I read a comment awhile ago from a woman who'd spent years selling high- end real estate in Southern California. Her income, like many of the self-employed, fluctuated. She'd celebrate a big sale with a new outfit, she'd prop herself up in lean times with... a new outfit.
In hindsight, she lamented that she had bought so many expensive clothes: "If I had invested the money instead of buying Chanel suits, I'd be so much better off today."
She said the suits gave her far less pleasure than she'd thought; the Chanel did not give her six times the joy of a Tahari (shown left), for example. She learned to stop bolstering her self esteem by making purchases she either could not afford, or that she could afford, but were hollow.
I don't want to sound preachy and life-denying. Beauty feeds the soul, and much beauty is found in clothing. I'm looking for balance and perspective.
The Canadian activist and writer June Callwood, speaking of her wardrobe, said, "I'm buying clothes that last, because as I get older, I expect to get poorer." Classic Callwood, pithy and true.
I have not quite mastered the cost-per-wear (CPW) tactic that so many stylists recommend.
Some of my expensive purchases did not get worn enough (Hugo Boss shell, $250, nothing special). And the "bargains", even worse! A Gap cashmere sweater marked down to $40: worn once before mutation into a '70s shag carpet.
I recently bought a rather pricey Chinese-print yellow silk kimono to wear... um, to wear where? Maybe for a party or to a good restaurant. Or reading in bed? Perhaps I'll hang it on the wall.
Last weekend, while in Ottawa, I visited Muriel Dombret's perfect boutique, Clothes, to buy another of her shapely fine black jersey "Maddy" skirts, because I wore my first one out. Probably the best clothing investment I ever made, CPW has to be measured in mills.
Do you usually apply the cost-per-wear rule? How has it worked out?