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Fashion Math. The CPW equation & quality over quantity.

Posted on April 19 2016

"It was my understanding there would be no math during the debate." If you are of a certain age, this will remind you of the SNL skit staring Chevy Chase as president Gerald Ford during the 1976 debates. To this day, if I am with my sister and any kind of math equation is involved in our conversation, one of us will say this and we both giggle. During school and still to this day, Math and I have never gotten along. It's just not my strong suit. I'm more of a left brain kind of girl. So why am I going to complicate fashion with math? I like to save money and get the most out of the pieces I buy. Saving money is the only kind of math I like.   

Last week, we talked about building a wardrobe vs buying random clothes. The CPW equation and "quality vs quantity" are a big part of that process. Let's look at each in more detail.

CPW Equation - Cost Per Wear
The CPW equation is simple can help you decide if you should invest in an expensive piece of clothing for your wardrobe. Divide the cost of a piece of clothing by how many times you think you will wear it. 

Cost of the piece / how many times you will wear it = CPW

For example, a beautiful summer dress has a price tag of $200.00. Ask yourself; how many times will I actually wear that dress? Each time you wear it, the CPW goes down. If this dress fits nicely, is good quality, is not too trendy and aligns with your lifestyle, apply the CPW equation. $200.00 for a dress you may wear on 20+ occasions is $10.00 per wear. It's really not that expensive. Now, if that same dress is $200.00, but you can only wear it to a few occasions, it may not be worth the investment and the CPW goes up to $50.00 or more. 

Once, I fell in love with a blazer. I stood staring longingly at it until I checked the price tag. It was $215.00! That is a lot for me to spend on one piece and I usually walk away. Instead, I thought about how it would fit into my existing wardrobe, how many times and how many different ways I could wear it. I bought this blazer and have worn it over 30+ times already. The CPW is $7.16 and going down each time I wear it. $215.00 for that piece was a good investment. Now, I can't stock my closet with 5 or 6 blazers at $215.00 a pop, but having one versatile, neutral colored, high quality piece that will last is using the CPW equation to my benefit.  

Investing in quality vs quantity - Investing in fewer, versatile, high quality pieces instead of buying a lot of poor quality, inexpensive pieces will save money. Like we talked about last week, the list of quality pieces you invest in depends on your lifestyle. Do you need work appropriate attire or are you more casual? Think about the pieces in your wardrobe that you wear over and over. Those are the pieces you should invest in. Today, fast fashion is changing the fashion industry in many ways, but the most prevalent is in the quality of clothes we buy and the prices we pay for them. Fast fashion pieces are poor quality and inexpensive. Tee shirts for $9.00, jeans for $36.00, sweaters for $19.99 are all considered fast fashion pieces. In the end, you spend more on fast fashion pieces because you need to replace them more frequently. The fast fashion industry doesn't want you to do the math on this. They lure you in with low prices, knowing the pieces you buy will not last. They also know you will buy more because you think you're getting a deal (the psychology behind pricing could be an entire post in and of itself). If you want to buy a few trendy fast fashion pieces, do it. There is nothing wrong with that. Fast fashion pieces are a fun way to freshen up your wardrobe and incorporate current trends. Just don't over buy and fill your wardrobe them.

Think about your fashion math lesson this way.

2 high quality tee shirts @ $25.00 each = $50.00 for two or more seasons of wear.
5 poor quality tee shirts @ $9.00 each = $45.00 for one season of wear. $45 x 2 = $90

See what happened there? You spent more money than you needed to. When shopping and building your wardrobe, math can be your friend! Keep the CPW equation in mind as well as quality vs quantity, and you will save money in the end.

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Amy Olson -Owner and creator of Kuhfs







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