Inside My Wardrobe: Accessories from 2014 and Earlier
Inspired by the recent "oldies but goodies" series by Debbie Roes at My Wardrobe, Myself, I have started looking at my oldest wardrobe items. In my first post, I shared the 6 garments in my closet that I purchased in 2014 and still wear. (Due to size changes, most clothing from that era are no longer in my wardrobe).
Today I am talking about the accessories in my wardrobe that date to 2014 or earlier...and unlike with my clothing, I still have the vast majority of my older accessories purchases in my closet! I will address the four categories of accessories that I track in my wardrobe spreadsheet (which I started in 2013): scarves, necklaces, boots, and shoes. (I also have some older earrings, but since I don't track earrings and bracelets by price/wears, I don't really have any data on them.) I've decided to present the four categories in order based on what percentage of my current total in that category dates from 2014 or earlier.
I mentioned this past winter that I have a small collection of tall boots that I wear on repeat...and that's true of my ankle boots as well. Overall, I have 11 pairs of boots (not counting snow/rain boots; I don't track my outerwear as part of my main wardrobe), and 10 of them date to 2014 or earlier! That means that 91% of my boots collection is about 10 years old. I purchased these boots when I got to Minnesota and realized that they would be key for outfits during the long cold season.
Even though I live in a place where boots can be worn 6 months of the year, I have made a point of keeping my collection relatively small so that I can get good value from these purchases. These boots were all purchased at retail and cost almost $100 per pair, on average. With a goal of under $1 cost per wear (CPW), it takes time to hit that target...hence these boots have an average number of wears of 56 but still an average CPW of $1.76. But all of these boots are still in very good condition so I plan to wear them for many more years. 100 wears each is not an outrageous idea for most of them.
My collection of shoes is not as large as I think it is (probably because shoes take up so much closet space): 65 pairs total. 27 pairs of these shoes date back to 2014 or earlier, which is 42% of my overall collection. Six of them are much older pairs (mostly older sneakers such as my white tennis shoes) that I don't track in my spreadsheet. I know I have long since gotten my CPW down to well under $1 on those older shoes and consider them "fully depreciated" in a general sense. That leaves 21 pairs of shoes from 2014 or earlier that I have data on. One of these pairs was thrifted (the black suede Oxfords) and the rest purchased at retail...though at least four were on major discount at 6pm.
I was happy to see that the 21 pairs of older shoes average 58 wears. For shoes, I think 60 wears is a very reasonable goal (as opposed to the target of 30 wears for clothing), and these shoes are on the cusp of hitting that level. A few pairs are getting a little bedraggled at this point, but most are in good shape. As a group, these shoes have an average CPW of $0.89, meeting my under $1 CPW goal.
So I give a thumbs up to my footwear situation, where my items from 2014 or earlier make up a good proportion of my collection (91% of boots and 42% of shoes), have been worn a lot (around 56-58 times each), and have a lot of life left in them.
I have 53 necklaces from 2014 or earlier, which is 32% of my total collection of 164 necklaces. 164 is a lot of necklaces! Many of my most recent ones are DIY projects of mine, but I certainly have purchased a lot of necklaces over the years. These oldest 53 necklaces fall into 3 categories:
(1) Necklaces made by my friend RB almost 30 years ago (14);
(2) Gifts/hand-me-downs from my mom that I know to be more than 10 years old (4);
(3) Necklaces I purchased in 2013-2014 (35). I was a bit surprised that only 2 of these 35 necklaces were purchased secondhand, but upon reflection, that does seem about right. I haven't usually spent a lot of time looking at jewelry in thrift stores...which is something I'd like to change when I start thrifting again. Most of these retail purchases were inexpensive costume jewelry bought on sale. Two of them were free, purchased with Kohls Cash rewards.
My necklace stats are a good example of how having a lot of pieces in a category makes it difficult to hit the 30 wears goal, even when you wear that category regularly. Since 2013, I have a total of 970 wears across these 53 necklaces for an average of 18 wears each. (Of course, some individual pieces have hit the 30 wears target, such as my fish charm necklace.) That means that my oldest necklaces have been worn less than twice per year during the last 10 years, on average. This is because I have made or purchased 111 necklaces since then...but the number of days in a year, and hence the opportunities to wear them, has remained the same! (This said, many of the ones made by my friend decades ago have easily hit the 30 wears mark long since, but my record-keeping didn't start until 2013, so that's what I have to work with.)
But while my number of wears has a ways to go to meet the target, my cost per wear on these pieces is really good because I bought most of them on sale at low price points. Focusing on the 33 necklaces I spent money on, they have a CPW of $0.85 on average. (Obviously if I included the 20 other items with a cost of $0,. the average would be even lower, but I think that would be misleading.) This is kind of the opposite of the boots example, where I have fewer items purchased at higher cost with many wears but still a high CPW. With necklaces, I have many of them purchased at low cost with a mid-range number of wears but a good CPW.
Oh scarves! You know from my post about how to organize a lot of scarves that my collection is quite large. Something in the range of 240 scarves large! 36 of my scarves date to 2014 or earlier, which is only 15% of my collection. I have added 204 scarves to my collection since then...goodness sakes. (Fortunately most of my more recent scarves have been thrifted, so it's not been expensive.) Looking at my oldest scarves reminds me that I spent time in 2013 and 2014 perusing the scarves at Target when my husband and I went grocery shopping, and I came home with a scarf or two fairly often. I bought 21 scarves at Target in 2013-2014, and they were always about $12 each. I bought 6 scarves at Kohls during that period when I was shopping for clothes. 5 of my oldest 36 scarves were thrifted (Goodwill). Luckily scarves don't care what size you are and all the scarves from this era are still in my wardrobe.
The situation with my scarves is similar to my necklaces: the average wears is 15, so half the way to the target of 30, but the CPW is $0.85, which is below the target of <$1. If I were collecting fancy brand name silk scarves at hundreds of dollars apiece, I would be in trouble!
You can see I have followed different strategies for my boots (pricier, fewer, more wears) than my necklaces and scarves (cheaper, more of them, fewer wears). I am not recommending either of these strategies to anyone else! Ideally, for the most sustainable wardrobe for the environment and our wallets, we'd find just the right balance of price point and number of items purchased to yield a high total number of wears (at least 30 for clothing; I'd say more for shoes/boots) and a low cost per wear. Interestingly, though 30 wears for clothing is a goal with a wide following, I couldn't find any such guidelines for cost per wear. I guess what's good for the environment is more objective, while what's good for our wallets depends on how much money we each have and how we want to allocate it across different kinds of purchases. $1 CPW does seem to crop up fairly often, though I have also seen $3 and $5 as targets.
Do you still own accessories from 2014 or earlier? Do you still wear them? What is your oldest item? Are more of your accessories older pieces or new ones? Do you have a target number of wears and/or cost per wear for your accessories (even if you don't strictly track your wears but use these concepts in deciding what to buy)? Are you more on the "fewer, pricier items worn many times" or the "more, cheaper items worn fewer times" for your accessories? Do you differ by the category, as I do with boots vs. necklaces/scarves?
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