One of the perks of visiting my parents is the unlimited cable. I have been able to watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear this week. One incredibly helpful shopping tool that really stuck with me was B.A.S.E.
B = body appropriate
A = age appropriate
S = situation appropriate
E = expense appropriate
Ask yourself whether the item passes the four tests. (Does it flatter your body type? Is it meant for your age? etc. I think they are pretty self explanatory, but see season 8, episode 6: Jordan)
I personally find the most difficulty with the E: is it expense appropriate?
Suppose you find a dress for $80. In order to get the cost-per-wear down to $1.67, you would have to wear the dress twice a month, every month, for the next two years.
But this gets me to wondering: what is a reasonable cost-per-wear? The idea behind cost-per-wear is that you could buy a skirt at Target for $20, but if you only wear it twice, that puts the cost-per-wear at $10. However, if you buy a skirt at J. Crew for $80, and wear it twenty times, that puts the cost-per-wear at $4. Essentially then, the J. Crew skirt was the better purchase since it had a lower cost-per-wear.
Let's go back to the $80 dress in question. I myself couldn't imagine actually wearing a dress twice a month, every month, for the next two years. So suppose you only wear the dress once a month for the next two years. That puts cost-per-wear at $3.33. Is that a reasonable cost-per-wear?
Do you think about cost-per-wear? It seems like a really tricky concept to master, so is it easier to just decide based on your budget? Suppose your monthly budget is $100. Does purchasing an $80 dress simply mean you can only spend $20 more that month?
While I was in undergrad, I put a price point on every type of item. I wouldn't buy any top that was more than $20, wouldn't spend more than $30 for pants, etc. While I am no longer committed to this approach, I often find myself wondering about whether there is any merit to it.
How do you decide what is a reasonable amount to spend on a particular item?