Clothes Shopping and the Cost-Per-Wear Factor

Posted on Apr 30th, 2018 | Budgeting

Kayla Byers is a coworker from the sales department and has more fashion sense than several of our editorial staff put together.

This past weekend I went shopping. Now, considering that I spent my high school and college days working in women’s consignment, it’s a rare occasion that I will actually go to a mall setting to purchase clothing. However, due to the onslaught of weddings that I have to attend this summer, as well as some business conferences, it was time to hit the outlet mall. A couple of days later I was talking to a coworker bemoaning the fact that a jacket I liked at the J.Crew outlet was still $150 when another coworker asked me what qualifications I have when purchasing clothing. I didn’t even hesitate before saying “price, style, and quality.” I have never been one who believes in quantity over quality. I would much rather have a few quality pieces that are classics and will last, than piles of poorly made clothing.

To me, it comes down to the cost-per-wear factor. I could spend $20 on a pair of denim that will probably fall apart after a year, or I could spend $75 on a pair of classic dark wash denim that will last for years and I can wear several times a week without them stretching out. When you take into account how many times you will wear the item and how long it will last, you can figure the cost-per-wear and decide if it’s a good purchase.

Three years ago I bought a pair of $300 boots. It was more than I had ever spent on a single item for my wardrobe. However, the boots are a classic style, made in the USA, and have a reputation for lasting for decades. Figuring that I have already worn these boots about 200 times, my cost-per-wear on those boots is down to around $0.67 $1.50 a wear. And it’s only been three years. I consider those boots to be a good purchase-even though I almost cried when I bought them because they seemed so expensive.

That being said when I do purchase a trend-of-the-moment garment I will look for an item that is inexpensive, knowing that I will probably only wear it for one season. I love a sequins tank-top as much as the next girl, but it’s not something I am going to spend much of my hard earned money on, because I know that it’s a passing trend.

Knowing how to figure the cost-per-wear on an item can help you decided which pieces are worth spending a little extra money on and which pieces its better to hit Forever 21 for. Taking the time to think about your purchases will save you a lot of money, and heartache when the sequins fall off the tank top you just bought.