How I’m going to save more money by spending more on clothes! [Cost Per Wear Theory]


Before the end of every year I do two things. I set my goals for the new year, and I also indulge in a serious wardrobe and beauty cabinet detox. There’s something about the start of a new chapter that pushes me to want to de-clutter and re-organise. Well last year, December to be precise, I did exactly that, I went through my hair care/beauty cabinet, and did my usual task of creating a ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and ‘Maybe’ pile, allowing my younger sisters to take their pick from the ‘Maybe’ pile, before giving it away to charity.

In the case of my wardrobe however, this didn’t quite go as planned! For the first time in years my ‘No’ pile was huge (70% of my wardrobe)! Almost every item of clothing I had was either slacking, bubbling, fading in colour or no longer my style. I remember sitting on the floor in front of my wardrobe in shock. I couldn’t believe I had allowed this to happen, but I knew exactly how it had.

If you follow me on social media or know me personally, you’ll know that I love Zara. I like to believe I have a casual chic style, and Zara almost always has what I am looking for (at a reasonable price). In 2016 however, I took a break from shopping at my usual favourite spots (inc. Zara). Myself and hubby had set some pretty steep savings goals, so I decided it made sense to cut down on my spending, and contribute more towards our goals. The greatest mistake I would go on to make, was to frequently buy cheaper clothes, as opposed to fewer high quality items. The latter of which would have prevented my wardrobe dilemma in the first place!

You see buying cheaper clothes so that I could save more money, actually ended up costing me what I had saved and more. Had I been smarter about my spending, I would have continued to buy high quality clothing but less frequently, because as proven by the remaining 30% of my wardrobe (mainly mid-high end purchases), high quality clothes last much longer.

One theory that explains this really well is the Cost Per Wear theory.


The Cost Per Wear theory basically suggests, that in the longer term, buying more expensive/higher quality clothes, actually works out cheaper, than buying cheaper/lower quality clothes.

Take the following real life example of two pairs of heels I own, and bought at the same time:

Heels Forever 21 Zara
 Price  £29.99 £79.99
Approx no. of times worn* 13 40
 Cost Per Wear  £2.30 £ 1.99

*In the past 24 months.

In the example above the Cost Per Wear theory couldn’t be any more true. After a year of wear, my Forever 21 heels were so battered and bruised, I had to throw them away. My Zara heels on the other hand are still going strong, and have only been re-heeled once.

With the new year upon us, I’ve put together a solid clothing budget for 2017. I aim to spend more on items of high quality, and will only buy ‘cheap’ if I fall in love with an item, and can’t imagine my life without it! I like to see such items as investments in my happiness (wink wink!)

So that’s pretty much how I plan on saving more money by spending more on clothes. My lesson from 2016 was that buying cheap, can sometimes be more expensive, and I won’t be making that mistake again!

Anyone else think the CPW theory sounds like a good idea?
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  1. Chadel Mathurin
    January 11, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    Very reader- friendly piece with great advice. I’m with you! .. I plan to save this year, however I will take into consideration the cost per wear theory.

    • Fiona
      January 11, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you Chadel! Really glad you liked it

  2. January 11, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    This is the way forward tbh Fiona. I just have to pluck up the courage to do it. I do find it hard to spend huge one off amounts on single items. But it makes more financial sense.

    • Fiona
      January 11, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      Right! Honestly if not for my wardrobe malfunction I would still be sleeping on this. It took some time to adjust to the idea but I really think it’ll be well worth it.

  3. Antoinette
    January 11, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    I definitely subscribe to the theory. Thanks for Sharing this

    • Fiona
      January 23, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Great minds think alike!

  4. Ronke
    January 12, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    This is the theory I have started to live by although I normally wait for the sales but I does work. Good read btw

    • Fiona
      January 23, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      That’s a smart tactic, I second you on that! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Li
    January 21, 2017 / 6:33 am

    This is why I never shop at HM or those kind of shops. Not so much for the money as for the time it takes to constantly go out and replace things.

    You say you sat a budget for 2017, how much is that? Would be interesting to know as I live in Europe where I think clothes are more expensive in general.

    • Fiona
      January 23, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      I have to agree, I shop there less and less now! My budget is based on my income, spending habits and savings so I’m not sure it would be useful to share. Regardless of how much I spend I always cut my cloth according to my size and this always helps me set reasonable budgets 🙂 x

  6. Jacqueline
    August 3, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    Great post, thank you for sharing! – Could you recommend some good mid range stores please?

  7. Lavine Obeng
    November 22, 2019 / 8:36 pm

    Where else do you shop other than Zara, for quality?

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