There are 3 main types of clothing in Bolivia, unbranded clothes, branded clothes and tourist clothes. All these types are quite cheaper than overseas. You’ll find that even tourist clothes that are highly overpriced when a tourist buys them here are cheaper than in other locations. Most people in Bolivia tend to buy unbranded clothes and imitations that are only a few dollars per unit.
The cost of clothes in Bolivia is cheaper than overseas whether they are branded or unbranded. A t-shirt normally costs around $7, jeans $10 and shoes $30. 1 branded clothing change is about $120 and an unbranded one about $50. Tourist clothes cost much more and a clothing change is usually at $200.
We are Bolivians, who have lived all their lives in this country, so we can give you all the details about how much clothes really cost in here, no matter if they’re for common people, for tourists, branded or unbranded clothes. Next, we’ll tell you everything about this topic and also some tips on how to save some money when you’re buying normal or tourist clothes in our country.
The real cost of clothes in Bolivia
The majority of clothes that people normally buy in Bolivia are unbranded or imitations, mostly locally made, a lot of them also come from China and from nearby countries. These clothes do have a good overall quality, but don’t have any kind of brand backing them, in many cases, they’re imitations of well-known brands around the globe like Nike or Adidas.
These sorts of unbranded clothes can be found at prices of $7 for pants, $4 for a T-shirt, $5 for a shirt, $20 for shoes, etcetera, and if you buy them you won’t regret any kind of quality in their features nor functionality. This is why 1 clothing change of unbranded good quality clothes in Bolivia will cost you around $50, and it will include everything, like shoes, socks, etcetera.
Low to Middle class people in Bolivia normally buy only this type of clothes, but Bolivians with high income often buy branded and original clothes from and specialized clothing stores (expats living here also do this). Branded and original clothes have a price of $18 for pants, $10 for a T-shirt, $12 for a shirt, $45 for shoes, etcetera. 1 clothing change of branded clothes cost around $120.
|Tipe of cost||Avg. spending in Bolivia (1 ppl.)|
|Apparel & clothes (per month)||$22|
|1 clothing change (normal clothes – unbranded)||$50|
|1 clothing change (normal clothes – branded)||$120|
|1 clothing change (touristic clothes)||$200|
In the case of touristic clothes like the “poncho”, “aguayo”, “luchu”, “avarcas”, etcetera, these tend to be also very cheap when you buy them elsewhere than tourist places, but in these places native clothes be really overpriced and 1 clothing change of this type will cost you around $200, whereas in other non-tourist places this combo will cost just around $70.
When you buy clothes in Bolivia, you need to differentiate between unbranded, branded and tourist clothes, with 1 clothing change costing you around $50, $120 and $200 respectively.
Pricing list for clothes and apparel in Bolivia
Next, you can see the detailed prices for clothes in Bolivia, whether they are unbranded, branded or for tourists.
A) Common clothes
First let’s talk about normal clothes, both branded and unbranded ones here are relatively cheap when you compare them with the prices in other countries. Unbranded clothes are mostly made inside the country and also come from China. Also, branded clothes are cheaper, despite them being from well-known brands, like Nike or Adidas.
The prices listed below are only for both good enough quality branded and non-branded clothes, found in large open markets of major Bolivian cities. Bad quality or second hand clothes sold in ant markets of poor neighborhoods are not listed below.
|Type of clothing||Avg. cost (No branded / Avg. quality)||Avg. cost (Branded / High quality)|
B) Tourist clothes
Below you can see the prices for tourist clothes. Although they have almost the same quality anywhere, if you buy them from tourist places and stores, then they’ll be really overpriced. On the other hand, if you buy them elsewhere, like normal clothing stores (because many people here in Bolivia still use this kind of cultural clothes), they’ll have prices that are near to common clothes.
|Type of tourist clothing||Avg. Cost (tourist places and stores)||Avg. Cost (elsewhere)|
|Sombrero de Chola||$50||$10|
From the list above “polleras”, “Aguayos” and “Sombreros de Chola” are still being widely used by many citizens located in the west region of Bolivia (La Paz, Oruro, etcetera), at least 200,000 people still wear them daily. So, you can find them for sale almost anywhere beyond touristic places. The rest of these clothes will be more difficult to find, but they will be widely available in tourist stores.
Different incomes and the cost of clothes in Bolivia
People with low incomes in Bolivia generally don’t buy too many clothes, and they almost always use unbranded clothes that can be found in open street markets or ant markets. They save a lot of money by buying even 2nd hand used clothes when it’s possible. To save money they can get one 2d hand clothing change for only $20, but risking themselves to unhealthy clothing, as this needs to be cleaned very very carefully.
On the other hand, people with average incomes in Bolivia tend to buy only new clothes, but most of them won’t be branded. Occasionally, they buy some branded clothes, branded dresses or suits for a job or special events. The clothes they buy have good quality, because, as you may know, these kinds of clothes are very good imitations of branded clothes, and in many cases, the same factories that make these clothes also make the branded ones.
