What Does Cost Per Wear (CPW) Mean?

Cost Per Wear (CPW) is a basic metric for working out the value of your investment. It is simply a calculation that enables you to see the lifetime value of your purchase and how much it costs you every time you wear it.

When building a capsule collection, the idea is that you will invest in key pieces that will last a very long time, be worn frequently and not go out of style. CPW, is, therefore, an important metric for your future wardrobe investments.

Women in Trench Coat | Cost Per Wear Blog | Roberta Style Lee | London fashion Stylist

Cost Per Wear

Cost per wear, however, will be very low if the number of times an item will be worn is high. But that doesn’t stop people gasping at the upfront ticket price. It’s a bit of a mindset shift to think about clothes as an ‘Investment’ rather than an upfront cost.

For example: 

£450 coat – worn approximately 180 days of the year = £2.50 per wear 
Lasting 5-years (180 x 5 = 900 wears) the cost per wear reduces to = £0.50 per wear
Mending service = say… £100 
Extending the life of the jacket by a further 2-3 year 
1260 days of wear over 7 years = £0.44 per wear

High-Quality Clothing

The upfront cost per item is usually much higher due to the fact garments are made higher quality. 

When I refer to higher quality, I am referring to craftsmanship, the quality of materials used, how they’ve been sourced, sewn and finished (hopefully done so in a transparent and ethical way). 

The cost increases when considerations like healthy, breathable, toxic-free materials are used to make your clothes – lots GOTS certified cotton. This is a much more eco-friendly sourced fabric, which is better for your skin and the planet – but it costs more to produce, so the price point will be higher.

Man in Suit | Cost Per Wear Blog | Roberta Style Lee | London fashion Stylist

Expensive items are usually considered higher quality because of the above-forementioned qualities, they should be built to last (although this is not always the case).  For example, a suit that is intended to be worn frequently should be high-quality and designed to last.

Always check the seams, buttons, and zips, if they seem flimsy imagine what they will be like after 100wears. Ask the clothing retailer if they offer repairs and how long their items are expected to last. Can you return it in 6-months if it breaks? 

You’ll find more ethical brands, like those on the Ethical Brand Directory, tend to have these policies in place – however, these are mostly online stores, so you’ll need to buy and try before you can be sure of the quality.

Apply the #100Wears Rule

Before investing in anything new, apply the basic maths – and divide the upfront cost by 100. Working with a sustainable stylist like myself, I would never encourage you to buy something if we don’t think it will get at least #100wears.

If you’re ready to start investing in a capsule collection, I strongly recommend working with a stylist as the money you’ll save (by avoiding costly mistakes) is well worth it.

Plus a good stylist will empower you to learn about yourself, your body shape and personal image. After some support initially, you should become self-sufficient and be able to shop for yourself and know what works and what doesn’t, and when to make those high-value investments.

You can contact me for more guidance and advice on my styling service via my website.

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