fashion shopping

Cost Per Wear

I first mentioned the Cost Per Wear metric back in my second post ever. It’s a pretty simple concept: the cost of an item divided by the number of times you’ve worn it. For example, my wedding dress has a really high CPW since I’ve only worn it once. My favorite jeans, which I bought on sale 6 years ago and have worn about once a week since then, probably have a CPW well under $1.

navy sweater, red print skirtTo illustrate this concept, I’ve decided to do a little experiment. Yesterday, I submitted to the siren song of the Belk Junior’s Department. The combination of a clearance sale and a 20% off coupon was too much to resist. I ended up buying the skirt and sweater pictured here. The skirt, originally $40, was $9.59 and the sweater, originally $30, was $3.35. I’ve decided to track the CPW of both of these items over the next 3 months and see which was the better buy.

The skirt is actually really nice. It’s a recognizable brand, made out of good-quality fabric, and it’s even lined (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lined garment in the Junior’s department before). It’s very comfortable and will be perfect for a hot South Carolina summer. The sweater is truly cheap-o, a no-name ramie/nylon/cotton blend. But it has the advantage of being very simple and going with a lot of things (hard to tell from the picture, but it’s navy).

Which do you think will win, skirt or sweater?

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  1. Michele says:

    I would be very interested in how this turns out!

  2. Michele says:

    Which Belk?

  3. Sweater, hands down. It’s going to go with everything…dressed up or down. Any color shoes, jeans or skirt. You’re going to be very picky what you wear with that skirt.

  4. You’re probably right. And the sweater even has a huge “head start.” The only reason I think it’s even a contest is that, in my experience, those cheap ramie-blend sweaters don’t stand up to a lot of washings.

    Michele – I went to the Belk at Richland Mall. (Yes, that mall is still open. I think Belk is one of like 3 stores left in it.)

  5. In the long right, I still think the skirt’s going to win simply because those sweaters tend to pill or start falling apart after not many washes. Of course, you can always skip a wash between wears occasionally, but I’ve so little faith in those sweaters.

  6. The ol’ cost-per-wear strategy is my excuse for spending exorbitant amounts at the hairdressers. I figure I change my clothes sometimes more than twice a day, but my hair I wear day in and day out… how’s THAT for value for money? 😉

    Oh, and methinks the sweater works out cheaper… it’s more neutral, I think you’ll find yourself wearing it more.

  7. Depends… how thick is the top? I know it gets pretty hot in South Carolina during the summer. That skirt looks a lot cooler. The brighter colors also work well for summer.

  8. Meg, the top is thin for a sweater, but those ramie/nylon blends don’t breathe well in really hot weather. I do spend most of my time indoors, so it probably won’t matter. We’ll see.

  9. […] I go back to unpacking boxes, I just wanted to give a quick update on the Skirt vs. Sweater challenge. So far, I’ve worn the skirt once more and the sweater not at all, bringing their CPW to […]

  10. I think the skirt will win. You look great in both by the way 🙂 Look forward to seeing which one wins.

  11. […] the sweater may win this after all. I’ve worn each once since I last updated, bringing the CPW for the skirt to $3.20 and the CPW for the sweater to […]

  12. […] as I’ve said before, it’s not the initial cost of an item that matters to me but its cost per wear over time. Even so, I thought I’d try and add up the cost of what I’m wearing today. […]

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