Here's another example - one that actually happened. I needed some plain black jumpers for work and for some reason (I can't recall why now) I bought a few jumpers at £8 a pop from a well know bargain clothing store. At the same time, I bought two better quality wool jumpers in a classic crew style for around £50 each.
The £8 jumpers admittedly did look pretty good at first, they weren't the best fit in the world but to the average eye most people probably wouldn't spot that. It's worth saying though that I wouldn't have chosen to wear them outside of work - but hey that's a lot of peoples workwear. However, after a few wears and washes (maybe 6 wears and 3 washes each) they looked like they were about 3 years old! Plus I worked somewhere quite cold and they weren't even very warm. Cost per wear works out at around £1.35, and have since been sent to the charity shop.
The crew neck jumpers? They are still in my wardrobe over a year later and are worn regularly. They are a much more flattering and comfortable fit, and in case you are wondering, they are super warm! Cost per wear is difficult to estimate but I wore them solidly for work for weeks, then after changing jobs maybe once a week since then - between the two jumpers I've worn them well over 100 times, bring cost per wear to under £1. You might even be able to spot one of those black jumpers in the photo taken inside my wardrobe.
That's before we even place value on how an item makes you feel. Even if it makes us somewhat materialistic, certain clothing makes us feel GREAT. No matter if its the fabric, the cut, or being honest - the label, there is a huge value to feeling good. Personally, I think all our items should make us feel great, and it's something I'm working towards as I tackle my overflowing wardrobe.
Here's where cost per wear doesn't work all that well - On Trend Pieces. Those ruffle leg ankle grazer Trousers that everyone's rocking all over Instagram? Whilst I'm not a big advocate due it's environmental impact amongst other reasons, on trend pieces is where fast fashion wins. Let's say you buy some high end high street or designer trousers as worn by a celebrity on Instagram at £200. They look great but are too much for the office, so it's weekend nights only. You don't want to wear them every weekend (can't repeat outfits you know), so it's every other weekend, and your selfie is on FIRE! Six to eight weeks later that trend is sooo over and you wouldn't want to be seen even painting in them - they've just cost you around £50 per wear. High Street version, ok so the fit and fabric isn't as perfect but they're only £30, coming in at £7.50 per wear. Still not the cheapest, but your selfie was great and you have £170 still in your pocket.
For me moving forward, cost per wear is going to be much more of a consideration when purchasing, ensuring I buy less but ONLY items I LOVE in classic styles. Even if it isn't the cheapest option available, if it's something I know I will wear again and again and feel great in it, the cost per wear will probably work out a lot better than buying multiple cheaper versions that I eventually donate.
I'll be sure to document those new outfits I love on the blog soon!