system that allows conspicuous consumption is better for children's mortality rates, drowning or not, than a system that doesn't.

"Will expensive khakis bring me $1000 more joy than cheap khakis?"

You're obvioulsy not the target market for those khakis.

the shoes are always worth it! (ok maybe the hundred dollar ones...but if i had $1000 to just throw away on shoes...shameful as it is....)

i believe the old proverb "a fool and his money are soon parted" has never been more apt

It's a matter of what your standards are. For me, a cell phone and cable television are ridiculous luxuries.

For Colombia's Nukak-Maku, "who have lived a Stone Age life, roaming across hundreds of miles of isolated and pristine Amazon jungle, killing monkeys with blowguns and scouring the forest floor for berries," the list of newly discovered "luxuries" includes pots, pants, shoes, caps, rice, sugar, oil, flour, skillets, eggs, onions, matches and soap.

$8 for a pair of kids pants? Does that involve third world workers sewing away for 16 hours a day and who then are forced to sleep under their machines? I don't know. I honestly don't know. And this is my point. Who knows?

And because we don't know any longer it is possible for a little brand label to make the difference between $8 or $125 pants for kids.

Western democracies started disliking child-labour and inhuman working condititions some time in the 19th century and promptly exported them where they couldn't be seen. This, I think, should be the moral question to consider: What does it mean to have lost touch with the real worth of things. This involves the wearers of $1000 khakis as well as those of a $3 t-shirt.

1000 dollars for a pair of khakis! That's ridiculous--what a rip off.

1000 dollars for a pair of khakis! That's ridiculous--what a rip off.

1000 dollars for a pair of khakis! That's ridiculous--what a rip off.

1000 dollars for a pair of khakis! That's ridiculous--what a rip off.

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