When it comes to fashion and beauty, I am quite a typical girly girl. I love clothing, makeup, and shopping. So much that even before I graduated, I started an online e-commerce store selling fashion accessories; I import heaps of pretty costume jewellery and I even make them to sell.
But I was never over indulgent. I only buy what I can afford (and still have extra to save). Now that I am working on being financially-free, I give more thoughts on how I spend on fashion items that gives me most fulfilment and worth. (Read: My Step-to-step plan to financial freedom using the FIRE method)
SPEND ON FEW QUALITY, TIMELESS CLOTHING THAT YOU LOVE
When I was into minimalism and stoicism, I went on a self-imposed shopping fast for many months; I didn’t allow myself to buy anything (including a weaved bag I really like from my friend’s sustainable fashion business. Yes, I was that hard on myself and determined). While I found joy in other non-material things, eventually I felt deprived and unhappy.
The truth is this: I love dressing up and I will never stop shopping for clothes and makeup. FIRE is not about depriving yourself, but spending wisely on what matters to you and maximising happiness from what you own.
STOP SHOPPING vs SHOP WISELY
Rationally, shopping is something that can be cut out entirely. Afterall, it’s not food or rent. The extra money can be channelled into investments. I’ve tried to stop shopping completely but that didn’t work for me.
For me, I am not rushing for financial independence and thankfully I earn enough to have extra to spend and still have enough to save and invest to reach my financial freedom goal. I know that I will be financially-free one day not too far away, and I want to enjoy life a little on the way there.
So what do I do? Shop wisely! How? I’m on a quest to build a minimalist wardrobe filled with quality, timeless pieces that I absolutely love. It’s ok if it’s expensive at a first glance. If I use it often and wear it out, the cost becomes lower over time. That’s call cost per wear.
#mindfulshopping #minimalistwardrobe #capsulewardrobe
COST PER WEAR
COST PER WEAR = Price of fashion item / Number of times the item is worn
I have a pair of ADIDAS Stan Smith and a pair of heels I got on a discount from Marks & Spencer. I’ve used the sneakers extensively – its hardy, comfortable, and matches every outfit.
The heels on the other hands, despite being very pretty, hurts. After wearing it for a night-out and had a terrible time because of the shoe, I stopped wearing it.
At the end, the heel which I bought years ago cost me RM 50 per wear. Whereas my relatively new sneakers cost only RM 4.30 per wear so far and will go lower over time.
The more expensive sneaker in a long run is cheaper than the discounted heels!
I began to identify things that I wear again and again. I tell myself it’s okay to spend what I can afford on pieces that in the long run cost lower than cheaper fashion items that I only wear once or twice (I had a lot of those unfortunately :( ) #impulseshopping
Here are 10 of my most worn fashion pieces that I loved and how much they cost me over the years.
1. Minimalist Watch (Cost = RM 549 | Cost Per Wear = RM 0.60)
What is it? FOSSIL’s Jaqueline Leather Watch. It is a simple gold rimmed watch with leather strap. It came with a brown one which I didn’t like; so I bought a black one.
How much does it cost? It was bought in London at least four years ago and probably got a tax refund too. I can’t remember the exact price but it is still available for sale in FOSSIL for RM 549. Recently, the strap broke and I got a new one from a regular watch shop for only RM 80.
How long/ often do it use it? This has been so long ago I can’t find the date or warranty. But I wear it almost everyday (except when I stay at home or outdoor activities). Only occasionally it switch it with my other watches.
Why I like it? As my choice of metal is gold, I wanted a simple gold rimmed watch and black leather straps that is versatile enough to go with everything. I wear it for work meetings, at my cooking class, and even with gowns to weddings! You will see this watch in EVERY picture that follows.
2. Denim Jacket (RM 100 | Cost Per Wear = RM 0.50)
What is it? A jacket from Bershka. I walked into the store and remembered that I’m going to travel to somewhere chilly. It wasn’t cold yet but not warm either. So I just grabbed it.
How much does it cost? It should be around RM 100.
