We're Obsessed

Nov 20, 2014

CPW or Cost Per Wear

by Miss Venus

We’ve all had those moments when you either look at something and say, “OMG, this soooo expensive”, or “OMG, this is sooo¬† cheap.” Hence, let us introduce you to CPW or cost per wear to facilitate the value of quality vs quantity.

When I was in college, it was a weekend ritual for my girlfriends and I to skip Friday afternoon classes so we could go shopping for the weekend’s festivities. We would drive almost an hour each way to the nearest mall, buy a few cheap dresses and head back just in time to go out. At the time, the stuff I purchased felt like SUCH a good deal, “I will wear this black micro mini tube dress everywhere” I would say to myself in the mirror. Boy, was I wrong.

Fast-forward to post-grad life where I recently cleaned out my closet for the first time since graduation. Yikes. The amount of sequins and stretch fabric I pulled from my walk-in was truly alarming, but that wasn’t even the worst part. What was even more terrifying than the fiber selections of my youth, was the amount of money I was, literally, throwing away. Most of these items had been worn once, maybe twice if it was really awesome… I stopped counting once I reached $500 in my estimations.

While my case of the “fast fashion blues” may be extreme, many women have succumb to the seemingly bargain prices offered by big box fashion brands. But are ‘one and done‘ trendy pieces really worth it? Doubtful. Especially if you utilize the cost-per-wear formula while you shop. This equation saved my wardrobe from the treacherous one wear cycle and I’ve never looked back. Simply estimate the number of times you think you will wear an item in it’s lifetime and divide it by the cost. Essentially, the more you wear an item, the less it will cost you, prompting you to think quality over quantity while you shop.

Here are a few examples of CPW or cost-per-wear in action:

1. Leather Jacket


Vegan Leather Jacket

What can’t you pair this jacket with, honestly? Stick to the blazer or moto style in this piece and it will soon become a staple of your wardrobe. While we would wear this bad boy all on its own, our favorite things to pair with it are flirty dresses or jeans.

  • Cost: $120
  • Lifetime: 5 years
  • Wears: 360 (12 wears per month for 6 months a year for 5 years)
  • Cost per wear: $0.33

2. Pattern Button Down


Celeste Snap Button Plaid Flannel

Plaid may not be your first choice in patterns but everyone needs a good patterned button down. Wear it alone to brighten up any bottoms or as a substitute for your favorite cardigan. Button Downs are a classic piece chalked full of functionality with a little abstract thinking.

  • Cost: $88
  • Lifetime: 3 years
  • Wears: 72 (4 wears per month for 6 months a year for 3 years)
  • Cost per wear: $1.22

3. Every Occasion Dress


Smoke & Mirrors Dress

A tailored, sleeveless dress can be a killer wardrobe weapon if utilized correctly. While the color or pattern is personal choice, we suggest selecting one that is sleeveless and make of al weather fabric for optimal wear. Pair with tights, boots, heels, belts, leather jackets, blazers… The list is endless, really.

  • Cost: $104
  • Lifetime: 3 years
  • Wears: 36 (1 wear per month for 12 months a year for 3 years)
  • Cost per wear: $2.89

How does that trendy top for $20 look now? If you answered expensive, then my work here is done.

The definition on insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Stop making yourself bonkers, SoLanistas! Make your money work for you and invest in garments that will pay you back by utilizing CPW or cost-per-wear each time you shop. Just like when you meet a guy for the first time and picture your future together, is it happily ever after or just another faux beau? Only cost-per-wear will tell.


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