Cost per Wear

Throughout my life, I’ve been somewhat confused about the career path that I wanted to take. In secondary school and college, I did all science and technology classes…Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science (I know what you’re thinking…Ewww!). It was only after I finished my two years of college that I realized that I didn’t want to do that anymore. Out of the blue, I decided that I wanted to study Accounting. Exit science and technology, and enter business.

In my undergrad years in university, I majored in Accounting. However, in my final year, I switched it to Finance. Yes! There is a difference between the two! Somehow, with my Finance degree, I landed a job as an Accounting Clerk after graduation. Now almost five years later, I’m a Finance Manger, and I’m back in school doing my masters in Accounting. Still with me? I pretty much did it all backwards, and I’ve been bounced all over the place. I’m 50% convinced at this point in time that a full time career in fashion is what I need to be doing, but another day and another post for that. Anyway, one thing that never changed in all this indecisiveness is my love for all things number-related. Algebra, geometry, calculus…..piece of cake! So imagine how excited I was when I read the book, What I Wore by Jessica Quirk and discovered this equation:

Cost per wear = Item cost/Times worn

Even though this equation is pretty much straight forward (at least to me), I never really thought about it like that. Sure, I would determine if a purchase was worth it based on how many times I would wear it, but I never really put it into an actual equation in my head.

Take for example this work bag.

I paid about $30 for it about a year ago, and I use it about twice a week for a total of about 104 times. Let’s use 100 to make this easier. So, if Cost per wear = Item cost/Times worn, then

Cost per wear = $30/100
                      = $0.30

That’s a bargain to me!

Now, let’s look at my favorite pair of boots.

I don’t remember how much they cost, but it probably was somewhere around $50. Although these are my favorite pair, they’re my least worn boots. I always feel like I need to save them for a special occasion, and I’ve probably only worn them around five times. So,

Cost per wear = $50/5
                      = $10

Hmmm…I guess I need to wear them more often next winter.

These costs per wear are relatively small, but what about those big ticket purchases? We’ve all come across a designer handbag that would look perfect in our closet, or maybe a pair of shoes costing $300. If these items will be worn for a significant amount of time, then sure! Treat yourself to the splurge. But, if you’re only going to use those items about once per year, then that’s your queue to move on to something more affordable. Take a smart approach to shopping and not walk away just because something seems expensive. Evaluate its worth by reviewing the potential cost per wear.

What about you guys? Do you take a different approach to evaluate and rationalize your purchases?

Keeping it Classy,


  1. March 4, 2012 / 11:24 pm

    interesting thought process

  2. March 5, 2012 / 2:10 am

    Fully agree with this rationale…I guess I do the same thing, although I never put it in an equation…but I do evaluate in my mind how much wear I'm getting from an item…so I generally don't have a problem making "expensive" purchases, because I know I'll get my money's worth…and of course "expensive" is relative to what I can afford

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