Let me talk to you about everyone’s favorite subject (including my own) — shopping.
How about we start off with an exercise? Think about everything you bought in the last month. Exclude food, rent, bills, what have you — just think about all the clothes and beauty goodies that you scooped up from the first of the month until today. I’m willing to bet your list has at least several pairs of shorts, skirts, dresses, and tops, a countless number of rings and things, and let’s not even get into how many lipsticks you scooped up because they were BOGO at CVS. Now add all of it up — what you remember, anyway. If you don’t have receipts, round it up. How do you like that number? Is it in the hundreds? Thousands?
The issue isn’t that us girls like fast fashion. Lower end doesn’t necessarily translate to savings: just think about how many pairs of leggings you bought for less than $10 at a major retailer in the last six months.
The thing with lower-priced products is that they’re not meant to withstand the test of time and wear. Think back to those leggings. How many times did you wear them before you got a tear, or before they bagged out? Sure, they were probably super cute when you first picked them up, but how much did you actually wear them before you threw them in your Donate to Goodwill pile?
I like to think of it as somewhat of an equation: cost/wear, or cost per wear. Let’s take that proverbial pair of leggings, which we’ll say, for arguments sake, cost $10. How many times did you end up wearing them? Let’s say 5 times before they became too baggy or lumpy. The cost per wear of the leggings — $10 divided by 5 — is $2. Bet those leggings don’t look all that appetizing now, huh?
Let’s take a splurge item — say, a pair of Splendid leggings that are guaranteed to last you to the apocalypse and back. As of today, they’re $55. Say you’ll wear them 30 times (and I’m being stingy here — trust me, you can live the rest of your life in those things). Do the math, and you should get $1.83 as the cost per wear. With this formula, those Splendid leggings came out to be cheaper than the $10 pair. Crazy, right?
There is somewhat of a curve to consider here. The formula only works for basic items — you know, things that would never go out of style. I’m talking about slouchy tees, minidresses, ankle boots, denim; you know, things you buy to purposely wear over and over again. Trend items — think totally trashed jeans, comfort sandals, anything Kim Kardashian wears — are only meant to be worn once or twice before they go out of style and are forced to be hidden in the back of your wardrobe.
Cost per wear doesn’t really work because, well, how many times are you really going to wear those cutout harem pants?
So, as you can see, there are occasions that splurging is, in fact, the more cost-effective thing to do. However, saving is still important — especially on trend items. A true fashionista can combine the two seamlessly, and create a seamless, wonderfully curated closet – you’ll even save enough money to get that fancy electric fruit reamer you’ve always wanted.
What are your thoughts? Do you follow the rule of cost per wear when you shop? Let us know in the comments below!