What Is A Good Cost Per Wear?

According to the internet, how much you pay for a garment is secondary to its cost per wear. Chuck the cheap and low quality H&M since they’ll cost you more to replace in the long run, so the story goes. Those $200 jeans are worth since you can wear them for two years straight. And that $500 leather jacket will last you the rest of your life.

I personally have never found that my expensive clothes last longer than my cheaper ones. Sure, they are nicer (and that’s why they’re worth buying) but it takes far fewer wears and washes for a nice Equipment silk blouse to pull than a cheap cotton one from Eddie Bauer. Fancy clothes are beautiful, but also can be terribly finicky. Which means not only am I spending more up front for nice clothes but also have a faster replacement rate, thus a catastrophically higher cost per wear!

And besides what is a good cost per wear?

At the very least, your cost per wear should align with your clothing budget. So if you set aside $1500 a year for clothing, your outfit(s) of the day should cost no more than $4-ish. Or, contrarily, if you’re daily clothing averages only $2 a day, you only need to set aside $750 or so for clothes each year.

I would say this is, on average, how much I spend on a garment versus how many wears I expect to get out of it:


In a typical week, I’ll wear five work outfits: three times blouses and slacks ($3.51) and twice dresses with leggings ($2.26). I’ll also wear my dress shoes all week ($7.50).

During the evenings I’ll wear a T-shirt and pajama shorts to bed ($1.40). On the weekends it’s half the time nice blouses and half the time T-shirts, coupled with jeans and casual shoes ($1.77). Finally, I’ll work out in a T-shirt, sweat pants, and tennis shoes around three times a week ($2.94).

So, based on these back of the envelope calculations, I depreciate my clothes an average of $19.34 per week, or about $1007.76 per year. Which seems high, given that I only spend around $250-300 on clothes a year altogether including undergarments and socks. Maybe I’ve greatly underestimated the number of wears I get out of my clothing. Or maybe it’s a sign of a lot more spending to come.

What do you think is a good CPW per garment? How much does your clothing “cost” per day if you calculate by CPW?