Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Theory of Cost Per Wear Shopping

I do not like shopping. Don't get me wrong; I love wearing new clothes and I love love love feeling awesome in whatever I'm wearing. But every single time I spend more than 20 minutes at the mall I fantasize about having a personal shopper/stylist. Someone that would wisely select on-trend items based on my body type and personality and make sure they arrive at my doorstep at the beginning of each season.

My sister would be that someone. Annie has always had not only an eye for trends, but also the ability to make clothes express a personality and the ability to find those clothes at awesome prices. She can create complete, fashionable, classy wardrobes from discount and thrift stores efficiently. But sometimes there are other options to consider.

Annie recently told me her theory on what to buy and where. Annie is the guest blogger today, and she is going to share her expertise! Thanks Annie! You can see more of her style on her awesome blog Anne Charlotte Pumpkin Scarlet.

Anne Charlotte Pumpkin Scarlet :
I get a little over-excited by clothes.

I get extremely over-excited by good deals on clothes.
 My favorite word is SALE and my favorite past-time is wandering through endless thrift store racks in pursuit of the next sequin marvel.  Shopping "thrifty" is not just about the thrill of the deal- it's a necessity for me financially.

Because of my thrifty ways, I shop often.  I buy lots, but at a low cost.  My closet has the propensity to take the form of an actual clearance rack; all ruffles and lace with tags covered in red stickers...tags that are still on the dresses months later.  I find myself purchasing clothes simply because they are a steal,  not because the item suits my wardrobe or fits like a dream.  i'll buy something just because it's six dollars, and who knows?  maybe someday I'll wish i had something made of yellow polyester bows that may or may not be three sizes too small.

Truthfully though, what am I going to do with ten party dresses that cost $10 each?  That's $100 closet-dollars that may never see the light.   With this in mind, I'm learning to base my decisions on other criteria.  I'm trying to focus on function, color, and wear-ability when i shop.  Every piece should flow into my existing wardrobe and present looks and alternatives to outfits currently in my lineup.  I want to consider those things before the price.

So basically, I'm using the principle of CPW.

CPW, or, cost-per-wear, is a tool that determines the worth of a purchase over time.  Simply divide the price of the garment by the amount of times you wear (or think you will wear) the item.

So often, we try to skimp on buying basics in order to afford dazzling one-off pieces.  However, the CPW suggests the opposite approach.  For example, Havainas flip-flops are $18 (verses the $3.50 old navy or target versions), yet they will last through many summers and end up costing mere pennies per wear.   The CPW suggests that designer jeans are a worthwhile investment for those women who spend their lives in, well, jeans.   $150 for trouser-jeans from Emersonmade?  That seems like a lot of money at first glance.  But, they happen to be the most lovely jeans on the planet.  Versatile enough to wear to work and for play.  can be worn with heels or flippies.  A multi-seasonal staple.  I will wear them upwards of 30 times- that's $5 per wear.  chump change!    Comparatively, what is the investment payoff for a $300 dress that I'll wear one time?  That's 300 divided by 1; three hundred dollars per wear. 

So, I've started entering stores with an open mind; keen to find items that work in my wardrobe, bring freshness to a look, and speak to my personality.  I might end up finding some incredibly versatile staples that can be worn time after time- items that I'd never purchased without the CPW point of view.
In the end, I think I'll end up saving money.  If anything, my daily outfit costs will be in the neighborhood of $5  because I'll get so much more out of thorough purchases and cost analysis before I buy.  That's a good feeling!  Plus, there's nothing better than finding the occasional item that qualifies as "low CPW"...on the clearance rack.   It's the challenge of shopping smart - not just thrifty.

happy hunting!


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