winter outfit photo featuring camel coat and tan knee boots

Clothes, Consumerism & Cost-Per-Wear

tan boots with gold heels

camel coat with tan leather boots

What’s the cost-per-wear of your clothes?

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When I wrote about my move towards “minimalism” a few weeks ago, a couple of you commented on the importance, not just of getting rid of things, but of making sure you don’t just instantly go out and replace them again – and all I can say to that is, “HELL, YES.”

For me, the process of clearing out my closet – and the rest of my house – isn’t just about making things look all tidy and Instagrammable: although that’s nice too, obviously, and I have approximately 675 Ikea SKUBB boxes to prove it. No, what I’m really hoping for here is a complete change of approach to shopping – because, the fact is, every time I attempt a closet clear out these days, I always end up feeling a little bit sick at the sheer waste of it all. The money I wasted on clothes I hardly wore. The time I wasted searching for that must-have item that was surely going to change my life … but which ended up just hanging in the closet for years, because COME ON, Amber, no one’s going to invite you to a polo match like that one Julia Roberts goes to in Pretty Woman, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to stop shopping for that kind of eventuality, FFS.

So. Much. Waste.

Now, I’m not going to claim to be a totally reformed character here, or say that I’ll never shop again, because that would be totally unrealistic, wouldn’t it? I mean, when we went to the Highlands last week, the Hermes delivery man who covers our area actually messaged Terry to ask if I was OK, because he’d noticed he hadn’t had any packages for me in a while. I really wish I was joking about this. (In my defence, while I do still order quite a lot of clothes, almost all of it gets sent right back again, because I rarely seem to find things I truly LOVE these days, and I refuse to settle for anything less.) (Also, a huge amount of my shopping is stuff for Max, and that’s a habit I really can’t seem to break. Baby clothes are just SO cute though, aren’t they?)

As I mentioned in this post, though, I may not have given up shopping altogether, but I have been doing my best to only buy clothes I know I’ll actually wear, and one thing that’s been really helping me with that is an app called StyleBook. Now, before I go any further here, I’m just going to take a quick second to point out that although this isn’t a sponsored post it’s probably going to sound like one, because once I’d discovered and downloaded this app, I basically ended up getting a bit obsessed by it, and now I don’t even remember what my life was like before I found it. Whoops. But yes, just to be clear, I have no affiliation with this app, which is one of many designed to do more or less the same thing, and I’m not going to try to tell you it’s the best one out there, or anything like that, because it’s the only one I’ve tried, so what would I know?

Still, I have been finding it pretty useful in terms of organising and analysing my wardrobe, and, I mean, it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time after all, is it? Er, other than all of the much better things I REALLY should be doing with my time, obviously? Moving on…

So, StyleBook is a virtual closet app, which lets you upload photos of everything in your wardrobe (You can either take them yourself, or just use the images on the retailer’s website, if they’re still available.), and, from there, you can then create different looks and lists from them. Here’s a small (And I do mean small here – you all know I don’t just have three stripey tops, right?) snapshot of my wardrobe, for instance:

virtual wardrobe One of my favourite things about this is the ‘Packing List’ feature, which, as the name suggests, allows you to work out what you’re going to pack for various trips. I spent far more time than I really want to admit to here creating a packing list for our trip to the Highlands (And yes, I then totally ignored it, and basically just threw clothes into the car at random. Yay me!), for instance, and I’ve already started one for our Florida trip, so I can ignore it, too. Well, you can’t be too prepared, can you?

By far the best thing about this app, though, is the analytics side of it. As you add each item, you have the option to add a ton of details about it (Brand, colour, price, etc), and then, each time you wear it, you can add it to the calendar, which logs each day’s outfit, and then allows you to look at stats on which items you wear most often, which ones you’ve never worn, and so and and so forth. By far my favourite stat to look at, though, is the ‘cost-per-wear’ – which, as I’m sure you know, is worked out by taking the initial cost of each item, and then dividing it by the number of times you’ve worn it, to let you know how much you effectively ‘paid’ for each wear.

Now, had I been using this app a few years ago, I know there would have been absolutely loads of items in my closet with a really high cost-per-wear… because I just wasn’t wearing them. As it is, though, there are still quite a few, but that’s mostly because I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, and during the worst of the winter, too, so I haven’t had a chance to wear any of my spring/summer clothes, for instance – and not even all of my winter ones, either, if I’m honest. On the other hand, though, there are also certain items I’ve already worn so often that the cost-per-wear is just pennies – and, rather than being embarrassed by the fact that I’m obviously just wearing the same things on repeat all the time, I’m choosing instead to take a slightly obsessive kind of pride in really getting my money’s worth. You know you made the right decision to buy something, after all, when you wear it so often it’s cost-per-wear becomes practically nothing, right?

And that, I guess, is why I’ve decided to stop apologising for wearing the same outfits over and over again (Like camel coats with tan boots, for instance…) – because they’re not much use to me just hanging in the wardrobe, are they?

Scottish Street style blog


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books by Amber Eve
  • Sadie


    It does sound like something I could use but it’s a pity there’s no Android version.

    March 19, 2019
    • Hey, Sadie! I use Android too and can recommend Smart Closet app. It shows most of the functions Amber described .

      In relation to closet apps in general, I try to avoid loiking at the cost-per-wear tool, not to get too scared! ?

      March 19, 2019
  • I love the StyleBook app. I’ve been using it for years. And th cost / wear on my Jimmy Choos regularly freaks me out (they are sooo pretty, yet I’ve only worn them twice in almost three years) 😉
    I find the app a great way to ‘flick’ through my wardrobe and rediscover long lost favourites (especially when it is time to switch wardrobe between seasons)

    March 19, 2019
  • Brenda


    Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to get all your clothes entered on the app? I love the idea of it, but the task seems like it might take quite a bit of time.

    March 19, 2019
  • Maria


    I’ve been using the stylebook app since 2014 if I’m correct, and it’s been so useful to see patterns in my wardrobe and start shopping more smartly knowing that, for ex., I prefer blue and cool tones over black and warm tones!

    March 19, 2019
  • Oh, I actually had that one already downloaded to my phone, but never used it. Will start filing my clothes in there tonight, should be a manageable task seeing that I already cleared out my stuff last weekend.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    March 21, 2019
  • This is such a good idea, will definitely look into that app. xx

    March 21, 2019
  • Woah this is amazing! I’m going away for the weekend and was just moaning to myself about how bad I am at packing! This would be a really useful too. Thanks for sharing.

    March 29, 2019
  • Selina


    I love calculating cost per wear, it’s one of the main rules I use when I acquire a new item. Sadly I now have to wear a uniform so the cost per wear has risen as I can barely wear any of my own clothes anymore but I do love wearing everything I own all the time

    March 29, 2019
  • I actually haven’t bought any new clothes this year (pretty shocking for a fashion blogger) but I set myself the aim of not being able to buy brand new for a whole year. Instead I’m focussing on shopping my wardrobe and buying pre-owned. I’m definitely going to take a look at the app though as I think one year of this challenge is probably all I can manage!

    August 19, 2019
  • Elena Christian


    Great idea! Just discovered you on Pinterest. A suggestion if you’ve accumulated items for a fantasy version of your life. Start actually living those fantasies. If you have the Julia Roberts polo match dress, then by God, find a polo match and go. Life is too short not to wear the brown polka dot dress .

    December 9, 2022