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Tracking the Economy By Looking at Underwear

This article was written by in Economy. 20 comments.

According to Alan Greenspan, this is of the first types of spending that consumers give up when a recession is felt personally: When men come to the point at which they need to save more money than usual and decide to cut bank their spending, underwear is at the top of the list of possible reductions. Because underwear is invisible to the public, men apparently have no shame in letting the fabric deteriorate more than they would when a flush bank account would allow them to replace tattered undergarments when necessary.

Furthermore, an increase in underwear purchases could signal the beginning of a recovery. If this is true, it’s bad news for the economy in the next few years. Underwear industry experts are predicting no growth in sales until 2013.

I have not noticed any decline in my own undergarment purchases. My overall spending on clothing has remained strong as I have been replacing some of the clothing I’ve owned for ten years or more, some of which no longer fits anyway. My underwear doesn’t necessarily last as long before I replace the old clothing with something new.

Tracking the economy by looking at underwear

Unlike their male garment counterparts, purchases of women’s underwear does not correlate to the recession. Any time is a good time for buying lingerie.

Have you reduced your clothing purchases, particularly underwear, to save money this past year?

If you can’t answer this question because you don’t know how much you spend on clothing, consider tracking your expenses for a period of time. You might find you have some opportunities to save money across your entire budget.

Photo: williamnyk
MSN Money

Updated September 8, 2011 and originally published May 27, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dave_N

But hasn’t the need to purchase new underwear been increased by looking at recent 401K statements? As in “Oh ….!”

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avatar SimplyForties

LOL – I never met a man to whom buying underwear was a priority. Feast or famine, their underwear is in tatters!

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avatar Lulu

I have reduced purchases of general clothing but I think I am about the same on underwear.

This is interesting to note though, because I think some other friends of mine have changed their underwear spending habits.

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avatar Eden

That’s funny. I haven’t had to cut the underwear budget yet.

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avatar Mike

Also according to Greenspan, the Federal Reserve had nothing to do with this failing economy. So I don’t believe anything he, or anyone from there, says.

There may be some truth to the whole underwear thing. Either way, he’s just (successfully) diverting attention away from themselves. After all, we’re talking about underwear sales instead of the Fed’s role in this fiasco.

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avatar Mike

It also really makes you wonder how a man can become head of the Federal Reserve if he uses underwear sales to track the economy.


Am I the only one scared to death of people like this, given these kinds of positions of power?

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avatar Eric

LOL. This made my day..

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avatar Enrique S

I’m no longer a clothes horse, but I’ve actually spent more this year on clothing, because I lost 20 pounds. Even my shoes felt too loose! I usually buy new stuff when my old stuff has seen better days. My wife keeps me from dressing too shabby.

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