How often/ long have I used it? I think I have it for about 4 years. Recently, I’ve been wearing it a lot. Maybe twice a week.
Why I like it? I like that it’s super versatile. I wear it with dresses and jeans. I keep it in my bag incase wherever I go to is cold. I take it to travel. I like it to be slighter shorter though (i.e cropped)
Finance Analysis: It cost me little in Life Energy. But it keeps me warm, and makes looking good/going out so easy. Denim material also means that its long lasting and will cost ever lower in time. If I find a cropped denim that I like, I will get it.
3. Day-to-night Shoulder Bag (Cost = RM 4000 | Cost Per Wear = RM 17)
What is it? Stella McCartney Fallabella Foldover is a popular vegan-friendly bag.
How much does it cost? With tax refund, it should cost about RM 4000.
How long have I used it? I’ve used it about 4 years now. I think I use it averagely once a week.
Why I like it? I like that it’s a versatile day-to-night bag. It’s huge enough to put necessities; I can chuck whatever things I buy in it! By night, when I go to a party, I can fold it over to make it smaller. I love the gold-rimmed chain that adds a bit of jazz into any outfit.
Finance Analysis: It’s the most expensive items in the list – price and cost per wear. But I LOVE this bag. It gives me a lot of joy wearing it. I stuff it into my carry-on bag when I travel to cities.
However, it’s something that I have to look for many days. It will be a purchase I need to be mindful of. If this wear out, that cost could go to things that I value more e.g attending Japanese course or donation to charity. Or perhaps it can go into my investments which will generate more money so eventually I can have the bag, Japanese classes, and donate to charity.
4. Skinny Blue Jeans (RM 150 | Cost Per Wear = RM 1.50)
What is it? A skinny blue jeans from ZARA.
How much does it cost? RM 150.
How often/long have I used it? I think I got it about 2 years ago. It’s my go-to jeans. I think I wear it averagely once a week (and a lot more when I travel).
Why I like it? Unlike my other jeans, this one fits perfectly. Not too tight, not too loose. Super comfortable as well.
Finance Analysis: Yes. A pair of comfortable jeans is a must-have for me. I’ll probably buy another pair even. It cost me very little of my money/Life Energy.
5. White Sneakers (RM 280 | Cost Per Wear = RM 4.30)
What is it? Adidas very popular Stan Smith shoes.
How much does it cost? I got it from JD Sports for about RM 280.
How long have I used it? This is a fairly new purchase, just about a year. But I think I use it averagely once a week and everyday during my two weeks trip to Japan.
Why I like it? I wasn’t a big fan actually. Never like something too commercialised/ popularised. But I know I wanted a super comfortable sports shoe that is sleek enough that matches every outfit. I can’t get a better one than this (didn’t bother to research). Eventually, it’s versatility and comfort won me over. Loved that I found my favourite shade of pink on it too!
Finance Analysis: This doesn’t cost me much in money/ Life Energy and probably my most versatile shoe. I think I’ll always have a pair of white sneakers. If this wear out, I will get another white one. But it will probably be a slip-on sneaker.
6. Lewré Studded Loafer (RM 200 | Cost Per Wear = RM 0.65)
What is it? A pair of studded black loafers from a local shoe brand Lewré
How much does it cost? It was a gift I bought with Christmas voucher a long time ago. I think it was about RM 200.
How long have I used it? I think I’ve own this shoe for about 6 years now! *Gasp* I think I wear it once a week. I think it’s time to have it resoled.
Why I like it? At one point of my life, I love studs.Before I got the REEBOK slip-on and recently Adidas’ Stan Smith sneakers, it was my go-to travel shoes and I wore it almost every time I go out. While not as comfortable as sports shoe, it goes perfectly with black legging during colder months and matches every outfit.
Finance Analysis: This is my longest-lasting pair of shoe. Until now, it still looks like new! I shall make purchases like this more; quality pieces that last instead of fast fashion.
7. Oversized Sunnies (RM 1000 | Cost Per Wear = RM 1.30)
What is it? It’s an oversized sunnies from Prada.
