Friday, June 10, 2016

Buying Expensive Shit: Worth It?

From indie-label jewelry to big bad New Rock boots to bespoke corsets and latex, dark fashion can be expensive. Dressing this way is a labor of love, whether it's an expression of your true self or full-blown performance art. But there is a point when you have to wonder if your money is better spent elsewhere.

case in point: these $500 gloves


Before I buy anything, I ask myself how often I'm actually going to wear it. High-heel shoes: once a year. A new winter coat that replaces an old one: maybe 60 days for 4 years, or 240 days.

It's most easiest to see the results of your purchasing decisions with shoes. Let's take the Jeffrey Campbell heelless shoes I bought for $60 on sale. What a steal, right? No, not really. I've worn them once (aside from taking photos). So that's $60 for 1 wear. Not worth it.

Contrast that with my New Rock Boots, which I paid $360 (including repair costs) I wore them daily in my school years and occasionally still do. It's probably an underestimation, but I probably wore them 2000 times. That's 18 cents a wear. Worth it. That's the same cost per wear that you'd get from a pair of $65 sneakers you wear every day for one year (about how long sneakers last before they disintegrate)
16 years old and they still look pretty good!
If you are going to spend a lot of money, shoes give you the best return on your dollar. For one thing, shoes in a higher price point are better made and therefore more comfortable to wear. (Comfortable shoes are better for your health overall.) The danger for us in dark fashion is that sometimes we are paying top dollar for design and not necessarily quality--looking at you, Demonia!!! Make higher quality shoes!!!!!!!!! omg you suck!!!! So it's better you physically inspect the shoes to see if you're paying $ for brand name/design and not quality. Shoes are a good return on your dollar because they're something you wear every day.

Another good return on your dollar is jewelry, assuming you wear jewelry. I do, so it's worth it for me. The raven claw necklace in the photo above (which I wrote about here) was $200. I bought it about 2.5 years ago, wore it maybe once a week. That's $1.7 a wear. That's the same price per wear of a $15 necklace I bought at Forever 21 that I wore about once a month for a year before it broke. Those of you with piercings, body jewelry is an excellent use of your money because it is in your face every day. That $300 nose ring with diamonds and shit from Maria Tash would be a few cents per wear after a few years, if you're into high-end nose rings for some reason. 
$70 for what you see here, cost per wear probably 25 cents to date. 

You've probably figured out the drawback by now. Watching the cost per wear pretty much means you buy one quality item every few years. Many people who enjoy shopping and changing their look often can't imagine wearing the same pair of shoes every day. They'd rather buy three $30 shoes every year instead of one $300 shoe every three years. Personally, I'd be embarrassed and in pain after wearing $30 shoes, so I would not consider that to be a good use of money.

Shoes and jewelry and coats and other items that are worn daily are worth the premium cost. What isn't? "Special occasion"clothing and accessories. Stuff you only plan on wearing once or twice a year. I've made it a rule to not purchase any more "special occasion" or "club" wear. I just don't go often enough to justify the cost per wear. Maybe like 2x a year. It feels like I'm throwing away money, even if I buy something that's "cheap," like 40 bucks for a skimpy dress for a club night. If that nightclub charged $40 for cover, you'd never go, right? So why would you spend that much on your outfit for only one night? Want to go from everyday to club? Do some eyeliner designs. Harrumph!!! 
spiky bra...payed $20 for it, worn 2x. If I wear it another 20 times, i won't think it was a dumb purchase.

I try to keep my cost per wear around the 50 cent range or less. I'd expect that $20 shirt from H&M to survive 40 washings and to wear those $100 earrings 200 times. 

How do you decide if something's worth its price tag?


15 comments:

  1. This is a really great way of looking at it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Smart and analytical post, I loved it! And I so agree with that sudden outburst at Demonia! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was one pair I liked recently. I was almost going to get them, but then I was like "but it's demonic"

      Delete
    2. Demonia ...lol autocorrect

      Delete
  3. This really is a great way to look at it. You've made me think much harder about my wardrobe now... especially with a child to take care of I don't get to purchase my own clothes that often anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But buying clothes for kids seems fun! I have serious space restrictions, so I have to question everything I buy, and buy fewer things

      Delete
  4. I personally invest only in winter coats. I don't like stuffing 3 sweaters under my coat to keep warm, so the ones I buy have to let me survive severe winters on their own and look relatively nice. But since economy in Poland is much different than in US, my winter coat that cost around 80$ was already a fucking expensive buy. Other than this, I really love to play with my appearance, so I keep the price of my clothes under 8$ *shrugs* Nothing would convince me to pay more and be obliged to wear the thing for a few months straight to feel I haven't wasted my money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought a good winter coat for the first time a few years ago and it is sooooo much better than wearing 3 sweaters. I used to love changing up me styles, but the space issue got to me... I had a whole wardrobe dedicated to wigs and hair falls, for example. Would have never worked in my tiny apartment! I do miss not being able to change my look up.

      Delete
  5. Very insightful post, I love your advice and break downs :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I actually do the same; whenever I find something I like, I try to come up with at least five different outfits I could use it for and think about how many time I could actually wear it. I stopped buying eels, corsets and club dresses for the same reason too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The five outfit idea is a good one!

      Delete
  7. Very good post and just in time where I 'm angry at myself that I bought new sandals for 16 euros. Today I wore them first time, I stayed out late and my feet really hurt. I hope they 'll adapt to my feet but I also doubt it

    ReplyDelete