Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cost Per Wear

This has been a huge rationalization for people to buy items that are more high-end or designer than their normal budget. But when you sit down with the numbers, it's quite the startling discovery.

I figure the outer edge of pennies per wear is .99 cents. If you buy something that is $500, to get it to "pennies per wear" at the highest level, you must wear it 501 times! That perhaps makes sense if you are:

* buying suits
* buying good quality outerwear
* buying glasses
* buying practical or specialty footwear - good boots or pumps that can be resoled over and over again, etc.
* you are one of those people who TRULY uses one bag or tote until it falls apart

Lucky editor Andrea Linnett boasts that her beat-up up Louis Vuitton duffel is pennies per carry, and Budget Fashionista Finney claims that her sale Burberry trench got down to $1.50 a wear - with those kind of items it's completely plausible.

Still those can afford $500 suits often have enough stuff to keep the cost of wear on the new item higher for a while.

I decided to track three recent purchases to see how long it will actually get them down to "pennies" per wear.

Neiman Marcus brick red cashmere turtleneck sweater - $61.00 (sale price and shipping)
divided by 5 = $12.20/wear

Style & Co giraffe Print short trench coat- $35.00 (sale price) divided by 5 = $7.00/wear

Eddie Bauer cassis colored cords - $19.99 (sale price and shipping) divided by 4 = $4.99/wear

I'll see more wear on the coat and sweater as it gets colder - I got the good prices because they were seasonal clearance deals. Thanks to the unusually cool summer, my cords should be close to the pennies per wear mark by the end of the summer.

The most expensive cost per wear item in my wardrobe?
An Evan-Piccone black sheath dress with flutter sleeves and a tie in the front for $40. It was "mother of the bride" city.I wore it exactly once. And I ended up consigning it and it didn't even sell in the 90 day period. Rather, it went on clearance or to a thrift store which = $0 for the Diva.

Best cost per wear item in my wardrobe?
I"m not counting donations, that isn't exactly fair, but I would have to say the Target black nylon topper coat that cost $17.99 in 2004. I have easily worn it a hundred times in the past four years. It is still in fine shape (I got the giraffe coat because I just wanted to change it up) and it's 18 cents a wear at this point.

I think the point I am trying to make is that the old adage, "buy the best quality you can afford" is solid advice. However it makes sense to find that stuff which is truly well made and forget about the designer name. It helps if it is machine washable - or you dry clean it rarely. I have a couple of blouses that must be commercially dry cleaned. I wear them a lot, but thanks to that, their cost per wear isn't what it could be.

But if you can afford it, and it's lovely and it makes you happy, consider it a quality of life purchase. That's what I say; to myself when I suck my teeth in another dry cleaning bill.



Blogger Kim said...

What a cool experiment! I'm with you - I'm not really into buying super high end pieces, but I can see it for a staple item. I'll be watching your updates on this topic!

8:25 AM  

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