What fashion cost in 1926 – Women

Interesting image from 1926 showing the value of Clara Bow’s outfit. Her high end outfit cost $346.50 in 1926, that would be the equivalent of about $4,500 – $5,000 in today’s dollars. That sounds like a lot of money, but this is not a fast fashion outfit – the garment is made of silk, her purse is made of lizard skin, and she is wearing a string of pearls. It’s hard to find a lizard skin bag today priced at less than $2,000.00, and a string of pearls ranges from $500 to $1000.00. Like today, you can also buy inexpensive clothes — cotton and rayon dresses are advertised in the $8.00 – $12.00 range in the late 1920s. As well, ¬†how money was spent differed in 1926. The average 3 bedroom suburban house in 1926 cost about $5,000, the equivalent of about $55,000 today. You might be able to find a house at that price in an economically depressed city like Detroit, but $550,000.00 is closer to being more accurate for most cities today.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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