The essence of this belief is that if you're going to wear something and get good use of it then it doesn't really matter how much you spent on it, it's worth it. Alternately, it doesn't matter how good a deal seems on something, if you're not going to wear it, you paid way too much.
The first time I thought of clothes this way was in middle school when I just had to have Doc Martens. Give me a break, it was the mid 90s and everyone else was wearing them too. Anyway they were about $130 and my parents got me a pair of Mary-Jane style ones for Christmas. I ended up winning a pair of Doc Marten sandals from Buckle through a scratch off promotion they had a year later. That was pretty cool. I loved these shoes! I wore them almost every day and felt great about myself in them. Anyway, one of my mom's friends found out that she had spent that much money on a pair of shoes for an 11 year old and about threw a fit. I remember hearing my mom explain to her that for as often as I wore them, she could have paid $400 for them and they still would have been worth it.
The $5 part is arbitrary. My budget works out that this is a pretty fair number for most clothes. You might want to get your clothes down to being a dollar a wear, or maybe you're lucky enough to be able to afford $20 a wear, I don't presume to know. Of course, since this is my rule, I'm able to make exceptions to it if I want to. For special occasion outfits, especially dresses, I allow $10 a wear, but when I hear myself starting to say "well this is a really special occasion, $100 for this wear is fine," I try to put a halt on that. Apparently my wedding was special enough to spend $400 on a dress I will only wear once. I don't regret that at all. This is how I can try to be responsible with my (and mostly Brian's) money. It's how I can buy brand names and not feel guilty in the slightest and also how I can pass up sales without getting sucked it. The pieces that will last forever and get the most wear out of my closet should cost more, and I can try out the trends too as long as they're cheap. It works for me and I would be honored if you'd try it.
Let's practice, shall we?
This tank is adorable, don't you think? And for $14.80, from Forever 21, I think we can definitely afford this. Now with that huge bow, we probably won't want to wear it all the time, people are going to remember. And it's very likely that it will stretch out and the sequins will fall off, so it won't last forever. But in order to get it down to $5 a wear, we'd only have to wear it 3 times. I think that's totally doable. Once with a flouncy black skirt and a cardigan on top with cute heels. Once with jeans and sandals, and once with black slacks and a blazer. It's a go.
I'm a sucker for Paige Jeans. They fit beautifully, they're long enough to wear with heels, extremely flattering. At $189, there are much cheaper options out there. We should probably choose one of those. If we really have our hearts set on them though, are they worth the cost? At least the way I wear jeans, sure they are! If we wore them only once a week they'd have proved their place in our closet by mid October. Now, if we could find them on sale, that'd be even better.
Last example.How fabulous are these booties? And they'd go great with our tank and jeans and about a hundred other pieces in our wardrobe! Oh my goodness, they're on sale for 55% off! Yeah, but they're still $472! We'd have to wear them 95 times before they'd be worth it. OK, make that 85 because we'd definitely wear them on a few special occasions. They're suede so we could only wear them about 25 weeks a year if we push it. Once a week for almost 4 years? I don't pretend to be a fashion expert but I'm going to predict that they won't be considered that fabulous four years from now. For my money, it's a pass. But hey, if you still get them, could I borrow them sometime?