The Math of Sustainable Fashion: Why Cost Per Wear Matters More Than the Price Tag


The Math of Sustainable Fashion: Why Cost Per Wear Matters More Than the Price Tag - The PS Collective

By: Elaine Lin | Mar 17, 2023

The Math!

A decade ago, the gatekeepers of fashion trends were magazine editors and designers, and the bible for the next it-item was listed in fashion magazines. However, the emergence of social media has changed the landscape of the fashion industry. On social media platforms like Instagram, users post at least 95 million photos and videos daily. With so many stylish items constantly popping up on our Instagram feeds, it can be hard to determine which fashion items are worth splurging on. 


It is a complex problem. 


Well, there is a simple solution: calculate the cost-per-wear for a fashion piece. 


Cost-Per-Wear ($/yr) = Cost of  Item($) / # of Times Worn (year)


If the low cost-per-wear value is high, opt-out. On the other hand, if it’s low, it is a wise investment. 


Shopping with this formula in mind is step 1 for building a capsule wardrobe and the key to understanding the actual value of an item relative to you. 


For example, I recently picked up the Piccoli Secreto Petite Satin White Shirt that cost $122. I will wear that blouse to work once a week and as an undershirt for my weekend outfit, making it around 65 wears a year. The Cost-Per-Wear for a year is computed by $122/65, which is approximately $1.877. But cost-per-wear is not just about the number of wears. We have to consider the quality and the material of the item. A higher-quality item lasts longer in a lifetime, while others may need to be replaced every few years or even a few wears. 

Other Tips Towards A Sustainable Clothing Budget?

Know your body measurements. Consider taking a Fit Test and Learning how to Take Body Measurements. Today, fashion e-commerce makes up roughly 23% of total online retail sales in the US; therefore, knowing your body measurement is essential for purchasing an item online. This way, we can save time on shopping for things guaranteed to fit and bypassing the unnecessary nuisance of returns and getting items tailored; a garment that fits perfectly is what we desire! 


Why Cost-Per-Wear?

Implementing cost-per-wear is not just about saving an extra dollar; more importantly, it is about reducing carbon footprint. You can read more in our blog post about Dollar Listing. Regardless of an item’s price tag, it is equally important to calculate the cost-per-wear for sales items because we often get tempted by the discount! Together, we want to see a sustainable fashion industry.


Sustainability is not a trend; it is the future!


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