Finally, people with high incomes and rich people in Bolivia mostly buy only branded clothes from Nike, Adidas, Totto, Gav Sport, etcetera, and other brands that are imported from the United States, Europe and countries known for making great apparel. These people usually buy their clothes in boutiques, specialized clothing stores, malls and sometimes in supermarkets. They almost never buy in open or ant markets.
|Lower-class Bolivian||Middle-class Bolivian||Upper-class Bolivian|
|Avg. apparel expenses / Month||$45||$70||$150|
|Avg. apparel expenses / Day||$1.50||$2.40||$5|
People with an average income in Bolivia can get 1 clothing change for around $50, while high income people and rich people here normally get 1 clothing change for around $120. Expats and foreigners living in Bolivia also tend to buy only branded clothes, many malls and specialized stores are available near where expats and upper-class Bolivians live.
Foreigners and the cost of clothes
In the case of tourists visiting Bolivia, if they want to buy branded clothes in malls and specialized stores, they’ll get almost the same price as Bolivians.
But if they want to buy unbranded clothes or imitations from open street markets or ant markets, they’ll need to be really careful, because it’s not common to see a foreigner buying there and they can easily become the target of thieves and burglars. Furthermore, sellers from these places will try to take advantage of them being tourists, charging them a lot more than natives. If you buy there as a tourist, you can get an overpricing from 20% to 100%.
Tourists coming to Bolivia normally don’t buy common clothes, they are more focused on buying cultural clothes like “aguayos” and “luchus”. This apparel can be widely found in tourist places, but it will be highly overpriced as we say before. Anyway, we don’t recommend you to buy these clothes elsewhere, you should only buy clothing from ant markets and open markets with the help of a tourist guide or if you know what you’re doing.
|Type of apparel expense||Average cost (1 tourist)|
|Tourist avg. expense day||$8|
|Tourist avg. expense / month||$250|
|1 clothing change (normal clothes – unbranded) *||$70|
|1 clothing change (normal clothes – branded) *||$150|
|1 clothing change (touristic clothes)||$200|
*clothing sellers normally tend to overprice their products for foreigners.
After leaving a while in Bolivia, you’ll be able to get not only high quality unbranded clothes with cheap prices and still with all the standards and safety needed, but also right branded clothes. But if you are a tourist coming for days to Bolivia, then only buy from tourist places and clothing stores, or with the help of a person that knows how to get good apparel here and not be fooled in the process.
Comparing the cost of clothes in Bolivia versus other countries
Clothing in our country is certainly cheap, but it also has a wide range of prices, from secondhand clothes that cost just pennies to branded clothes from well-known worldwide brands that can cost hundreds of dollars. But in general, you can get way cheaper clothes in Bolivia than in first tier countries. The best quality branded clothes are only 30% to 80% of the cost you can find in the first world.
Furthermore, unbranded clothing or clothing imitations that maintain high standards in its manufacturing process, will cost only around 25% in Bolivia of what similar quality clothing can cost in a first world country. A different story is these prices compared against India, where clothes are much cheaper than in Bolivia, as half as cheaper.
As you can see the table below, a common Bolivian spends around $22 in apparel each month, while an upper class or high-income Bolivian (which is very near in standard of living to a first tier country expat living here) will spend around $50 per month, this is ⅓ of the average apparel expenses in the United States, and ½ of what is spended in the Canada, but almost the same as in the UK.
|Avg. apparel expenses / Month||$22||$50||$156||$97||$48||$8|
|Avg. apparel expenses / Day||$0.70||$1.67||$5.20||$3.23||$1.60||$0.27|
Here you have learned all the details, costs and prices that clothes have in our country, Bolivia. You have seen that the majority of clothes normally sold here are unbranded or imitations of well-known brands around the globe, and most Bolivians buy these because they want to save as much money as possible.
But also, you have seen that the people with high income, rich people or expats living here tend to buy mostly branded clothes that are original and can be found in specialized clothing stores and huge malls or even supermarkets. You’ve realized that a branded clothing change costs as much as 2x or 3x more than unbranded similar clothes, with an unbranded clothing change costing ~$70 and a similar branded one costing ~$150.
Finally, you now know that tourist clothes here are highly overpriced when a tourist wants to buy them, as outside tourist places they can be found even cheaper than normal clothing. But in tourist places, a tourist clothing change will cost you around $200. Anyway, we don’t recommend you to buy tourist clothes outside these tourist places, unless you know what you’re doing, to avoid getting fooled by unethical sellers or targeted by thieves and robbers.
We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know the overall costs of living in Bolivia, including clothes, food, traveling and other expenses, visit our dedicated guide for this: The cost of living in Bolivia, all the details you need to know.
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