Something very important to every wardrobe is calculating the cost per wear. It sounds lengthy but don’t worry, even the most numerically challenged like myself can easily calculate the cost per wear of every item. It simply comes down to how many times you wear the item and was it worth getting considering the price. Does wearing a designer handbag almost every day for 5 years justify the cost? Absolutely. Keeping it on a shelf to look at forever? Don’t know why you bothered.
I’ll start off with telling you that accessories are not my thing. They used to be. I used to wear a tonne of jewellery which was fine. But I had to give up the trinkets when I was waitressing which took up half of my time while studying. I used to switch between piling on the finery on some days and taking most of it off other days. I stopped wearing so much and sold and swapped a few pieces. Now I occasionally wear a necklace, sometimes wear a bangle and wear a ring every week or so. Earrings are non negotiable, my ears were pierced from a tiny age and I feel half dressed without them. I change them up every so often but those are always there. I’ve gotten used to wearing almost no jewellery and while I agree that accessories can make or break a look, I’m happier wearing less. I feel less weighed down with all of those fiddly bits and pieces.
I’m also not a bag person. I’ve found that I end up using only about 3 of the ones I have so I’ve gotten rid of the rest and saw this big space that never used to exist in my room. Ditto scarves. How many do I need anyway? This is why I pass on most accessories, it just doesn’t make economical sense for me to buy things I rarely if ever wear.
As mentioned previously, my wardrobe essentials are the items that are worth every penny spent on it. Garments I can buy in multiples to replace when the first gets worn out or in different variations and colours are worth spending on. For example, I currently own about 6 kimono jackets. Sounds excessive? Perhaps. But considering that I lived in the only one I had for the whole Spring before I could find another I liked also is a bit much. Turns out there was a niche in my wardrobe that needed to be filled and dammit, I’m on a mission to fill it. Wearing no other outerwear but this in the warm weather requires me to get several of them. The one that started it all was a mere 10 euros and wearing it almost every day for for 3 months made it one of my best investments.
When it comes to less worn items like occasion wear, you have to decide if the garment you get is not just worth the price you pay but worth it in terms to re-wear (this doesn’t include a wedding dress obviously). I’ve still got my prom dress from 8 years ago and it’s still going strong because I’ve dressed it up in different ways to wear to different occasions, making it well worth the cost. Cast away the idea that you mustn’t be seen in an outfit twice, reinvent the bits that you already have and it’ll be worth what you paid. This also doesn’t mean you should buy whatever and wear it only once with the excuse that it’s only cheap Primark so it doesn’t matter. If you find yourself with an excess of baggage, don’t tell yourself that you will wear it at some point or in the case of clothes, think you will loose weight and will fit into it next year. The difficulty with estimating cost per wear is the hindsight needed but if you take previous examples of items that haven’t worked out, apply the same principle.
A great way to try out all of those things that you rarely wear and help you decide what to keep or not is by the ‘mix or ditch’ challenge that’s popular around the blogosphere at the moment. A blog post by Retro Sonja brought it to my attention and while I am one of the rare percent that wears pretty much all of my wardrobe all of the time, I do occasionally pull out an item that I remember I could wear even more than I usually do. Sonja is a blogger with a distinctive style that doesn’t get caught up in fashions and trends as much as most do and routinely mixes and matches the same pieces over again, making each outfit look different which appeals to me and I’d love to see more of everywhere. Without it being a rant over fast fashion, see if you can mix or ditch garments from your wardrobe on a regular basis and you might find yourself picking out favourites. Do an experiment and pick out certain items that you don’t normally wear. If you can wear that purple ra-ra skirt once a week for a month and make it look different every time, still love it and continue to wear it at even once a month, you know you’re onto a winner, no matter how much it cost or how impractical the item seems. As long as it fits into your lifestyle and you can justify the purchase by wearing it several times over the years, why not keep it?