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Page 2 in the conversation "Questions about cost per wear" by Katerina
I got to know the 30 wears concept thanks to Jenn here on YLF and I immediately found it very helpful.
In the past I have calculated the cpw for a while but then stopped because I realized it did not teach me anything.
Considering that my goal is to have a small wardrobe made of the "right" clothes, it is the number of wears that shows me whether a purchase has been successful or not.
The 30 wears concept helps me buy the right clothes. I ask myself: "Can you imagine yourself wearing this thing repeatedly, at least 10 times this season, without getting bored?". It has happened that I was considering to buy a piece of clothing that I liked very much, but when I asked myself this question the answer was no. Mistake avoided.
It is true, as you say, that sometimes shopping mistakes are unpredictable, but I am definitely doing better now than in the past.
Here's another thought - how many retailers would be out of business if we truly applied this standard? It struck me as I read more about this concept on a fashion site ... It seems there's a bit of cross-purposes there ... Interesting food for thought! I might start tracking this just for interest!!
If the goal is to minimize the impact on the environment or to be more mindful of how we spend resources (life energy, fossil fuel, money), there are many ways to achieve this beyond #30 wears.
I’ve shifted to buying consignment allowing me to purchase legacy brands at a higher quality for a price that does not make my wallet scream. This increases the wear of the item even if it’s not all due to me.
Because I don’t wear out my clothes, I gift them to my grad student niece and others rather than reselling. Again extending their wearable lives.
Being appropriate for the occasion is a high priority. Warrior clothes, date night, gardening, funeral. Even if the items are purpose-bought never to be worn again.
I'm still thinking this through. If , as Sisi said, I can't answer "yes" to the question " will I wear this top 10 times this summer , for the next 3 summers?" ....do I not buy it ? If that question was posed to everything I looked at, I'd never buy a thing. I'm thinking about , and looking at, the top I am wearing right now. I bought it about 2-3 weeks ago and this is the second time I've worn it. 8 more times this summer? Sure, but another 10 each for the next 2? I really doubt it. It wasn't pricey, and wasn't bought to fill any other hole than the "I need some summer tops that aren't t-shirts" but it's a trendier, different kind of top than I usually wear and I can't see it being important enough to hang onto after next summer. I don't know if there is a way to keep your wardrobe looking the way I want mine to (equal mix of trendier/new pieces and statement/long-term pieces ) without a certain amount of turnover that doesn't meet the 30 wear threshold.
I guess that I'm seeing that I need to keep my trendier/new/fun pieces to a minimum in order to reduce waste.....although donating them /giving them away mitigates some of that guilt.
I understand the appeal of tracking wears. You want to get a certain something out of your wardrobe - the numbers, mileage and preferences - and tracking allows you to do just that. The results can be very satisfying, and help you manage your wardrobe and future purchases. It can put you in a very happy wardrobe place. That makes perfect sense.
But horses for courses, always
I would be very unhappy tracking wears. I am very emotionally driven but what I want to wear on a day or night. My preferences also change slightly from season to season. Tracking wears would negatively impact the emotion that makes me happy about my daily dressing decision. I'm not concerned with making sure an item gets X amount of wears. I'm concerned with:
I realize this is easy for me to say because I have a very well curated wardrobe that works superbly for my needs and wants. I'm a lucky fish! I get that tracking your wears can help you get there.
Lisa and BJ hit on the points I was trying to make earlier. If a person's style is largely "classic" or perhaps avant-garde and that person lives in a very temperate climate and never perspires and has the most gentle washer in the world and has perhaps two or three roles to dress for (e.g. work and home, with no others -- does such a person even exist???) it is easy to think that 30 wears per item might be achievable.
then some items will inevitably fall out of favour before you've achieved the magical mystical 30 wear-mark.
Points 1, 2, and 3 definitely apply to me. I do buy (some) consignment items now that nice consignment stores are available to me. I also pass along my worn items to relatives and friends, which does increase the wear life. But even with a largely classic style, a well maintained and curated wardrobe, and lots of items that I wear far more than 30 times -- I confess that I will often get rid of (esp. summer clothes) after a single season simply because they don't feel pristine any more, don't hang properly, etc. Or because I want to try a new silhouette!
Even so, the question seems a decent one to ponder. I think, similar to TG, it's the process of pondering before purchase, period, that is likely to help us out, whether we're trying to preserve our financial security, our environment, workers' livelihoods, or our closet space -- or some combination of the above. In the end, though, I know for myself, if I really love it, I usually try to find a way to buy it. Which is why I am on a fashion site in the first place, probably.
Oh, and Jenni needs those boots.
Thank you for asking this question, katarina. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I don't track and only use cpw to justify expensive glasses frames, coats and shoes. For most other things I tend to find lovely items at many price points and style + quality + brand ethics + 'will it hold up to wear with my lifestyle (eg white, pantyhose...) factor in more in my decision to 'splurge' (as much or little as I do) or save. However, the 30 wear concept had really opened my eyes to how much or how little I need to add to certain wardrobe categories. E.g for summer dresses that I will likely only wear about 5 times a year, I should not stock up. As in, I don't want to because I want to really wear out my clothes as a general rule. And if I add another top, it should probably be one I want to reach for at least a dozen times in the first season after purchase (but this is still a work in progress).
