Save or splurge on… fashion

Save or splurge on… fashion
03 May 2012

IN THE high-octane world of fashion, fleeting seasonal trends often revive old styles that ardent followers may have long banished from their wardrobes. For the fashion forward, this could mean quarterly wardrobe makeovers that can burn a sizeable hole in any pocket.

Here, cashy reviews the science behind getting in the good books of the fashion police while staying within budget in the latest installment of our ‘save or splurge’ series…

Splurge: cost per wear

Like any good investment, certain items of clothing need to withstand the test of time. A well-guarded style secret involves a simple formula known as cost per wear (CPW). To get to this number, you divide the cost of the item by the number of times it is worn as a way to justify its purchase.




Number of times to be worn in the next 12 months

Cost per wear

Amethyst necklace

AED 240


AED 20

Leather boots

AED 800


AED 200


For example, an amethyst necklace may be a little over your budget, but if you factor in all the occasions where you could wear it in the foreseeable future, you’ll get a considerably smaller number which is easier to justify in your accounts.

If the item is seasonal, that reduces the number of times it can be worn. Leather boots, for instance, are a staple for the fashion savvy in winter. But considering our tepid three month long winters, the CPW may not justify the purchase.

Save: one-hit wonders

There’s a marked difference between being a fashion drone and fashion forward. It’s always useful to remember that what works in Paris or Tokyo may not work in Dubai. A lot of local designers highlight that in their portfolios, focusing on the UAE’s unique mix of cultures and styles in a way that suits our desert clime.

One-hit wonders that grace the covers of Vogue won’t necessarily make waves here, which is why one good way to save cash is to steer clear of trends that promote fashion for the sake of fashion. Anything furry or woolen should raise red flags, as should colours that are generally offensive to the naked eye under the unrelenting glare of our summer sun.

For example, neons may be in, but there’s a method to madness. Instead of decking yourself up in all things fluorescent, choose to splurge only on one eye-catching item of clothing or accessory that fits the trend and leave it at that. Both your wallet and your common sense will thank you for it once the trend has slinked back into the fashion exile. 

Splurge: statement piece

In the tomes of fashion jargon, the term ‘statement piece’ has come to mean an accessory or a particular item of clothing that ties the whole look together. In many ways, a well-made watch is the ultimate statement piece for both men and women. It does more than tie a look together; it can define your style by withstanding fickle trends.

Shoes, handbags, wallets, and belts are other go-to statement pieces that many style gurus don’t mind splurging on. Toting an expensive bag while wearing budget clothes and shoes can still leave an impression of style depending on how you coordinate everything.

Save: basics

It’s only natural to repeat outfits at some point, which can be unsettling for some. Stocking up on basics is a great way to hone your own sense of style while keeping things affordable.

What are basics? It’s another way of classifying monochromatic items of clothing that can be coordinated to create endless permutations of styles. In other words, everyone could do with a decent supply of plain white t-shirts, ribbed tank tops and jeans. It’s worth saving on basics, since for most people, a white t-shirt is a white t-shirt; regardless of whether it’s from H&M or Ralph Lauren. 

Splurge: denim

Fashion forecasters had predicted that skinny jeans (aka stovepipes) would just be a passing phase when they made a comeback in 2006 after a 50-year hiatus. Until then, boot-cut jeans were declared a wardrobe staple after weathering decades of tempestuous change.

Even now, boot-cut jeans are a necessity for both men and women, but skinny jeans, owing to their tapered leg, are hailed as visually flattering, and may be here to stay. Investing in a couple of durable pairs of denims is worth the money in the long haul.

Pic credit: Worakit Sirijinda/


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