Monday, May 11, 2009

Shopping Tip #2: IamRecessionista's Cost Per Wear Analogy

We've probably heard celebrities, models, personal shoppers and fashion stylists mention about Cost Per Wear (CPW) over the mass media too many times. For those of you who don't know what CPW means, it is a concept that rationalizes the expense of a fashion item by dividing each time you wear or use it into the original cost. According to "The Budget Fashionista" Kathryn Finney, she says that whenever you buy something new, your goal should be to wear it enough so that your cost per wear becomes less than $2. Achieving a CPW of $2 would be ideal for anyone, but that might pose a challenge for many Fashionistas.

Personally, I have gone with my own analogy that as long as the cost per wear for a fashion item does not exceed what I make in an hour, that item is considered an "investment". My logic is derived from the fact that since it typically doesn't take me longer than an hour to pick something in the store, the cost per wear for that item shouldn't be more than what I make in an hour. More than often, I follow my CPW analogy diligently, but like everyone else, I have had my weak moments where I fell prey into the arms of a spending trap in disguise. To illustrate what cost per wear means, I will reveal my Top 3 CPW purchases of all time.

Best CPW Purchase: H&M Mod Double-breasted Wool Coat

I got this coat at the H&M NYC store on 7th & 34th street for only $70, and it is definitely my most favorite winter coat of all time. It exudes Twiggy's mod-style, and the color is a nice shade of light heather gray which goes with almost anything in my closet. I have always been a believer that the retail price of an item is an indication of its quality, but this coat has proven me wrong. Although it wasn't made of 100% wool or cashmere wool like most of my other coats are, it is by far the most wearable. Its CPW is probably down to a low 50 cents!

2nd Best CPW Purchase: Rock & Republic Kasandra Jeans

I can declare that this pair of Rock & Republic low rise, bootcut jeans are the best designer jeans I have ever owned. Amongst my collection of designer jeans which include Rock & Republic, Seven for All Mankind, Antik Denim, Joe's Jeans, Miss Sixty and Paige Denim, I love my Rock & Republic jeans the most. I paid about $180 for this pair and I have worn it probably more than 100 times since I got it last May, so its CPW is now at a low $1.80. Soon, it is probably going to be down to $0.

3rd Best CPW Purchase: Prada Daino Shopper Tote in Acciaio

I was invited to the Saks Friends and Family Day at their New York store. My goal that day was to purchase a handbag using my 20% discount, but unfortunately the discount could not be applied to all my favorite brands like Chanel, Prada and Dior. As I was browsing that department, this eye-catching yet subtle shade of metallic silver peeking from Prada booth just caught my attention. I was hesitant at first to purchase it since I couldn't use my 20% on this, and the color is not the typical black or brown or taupe that I mostly own. While I am touching its beautifully-grained calfskin and sturdy gold hardware, I started calculating the cost per wear of this $2k "investment" in my mind. Fifteen minutes later, I was the proud owner of this gorgeous "baby". And I am glad to say that since I acquired this investment piece last March, I have used it almost every single day. I have used it when I am in the States, on my overseas business travels and even vacations, and the bag is still look immaculate! The CPW for this Prada baby of mine is now down to a low $5.

My CPW analogy has worked for me so far in getting the most bang for my buck for most (unfortunately not all) of my fashion items; achieving a balanced wardrobe of both high-end quality pieces and mid-range pieces that I continually wear over and over again. Being the wiser shopper I am today, I always ask myself before I make any purchase something "How many times am I actually gonna wear or use this?" While mental math calculations have never been my Forté, I am still able to calculate the cost per wear of that item before I decide to flash my plastic at the cash register.

What's the best CPW of an item you have gotten so far? Let me know under comments.