What is Cost Per Wear?
So cost per wear pre purchase is calculated by estimating how many times you think you will wear an item.
Things to consider when calculating are:
- Is this a trend piece that will be out of style next season?
- Is it well made, is the fabric good quality?
- Is it transeasonal?
These factors will help you determine how often you might wear an item and when its wearability may come to an end, ie, how quickly it will break or be irrelevant in your wardrobe.
Once you have an idea of how many wears you will get out of an item, you can divide this number by the retail price of the piece.
So, say you bought an organic cotton shirt for $250, it was well made and you wear it once a fortnight. So that’s 26 wears per year. Hopefully that shirt lasts many years, let’s say hypothetically it lasts 6 years. So 26 x 6 gives us 156 wears. So the true cost of the item per wear ends up being $1.60.
Alternatively, let’s say I buy a cheap cotton shirt for around $20. MicKinsey & Company state ‘consumers treat the lowest-priced garments as nearly disposable, discarding them after just seven or eight wears.’ So by this model, the cost per wear of the ‘cheaper’ item is $2.5.
Not only is the cost more expensive than our higher quality shirt, but now that it’s no longer useful, we have to replace it.

To get 156 wears out of the $20 a shirt you will have to replace it 20 times!
This ends up costing you $400 rather than $250.

Not to mention those 20 shirts potentially end up in landfill.

The $20 shirt costs too much
For you.
For the planet.
For the underpaid garment worker.
Even though the $250 is cheaper in the long run, access is still an issue.
Most of us can’t drop $250 without a thought.
So how can you access a garment that will last and have a low cost per wear affordably? 
Shop secondhand and buy quality natural fibre garments.
Look at the seams, see if they look strong.
Does the fabric feel durable? Does it look like it will tear easily or pill?

Ask your favourite brand if they offer Lay-By.
You can pay off the item over many weeks.
Most brands will also offer a full refund without penalty if you can no longer afford the piece and need to cancel your order.

Shop your wardrobe
Instead of buying anything, shop your own wardrobe.
Go through everything you own and see if there are any pieces you forgot about that you would love to wear.
Also, invest in repairing any items that need it.
Clothes swap!
There are lots of clothes swaps around Australia, but you can also organise your own if you know people who are the same size.
Maybe you’re a fashion addict and  experiencing a variety of different clothes makes you super happy.
That’s fine!
Have you tried clothing rental services?
You can rent cool pieces from quality brands.
The best part is that the clothes often last because they are managed by teams who know how to best care for them for longest life. (And it’s in their best interest to preserve the piece).