Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Economic Naturalist: Why Do Brides Buy Dresses While Grooms Rent Tuxes?

While we may always assume readily that women value the wedding event more than men, it is not always the reason why they buy their wedding dress instead of just renting it. Do men value marriage less? The assumption seems too unfair to be tagged to men as much as tagging us to be polygamous by nature.

A married female student of Robert Frank offered a rather plausible and fair explanation to the matter. It is not the sentimental value of the event that leads them to buying, rather, their very high fashion sense.

Because women want to make fashion statements on big social occasions as the wedding, they tend to be too selective of their wedding gowns. Now we take the assumption to the gown rental shop. In order to cater to the bride's wish to make a fashion statement on her wedding day, the shop should carry a wide array of distinctive wedding gowns. With that, the bride is allowed to choose more extensively.

The effect of having a wide array of distinctive gowns on the part of the gown rental shop would be the infrequent renting of each of the wedding gowns. If, say for example, a wedding gown is rented only once every four to five years, it becomes a problem for them to recover the cost of a single wedding gown.  They have to,in effect, charge the rental costumers more than the purchase price of the gown to cover its cost since the items may not be as good after five years. So, why would the bride rent for more when she can buy for less?

The situation is different on the rental market of tuxedos. There may not be a lot of tuxedo styles around but the groom would be willing to settle for a more standard style not wanting to make a fashion statement for the occasion. The renting shop therefore can keep a stock of only a few tuxedos for each size. With that, there is a high probability that each suit gets rented a lot of times in a given year.  That would enable the rental shop to cover cost by charging renting costumers only a fraction of the suit's purchase price.