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The Cost Per Wear Formula

Have you ever heard about the Cost Per Wear formula?

You can calculate CPW on any item by taking its price plus the cost of maintenance and dividing that by the total number of times it was used. Say you buy a pair of boots for $200 and wear them 300 times, spend $100 to have them resoled, and wear them 300 more.

You spent a total of $300 to wear them 600 times.

But next time, if you have them resole again and spend another $100, you will have invested $400 and going to get around 900 wears, and so on.

What to Consider When It Comes to Cost Per Wear?

Will this item last through multiple washes and wears? Will it keep its shape and color? Will the fabric hold up?

Say you’re looking at two black sweaters in a similar style, a high-quality one priced at $100 and a low-quality one priced at $15.

If you could end up getting 200 wears out of the pricier one but only 20 wears out of the less expensive one before it starts to unravel or shrink, your cost per wear of the more expensive sweater would end up being lower, thereby giving you the better value.

Avoid the Low Cost-Per-Wear Trap

What you don’t want to do with the cost-per-wear formula is use it to justify buying up all the sale items just because they may ultimately have a low cost per wear, even if you only wear them a few times.

That shirt you found on the sale rack for $7.50 might seem like a great buy, but if you get it home only to let it hang in your closet for months on end between wears because you liked the price more than the shirt itself, that sale price is meaningless.

You don’t want to end up forcing yourself to wear something you dislike just because you feel obligated to bring down the cost per wear, and you don’t want to have to stare at a shirt you hate because you let a formula trick you into buying something you wouldn’t have looked twice at had it been full price.

Ultimately, if you don’t like the way an item of clothing looks on your body, you won’t end up getting any use out of it. So if a quality shirt that makes you feel like a hundred bucks is a little more expensive than the one that came from the 75% off rack but sits in your closet because you hate the way it drapes, it might be worth it, in the long run, to invest in the pricier shirt.

You can luck out by scoring a low sale price on a piece of clothing you know you’ll wear for years to come and love the fit of and that’s the sweetest of victories.

And if your mind is set on a trendy item, by all means, get it on sale if you can too. It’s totally okay to have fun with fashion! I would never discourage you to experiment and play around with color and fabric and textures.

The idea behind cost per wear is having a tool that helps you stop to think and make sure you’re about to make a purchase because it’s the right move and not because a sale tag caught your attention.

The key here is to understand than instead of buying $150 of cheap fabric, poorly cut items at Forever 21, or similar stores you might as well invest in a killer pair of black pants that will elongate your legs, shape your body and change your whole silhouette. Plus, you’ll keep them for years!

This formula applies to anything really, from clothes to luggage, to shoes to purses and even accessories and pieces of jewelry.

And remember: Quality will always make you stand out more than Quantity.

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