Cost per wear counts in paying for jeans
The cost of jeans stretches from the very affordable to the stratospheric. Spend $29 for a basic at a fast-fashion chain – or $3,000 plus (😮) for a pair of Gucci buckle-embellished jeans. Prada’s fetching feather-trimmed boyfriend jean comes in at $1,500. (And yes, we want them.) How high or low you go in paying for any item of fashion is based on many factors: budget, status quest, details, style, brand, how and where it is made. One more factor to consider: cost per wear. There are three price levels for denim, according to stylist Louise Labrecque, owner of the Académie Avec Style styling school and author of the book Avec Style.
The fast-fashion category. They may look good, but these jeans won’t last, Labrecque says, because the stretch fibres – probably generic elastane – may not be top quality. That means the fabric loses shape or buckles sooner rather than later. And they’re likely made overseas under questionable conditions for workers and serious consequences for the environment.
$100 to $180
Here you get a better quality of stretch factor and softer textures. The more the fabric is washed and worked – this is done by hand – the more expensive the jeans. Also, jeans in this price range may be made in North America with ethical and ecological considerations. Yoga Jeans are made in Quebec under the highest environmental control standards.
$200 and up
The fabric is probably good quality, but you’re paying for marketing, Labrecque says. Aside from top international designer denim that runs into the thousands of dollars, the premium brands that emerged in L.A. at the turn of the millennium are the big purveyors of pricey jeans, now going for as much as $450 U.S.
“If you’re paying $300 for jeans, you’re paying too much, Labrecque says. So the sweet spot, especially if you’re considering cost per wear, is somewhere in the mid $100s. Your jeans will cost more than fast fashion, but you will get good mileage out of them, wear after wear. Under $75, they won’t last – so each wear costs more. “Cheap is expensive,’’ Labrecque remarks.
As you move up in price brackets, your jeans will cost more per wear. Say you buy those L.A. numbers for $450, and wear them about once a week for a year. That’s almost $9 per wear. Your $150 jeans, worn weekly for a year, ring in at about $3 per wear. As for those buckled Guccis, maybe you would wear them 10 times – for a lofty $320 per wear. And the pretty Pradas? They’re very, very special so we might wear them twice in their first year. And then, who knows, lose them in the back of the closet. Ouch.
Want to read more? Learn about the top trend of 2020!