Making the Most of Your Wardrobe: Cost Per Wear

I just read an article in the March 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar about the Cost Per Wear concept and it’s definitely something that I have been trying to embrace. Cost Per Wear (CPW) revolves around the idea of putting your money towards a piece of clothing that you will continually wear while embracing the outlook that it’s like an investment. The more times you wear it, the better the returns on your initial purchase.

I’ve always considered CPW when making purchases, whether the item is a Miu Miu bag or a Forever 21 blouse. In a way, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve spent $20.00 or $2,000.00 on an item, as long as you adore it and get your use out of it. As an example, I’ll share a few of my favorite purchases:

I bought this blouse two years ago for about $20.00 at everyone’s favorite cheap chic emporium, Forever 21. Since then, I’ve regularly worn it especially when traveling since it’s so easy to pack. It has shown up more times than any other piece of clothing in my outfit photos, too (here, here, here, here and here!) Overall, I’ve worn it at least 20 times. $20.00 / 20 wearings = $1.00 CPW.

Definitely my biggest purchase to date, I bought this as my graduation gift when I finished college. I’ve carried this bag nearly every day since July 2008 and it’s already down to $2.50 CPW! It’s still my favorite bag and has held up amazingly, so I see myself carrying it for years to come.

My mom bought me this coat back in 2000 during my first semester of college. It was on sale at Nordstrom for $80.00 and I still wear it almost every day! I’ve easily worn it 1,000 times. So, $80.00 / 1,000 wearings = 8 cents CPW! Pretty amazing, huh?

It’s about time that we embrace wearing our favorite clothing, shoes and accessories repeatedly. Sophie Buhai of the fashion label Vena Cava says, “If a garment can be worn time and again and then reinvented 10 years later, you know it’s a good design.” There’s no point in buying an item just because it’s on sale if you don’t plan on getting your use out of it. It’s much better to buy what you love and wear it for years, even decades. Wise purchases can last a lifetime.

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