Here's Why Your Shorts Aren't Cheaper Than Your Pants
The length isn't the only thing that matters here.
BY Christine Flammia | Jun 9, 2017 | Fashion
You go to buy some shorts. An easygoing (but stylish!) pair of cotton twill or chino shorts, maybe. You might be headed on vacation, or just need to stock up on your summer attire. "I'm glad I won't have to spend as much money," you might think. "These aren't the same investment as a pair of pants." And then you spot the price tag.
In reality, the price difference between pants and shorts isn't all that different. "But why?" you ask. "There's so much less fabric!"
But is that really true? We talked to Eunice Lee, designer for menswear brand Unis, who gave us an insider perspective on pants pricing.
"The amount of fabric you use for shorts isn't actually all that different from pants to shorts," says Lee." Lee cites her own pants and shorts as an example: A pant might need 1.6 yards of fabric, while a short might need 1.3. Say, for theory's sake, fabric goes for $10 a yard. That's only a three dollar difference in fabric costs. The difference in fabric isn't drastic because most of the fabric is needed around the top part of the pant—not the legs.
"Think about the actual construction of a garment," says Lee. "All of it happens at the top. In terms of the cut and sew of any garment, all the complicated stuff happens at the top. The price is about the labour and the cost of that labour—that labour is the same, regardless of a short or long leg."
See for yourself. Take a pair of pants and a pair of shorts and turn them inside out. Note where the stitches are, and the complicated areas like the waistband, fly, and pockets. The legs, on the other hand, are just a simple, straight seam.
"That complicated construction, that intricate detail—that's the cost," says Lee. "The pant leg is the easiest part to sew."
The concept for short sleeve and long sleeve shorts is similar, although you might see a bigger jump. Long sleeve shirts might have more detail when it comes to tailored arms and cuffs.
"There's a price perception when it comes to short pants and shirts," says Lee. "Especially because something like a short might not seem like an investment piece the way a winter coat or pair of boots is. But that's not where pricing happens—it's all in the operation."
So there you have it: The price isn't really about the fabric, after all. And you might think twice before assuming those beach shorts aren't worthy of an investment.