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This Is Why Shorts Don’t Cost Less than Pants

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 8/29/2018 Sam Benson Smith
a bunch of clothes hanging on a rack © Ko Backpacko

You have a hankering for something fried, so on your way home from work you keep your eyes peeled for something open on your side of the freeway. Sure enough, your corneas catch the oh-so-familiar sight of the golden arches. You stroll into the McDonald’s, and eye the menu, with its standard staggered prices. Prices are graduated based on price so that a large fries will cost more than a medium, and a medium more than a small. 

And this makes sense. The amount of money you pay correlates with the amount of product you receive in exchange. And generally speaking, this holds true for most things, from paper towels to pantyhose. One particularly glaring exception to this rule can be found in any pair of shorts.

Shorts cover half the surface area of pants, so shouldn’t they be half the price? (And, for that matter, shin-hugging capris should cost five-sixths the price of regular pants.) The reason for the seeming ripoff actually makes a lot of sense, according to Esquire.

As it turns out, pairs of shorts that fall short of your knee are made with just a fifth less fabric than a standard pair of pants. The concentration of cloth is much heavier in the top half of a pair of shorts than the top half of a pair of pants, so even though the material might seem much less, it isn’t.

Additionally, your leg coverings aren’t raw materials, not by a long shot. Human labor plays a huge role in the pricing out of pants versus shorts. Shorts and pants both have pockets, belt loops, and waistbands, which all require the equal amount of manpower to stitch. Unless you’re wearing parachute pants, of course. 

Related Video: Style Like the Stars: How to Re-Create Celebrity Fashion for Less (Provided by TODAY)

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