Morgan noted that there is conjecture circulating that with cotton prices doubling, the cost of clothing will double as well, he said.

"If your blue jeans double in price, it's not because of cotton prices," Morgan said. "For example, you can make 215 pairs of blue jeans out of a (500-pound) bale of cotton. So at 60-cent (per pound) cotton, that's about a $1.34 of cotton fiber in a pair of jeans. At $1.20 cotton, there's about $2.68 worth of fiber. That's about a $1.34 difference in price of jeans."

And with other clothing, the comparison is more dramatic. For example, more than 1,200 T-shirts can be made from a bale of cotton, so a doubling of the commodity price should only add about 15 cents to the end product, he said.

At this point, it's just hearsay about the rise in clothing prices, and though it seems a bit far-fetched, a similar thing happened with bread when wheat prices went up a few years ago, Morgan said.

"There may only be only a nickel's worth of wheat in a loaf of bread, but a loaf of bread doubled in price when grain prices when up," he said. "I think it's an excuse for the manufacturers to blame it on the commodity price. A lot of people don't understand that there's not a one-to-one relationship there."

rd-burns@tamu.edu