Feb 3, 2018
I talk about cost-per-wear a lot. I factor it into my decision making with so many purchases, feel good (even excited) when I am driving down the CPW on a garment, and encourage clients to consider this theory when waffling on pricier or investment purchases.
Here is the forumula in its most basic form:
Cost/Wear (ie: how much you paid divided by number of times worn)
This comes in handy with pieces that are going to be workhorses in your wardrobe; or that you are going to wear over several years. They may be more expensive, but, if you invest in good quality they will serve you well over time and should end up owing you nothing. Watches, classic jewelry, leather jacket, quality footwear, winter coat etc.
Here's an example from my own closet. A couple of years ago, I was in the market for a new pair of dark skinny jeans. I knew I would wear them a lot, and that comfort and fit were key. I did my research and ended up splurging on a pair of the Paige Transcend Denim as they got stellar reviews on the ultra soft fabric and shape-holding technology.
At the time I paid around $200. On average I wear them about 3 times a week (weekends and some week nights) in all months except summer. I have already had them over 2 years and they are still going strong.
$200/240 approx wears so far = .83 cents per wear
So, I am already less than a dollar per wear with a lot of wear left in them. That is math that makes sense to me - and I feel good about the purchase.
Last March, I was in New York with a girlfriend. I came across a cropped denim jacket with lace detail. I felt it was a splurge at almost $200 (USD), but I was on vacation and the piece made me happy. Another thing I tell clients is, if it brings you joy (yes, I am drawing upon the Marie Kondo tidying philosophy), there can be some justification in that as well.
Little did I know, it would quickly become one of those pieces I wear all the time, and that I would be congratulating myself on its cost-per-wear. And, because I don it so frequently, it's cropping up in many photos that have special memories attached. There is added value in that for sure. Joy, memories and multiple wears driving the cost down.
Here is the jacket in our engagement photos:
Family dinner at Disney:
Cheese and wine tasting tour in Paris (on our honeymoon)
Looking at these photos, I know there is also something to the concept of love-per-wear which I recently read about in a blogpost by Modern Mrs. Darcy. This equation isn't clear-cut. It is a...you feel it in your gut kind of thing. Some pieces may fall in both categories like my denim jacket (it brings me joy, has wonderful memories attached, and I wear it enough to see financial benefits over time). Others, will never be like that, but pack such emotional punch - you don't regret a penny spent.
Here are some of my own recent examples:
Embroidered dress bought to wear to my bridal shower:
Cost: $250/4 wears = $62.50 a wear
Ok, not the best $$ return yet and most likely never will be. But, when I consider I wore it and felt fabulous at my shower, at the Ovarian cancer gala, to another work gala with my husband and for dinner at the Eiffel tower...my gut tells me it was a good investment. And, it is hanging at the ready in next time I need a pretty dress to wear.
At my bridal shower:
At the Ovarian cancer gala:
Dinner in the Eiffel Tower:
And lastly, this example is the easiest of all for me, and where I realize you have to think about love-per-wear when justifying purchases.
Cost: $1200/1 wear = $1200 per wear
Worth it for how I felt on that day (though maybe I should plan a party where everyone wears a wedding or old bridesmaid dress to start driving the cost down...). But, in the meantime, I will justify it through the endless enjoyment I receive from the pictures. That's got to count for something.
I agree whole-heartedly with Modern Mrs. Darcy's words: "The maximizer in me loves CPW, but I also want to open my closet and see clothes I love. Love per wear: it's a real thing".
So now when I talk fasion math with my clients - there are 2 very important and rewarding equations to consider. I see value in both.