Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 12, 2011
While on vacation last week with my wife we had a discussion on if I would be interested in buying one of those ‘classic’ pattern Hawaiian shirts. I flatly refused since I knew I would never wear the shirt off that island. Yet we did come up with an alternative idea that I should perhaps look for some swimwear if I could find a pattern that I wouldn’t mind owning.
So in the end I did find a new pair of swimming shorts and while trying those new shorts out on the beach my wife and I tried to puzzle out exactly how old my ‘old swimwear’ was. Best we can figure is I’ve had the same pair of navy swim shorts since about 2001. Which would mean I got about 10 years of use from those shorts. Ironically I didn’t even need to replace them as they were still in great shape, but I still recall I bought those shorts for about $20. The new shorts came in slightly lower at $15.
Therefore my old swim shorts have managed an average cost of about $2/year, which is a fairly good given the fact while I don’t swim daily in the shorts I do use them a fair bit over the summer. In order to keep up that average cost my new shorts will need to last about 7.5 years which may in fact be entirely possible.
So this got me thinking why don’t we do this for every piece of clothing we own? What would happen if you honestly wore a piece of clothing until it developed a hole or rip that could not be fixed. How long do you think your daily clothes would last for? Perhaps five years for higher use items and then up to a decade for less commonly used items. So overall if you buy a pair of jeans for $20 and they last for five years that would be a cost of $4/year. Then perhaps dress pants would last five years and cost about $30 to $40, which would run you $6 to $8/year. You get the idea.
If then you did that for each item you could likely build a basic set of clothes (not including outer wear or footwear which the cost will vary on where you live) for about $150 to $300/year. Which would mean you could be financially independent with respect to your clothes for the bargain price of $3500 to $7500 (based roughly on the 4% rule).
This isn’t to say everyone would like to do this, but it certainly give you something to think about the next time you go clothing shopping doesn’t it? So how often due you buy new clothes?