Want to justify your extravagant buys? Calculate Cost Per Wear

Haven’t we all come across a ‘to-die-for’ dress that’s really beyond our budget but we absolutely can’t seem to pass it up? If you are not the dress loving kind, it could have been a pair of shoes or a bag or probably a watch. If you buy it, you feel miserable about spending so much. You don’t and you curse yourself for not yielding to your temptations. Well, let me introduce you to a concept called Cost Per Wear (CPW) to ease the dilemma a little…


CPW is arrived at by apportioning the cost of the item over the number of times you have worn it. For instance, if you bought a $250 dress and wore it 10 times till date, your CPW is $25 (250/10). Now it doesn’t seem like an indulgence, does it?


Consider this Scenario

You go to a boutique to buy shoes and you saw this amazing pair of Jimmy Choos for $200 but you don’t think you should spend so much on one pair of shoes. Then you stop by a mass retailer and find shoes on sale for $10. It’s not something you really want and definitely not a substitute for $200 shoes but $10 can’t hurt anyone! So you go ahead and buy it even though you can easily live without it. You wear it out the next day and the heel breaks. There, your $10 down the drain! Your CPW is $10 coz you just wore it once! Now had you bought the $200 pair and worn it say, 20 times, which works out to less than twice a month in one year, the CPW would still have been $10. Now wouldn’t you rather show off in $200 designer shoes than waste good money over bad quality? Please bear in mind that, I am neither implying mass retailer shoes lack quality not am I asking you to splurge on designer wear. All I am saying is, if we want something real bad, it’s ok to indulge once in a while, provided you can do justice to your purchase.
The following points, if considered before making the purchase, will help bring down the CPW:


How many times will you wear that dress before retiring it?

If you are buying a new dress for your friend’s wedding, you also want to make sure you can wear it on other occasions. If you purchased a very dressy dress that can only be worn to a wedding, then stop and think if it’s really worth all that money. How many weddings can you go to wearing the same dress? You might be better off buying something that is wedding appropriate but at the same time can also be worn to a party with friends.


Mix and Match

The idea is to bring your CPW down without wearing the same look to every party. The easiest way to repeat an expensive piece without repeating the look is by using mix and match. It’s easier to get a new look each time if you purchase separates. Instead of buying a whole dress, buy a blouse or a skirt or a trouser that you can dress up or dress down depending on the occasion. This way you will find newer ways of wearing the same piece without making it obvious thereby bringing your CPW down. But, if you end up with an expensive dress, make sure you never wear the same accessories each time you wear the dress. Also try to use jackets or scarves to give it a fresh appearance each time.


Beware of Trends

Trends come and go. Don’t get stuck with an expensive piece that will get outdated before you wear it the second time! Stick to all time classics. If you are spending more money than you normally would, you want to make sure it’s survive (outlast) all trends for a long time to come. It’s good to be conservative when the stake is high!


Invest in Accessories

Buying expensive shoes or bags make more sense than clothes. It’s a lot easier to find opportunities to wear them again and again. Also, people don’t realize you are repeating the same shoes especially when you pair them with different clothes each time. A simple day outfit can be made evening appropriate by wearing it with expensive shoes or bag. Your accessories steal the show.

Remember the more you wear the expensive purchase, the lower the CPW.



  • A better way of arriving at the worth of an item is by calculating it’s Cost Per Wear instead of looking at the purchase price
  • Make sure the expensive item is not so dressy that it can’t be dressed down – there will be hardly any occasion to wear it and it will end up with a high CPW
  • Buying expensive separates will help create newer outfits easily
  • Don’t fall for trends – stick to classics when exceeding your budget
  • Expensive accessories are your best bet to dress up any look while bringing down the CPW since they can be repeated without anyone catching you


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