Deeply Closet Series: The Cost Per Wear Equation

Jillian Edwards in the Scotland Sweater in camel (shop in our store!)

Jillian Edwards in the Scotland Sweater in camel (shop in our store!)

Good morning! Bet you didn't expect to come to the Deeply blog today and find yourself in math class. Don't worry- if you've made it through the fourth grade, I feel confident in your abilities to understand what we like to call the "cost per wear equation"- math that you SHOULD be using in real life, unlike pre-calculus! If you've been following along in this series, then you are definitely aware that we are all about shopping smarter, with intention, and slowing down the fashion cycle. Today, we give you the mathematical formula that backs up our preachin'!

Without realizing it, you may have solved some form of this equation in your head before. When choosing to spend our hard earned cash, we want to make sure we're not only getting a bargain, but that we'll also get our money's worth! However, too often we only focus on the bargain portion and forget how long said Forever 21 item will actually last us (if you're lucky, 2 wash cycles). I hope to ease your mind today on going for that "splurge" by showing you that buying quality, with intention and within your budget, will maximize your closet's potential.

The equation: cost of item / amount of times you'll wear a piece in its lifetime = cost per wear

First of all, you don't have to have an exact number to get a ballpark figure. Ballpark figures will get you close enough. To practice, go to your closet and take out 2 items- one that is a tried and true favorite, and one that you bought on impulse and has barely seen the light of day. I'll take my closet as an example:

Item 1: Frye Boots: $458 (bought on promotion for $300)

I bought these boots in 2013. I would estimate, in the winter, I wear them 3 times a week at minimum. I wear these around 5 months of the year (even though it's not cold enough in Texas, we sweat in boots to wish winter our way). So that comes to about 60 times/year. I've worn these for 3 years to date, so that's around 180 wears total. These are made of Italian leather and have a Goodyear welt, meaning, as long as I take care of them, I can wear them almost a limitless amount of years. I'll go ahead and cap them at 10 years for illustration's sake. 10 years at 60 wears per year is 600 wears. $300 divided by 600 wears = $0.50 per wear! Amazing! I'd say these are conservative estimates even, so I'm going to pat myself on the back for this timeless purchase.

Item 2: Sole Society Black Pumps: $79.98 (bought on sale for $55, similar below)

A couple of years ago, I was starting a corporate job and knew I was in desperate need of some black pumps for every day. I also had a lot of "wants" on my list as well, and since I wanted to satisfy both the wants and the needs at the same time, I opted to forgo quality on my heels in order to get a few tops as well. While the style was cute, I should have known the leather was not high quality and the heel height wasn't walkable (especially for downtown transit!). I decided to try them anyway, and after 2 wears and too many blisters later, I knew they'd never see the light of day again. On top of that, the leather scratched and the sole was coming out. After 2 wears! $55 divided by 2 wears = $27.50 per wear. It cost me around 3 hours of work for the amount of wear I got out of these shoes.

This is not to say that Frye boots are ALWAYS the right call or that Sole Society doesn't have quality shoes (just the opposite! I've had some great mules from them that I've worn for years). This is about evaluating your purchase BEFORE you make it. Ask yourself- how many wears are you planning on getting out of it? Based on history with this brand, do you trust that the quality will still be there years from now?

I'm all for a few fun purchases here and there- that's what makes fashion fun. But, it is TOTALLY worth it to purchase one staple item (and not shop for a few months after if need be!) every couple of years, or every couple of months, to build up a wardrobe you love and that lasts. Think about the impact that can have on the environment and society as well! Less waste. Less demand on fast fashion that enslaves people all over the world. Better peace of mind.

This month, try investing in a staple sweater you're always needing but never willing to spend your whole month's budget on- I think you'll find you're really saving in the end. Shop Deeply is intentionally small- we only invest in the brands we believe in- brands that support small business, ethical sourcing, empowering women worldwide, while never sacrificing quality. We'd be thrilled if you invested with us as you explore the value of the cost per wear equation.

Hamptons Cardigan in Cream (shop in our store!)

Hamptons Cardigan in Cream (shop in our store!)

Jillian EdwardsComment