Cost per wear: is it a real thing? I’ve read lots of articles about using cost-per-wear to determine if a clothing purchase is a good value. The basic idea: even if an item is expensive at purchase time, repeated wearings bring the actual per-wear price down to something quite reasonable. The Pretty Planeteer blog has an explanation and examples here.
For us math-challenged shoppers, here’s a fun calculator to speed up the decision making.
I love to analyze! (The opposite of my personal philosophy is probably, “Well, that’s the way it is.”) So here’s my tl;dr on cost-per-wear (CPW): The concept is a reasonable one for certain categories of clothing.
A good leather handbag is worth a few dollars. Handbags are such a personal choice, though, and you can rotate through lots of fun, thrifted bags in a year for the price of one “good” one. It’s hilarious to apply CPW to a super-high-end handbag. Here’s a fetching one for a cool $5,500. If I wear it 7 days a week for 5 years, that’s only Three Bucks a Day for my handbag! But . . . . I know I won’t want to wear the same bag every day for five years, will you?
So Question #1 for you, Do you prefer variety, or one/two higher-end handbags?
Question #2 – What’s the oldest pair of shoes you own and still wear regularly? Mine are probably a pair of Børn ankle boots, about $100, purchased five years ago. They are my best walking shoes for NYC and they look good with all my jeans and skirts.
A couple of cashmere sweaters and a high quality wool coat are the only other items I’d permit myself to spend a bundle on. Cashmere lasts for a long time and keeps its good looks, if washed carefully. A quality coat or jacket will do me for a decade in Florida, and makes any winter outfit look more special.
After handbags, shoes/boots and coats, the CPW starts to lose its power. For example, I used to think suits should be purchased with the “investment” philosophy. But I never really did get my money’s worth out of the wicked expensive ones. The styles changed just enough that they looked dated, or I got tired of the cut/color long before the CPW was reasonably low.
Everyday pieces — cardigans, shirts, knit tops, skirts, jeans, et al — I just can’t spend too much on these and justify it with a CPW. Consignment and thrift shopping have spoiled me for full, high-retail on these pieces. For example, I’d have to wear this beautiful skirt about 300 times to get it down to a CPW of $5.00. My lovely chevron thrifted skirt gets the job done in two and a half wears.
“Try to do quality and cut down on quantity.”–Vivienne Westwood
What’s your take on cost-per-wear and “Investment Dressing”?
Stay safe, xo
Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse: