Cost Per Wear for Smart Shopping

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Cost Per Wear

Happy Monday, ladies!  Let’s begin with a style talk on cost per wear for smart shopping.

I noticed in the comment’s this past Saturday for Would You Wear It that some of you are beginning to reference cost per wear in your decision making.

That is good to know, because in this current financial climate, it just makes sense to include cost per wear for smart shopping decisions.

Cost per wear is a component I always think about since it does involve mini-decisions when making a purchase.

I am featuring a variety of garments today that I will explain the cost per wear as we go forward.


cost per wear

A standard definition of cost per wear is: “a methodology of breaking down the initial upfront cost of a garment by how many times you’re actually going to wear it.

In 2018,  Glamour created a cost per wear calculator and I find it to be very helpful. 

Allow me to demonstrate how it works on the first picture in today’s post.

The silk Eileen Fisher jacket I am wearing is perhaps one the of the expensive items in my closet.

I purchased it for special occasions in 2014, and it has served me so well.  I wear it with dresses, skirts, jeans, and in today’s picture cream colored JC Penney jeans.

Every single time I wear it, I am asked, “Where can I buy that jacket?” 

So, was it worth it?  Follow on this calculator with me:

Initial Cost:  $425

How Often: Special Occasions (This is where the CPW goes higher since I do not wear it for everyday wear)

Which Season:  I have worn this jacket in all seasons where I live in a warmer climate

Dry Cleaned:  Well, yes, but since I have washed it in a delicate cycle before, I picked NO

How long will you consistently wear it: At least 4 years….I have know worn it for 8 years (so actually the cost per wear is probably lower, of course higher quality garments have more longevity)


Cost Per Wear

This is the highest cost per wear item I own, but I can live with that since I love and have worn the jacket so often.

Now, let’s go to the JCP jeans I styled with the jacket and see the cost per wear:

Cost of the Item: $20

How Often:  Once a week

Which Season:  Again,  I wear these all seasons

Dry Cleaned: NOPE

How long will you consistently wear them:  At least four years…(Unless my desire to lose more weight makes them too baggy)

The Cost Per Wear?

cost per wear

Almost every purchase I have made at JCP in the last year calculates with a zero and yes, I do look at the fabric quality when I purchase.

In the second picture, I am wearing an Eileen Fisher jacket I purchased on sale at Dillard’s a few years ago and again, I wear it often!

My cost per wear on the jacket is $2.  On the lace Ralph Lauren top, it is $1.

Though I purchased it at a consignment shop for $16, I do not wear it that often.

Of course, we want that cost per wear to be as low as possible to justify our purchases.

I really believe the pants in my wardrobe that have the lowest cost per wear and have withstood years of wear are my Eileen Fisher pants.


cost per wear

We often discuss here how to be smart shoppers with the goal to lower the cost per wear.

I am completely different from other bloggers over 50 with my systems, but they do lower my cost per wear.

When I do not follow them, I spend unnecessary money.

Here is an outline of how I make smart shopping decisions in order to lower my cost per wear:

cost per wear

  1. The decision to only wear my best colors has had the largest impact on my cost per wear.  As a vibrant autumn palette, my wardrobe now works together, in every season, as a team. I no longer have colors sticking out in the closet that don’t belong or that don’t help me to look my best.  If an item is not in my color palette, I do not think twice about purchasing it.
  2.  I wear and shop my style adjectives.  The garments I purchase have to tell the world that I am approachable, joyful, current, polished and creative.  If they do not communicate these messages about me, I am not going to wear them and that drives the cost per wear higher.
  3. I keep in mind who I am and what my real life is now.  I no longer need a professional work wardrobe, but I do need a few outfits for special blogging occasions or family occasions.  I am a real woman over 60 living in a suburban neighborhood.  Not a high flying lifestyle…but a life of fun, grandparenting, activity and joy.  If I am going to experiment with fashion and creative style, I am most likely going to do that at Goodwill SA in order to lower the cost per wear….since the number of wears would be lower.  Also, when I purchase items specifically for colder weather, I am always going to buy them on clearance/sale prices in order to lower the cost per wear.  We have a short cold season here and I must do that. 
  4. The fit of any garment I wear often has got to promote confidence and flatter my curves.  Fit is so important for smart shopping.
  5. Bottom line….your cost per wear will be lower if you feel CONFIDENT in what you are wearing.  If you don’t….the garments sit in the closet and you wasted money.  Just remember: color, style adjectives, fit and lifestyle for cost per wear success.

If you do not understand who you are and what you want to tell the world about you at this stage of life, the style adjectives are the best way to get there.

I do calculate my shoes and every pair in this post has a low cost per wear…in fact, it is almost time to retire the bronze ballet flats…so sad.

cost per wear

Also, be creative with how you use the garments you own.

I lowered the cost per wear of this kimono from Soft Surroundings by taking it from out of the house daywear, to a robe over a nightgown at home.

I found I like it better the second way and decide to keep it in the last wardrobe purge.

I hope these guidelines are helping as you consider cost per wear for your wardrobe.

It is by far more than simply looking for a great price.  

You can buy that sale garment, but if you never wear it, your cost per wear is the price of what you paid. 

But, spending $100 on a perfect pair of pants that you wear 100 times takes you to $1 cost per wear.  

The calculations matter, but so do the reasons why you wear garments more than others.

Any questions or comments on Cost Per Wear?  Please share and I hope this assisted many of you….now go out and about and….


By Pamela Lutrell

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cost per wear

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