Top value in your closet: cost per wear

January 12, 2011 in Fashion by alliemcc

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The Top-Earning Tube Sock Brands of 2010!

The year-end-new-year season is full of lists of the top whatever.

There was one list that I actually found kind of interesting: Hollywood Reporter’s list of top grossing actors of 2010.

Leonardo Dicaprio Mia Wasikowska

Photo via Hollywood Reporter

Leo was top dog this year, big surprise.

Then, out of left field, is young’un Mia Wasikowska, Tim Burton’s Alice, who also played in The Kids Are All Right.

She beat out her Alice costar Johnny Depp, who is usually as winning as Leo, no matter what the script is.

Numbers 4 and 5 were my buddy, RDJ (that’s Robert Downey, Jr. to the rest of you), and Daniel Radcliffe, some British kid. Yawn.

Here’s where I’m going to get to my point, dear reader.

Other than Mia and Daniel, the top actors are pretty much guaranteed to bring in the big bucks for producers. (OK, I’m sure Daniel Radcliffe makes a lot of money as Harry Potter, but he hasn’t done much else yet.)   There’s a reason Leo, Johnny, and Mr. Downey, Jr. are household names.

They perform well (I’m talking sales here, not acting) and provide great value to their employers.

Sounds a lot like the clothes in your wardrobe, non?

women's tuxedo jacket

Image via Harper's Bazaar

You’ve got a short list of attractive, hardworking clothes that you turn to time and again to make you look good, feel powerful at work, feel comfortable at home, or sexy on a date.

In this analogy, Leonardo Dicaprio is kind of like that fitted black jacket with the cute details that you rely on to feel comfortable yet sexy.

Mia Wasikowska, on the other hand, is like that ethereal, kind of expensive dress that you bought early this year, scolding yourself even as you signed the credit card receipt.  Surprisingly, though, you wore it a lot, and even layered it over thick tights and a turtleneck this fall.

Or something like that.

Except these sartorial actors are measured not by their box office take but by their cost per wear.

Cost per wear = price paid divided by the number of times you wear it

In this year end list, the lower the number, the higher the ranking.

So, that $200 rain coat (acquired 2009) that I wear every time it rains and several times a week during the spring and fall? On the list.

The $100 leather boots (acquired circa 2001) that I wear with my winter skirts? On the list.

The $50 mini dress (acquired– no lie– circa 1998) that I’ve gotten more wear from in the last 2 years than in the preceding 10? On the list. Probably #1.

Rather than passing up a great piece based on the price tag alone, take a good look at the fiber contents, the construction, and what you know about the brand’s reputation for quality.

Of course, it’s impossible to predict how many times you’re going to wear something, unless it’s a wedding dress.  But this formula is a good way to help inform a decision about where to shop (Forever 21 or Banana Republic?) and what to spend money on (polyester or wool gabardine?). Not only will it help your wallet in the long run, but it will make you a more ethical shopper too.

What’s on your list?

Tell us in the comments!

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