Thursday, January 21, 2010

Clothes Should Cost $5

I thought I'd share with you something that I believe in. I feel pretty strongly about this and try to live by it. Clothes should cost no more than $5... per wear, that is.

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?


Brian said...

Well, I have to say I didn't think about clothes/shoes this way until you told me about it...but now I gotta say it makes great Economic sense; thinking in the long run, rather than the short run. Your Tory Burch flats are quickly approaching this $5 threshold, and my Ariats are at about $.50...

The Ratpack said...

Brian!! ha - I love that he comments!

As stupid as it sounds, I've never thought about pricing clothes per wear -I'll have to try that. Shoes are easy, but man there are just some clothes I wear a couple times and then I'm kinda over them! Bad habit!

oh and Doc Martens! lol I wanted them so bad, and I was once given some nasty hand-me downs from my guy cousin, that I shamefully wore all the time! I can't believe your friends mom threw a fit about your shoes. Hello? Free world!

Sing Me Anything said...

I agree. I don't shop too much but when I do it is at H&M, Forever 21 and Marshalls. I found an amazing in style dress for 15.00(that I almost bought one similar at express which went for 69.50) and have already worn it 3 times (once to a concert, my bday and last friday to a club).

The last time I went insane shopping spree was at the outlet mall in FL this past June. But most everything was under 15.00

Weddings are a bit different and I got a dress at H&M for 40.00 but I have already worn it to 2 weddings last year, my friend JV's in FL and Cyd's in Dallas. If I ever get around to going to a musical/ballet I would wear it there too.

I do however have some items I have not worn but plan too..hopefully..

allie-mac-fallie said...

oh erin, you always inspire me :) will you please come dress me everyday... if its not a work outfit or jeans and a tshirt (probably from college, or Ocean Isle...) then I do NOT know how to dress ha! i miss you! when can we play again real soon?

melissa said...

Erin - I love this post!! The way you spell it out here makes such sense to me :)
And ... I LOVE those suede booties!

Stefanie said...

I LOVE this post! And while I can't and wouldn't even attempt to purchase those gray booties, you know you thought of me when you posted them! I think I'll send that picture to "The Look for Less" or "The Budget Babe". Oh and Allie-I completely agree, I need Erin to come over and dress me every morning too!