Fashion on a Budget

Most people that know me, know that I have a bit of a thing for shoes. I dream of Imelda Marcos’ closet, and I spend my waking time budgeting and crunching numbers to figure out just how to afford my next purchase. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I’m suffering from a bad case of “champagne-taste-on-a-beer- budget” syndrome. While I have to skip out on major luxe brands, I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to amass a pretty decent collection without completely breaking the bank.

(Husband would argue that last statement.)

Anyway, from my wallet to yours…..my secret.

Cost Per Wear

Once you understand the concept of Cost Per Wear, you’ll be able to distinguish between necessary purchases, their value and items to skip over. Basically, once I got this down I learned how to buy the things I really wanted and avoid “sale goggles”. There is no reason to purchase low quality items just because of the price.

If you are lucky enough to have a mother who invested in herself during her youth, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. My mother still has her mink coat she splurged on in her early 20’s, a handful of Louis Vuitton handbags from the late 70’s and the most killer vintage Herve Lerger bandage dress (it still fits her).

These items will be passed on to either me or one of my two sisters, and we’ll ensure she gets an even greater return on her initial investment.

Cost Per Wear = Price/Use

The rationalization of Cost per Wear is if I wear a particular pair of $150 jeans 100 times, the jeans are only costing me $1.50 per wear. Yes, my checking account did see the initial hit of $150 but the quality of the jeans allowed me to wear them 100 times, while a $30 pair of jeans from Forever 21 would provide me with 6 wears ($5 CPW).

Here is a real world example straight from my closet:

I work in a corporate environment where I am required to dress business professional. This has me constantly shopping for the perfect stilletto heel to pair with my pencil skirts.

Option 1:

Professional enough for the office, but I can still work them into my regular wardrobe. The heel is high enough that my calves look trimmer but not so high that I’m the talk of the office. A beautiful little black pump complete with a suede upper, leather lining and sole. Breathable, nice materials.

I wear a basic black pump almost every day at work, occasionally switching off for a flat or boots depending on the weather. I will underestimate and say I’d wear these twice a week (in the warmer months it’s more like 3-4 days a week). That’s 104 wears in a year, not including anytime I may wear them outside of work. My work shoes see the most wear of all my shoes, so I’ll give these a shelf life of a year.

$169.95/104 = $1.63 CPW
Not bad- less than the price of a soda.
Option 2:

Standard black pump at Target, I’m pretty sure they have been making these same shoes for years, I see them everywhere. Faux patent leather upper, faux leather insole, lining and a rubber sole. Definitely not the quality of the Dolce Vita Pumps and bound to get really smelly after a couple wears (faux leather DOES NOT breathe). In my experience, regular wearing of this quality of shoe will only last me a month or so. I’ll be generous and say they will last me 6 weeks wearing them twice a week.

$29.99/12 = $2.49 CPW

Not only is the cost per wear higher for the Mossimo Pumps, but the life of the shoe is much, much shorter. According to my logic above (6 week life span) I would need 8 pairs of these cheaper shoes to last me the year that the Dolce Vita pumps will. In essence, I’d be spending a total of $239.92 to keep me in these pretty generic, poorly made pumps.

The better value is obvious, plus the Dolce Vita’s have quite a bit more oomph to them.

Bonus: The extra you paid up front will continue to pay off even past the initial life span of the shoe. No cobbler will waste their time trying to repair a pair of rubber soled faux leather shoes. Genuine Leather on the other hand can easily be repaired and can extend the life of your favorite shoes by years (You smart, thrifty shopper, you!).

Tune in next time when I teach you how to justify your bar tabs! (Just kidding….kind of)

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