Monday, March 02, 2009

Cost-per-wear

There is an interesting phenomenon that sweeping the fashion -and even celebrity - world: Cost per wear.

I've never really understood this, least I didn't at first. It seemed like a way to justify and rationalize spending a lot of money on something.

"Oh the Chanel bag is totally worth it, because of cost-per-wear. If I wear it everyday, then it equals only $5" or blah blah blah. Something like that.

See, the problem I have with that is, no matter if the bag ends up being $5 because you use it all the time, it STILL has cost you 2K to buy. It's not like the more you use it, the more Chanel refunds you money or something like that. It still cost an arm and a leg, or a vacation (the way I rationalize expensive things...I could buy this bag, or a trip to Cuba).

So people then say, "Oh well if I "invest" in a Chanel bag and use it all the time, I won't have any need for any other bags."

This makes a bit more sense...let's look at it that way: if you buy, say, 5 bags a year with a grand total of $500, you can forgo buying any bags for - um - four years, in order to make up for it.

Now, I don't know about you, but Chanel or Dior or Hermes or what, if I had to carry the same bag for four years, everyday, I would go nuts. And I don't care how expensive they are, those bags will just not last if you use them THAT much.

Even if I bought a $500 bag and vowed to not buy bags for a year, it would still irk me.

See, I need variety. I don't like the feeling of wearing the same thing over and over again. I like to have a lot of different things - and yes, I want a lot of them to be good quality too. But here is where it gets difficult.

I splurged on a pair of Michael Kors boots in January. I've worn them quite a bit, maybe once every two weeks. Well, that was until last week when I wore them 3 days out of 5 because I felt guilty. Anyhoo, the boots are awesome but they aren't exactly something I could keep wearing into the summer. They are lined with velvety plush shearling/sheepskin type fluffyness, which lends them a certain UGG-quality. Upper class UGGS maybe, but still UGG. And I just can't pull off/subject self to the dress and furry boot thing come summer. So it's safe to say these will be sitting on my shelf for awhile.

Until Fall/Winter of course, when I will be more than happy to bust them out. But how often will I wear them? Come later this year, won't I want to buy more boots? It's hard enough for me to wear these investment peices now, when I have millions of other boots and shoes in my closet competing for my attention.

That's my problem. Excess. Too much of everything which makes the special pieces get more neglected than not.

Although I think I just turned that around on its head.

Two packages came in the mail today. One was from GoJane.com - my first purchase from there - SIX pairs of funky shoes for under $100!

The other package? One pair of yellow Kate Spade nappa leather puzzle flats from Bluefly, also under $100.

The Kate Spade flats are the most gorgeous flats ever. Seriously. I think they are as sexy and special as any stunning high heel. They fit me perfectly (got a size 5, which I should start doing more often - I have small feet, it's time to stop pretending, lol). They are padded with comfiness (even the insole is pink and happy). The yellow colour is amazingly cheery and bright. The connecting puzzle peices at the front are mirrors and so whimsical, adding a little something something. And the leather, my God, the nappa leather is so soft, delicate and tissue thin. Since they arrived at my work, I've been taking them out of the box every hour and running my fingers all over them.

I could see myself wearing these shoes forever and with everything. The best part was, I was looking high and low for a pair of yellow flats and these will become much more than passing fancy for something "spring"like.

What about the box of 6 shoes from GoJane? I don't need em. Some are cute and useful but most are just cheap and boring in comparison. In fact, I just mailed half of them back because why do I need so many shoes when I have one spanking gorgeous special pair right here?

So, I guess I am starting to see the benefits of cost per wear. If you buy things you really, REALLY love, you don't have much need for the stuff you don't love. And it also gives the things you love the attention that is due.

I admit, this is just now being grasped by my brain, so you can understand that my overflowing closet is full of somethings I love, and somethings I don't love.

Part of it is due to being a hasty and impulsive shopper. The other part is due to my penchant for online shopping (people I don't even know very well on Facebook always ask me questions about Forever21 or eBay, as if I work for them lol) and the fact that it's easy to pick clothes you think you may like and put them in an imaginary cart, then try them on when they arrive and find out you don't actually like it THAT much.

And the other part is due to the fact that I have a very excessive personality. Very.

Regardless, I am going to start putting more thought - and heart - into my purchases from now on - keeping in mind that I am on a no-shopping ban for the month of March! (for those who remember, I was supposed to be on a ban starting New Years but I ended up just doing it for the month of December. Then I binged in Jan and Feb, hence my March abstaining.)

Here are the shoes (you'll see proper pics tomorrow!):






Have you ever worked out cost-per-wear into your wardrobe? If so, what was it and how is it working out for you? How do YOU rationalize big, expensive purchases? Please answer in comments below, darlings, I REALLY want to know :)



PS my excessive amount of clothes also provides other challenges - more posts on having "too much crap" later this week!

16 comments:

~nOe~ said...

well.. let's see.
i have a pair of DIOR glasses which cost me $287.
i found the same design for $10 in 42nd St in NYC.
i bought them.
I use them more than i use the Dior ones, coz I loose everything so I'd rather lose the crappy $10 than the real Dior.
But - when I had my first pair of Dior, I wore them all the time and I was really happy with paying $350 for a pair of sunglasses.

i'm not into fashion at all, so i couldnt give you any comments on clothes/shoes. i havent bought clothes in a very long time ...
but i just thought a comment about my fake Dior and real Dior glasses was appropiate. :)

love your blog!
have a great rest of the week!

