If fashion is your passion...like it is for me, you probably already know this. BUT, I know there are some shoppers out there that are going about it all wrong and therefore I'm here to give you some very valuable info! Once I learned about "Cost per wear", it changed the way I shop forever.
Many people simply focus on the price of an item. Maybe they think it's absolutely nuts to spend a certain amount on a great pair of jeans, for example. The price tag isn't the only thing you need to consider... the true price has more to do with how often you'll wear it.
So, how do you figure out "cost per wear"? It's simple math... Think about this...How often would you wear that item in a typical month? Multiply that number by 12, (by 6 if it's seasonal like a heavy jacket). Multiply that by the number of years you expect to be able to wear the item (this is where quality comes into play). Divide the price by this number. This equals your "cost per wear". It's okay to ballpark it, it'll still give an idea if it's a good investment. Remember, a bargain is only a bargain if you're actually going to wear it!
Let me give you an example. See that picture of boots in this post? Those are my absolute favorite boots. Boots are probably my biggest weakness... I covet killer boots...Frye, Hunter, Stuart Weitzman, Rag and Bone, OH MY! None of them were cheap, but I considered "cost per wear" when I bought all of them. Some I haven't had very long, others I've worn for years. Let's take the ones second from the left. These are my Frye "Campus" boots that sell for $328. Sounds expensive when you just consider the price alone. Let's look at it a different way. First of all, they are "timeless". Lauren Hutton had these boots back in the seventies, so I'm not too worried about them going out of style and they still sell them today. I've worn them for 7 years, even in the rain, so the quality is definitely there. They are seasonal, so I have to factor that in. So let's do the math...
Price: $328. I'll guess, in the wintertime, I wear these at least 8 times per month (I probably wear them more because they're even great with dresses, but let's go low). We'll call them seasonal, so 8(wears per month) x 6 (months) equals 48 wears per year. I've worn them for 7 years so far...so 48 x 7 equals 336 wears to date. Now, I'm not stopping here, because I plan to wear these boots for many years to come...lets go low again and say another 5 years (they'll actually probably last a lifetime). So lets go back and take 48(wears per year) x 12 (years) which equals 576 (total wears). Divide price ($328) by total wears (576).... this equals the "cost per wear": 57 cents per wear. Hmmm. That sounds like a good investment piece to me.
Let's take another example. Let's take a "trendy" item. For this purpose, we'll say that sweatshirts with rhinestones on them are all the rage!! You'd like to add one to your closet. You find one that actually looks gorgeous and is very high quality. The price tag says $500. It's a trendy item, so it's memorable when worn, so you could only wear it once a month. Assuming that embellished sweatshirts may not be the most "timeless" of items, let's say you could wear it for a year before it's considered "OUT" (as Heidi Klum would say in her cute German accent). Your calculation would look like this...
1 (wear per month) x 6 (month - seasonal item) x 1 (year it will be "IN" fashion) = 6 wears.
$500(price) / 6 (wears) = $83 per wear.... Ouch! Leave that one on the rack unless you have money to burn.
Ok, so I bet you're thinking "When did math become a part of shopping??" Well, if this just sounds like too much to think about while you're fighting the crowds at Century 21 in Manhattan looking for that perfect bargain....I have great news for you...
There's an APP for THAT!! iPhone has an app called "Cost Per Wear".... and it's FREE!! Yes, I have this app. This is one of the tools I use. I always consider these things: "Cost per wear"... Is it a "staple" or a "trend"... Is it quality that will last for years...?
Consider more than JUST low price the next time you are shopping, look for VALUE, and hopefully this will make you a "smarter" shopper! :)