PPW — Price Per Wearing

My friend and colleague Teri Agins recently wrote in her fashion advice column for the Wall Street Journal that men should: “Always consider the cost per wearing, which will help you to rationalize $350 eyeglass frames, a $900 leather jacket and $200 premium jeans—items that you wear all the time.”

It’s true for women, too. The other day, my thriftique buddy Kate from Auh20 was telling me about her partner Alexandra’s 80/20 theory from business that she uses for her closet — roughly, that 80 percent of your outfits come from 20 percent of your pieces (kinda makes sense, no?) and that got me to thinking about PPW — Price Per Wearing.

PPW is the equation that I always have used to justify expensive purchases. Hell, what am I talking about?! Just about ANY purchase, truth be told. Some things you wear so many places, so often and with so many other things, that the PPW can go into the negative and actually cost you NOTHING! That’s right…. And this tactic of shopping rationale is right up there with me telling my husband, “but look how much money I’m saving by buying this ‘fill-in-the-blank’ for ‘sale-amount-price.'” Gets him, every time.

 The Wrap-ture or Rap-shoe, coming to an End of the World near YOU

The sandals above, $59.99 from Strawberry’s and bought earlier this season, are a bit harder to walk in than some of my other summer shoes, so their PPW is only down to about $10 -$20 right now. Although I have a pair of flats I had made out of a pair of wedgies that broke that seemed expensive a month ago at $45 and that are actually now veering into a negative number for their PPW….

The summer shopper tote above is thrifted, natch, with a handle that had to be resewn. Maybe it cost $15 total…Great summer find. Its PPW is probably at about $1-$2 now…. The skin bags on either side will have the lowest PPW of all, especially the one on the left. I got those from James, the bag guy, who sells on the street near me and have carried the one until it’s nearly bald. PPW? Practically NOTHING.

The trick is to be creative, buy pieces that mix in with the rest of your wardrobe, perhaps finish a look you’ve started, but good basics that will keep on going. That will ensure a low PPW equation.

And, more important, a PPW that will keep dropping towards the negatives.

Caviar Cravings, Tax Time Savings? It’s Time for HighLow Style

Yes, I admit it. My name is Kim and I’m a shop-a-holic. I’m totally Champagne taste on a tap water budget, and recently I’ve been so great and on the wagon — a really dry diet of inexpensive thrift fashion and recycled clothing.

But I’m coming down off of NYC Fashion Week last month, a horrendous winter of nothing but layers, layers and, oh yeah, more layers and just recently, work on a project involving luxury brands. Meaning? I am jonesing for something spring-like, pretty, on-trend and NEW. Emphasis on new. Never-been-worn. And preferably, shoes or a leather jacket. Platform Christian Louboutin Praia espadrilles and a shrunken washed leather Rick Owen or All Saint’s jacket, to be exact.

Now. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been trying to stave off a relapse by holding daily shopping meetings at my few fav EV thrifty places, like AuH20 Thriftique, helmed by the lovely Kate Goldwater, and Village Style, which is rockin’ a great Austin, TX., or Ralph Lauren-inspired window these days, below….

But my thrift addictions have gotten the better of me. And since Sunday, with my friend in town from Sweden in tow and a crazed expression spreading on my face and a giddy feeling emanating from my gut since Top Shop, I started sprinkling in some mass-consumption reconnoitering at all those biggies who are democratizing fashion. You know the ones.  I really lost it at Zara, where I realized I had to have the must-have ubiquitous short trench coat and then found the high-low style replacement ingredient to the shrunken Rick Owen jacket. And bought three. Plus a T-shirt for $40. A T-shirt. I had officially lost it.

It got worse. I found platform espadrilles at Forevs (in my case, we will now always refer to this shop as Forever 39. Hey. It works for me), and they were even comfortable! Then a wedgie fake-off of the Givenchy wrapped platform Fisherman Wedge stacker ($1,190 at Barneys!) in a dusty chocolate taupe that matched one of the “leathers.”

 The REAL Givenchy Fisherman Wedge


You might think I would’ve been done by then. But, oh no. You’d be wrong. At Strawberry’s, I came upon the Christian Louboutin-esque statuesque Praia-style espadrilles with the jute that becomes the back of the shoe heel. Okay, they’re too big, but I figure my feet will swell in the summer. Plus, P and I had pulled them up online that morning and they were $535 at Barneys. ‘Nuff said. I also snagged another “leather” shortie, this one even cheaper than the one’s from Zara.

The REAL Christian Louboutin Praia Espadrilles

So. Back home with my fashion porn, with shopper’s remorse creeping into my heart and the tristesse of knowing I have to pay my accountant before being able to pay Amex, I realized I will just have to return as many of these new clothes as possible. (Although, I’m definitely keeping one of the “leather” shorties, a bone sort of shade, which I plan to have serve as my trench coat fill-in for the season.)

Zara trench coat

Then yesterday, I saw this story on the Today Show, and I realized the true disease I have. Someone call AA — Aesthetics Anonymous! I am a shopping bulimic! I binge shop, out of control, and then, since I cannot afford it, purge by returning!

If only I could be an amnesiac shopping bulimic, where I binge but forget to return. Sigh.

But that would be a different ailment.

I think they call it rich.