As you already know I’m a big advocate of investing in quality pieces which will be in your wardrobe for years to come. Slow fashion is all about making the most of what you own and getting as much wear as possible out of your clothes. However, I do understand that sometimes the higher cost of quality (although it’s important to note that high cost doesn’t always equal quality, read my tips on how to shop for quality) can be a little intimidating. It can sometimes be tough to know whether or not something is a good investment. You want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth. It doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive item or not, it’s still money spent and you want to be sure it’s worth it.
One way to determine whether or not a purchase is value for money is calculating the cost per wear. The cost per wear formula can be a useful tool in helping make the decision to invest. The cost per wear formula looks at how much wear (or use) you will get out of a piece to assess its value for money. To work out the cost per wear of an item you just divide the price of the item by a number of times you have worn it (or estimate you’ll wear it).
For example, you might find yourself comparing 2 dresses one from a fast fashion high street store for £20 and another dress from a designer store for £150. Obviously, there is a large price difference so you may be more tempted to go for the cheaper option. But if we look at the cost per wear, the high street option may not be the best investment. The £20 is unlikely to be good quality and may only last a couple of washes or could be a trend led piece which you wouldn’t keep after one season. Say you wear that £20 dress 3 times, then the cost per wear would be £6.66. The £150 designer dress is for of an investment piece so should be much better quality than the £20 option and will hopefully be a classic design which you will want in your wardrobe for years to come. Say you wear the £150 dress 40 times (over a number of years) the cost per wear would also be £3.75. In this case, the cost per wear of the designer dress works out at less than the lower priced high street option. You’ve also had the designer dress for several years, eliminating the need to pay another dress in this time, whereas with the cheaper dress you would have needed to replace the dress after only 3 wears. In the long term, the £150 works out as a much better buy than the £20 dress.
While calculating the cost per wear can be useful when determining whether or not a big ticket item is worth the splurge, it shouldn’t be used to justify something you would wear. We’ve all been there seeing something on sale and telling ourselves we’ll wear it loads to try and justify the purchase. The cost per wear formula only works if your completely honest with yourself and provide a realistic estimate on how often you will wear something.
A bargain is only a bargain if we wear it
It’s also worth pointing out that a low-cost per doesn’t change the initial price of the item. In the example above the cost per wear of £3.75 doesn’t change the actual cost of the dress. You still have to pay that £150 for the dress, but because you will wear it 40 times the cost per wear is low. Calculating the cost per wear is helpful when working out whether or not something is worth the money and definitely, doesn’t change the cost of an item.