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Bags Talk: What’s Your Designer Bag’s Cost-Per-Wear?

Welcome to Style Theory’s very own Bags Talk series, a definitive guide to navigating the luxurious and intricate world of designer bags. Consider it your starting point to understanding how to kickstart or better your journey with everything designer bags-related! 


To buy or not to buy? That’s a question that plagues our minds when faced with the season’s hottest It bag. There are different ways of deciding whether to take a plunge on a big-ticket item like a designer bag; while some preach that you wait two weeks before deciding if you really still want it, the method that we swear by is the Cost-Per-Wear Formula. Here’s an insider peek at the magical formula that we at Style Theory love — it guides you to make purposeful and sustainable decisions to rent what you like, and buy what you truly love; where you’re not just buying less, but buying better.

What is our Cost-Per-Wear Formula? 

By dividing the total cost of your item by the number of times you’re likely to wear it, you’ll be able to tell if it makes better financial sense to buy, or rent instead. 

To help you out with the math, we’ve created a handy Cost-Per-Wear calculator just for designer bags! We take into consideration how often you’ll use a bag, and the cost of time and money you’d need to spend on maintaining your designer bag to a near-perfect condition. 

Read More: Check out our handy guide on what you need to maintain your designer bags!

So what’s the Cost-Per-Wear of your designer bag? Try out our calculator below:

powered by Typeform

What does my Cost-Per-Wear value mean?

Got your calculator results? Compare it with the original price of your designer bag. If you bought your bag at $3,000, and your Cost-Per-Wear is down to a very reasonable $3, that shows you’re making full use out of your bag’s lifespan. Good on you! But if your Cost-Per-Wear is $300, you might want to rethink buying a bag you’ll rarely use, and try renting it instead. 

How can I use the Cost-Per-Wear formula intelligently?

Cost-Per-Wear isn’t the be-all and end-all of shopping strategies. Use it realistically, and it’ll ensure you purchase items with longevity and sustainability in mind. Use it blindly, and you’ll end up justifying a purchase that’s way out of your budget, just because you think you’ll use it “365 days for 5 years straight”. Either way, a $3,000 designer bag leaves the same dent in your bank account.

As useful as it is, there’s just one caveat: It’s hard to tell the true Cost-Per-Wear until you’ve actually bought (and worn!) a designer bag. To counter that, here are some tips from us at Style Theory:

Try before you buy

cost per wear

You’ve set your eyes on a designer bag. And just as you’d test-drive a car before you buy it, take your dream designer bag out for a spin. By trying out the designer bag for a few days with a rental subscription like Style Theory’s, you’ll find out firsthand if it really is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

When bringing a bag out on a test-drive, look out for these factors:

  • Does it fit my daily essentials?
  • Does it match most of my wardrobe outfits?
  • Is this material or colour right for me?
  • Are any embellishments or hardware making the bag heavier than expected?

Once you get to “live with” the bag for a few days, you’ll notice flaws or things you love that would otherwise elude you in a simple online product description.

Buy the classics, rent the rest

cost per wear

Classic designer bags generally carry the most mileage. They withstand trends and seasons, and are crafted to last for ages. Coupled with their attractive resale value, the classic styles make for great investment pieces. If you have your heart set on a classic designer bag, use the tip above to make sure you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. But for trendy and statement bags that are worn relatively less often, you’re much better off renting them instead!

Read More: How to Invest in the Right Bag?

Stay commitment-free (for the commitment-phobes!)

cost per wear

Let’s face it, trying to commit to that $3 Cost-Per-Wear can turn your dream designer bag into dreary bleh. Instead of tying yourself down to just one or two designer bags bought with your hard-earned money, we recommend you try a rental subscription instead!

When it comes to renting, you don’t have to worry about fulfilling any Cost-Per-Wear. At $129 a month, what you’ll get is an access to a much wider variety of designer styles and brands, and you don’t even have to worry about storage and maintenance. How much more awesome is that?

cost per wear

Ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule for what your bag’s Cost-Per-Wear should be — as long as it sits comfortably within your budget. More importantly, take our Cost-Per-Wear Formula to help reframe your shopping habits as you strike a balance between quality and quantity, while moving towards a more conscious lifestyle. Bookmark our Cost-Per-Wear Calculator in your phone and use it when you’re eyeing your next designer bag purchase!

If your Cost-Per-Wear is steeper than you’d like, try renting first to enjoy the flexibility of wearing different designer styles without the commitment of a full price!

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About Author

Ashley is fun-loving, and pens down anything that’s got to do with food, fashion, and films. She occasionally indulges in pop-culture narratives and secretly loves FPS games (betcha she can beat you in it!) Nothing excites her more than a trip with a scenic view -- mountains and fjords included. Her favourite apparel piece is a skirt, for it's flexible and flatters her height-- an added bonus if it comes with pockets!

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