Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Little Bit of Math: Cost-per-Wear

The price tag on a piece of clothing tells you one thing about the garment it is affixed to: how much the garment costs. What it doesn't tell you is whether or not the item is quality, how often you will wear it, or how many weeks, months, years you will continue to wear it. And yet so often we will make our clothing choices based on price tag alone.

The same price tag may elicit many different responses: What? That's too expensive! Eeew...too cheap for me. Cool! It's on sale! No thank you...marked down merhandise is passe. Is this price for real?

Let me introduce you to the concept of cost-per-wear. Cost-per-wear is a way of assessing a garment's true cost to you. I'm going to take a stab here and guess that most of you aren't in the habit of buying an item of clothing to wear only once. (If you are, then The Very Small Closet is probably not your cup of tea.) But let's pretend for just a moment. You buy a dress for $200 that you will wear just once. That is $200 x 1 wearing = a cost-per-wear of $200. But if you should wear that dress twice, the cost-per-wear drops to $100. If, over the course of the dress's lifetime it gets worn 50 times, the cost per wear is now $4. Another example: Let's say you buy a cheap and trendy t-shirt for $18. After two washings it's already falling apart. You wear it one more time before it gets lost somewhere in the back of your closet. Cost-per-wear? $6. Comparing the two examples, you can see that the dress (almost 11x's more expensive than the shirt) was actually the better deal.

Of course these are just examples, but you can see how the price tag of an item may not be the sole predictor of a garment's true value to you.

Next time I'll show how cost-per-wear is maximized by a pared down wardrobe.

See you later...same blog time...same blog channel....

(For more information on wardrobe planning, or to sign up for my free e-zine, please visit my Wardrobe Planning Website.)


Matthew Shields said...

This is so funny that you brought this up I just had the conversation with someone a few weeks ago. She didn't like this view at all but makes since to me


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RobFromGa said...

I've got a Georgia Tech sweatshirt that I gto for $15 that I used to wear a lot and now I work out on the treadmill in, and I just calculated its cost per wearing at about 1.8 cents per wearing.

I have a suit that I paid $425 for when I was in the process of losing 100 pounds (I needed it because I was meeting with Fred Thompson and my Georgia Tech sweatshirt didn't seem appropriate) and I only wore it once and it was then way too big. Cost per wearing $425, and that was a 90 minute wearing... (well worth it to meet Fred!)

Seize the Day,
Rob Northrup
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Lisa M. McLellan said...

This is exactly how I think Jenn. I have to be sure I will wear that new blouse $50.00 worth or I won't buy it. Same idea. love the post. Hey, do you know the code to put a link on here. April told me once but I forgot.

DIYlawyer said...

I have never thought of it this way with respect to clothes but it makes cents.

Robert Kaufer

Kevin Hogan said...

cost per wear
an economic principle i learned from my friend katherin scott when i inquired about the outragous price of what she was wearing!

Lena Milukh said...

what a nice post
it is a clever math
I had actually such an experience,that what was cheaper bought end up in a rubbish bin very quickly.and i have few clothes for years,they probably cost coins now.

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Darryl Pace said...


Never thought of clothes in a cost per wear fashion. I like that. It actually makes me feel pretty good when I think about some of my clothing choices over the years.

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

Hi Jenn,

I giggle over that idea of thinking, cost-per-wear.

THe only garment I bought to wear once was my wedding dress! And I think that is the case for most women. Even if we are divorced or a widow like myself, our plan is to wear a NEW dress for The NExt one! lol!

These are great wardrobe, style, and fashion tips and advise. Thanks!

April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

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anamarie said...

simultaneously was doing a mental inventory and calculating while reading your post. it got me to want to wear the other clothes that i got but never came round enjoying them to its worth. Thank you Jenn.. keep dressing it up.


David J Parnell said...

I am amazed at the different perspectives that you are using in looking at your wardrobe! This is incredibly helpful in taking a much more cognitive and pragmatic approach... Great!

David J. Parnell
Communication Expert

John Ho - Melbourne, Australia said...

"Cost per wear", Great practical concept.

I still have a new black suit that I haven't worn even once after I bought it about a year ago!

John Ho
Understanding Personalities for Better Influence & Persuasion

JohnWShoemaker said...

Quality feels great on you..never goes out of style...and is recognized by those who know.

Intuitive John Shoemaker

Happiness and Peace Of Mind Consultant

Scott Bel said...

CPW applied to clothing great idea. Cost per wear is a great idea as a way to approach getting value for your clothing shopping keep up the great work Jennifer.

Make it a great one!

Scott Bell

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