Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
Along with hearing embarrassing stories about our parents and treating ourselves to mystery hard candies, one of our favorite things about hanging out with our grandparents is the unabashed griping. Music is too loud! There's too much rampant butt-cheek on the streets! Aspic salads — what ever happened to those?! And, when the topic comes to the cost of a dress or a pair of pants: Can you believe those prices?
Well, it turns out that last gripe is actually unwarranted. In fact, the average price for clothing has astronomically dropped over the years. Today, it's common to see prices for clothing dip into the single digits, and a search for dresses under $10 on Polyvore actually turns up dozens of decent options. Although your grandparents, too, might remember swapping a Hamilton for a new wardrobe addition, anyone familiar with economics knows a dollar in the past didn't have the same worth as a dollar today.
Considering modern advances in assembly-line mechanization and material technology, the decreased cost of transportation, and available cheap labor, we would expect that clothing is a less expensive commodity today than it was in the past. However, we wanted numbers to prove it. We used old clothing advertisements to determine the cost of common items from various points in history. Then, with Consumer Price Index data provided by The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, we calculated what those prices would be in 2014 dollars. Ahead, observe our math findings to truly put a $1.80 camisole into perspective.