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There's no doubt that clothing and accessories have become more expensive in recent years--MW looks at me like I'm crazy when I say this, but it's true. This is due in part to the weakened dollar, in part to polarization of the classes in this country (thanks, W!), and in part because luxury retailers raise prices just because they can. Two articles in today's papers explore this phenomenon: the Times argues that raising prices is actually good for business--people think the items are expensive for a reason, and thus they covet them even more. The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, argues that super-expensive items are just a marketing ploy to get the rest of us into the store, so we can drop $150 on a scarf or $75 on a keychain. I think both articles have a point; Hermes may make a nice profit off its Birkin bags (which take weeks to make), but hit the store any day and watch the scarves and ties fly off the shelves. So, that's the state of the luxury market: $5,000 dresses for those who can afford 'em and $20 lipsticks for those of us who can't.

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