How much does it cost? It cost about RM 1000. I remember quite clearly because most of the sunnies I like cost minimum of RM 1500 and this happens to be on big discount at Bicester Village in London.
How often/long have I used it? I think I have this sunnies for 5 years now! I use sunglasses everytime I go out to protect my eyes from UV rays. I had a few pairs but this last longest and used most. Probably a few times a week.
Why I like it? I like that it’s lightweight and fits my face shape.
Finance Analysis: I always have averagely 5 pairs of sunnies. But since being a minimalist and working on being financially-free, I stopped buying new ones. Now, I’m left with this last pair of sunnies and I think it’ll fall apart soon. So I got a new one at 1/3 of the price and I plan is to use it for the next 5 years too!
It’s something that I need, but don’t particularly give me a lot of joy. It’s used a lot but it breaks easily too. So I’ll just minimize my spending here. No high-end brand needed. Just one which design I like and good UV coverage to protect my eyes. I expect this will be replaced often.
8. Reebok Slip-on Walking Shoes (Cost= RM 80 | Cost Per Wear = RM 0.30 )
What is it? Reebook Skyscape Viva. A slip-on shoe in neon.
How much does it cost? I think it cost about RM 300 originally. I got it at a steal at Sports Direct about 5 years ago I think. The thing is, I was not that savvy (or free) – looking for discount here and there. My sister had a pair and it was SO comfortable that I looked high and low for it. Finally I got it for RM 80 on discount because I guess nobody wants neon coloured shoe! It’s so comfortable that I got another pair in grey too but still love this more.
How often/long have I used it? Maybe about 5 years. I wear it about once a week or more. If the outfit matches, it’s my first choice. I wore this to many of my travels. It’s quite old now and it’ll be replaced with my white sneakers :( I will really miss this…
Why I like it? THE MOST COMFORTABLE SHOE I’VE EVER WORN. So easy to slip it on. It’s also washable in washing machine! The only problem that it’s hard to match with certain outfits. I had wanted to get black pair but to no avail.
Finance Analysis: Wow only $ 0.30 cost per wear. It’s old now though. I think this is the kind of shoe I want to continue buying: comfortable, lasting, and so cute! Having it at a discount really helps to get the price low. But I will buy it even if it’s RM 300.
9. Gold Sandals (RM 100| Cost Per Wear = RM 1.90)
When I was buying this shoe with a friend, she asked “How many gold shoes do you want?”. Then I realise that I wear this a lot. I had another pair from ALDO that is wearing out so I got this new one from ZARA
What is it? A flat sandal from ZARA.
How much does it cost? About RM 100.
How long have I used it? I’ve used it for about half a year. This is something that I wear maybe twice a week.
Why I like it? This is my go-to sandal if my outfit is not suitable for sports shoes or loafer. This is also my high-heels replacement. I like that it’s casual enough for day wear and fancy enough for events. At a few weddings, I worn this and danced all night. It was one of the best decision in my life – wearing flats for a long night out.
Finance Analysis: Shoes is something worth my money. 4 out of 10 items that I wear most and last the longest are shoes! I will always spend on good qualities shoes. But I’ll cut it down to a few pairs (I still have a lot of other shoes abandon in my closet…).
10. White sports tee (RM 100 | Cost Per Wear = RM 1.90)
What is it? It’s a breathable white tee from Under Armour.
How much does it cost? It’s a gift from a friend. I have no idea how much it really cost. On Underarmour website something similar is about RM 100.
How long have I used it? It was a present from last year. So I think it’s been about 1 year. Not many top is worn so frequently and still lasts after many washes. I think I use it about once a week.
Why I like it? It’s my go-to top when I exercise. I also wear it when I travel (see #2) or on casual outings when I plan to gym after.
Finance Analysis: I always spend more on accessories e.g bags, shoes, watches because those thing tend to last longer. But certain clothing made from certain material do lasts. I have bought numerous cotton white tee which worn out quickly. I’ll continue to buy a fast-dry tee.
Buy few quality items that you absolutely love that you will use over and over again. In a long run, that expensive item cost you less than a cheaper one that you rarely use.