“Cost per Outfit” … more

Thanks for all your comments on substituting cost-per-outfit for the more traditional cost-per-wear to determine the long-term value of proposed new purchase.  Here’s a bit more about evaluating …

The less memorable an item is, the more seamlessly it can blend into new combination without feeling like you’re wearing the same things.

These dark-wash jeans, for example, are so neutral they set a casual tone to a combo, but never really identify themselves.  You could wear them several times a week with different tops and and nobody would ever realize the repetition. So it would be worth spending the search time and paying top dollar if necessary to get a pair that was just the right fit and feel.  Endless outfits.

Same holds true for a basic pencil skirt or slim fit ponte pant in you dark neutral.  Those seemingly boring wardrobe basics can be superstars in a wardrobe.  Not exciting on their own, but the foundation of loads of great outfits.  Take that, Marie Kondo!

I give a more eye-catching accent item several bonus points if it can function up and down the formality scale.  My red cardigan in the original post works with jean and a chunky low boot or easy loafer for at-home and weekend wear.  Paired with sleek trousers and dress boot, it’s ideal for career, networking or community leadership occasions.  Or with a pencil skirt and sleek pump it sets a date-night tone — as soon as date nights involve something beyond Netflix and popcorn on the sofa.

Spanning seasons is another bonus-point attribute.  That linen cardi is breathable enough for warm-weather wear but cozy enough for a Spring/Fall wrap or an indoor Winter outfit.  Darker vs lighter-color bottom garments and covered-up vs bare footwear further define the seasonality.

The ability to spread the versatility of the bright sweater over a rang of activities throughout 12 months of the year keeps it from feeling boring and repetitious.  And it certainly highlights the value of wardrobe basics as the foundation pieces to showcase more eye-catching ones.

Challenge yourself to choose one “POP” piece from your closet and design outfits for a range of occasions.  What basic garments could you add to your closet to make additional outfits?  Can you find at least 3 ways to wear those basics as well?

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Trish on May 6, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    I only recently became acquainted with your website. Your practical, sensible, advice makes me think, and look at my wardrobe with new eyes!

    Thank you, Nancy, I’ll look forward to spending a weekend reading archives.

    I look forward to future posts,

    • Nancy Nix Rice on July 27, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Thanks Trish – hope you had a fun weekend digging thru it all. Do join the mailing list and stick around!

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