So I Did the Math, and These 18 Affordable Pieces Basically Pay for Themselves

You know those special pieces in your closet that you wear so much you literally don't know what you would do if they didn't exist? They're the building blocks of your wardrobe and the foundation of basically every outfit you put together. Have you ever considered the cost per wear (CPW) of these pieces? Well, I have—and that's the gauge I use when I'm considering a new purchase. I look at the total cost and then divide by how many times I realistically see myself wearing it, and that gives you the CPW. For example, the CPW of a flashy party dress is probably pretty high, considering I'll probably only wear it once or twice (definitely once if there are tons of photos in it, just being honest).

Then there are other items, like the aforementioned building blocks of your wardrobe, where the CPW is almost non-existent because of the high number of times you wear them. Take your everyday work bag—if you carry that to work with you five days a week, the cost per wear on that ends up on the low end of the spectrum. To me, this makes spending money on these items infinitely easier. And if the item is already affordably priced? Well, that's a no-brainer. 

Below I've highlighted the pieces that, according to my calculations, have a CPW so low they basically pay for themselves. From the chic $69 sunglasses you'll wear daily to the $20 belt that goes with everything in your closet, these are the 18 items with CPW's so low they're almost free—almost.

Affordable Fashion Investment Pieces



A cold-weather item you'll wear year after year is a good pair of black boots. They go with everything, plus they keep your legs warm. This pair from Mango not only looks significantly more expensive than they are, thanks to the mock-croc texture, but they're a pair you'll keep for years to come. 

Raise your hand if you have a go-to work uniform. Raise your hand if your go-to work uniform involves a blazer. Most people probably still have their hand raised—and for good reason! A blazer is a chic wardrobe staple that can be thrown on over practically anything to create a chic, polished outfit perfect for the office or anywhere else you may be headed. This H&M gem is super affordable to begin with, but when you consider how often you'll be wearing this, it's basically free. 

As true with most accessories, sunglasses are an item you'll wear basically every day. This makes investing in them a no-brainer, and Le Specs is the cult-favorite company that makes designer-looking frames at an affordable price point. This cat-eye pair is a genius buy because if you own them for a year, they'll end up costing you about 19 cents a day. 

A quality coat is something you'll wear year after year, so it's well worth investing in one. It's the item you throw on top of every outfit during the colder months, so you end up wearing it more than most items in your wardrobe. For a coat this chic $80 is a great price point, but considering you'll be wearing it multiple times a week, it's a steal. 

If you're more of an ankle boots type of person, these are the pair for you. Again, the mock-croc texture makes them look ultra luxe, and they're the perfect height to pair with your favorite jeans. They also happen to look chic with dresses, so just think about how often you'll slip into these.

A solid pair of jeans is a closet staple, and this $98 pair is classic yet modern at the same time. They also abide by Ref's ethos of sustainability, so you can feel good about your purchase while also investing in a piece you'll wear regularly for years. 

Okay, so sweatpants aren't the most glamorous item in your closet, but let's be real they're pretty damn necessary. Is there anything better than coming home after a hard day and slipping into sweats? Exactly. Now, given that you probably wear loungewear at some point every single day, the cost per wear on an item like sweats comes down to basically nothing. And I realize $60 may seem steep for a piece of clothing almost nobody sees, but let me tell you from personal experience these are the most comfortable sweats ever. Your legs will thank you. 

If you're anything like me, you have layers of gold necklaces wrapped around your neck at all time. This $55 pendant necklace is delicate enough to go with all of your other jewelry, and the round pendant makes it a great addition to any neck party. Considering this is a piece you'll wear almost every day of the week, the CPW of this come in extremely low. 

I don't even have to explain the importance of a white T-shirt. You get it.

Just $20 for two chic belts? Need I say more?

A bodysuit is more of a modern basic, but it acts as the perfect base for almost any outfit. Throw it on with jeans, a midi skirt, or a tailored trouser and you have the building blocks of a great outfit. I find myself treating my favorite bodysuits (including this Ref one) the same way I do my favorite T-shirts and end up wearing them a few times a week.

Affordable Fashion Jewelry



Another piece that falls under the everyday jewelry category is a good set of rings. This beauty from Portuguese brand Cinco has a unique design you won't get sick of looking at every day and perfectly complements the other gold rings you already own.

A denim jacket is an absolute staple in every closet—talk about a piece that goes with everything. From dresses to T-shirts and even the Canadian tuxedo, there's nothing you can't throw this on with.

Affordable Croc Bag Street Style



Let me start off by pointing out how expensive this bag looks—and it's only $40. So when you combine that with the fact that it goes with everything, the CPW dwindles down to almost nothing.

These are legitimately the best leggings I own; I'm constantly choosing these over my other more expensive pairs because they're the only ones I want to wear. The fabric holds you in without suffocating you, and the high waist hits at the most perfect spot above your hips. Even if you don't work out regularly, you'll want to wear these around the house every single day. 

This fitted top has all the benefits of a bodysuit, without any of the annoyances (like taking all of your clothes off to go to the restroom, for example). It's super fitted, so it seamlessly tucks into any kind of bottoms—meaning the outfit possibilities are endless. And with only a $38 price tag, the CPW of this top is virtually non-existent. 

If there's one pair of sneakers that never go out of style, it's classic Vans slip-ons. They're comfortable, wearable, and have maintained their cool factor for decades. Buy a pair now; own them for years.