Thinking of buying a new pair of jeans? Breaking down the cost over time might help you decide

by Gabriel Martinez
fokus keyword: cost-per-wear

Jake Welch, a 36-year-old brand director from Erda, Utah, has a unique approach to his wardrobe selection. He meticulously records the price and frequency of wearing each of his 200 clothing items (excluding socks and underwear) on a spreadsheet, which he updates nightly. His aim is to evaluate the cost-per-wear of each item to determine if it’s worth the investment.

When Welch started this practice 12 years ago, many thought it was an odd habit. However, with the continued issue of inflation, others are beginning to understand his method. Rather than focusing solely on cheap items, Welch emphasizes the value of purchases over their lifespan, a mindset that seems increasingly relevant.

“I was actually onto something versus being a little looney,” Welch stated last month, reflecting his satisfaction with his approach.

Retailers are also noticing this shift in consumer mentality. Companies like Old Navy, Kohl’s, and American Eagle are emphasizing durability and versatility in their marketing strategies. These retailers offer promotions and products that align with the cost-per-wear mindset, like Old Navy’s full refund policy for uniforms that don’t last a year.

This way of thinking is further reflected in the choice of buying a $200 classic sweater over a $40 dress that might be worn less frequently. Shoppers are not only considering the value but also environmental factors, choosing clothes that won’t quickly end up in a landfill.

However, cost-per-wear calculations may not be applicable to all consumers. Those with tighter budgets may prioritize price over quality. Fast-fashion brands like Temu and Shein, known for low prices, are still thriving.

But a backlash against cheap clothing is growing. Retailers are seeing a rise in average order value as shoppers focus on quality and versatility. The trend towards value over mere cheapness is gaining momentum.

According to Circana’s Retail Tracking Service, higher-priced items are growing faster than lower-priced ones. There is a shift in the market towards quality, though this doesn’t always mean a higher price tag is justified.

Still, cost-per-wear doesn’t account for changing preferences, weight fluctuations, or the timeliness of fashion items. Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, notes these complexities.

Welch’s approach, focusing on neutral colors and items that work across seasons, has helped him navigate inflation and differentiate needs from wants. He maintains a specific cost-per-wear target, like the athletic shorts he has worn 434 times, reducing the cost to 50 cents per wear.

Retailers like Kohl’s are tailoring their marketing to show how items can be versatile. Welch’s wife has also shifted her focus to quality over fast fashion, though she hasn’t adopted her husband’s spreadsheets.

Welch also finds joy in the economics of clothing for his two daughters, seeing additional savings in reusing dresses. His unique method of managing his wardrobe emphasizes a growing trend of mindful spending, focusing on long-term value rather than mere price, a movement that seems poised to shape the future of retail.

Follow Anne D’Innocenzio on Twitter for more: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: cost-per-wear

What is Jake Welch’s approach to managing his wardrobe?

Jake Welch calculates the cost-per-wear of each clothing item in his wardrobe by using a spreadsheet. He meticulously lists the price and how many times he’s worn each item, excluding socks and underwear, and updates this information every night. This allows him to evaluate if a purchase is worth it over time.

How are retailers responding to the cost-per-wear mindset?

Retailers like Old Navy, Kohl’s, and American Eagle are shifting their marketing strategies to emphasize the durability and versatility of their products. They are offering deals that align with a cost-per-wear mindset, focusing on long-lasting items, and sometimes even giving guarantees like full refunds for items that don’t last as expected.

Is the cost-per-wear approach suitable for everyone?

The cost-per-wear approach may not suit everyone, particularly those with tighter budgets who may prioritize immediate price over long-term quality and versatility. Fast-fashion retailers, known for their low prices, continue to attract consumers who may not be concerned with the longevity of their purchases.

What is the impact of the cost-per-wear mindset on the environment?

Some shoppers are using the cost-per-wear calculation as a way to be more eco-friendly by selecting clothes that won’t end up in a landfill after being worn just a few times. By focusing on the longevity and reusability of clothing, this approach aligns with a more sustainable consumption pattern.

How does Welch’s cost-per-wear approach influence his personal buying decisions?

Welch’s cost-per-wear approach allows him to carefully consider his purchases, focusing on neutral colors and versatile items that work across seasons. His method helps him navigate inflation and differentiate between his needs and wants, guiding him towards quality investments in his wardrobe.

How has the market responded to the growing interest in higher quality clothing?

According to market research, there has been a shift towards higher-priced and quality items, outpacing the growth of lower-priced ones. There’s a growing consumer interest in value over mere cheapness, with higher price brands driving growth in certain sectors like women’s jeans and active pants.

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BudgetMom August 14, 2023 - 12:53 pm

this makes sense to me, especially for kids clothing. With 3 kids, I need to make sure their clothes last, so I’m gonna start considering this cost-per-wear thing. Thanks for the info!

EcoWarrior August 14, 2023 - 12:58 pm

Love that ppl are thinking more about sustainability and not just buying cheap clothes that end up in landfills! We need to keep pushing for quality and long-lasting clothing.

Fashionista_K August 14, 2023 - 6:41 pm

It’s about time that retailers start to promote quality over quantity. But I wonder if high prices always equal high quality?

SarahJ August 15, 2023 - 12:18 am

I’ve never thought about calculating cost-per-wear before but this article makes it sound like a smart idea. Might start tracking my clothing spendings too.

Mike87 August 15, 2023 - 2:49 am

Really, a spreadsheet for clothes?? seems a bit over the top to me. not sure I’d have the time or patience for that, lol.

Tom_in_Utah August 15, 2023 - 6:15 am

I live near Erda, and this is the first time I’m hearing about this guy, Jake Welch. Interesting approach, but sounds like a lot of work. But hey, if it saves money in the long run, why not.


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