Shopping and selecting the right clothes is not easy. Some items that you pick will be a success while others are seldom worn.

Of course you will want to limit the failures to as few as possible and I have written many articles to help you with this.

But how exactly do you measure your buying success?

1. Count the happy factor

Your “happy” factor should weigh in highly. If you are generally happy with your wardrobe and can always find something to wear, then you are doing pretty well. You may want to record how happy you felt wearing a certain outfit!

2. Count compliments

Some women count the amount of compliments they get. Although it’s good to get compliments on your outfits, I would not weigh that factor too highly. How you feel in your clothes yourself is much more important. Of course getting more compliments may make you feel extra special!

3. Calculate the cost per wear

Other women measure the cost per wear of an outfit. This can be a useful exercize as it may determine if your expensive clothes are actually giving you better value than your cheaper purchases.

Here is how it works.

Write down the cost of an item that you bought and then divide that by the number of times you have worn an item.

If you bought an expensive item but wear it often over the years, then that item has a low cost per wear and turns out to be a bargain.

On the other hand if you bought something very cheaply but then end up never wearing it, then that item is expensive.

An idea is to setup a spreadsheet, where you can track each of your clothes and accessories quite easily. You may want to add an extra column to track the happy factor and compliments as well! When you do this for a while, it will give you a quick idea of how effective your purchases are and will help you determine which items are worth spending money on and which ones are not.

Another idea is to use an app for managing your clothes and calculating the cost per wear. The advantage of an app is that you can visualize all your outfits easily.


A good one that I’m testing right now is Stylitics. You can plan and share outfits, see a quick overview of the outfits you wore in your calandar and if you add the price of each article, the cost per wear of each item is automatically calculated. This app will even suggest items you haven’t worn in a while and you can share your outfits and see what your friends are wearing.

It’s relatively easy to add new items to your closet but for this app to work effectively, you will need to update it every day. Time-consuming to setup initially but after that should be quick to use. This seems the most advanced app that I’m aware off that both manages your clothes and keeps track of cost per wear. I like that you can use it both on you ipad or phone and online on your computer. You can also choose to have your closet public or private.

Another one is Closet +, which is a simpler app, but I haven’t tried this myself.

For more clothing apps you can check my earlier article for other clothing manager apps.

Finding out what ‘success’ is

Calculating the cost per wear is not going to give you all the answers though. A special party dress may not get worn so often and get an acceptable cost per wear, but may be worth it because you felt special on a special occasion.

However, a leather handbag that only gets worn a few times may have a too high cost per wear and you should consider getting a different kind of hand bag in the future. On the other hand, if you buy a really expensive handbag, but you wear it almost every day, the cost per wear can be very acceptable.

What you need to find out is which items can be more expensive for you.

When I started thinking about that for myself, here is what my thoughts are:

  • Good classic shoes or shoes in a style that you have always liked are worth the extra money as they will last you for a long time.
  • I need some special event dresses. I accept that the cost per wear will be higher. I need to be careful though not to buy too many dresses that are only good for wearing just a few times. Luckily I enjoy wearing my good clothes often.
  • Fashionable items cannot be expensive. Although I always like to incorporate fashionable items in my wardrobe since I enjoy trends and like variety, I know that these items have a short life and therefore only a few can be bought at affordable prices. Arty, unique pieces will last longer.
  • Silky day-to-evening tops can be more expensive. I wear these a lot as they are very versatile in the hot Singapore climate.
  • Suits and jackets don’t get worn enough to be expensive. I work from home so only need these rarely.

How about you?

How do you measure how successful your buying decisions are? Do you keep track of the cost per wear? What items are you happy to spend money on?


p.s.: To make better purchasing decisions and avoid making buying mistakes, I recommend doing my free Find Your Style Challenge. You can start today for free here.


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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