September 29th, 2018
The Wall Street Journal

Investment Shopping

There’s an article in today’s WSJ about investment fashion pieces and calculating the CPW: Cost Per Wear. This way of thinking dovetails with my overly-careful-consideration approach to purchasing a big ticket item — I ask myself “will it go the distance.” The above Saint Laurent SS15 pea coat is a perfect example — I deliberated over buying it and left the tags on until I was sure. Now I can’t wait to pull it out as soon as the weather cools — this coat is a forever piece in my wardrobe and I never regret having spent a pretty penny on it. After three years of wear, the CPW is very low.


what's new


Leather clutch


Cotton denim midi skirt


Suede collarless jacket


Casatt double-breasted cotton trench coat


Chignon monogram silk-satin scarf


Belted leather-trimmed twill jacket




Le Bracelet braided-metal bracelet


Figari plunge knot-front top


Achilles leather sneakers


One-shoulder cotton-drill top


Croc-effect leather slippers

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  • “Quality is remembered, long after price is forgotten.” Stanley Marcus

    Karen KloppSeptember 29th, 2018  9:58 AM

  • another great saying “If you buy the best, you only cry once.”

    LeslieSeptember 29th, 2018  3:28 PM

  • A girlfriend and I were just talking about this at lunch the other day. We posited that $10 per wear was a reasonable rate of return with most items coming in at less than that. I can’t read the WSJ article (no subscription) but assume we’re on the right track?
    Congrats on the coat, it’s stellar. ❤️

    SueMSeptember 29th, 2018  5:34 PM

  • I always think of cost per wear and hence I have some clothes that are thirty years old that I still wear. It does mean that my party clothes and sandals are always bought on sale.

    MMSSeptember 30th, 2018  4:53 AM

  • Preston, I’m dying to hear what you thought of Hedi Slimane’s debut at Celine!!!!!

    EllieSeptember 30th, 2018  7:38 AM

  • I’ve used fashion amortization to justify the cost of clothes for years. I find that the math only works in my head for classic or plain items, as I don’t wear bolder pieces enough to bring the CPW down. I was fascinated by this article’s optimistic view that all of the items (including flair pieces like a lavender printed skirt) would be worn weekly or monthly for 10 years.

    NikSeptember 30th, 2018  7:49 AM

  • Hedi’s Celine collection is not for me and that’s probably his point. As Vogue said it’s “not your mother’s Celine” — I’m clearly not the customer he’s designing for. I bought a number of Saint Laurent pieces when Hedi helmed the brand, and even though his debut Celine collection is a continuation of his SL aesthetic (encased in amber perhaps?), I didn’t see many items that I would buy. However, the suiting was the highlight of the show and will sell well for both men and women.

    PrestonSeptember 30th, 2018  8:00 AM

  • I saw this post, suddenly remembered that I have a Saint Laurent pea coat. Searched for it. Found it….and the second of set of car keys that we lost 2 years ago…. The worst part is that we sold that car 2 months ago (husband not happy).The good news is that I have re-discovered the coat!

    JessSeptember 30th, 2018  9:12 AM

  • This was so timely as sit to down to spend a lazy rainy Sunday making some online purchases for my fall wardrobe. It is really about investing in the pieces that work in your wardrobe, lifestyle, climate. I’m splurging on some ankle boots, the perfect jean and leather pants, great blouses and simple sweaters, and light jackets. I’m waiting for sales on dressier pieces that I wear less and generally more toward holiday season. It rarely gets very cold where I live and my older warm coats still look great-for me that’s a piece that gets worn infrequently. I’m skipping the cool designer sneakers no matter how chic they are.. I always feel “off” in sneakers and jeans and prefer a cool boot or mule.

    EBSeptember 30th, 2018  9:55 AM

  • Although I haven’t always purchased clothing in such a pragmatic manner, I agree the return on investment mentality is a way to prevent blowing ones clothing budget on emotional wants vs. practical needs. How many of us have experienced to some extent the reality of a closet full of clothing, but nothing really “to wear”?

    AprilSeptember 30th, 2018  10:38 AM

  • Absolutely true, but I still have a hard time getting myself to splash out on the “forever piece.”

    JoannawnycOctober 1st, 2018  10:43 AM

  • Just returned from a weekend with my daughter to do a little shopping together. I bought one thing – my ‘investment’ was a cashmere/silk shawl with a gorgeous pattern and weave. I’ll wear it with a dress bought this season, and it also will work with a beautiful slate blue wool coat from last season, and I will also wear it with jeans and sweaters. In recent years I tend to be more willing to make significant purchases on accessories such as this, a beautiful earring or wonderful handbag rather than clothing. I’ve had a few beloved clothes ruined at cleaners, so I basically try to avoid dry cleaning at all costs, which has led to bizarre behaviors such as avoiding sitting, not eating at parties, avoiding fine red wine, never packing good clothes in checked luggage, and even (very) occasionally sacrificing my seatbelt! The CPW is actually much higher than the price tag! : ))) Kidding aside, I’ve never run the numbers or amortized a wardrobe purchase of any kind, but I definitely always sleep on it before acting.

    PaulaOctober 2nd, 2018  12:54 AM


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