Remember several years ago when you couldn't open a magazine without seeing an article about how much we 'had to own' a pair of designer jeans? ... I'm not going to lie, I got caught up in the hype too, and I'm going to confess... I didn't buy them because I personally thought that the quality and cuts were better; a younger and much less wiser me, bought them purely as status symbols and justified them as investment pieces. Looking back, jeans were something I should have saved my money on, and here's why -
Weight change - this of course is not the jeans' fault, but now I'm left with 6 pairs of designer jeans that don't fit (thank goodness I was able to give 2 to my friend earlier this month). At my age now, I've accepted that my weight will fluctuate for better or for worse, and there's no way that I can confidently say that I will be able to fit into the same size jeans from month-to-month, let alone a solid year. (This is why I love bags). This leads me to my next reason - cost per wear.
Cost per wear - out of 365 days of the year, there are approximately 104 days (weekends) that I can choose to wear jeans; that's about 28% of the year. Throw in some business casual Fridays, stat holidays and vacation days, then counter that with days I wear something else, we may be looking at actually 15%, which is about 55 days. I currently own 10 pairs of designer jeans and at a rough average of $125/pair (bought on sale and regular price), we're possibly looking at a Burberry coat.
(side note: Burberry coats are currently my wardrobe 'exchange rate').
Now, only 4 of the 10 pairs fit me and are in rotation, and here's their cost per wear breakdown for one year: ($125 per pair x 4 pairs) / (365 x 0.15) = $9.13/wear. (Interesting fact: if I were to wear the same pair of jeans for an entire year, its cost per wear would be $2.29). As I mentioned before, my goal for cost per wear is $1 - $9 is not going to do!
Less expensive options - In the last 6 months, and most recently, in February, I purchased two pairs for approximately $24 and $15 (yes, at the GAP =P), and they have already paid for themselves! If they wear down or my weight changes, I have no problem letting them go.
Other pant options - I've recently fallen in love with cords for fall/winter and khakis for spring/summer. They're great alternatives to jeans, especially khakis when the weather just gets too hot. Last summer, I spent most of my time out of jeans. Moving forward I expect that I will be wearing these alternatives more often, further preventing my cost per wear from going down
So taking the above into account, designer jeans are no longer an item I'm willing to spend my money on as an 'investment piece.' I'll be sticking to more reasonably priced alternatives, or picking them up at major discount.