Monday, 24 April 2017

The Economics of Dressing Well: 5 Rules to Consider when Shopping

How many designer handbags does someone need?

How many pairs of shoes will you wear in the next 3 years?

How many bracelets, pairs of earrings, dresses, blue jeans, t-shirts . . .you fill in the blank . . . will be enough?

When it comes to creating a useful wardrobe most of us take a down-to-earth attitude. It really does not matter what your price point entry happens to be. There are those who will spend $10,000.00 on a new spring wardrobe and those who will spend less than $200.00 to round out what they might already own. To be well dressed requires detailed planning, culling and replacing with thought. You do not have to spend a huge amount, you just have to spend wisely.

5 Shopping Rules for Dressing Well:

Cobalt Smythe "Duchess" blazer
Photo Source: ShopSmythe
1. Select new clothing that will have a long shelf life. Imagine yourself wearing your chosen item in 5 years. Will you be able to do it? The last piece of clothing I purchased was a Smythe blazer in cobalt. I like shades of blue, I love blazers and Smythe is a great brand. Will I be wearing it in five years? As long as I don't gain 20 pounds I believe I will.

2. Judiciously splurge! Smart choices are not the cheapest choices. A "Duchess" Smythe blazer will cost you $600.00 (Cdn) at full price retail. If you wear it three times a month for the next 5 years, it will have cost you $3.33 per wear. When you first buy it, you will be wearing it more often and the older it gets, the less you will wear it so three times a month is an estimated average over five years. 

3. Watch for sales and be prepared to buy the classics. I bought my "Duchess" Smythe blazer on sale and with taxes it cost me $320.00. Essentially my cost per wear just went down to about $1.76 per wear at 3 times a month for the next 5 years. A designer dress that seems to be a "steal" for $200.00 is not a bargain if you only wear it once over the next five years.

"Flirt" Lancel Handbag purchased June, 2011
Photo by JoyD.
4. Set limits. Be a wardrobe strategist and set limits on your buying. You know what you can afford. Spend the most you can afford on the best in that price range. When I am in Europe, I have a 250 Euro limit on handbags. The last time I paid full price for a designer Lancel bag was when I bought my Lancel flirt and that was in 2011. Over the past six years that bag has cost me 16.60 Euro per month. Now I have two more Lancel bags that I intersperse with the "flirt" but they both were purchased at the Lancel outlet store in Romans-sur-Isere, France on sale to lessen even the original discounted price, The cost per wear index is considerably better now that I have set a limit to how much I spend and I am still carrying Lancel bags.

Blue Lancel Handbag purchased Summer 2016.
Photo by JoyD.
5. Know your style and what role an item of clothing will play in your lifestyle. Knowing your style is the key to smart clothing economics. If you have a clear sense of what works for you and you know that you will wear an item often, you will make savvy clothing investments.

And remember what Vivienne Westwood said, "Buy less, choose well."

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