Jan 302014

We are heading into wedding and prom season, so I thought I would re-post this about the cost of special occasion clothing. Another alternative I have encountered recently for extending cost per wear: buy a long dress to wear for the event and then cut it to cocktail for future use.

Here’s a reader question regarding calculating cost per wear:

Hi! I was wondering what your opinion was about cost per wearing when it came to things for special occasions, like prom dresses? I spent $199 on my prom dress this year (as a sophmore going to another school’s prom) but I’m also wearing it twice for 4-H clothing selection, I promised my best friend (who goes to a different school) she could wear it next year for her junior prom, and if our proms are on seperate days I will also be wearing it to my junior prom, since only one of my friends has gotten to see me in it. How do you reccomend I go about figuring my cost per wearing for this dress? Thank you so much! Dani

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First, I want to congratulate Dani for both her willingness to practice restraint and her generosity. I highly recommend sharing when it comes to event dressing. Calculating cost per wear? I guess I’d just take the $199 and divide by the 4 times you are going to wear it, because that’s all that really affects your budget. Having a friend wear it is “frosting on the cake”, so to speak. In addition, I suspect Dani, obviously a sensible and creative thinker, will find additional opportunities to wear this dress and lower the cost per wear accordingly. Later, if she sells the dress on consignment, the amount received for it would be subtracted from the initial cost before dividing by the number of wears. My target cost per wear for these types of special occasion dresses is $10-$20.

Realistically, I might allow myself more now; OTOH, I might not need it. My “MOB” dress from last summer I wore a couple more times that summer and it will be my go-to dress for weddings this summer too. Look Mom, no wardrobe trauma! 😉

  4 Responses to “Special Occasion Cost Per Wear”

  1. I am going to be hosting a table at a very fancy “gala” in October. Since you know my body shape and coloring, what would you suggest I look for? I want to appear elegant and classic, but eye-catching as well. I think the eye-catching will come from matching the outfit perfectly to my shape, coloring and personality.


  2. Cost per wear for special occasions is a tough one. Kudos to Dani for her willingness to loan her special dress to a friend.

    Another option in some places, if you’ll never wear your prom dress again, is a Fairy Godmother type program. With these kinds of charities used prom dresses are loaned out or given to young women who otherwise couldn’t afford a dress for the occasion.

  3. instead of selling it when she’s finished, she could donate it to a group in her area that collects prom dresses in good condition to give to girls who otherwise could not afford to go to their homecomings and proms. it doesn’t help the cost per wear, but i think it’s an even better idea.

  4. Beth: What fun!

    I do have some thoughts, and the timing couldn’t be better. I assume you can go all out — a formal.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 (10=black), how dark is your hair now?

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