The importance of ‘cost per wear’

Spring is here and it comes with the height of shopping season. For this occasion, I ’m sharing a secret that I always arm my clients with. I call it “cost per wear.” Here’s how it works:

In your closet, find three items that get the most use and three that get the least. On a sheet of paper, create two columns and estimate the cost you paid for each item. Total both columns. Now estimate how many times you have worn each item and tally. Divide the total cost by total wear in each column and that will give your average cost per wear. Are you surprised by the outcome? Any savvy shopper knows, your most costly items in the wardrobe need to be the ones that are used the most. Adding a few high-quality items each season makes sense when they can be used in multiple looks. A pair of shoes that cost $500 and can be worn more than 20 times this season becomes only $25 per wear versus the shoes you pay $80 for that hurt your feet even in the store and leave you crippled and bloodied for weeks the first time you wear them. They stay $80 per wear once you vow to never put them on again.

Before spending money this spring, do the math. You’ve been inundated with trends and must-have lists. Determine which ones speak most to who you are as an individual and then splurge. Oftentimes, things that are more expensive are made better, with a higher-quality fabric and a shape that can fool the eye and make you look trimmer. They last longer and they stay more relevant in the world of fashion.

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By Tim Sheldon

Hello, I’m Tim. Over my 15-year career in the fashion and hospitality industries, I have worked as a stylist to numerous celebrities and industry leaders, including a stint as the personal assistant and stylist to Sean “Diddy” Combs. I’m serious about dressing well. In fact, I design all of my own shirts, suits and formal wear, working directly with my tailor, visiting his workshop twice a year to oversee the construction, cut, fit and finish of all my clothes.