Milla said...

I never ever buy anything that could count as "cost-effective", because I only buy thrift stuff, but I will delude myself into buyng expensive one-of-a-kind vintage items for a lot of money (like a 100 bucks)) by telling myself that they're just too amazing to pass up, even if they make me look like i work at the ren fair ;)

Great post!

Sarah said...

Last year I found the most gorgeous pair of Fendi sunglasses which retailed for over $400(au). I probably would never justify spending that on sunglasses (God forbid if they broke or got scratched, which is a big possibility for me!!) but for some reason I just had to have them! So I bought them and I've never looked back. I don't always wear them (sometimes in fear of them getting ruined), so they probably dont fit the "cost-per-wear" catergory, but that doesn't worry me, because when I do wear them, I feel a million bucks!

Couture Carrie said...

Adorable shoes!

I rationalize big expenditures by convincing myself that I can't live without the item... it has worked so far!!

xoxox,
CC

Isa said...

hum, I´m a little torn here- being the poor artist (haha) that I am aI can't indulge in expensive stuff quite that often. but I do feel a difference in quality, let´s say if something is genuine soft leather or faux. or shoes.
I´m sure I notice a big difference wheater shoes are cheap or not.
so yes, I love going for the 'real deal' but that might just as well be something vintage/second hand.

as well, haha, you quit drinking AND shopping for the month of march? couldn´t do any of it, I don´t like restricitng myself. ;)
but I´m wishing you all the best!

xx
I

Isa said...

sorry for my horrible spelling above- can´t type properly while balancing cranberry juice with my right hand.

Ashleigh said...

I have used this "excuse" so many times....but like you said, it usually does not work out because no matter how many times I might tell myself I wont buy anything for a year...it rarely happens...so I have pretty much cut ff my spending...esp in this recession...My hours were slashed by half and its just a bad time to graduate...so nervous :s...anyways...I dont know if they are here yet...I find out by monday when my pops pickes up all his mail! I will def do a post when I get them in my hands ;)
XXX

issa said...

haha let's see i think it's important to be picky and choosy.. i'm quite price conscious.. let's see biggest splurge shoe wise seems to be my louboutins.. which were half off.. so for $350.. the problem was.. after i got them i was scared to wear them too much in case of ruining them!

Kass said...

When it comes to expensive items, I don't do the cost-per-wear thing. I think it's kind of weird.

Instead I just ask myself, before purchasing, these three things..

1. Do I absolutely LOVE it? (I have love-at-first-sight with shopping items)
2. Is it completely different to anything else I have? (like with handbags, every one I have is different, this includes colours)
3. Is it good quality?

If yes is the answer to all three questions, then most like I'll buy it.

That is if I can afford it :)

Those shoes are so so cute. Wanna see them on you tho!!

♥ fashion chalet said...

New layout? Check.
New shoes? CHECK!!

I like it =]

and thank you, aren't you c-u-t-e?? =]

xx

indigotangerine said...

I'm crazy cheap (thrift stores and cheapy stores like H&M are my buddies) but I definetly use cost per wear, usually to talk myself into spending reasonable amounts of money. Like $80 for a nice winter coat. I mean it's a good price, and even though I know that I rarely spend that much money on one piece and have to talk myself into it by saying "after this winter it'd be like 1.50 per wear"
-indigo

Liberty London Girl said...

As I have got older, I've rationalised my wardrobe, and feel happier for it. When I was covering the fashion shows last season, I was away for 18 days in Europe doing Milan & Paris and there's a smaller baggage allowance on European flights than on transatlantic so I had to be very careful with my packing - and that's when I realised that four pairs of expensive shoes I loved was going to service me better than twenty I was unsure about and probably wldn't wear. LLGxx

DaisyChain said...

I totally agree with your view on the cost per wear thing,
okay perhaps if you have the money to start with,
but I know I don't have 2k to drop on a bag even if it does work at 5 a day.

Courtney said...

I think it depends on WHAT you're buying.

If I'm buying t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, tank tops, sneakers, cotton sundresses and the like, I definitely stick with cheaper, or at least on-sale pieces.

For a special-occasion dress or good-quality classic coat, I think the "investment" thing can come more into play.

But my favourite thing to do is find deeply discounted quality pieces. Of course it takes more time and searching, but it's extremely satisfying and makes the clothes/shoes even more special. Which means I wear them more. Which I guess would make them cost-effective.

Vegas Princess said...

Those shoes are adorable.

I don't think I have ever thought specificially about cost per wear but I have seriously considered how much I will wear something that is more expensive. However, truth can be said for quality costing more so I could buy that cheapo item and have it not fit quite right, but get something else that costs more and fits perfect and makes me feel good. It's a fine line.

Eyeliah @ stylesymmetry.com said...

Yes, I always do cost per wear, as well as amount of hours worked to purchase said item. :-) I honestly do not spend much on clothes these days, more thrifting.