if i aimed for 30 wears on everything, i'd never own a statement piece...on the other hand if i aim for an average of 30 wears on my total wardrobe, i'd be goldenfor example. today i'm wearing a fuchsia blazer... maybe i'll wear it once a month during the spring and summer so...6 wears this year...i mean its really bright and outside my usual comfort zone...the maybe 6 next year, and who knows my year 3....but i'm wearing it with a Uniqlo tee thats on year 3 that i wear every other a week for 7 months--so 15 times a year --or 46 wear to date...for bottoms i'm wearing a pair of camo plants i got last summer, i wear these probably every 3rd week year round so 17 times a year....so taken together its
life to date wears 46 estimated wears End of Life 77
~pants life to date wears 17 estimated wears End of Life 34
~blazer life to date wears 1 estimated wears End of Life 12
life to date wears 21 estimated wears End of Life 41
So interesting! Thank you, guys, for all the wise comments.Great point about the style - classic and/or trendy will make a difference. I am more classic/retro than trendy - the trendy element in my wardrobe is small. So my "natural instinct" is to want clothes that last and last and get many wears. Which is, of course, neither realistic nor optimal, but just how I choose when I shop. Whether or not it turns out like that in reality is another story.
Kkards, what a great point about the retailer's different calculation methods and what a good example from your wardrobe. Interesting, if these items were mine, I would have most wears on the blazer, then the trousers and the last would be the tee ...
Angie, your state of wardrobe and wardrobe happiness are something to strive for.
I don't track wears or cpw anymore but I used to. This by Jenn rings absolutely true for me: "I track because when I started doing the actual math by looking at the size of my wardrobe, etc, I was SHOCKED at how many items weren’t even coming close to 30 wears."
I would actually recommend the exercise to everyone, even if for a limited period of time, if this is one of your goals. The gap between the imagined and actuality is pretty big, and I have a small wardrobe comparatively (around 100 items at the most for 4 seasons).
I am another that believes the gap between the imagined number of wears and the actual number of wears is pretty large. I proved this to myself when Jenn first introduced the concept on YLF. I immediately jumped all over her post because I had data to prove how often I reached 30 wears per garment. I was mistaken across the board.
I have enjoyed this thread - I always enjoy #30wears conversations.
I agree with most of what has been said - and whilst I don’t track my wears, I keep a rough idea of how often I pull out a piece. Like with most of us it is all over the place from well over 100 to twice or three times.
I consider this concept when buying - rather than editing.
I also think choosing pieces that look like they would cope with 30 wears helps. For example tissue thin tees don’t last as well as thicker cotton. Shoes that could be reheeled and polished.
It is not an exact science. But I cringe when people comment “ this top was only $8 so it doesn’t matter if I only wear it once” or something to that effect.
My weakness is also dressy clothes - more than I need for my casual lifestyle. And the odd piece I think will be a workhorse and just is not - looking at you casual grey cotton jacket. I am usually pretty good with pants, work and casual dresses, tops, shoes and bags.
Ditto to everything Suz said! And Angie!
If a 30-wear strategy helps a person figure out a closet size which fits her lifestyle, budget, and environmental sensitivities, then why not use it? But, what works for one person doesn’t always have the same impact on another person’s decisions.
In my case, hands down the most helpful strategy has been closet visibility. Having a limited closet space—and making a conscious decision to keep everything in view—keeps me very aware of the number of items I have in each category every time I’m getting dressed. That daily reminder ends up being a form of the “one-in, one-out” strategy since a stuffed closet is really unappealing to my eye. I like my closet best when the items in it look well cared for and valued, not jumbled into an indistinguishable mess. Freeing up space by purging, though, no longer works for me because of the sneaking suspicion I’m using the facade of “donation” to alleviate my guilt at tossing away wearable clothing given the odds are most of my un-wanted clothing might well end up in a garbage dump in a third world country. A visible closet, on the other hand, forces me to learn, not hide, from my mistakes. Often, just the thought that I’ll be living with a purchase for a period of time—even if I choose to not wear it—makes me think a lot harder before I press the “Buy” button.
I'm someone who tracks wears. I hope to get most items down to $2-3 per wear (excepting special occasion wear). I don't go by number of wears (such as 30) but by cost per wear. I don't have a lot of money, so this helps me feel that I am getting the most out of my clothes. If I'm not wearing something enough to get it down to this value, I don't force myself to wear it more, but I do analyze the item to find out why I'm not wearing it. Likewise, if there is an item that is a workhorse, I ask myself why it is a workhorse, and I might consider buying another item like it.
Over a few years of tracking wears, I have discovered that I tend to tire of a piece after about three years of wearing it. I have found that if I want to meet my target cost per wear in this time, I need to avoid spending more than about $100 for an item. I will indeed spend more than $100 if I need to (on a HEWI, for instance), but I understand that I might not meet my target up front. If I'm OK with that and think the purchase is worth it anyway, I'll pull the trigger.
So, in short, for me tracking cost per wear is just a way for me to feel that my wardrobe dollars are being spent on items that I will wear a lot, and they won't be spent on stuff that's just lying around.
These last two posts are awesome! I want my wardrobe to look tidy and not stuffed, and now that I promised hubby when we moved into the new house that I would not overtake his side of the walk-in, I am finding I do need to clear more stuff. But I agree that I don’t want the “donations” to end up in a third world country. I have donated a fair bit since last year but like it best when the stuff is so well worn it can go to the “clothing bin” ( for rags). And I am trying to manage the purchases such that they WILL be worn.
I also relate to your thinking Gigi about getting tired of things after a certain time. Mine is a bit longer than 3 years. It is often about 7 years, if not been worn enough to wear out. I need to aim that they will wear out.
And my equivalent dollar figure is about $150 so that at least 30 wears brings it to $5 per wear. Many are less: just looking down my list I have <30c, several under $1 and many under $3. The failures in cost terms are mostly not terribly comfortable shoes: $22, $17, $25. Oh dear.
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