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One Dress, Six Ways

So you’ve found the dress of your dreams, but you’re not sure if you’ll actually wear it enough to justify the price? Deputy editor Lucy Ahern puts the Westfield Cost Per Wear tool to the test, and styles her fave statement frock to see if it’s worth the cash.

Fashion lovers face this dilemma on an almost daily basis: see item, fall in love, double take at price tag. So then we start the mental maths: how often we’ll wear it, how long we plan to keep it, and the upkeep. Thankfully, Westfield have now created the Cost Per Wear tool to help us out with the difficult fashion calculations.

It’s a four-step process where you simply enter how much your lust-worthy item is, how often you think you’ll don it, it’s expected stay in your wardrobe, and any maintenance costs.

Say you buy a dress for $150, input that you will wear it once a month, keep it two years and spend approximately $15 per month for maintenance, that comes out at $21.25 each wear. That’s two magazines and a latte! Worth it?

What about a statement piece that you know will stay in your wardrobe for longer? Take this $330 Westfield Exclusives Cue dress a.k.a the new love of my life:

Cue Dress, RRP $330, available at Westfield centres ONLY

While this price tag is less than pieces from many other coveted labels (Chanel, Alexander Wang, Romance Was Born etc.), it is still a big chunk of your pay cheque in one hit. So I input the details into the CPW tool to find out if it’s worth splashing my cash on this collared piece of heaven.

Being conservative, I said the dress would get an outing twice a month, be kept for three years, and have approximate maintenance costs (dry cleaning, repairs etc.) of $25 per month. And these were my results:

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That’s a trip to the movies (candy bar not included), less than lunch and coffee with friends, and less than almost any of those dresses purchased in a flurry of desperation for a Saturday night, and then never worn again.

So with this in mind, investing in a statement piece like this is much easier (and less difficult to justify to your mum or partner). However, I was concerned that the distinctive structure and pattern could mean styling options were limited, with the dress destined to be worn only with minimal accessories and colour. But I tested out the dress with a range of transseasonal styles, ranging from punk to girly and even snow-chic, and got a whole lot of wear out of it – definitely worth $17.08!

There are a myriad of ways to wear with this stunner – it can be transeasonal, and you can get just as much wear as a premium basic. Although there is no exact way of knowing exactly how long pieces will last – fabric wear, personal care of the garments etc. – the CPW gives a rough idea of how far your money will be going, and is helpful for those trying to decide whether or not to purchase an expensive item.

I’ve shared my favourite styles with you below – see what you think!

For those in between months, layer a sweater on top for laid-back cool. Try metallics for instant edge, or add a splash of colour with a soft wool piece.

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Cue sweaters, Cue belt, Novo boots, Dotti hat.

It’s all too easy to fall into the rut of  wearing a statement frock solo during Summer, and simply popping on a black coat and opaque stockings when it gets a bit chilly. Try a fresh white coat to stave off the cold this Winter.

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Dotti coat, Colette bag.

Get street style ready with a leather backpack or structured waist pouch (also perfect for any shopping trips).

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Cue waist bag.

Add a touch of punk with spiked boots or a classic leather jacket.

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Dotti jacket, Novo boots, Colette bag.

It can be worn to high tea with a patent belt, or for a night out – just pop on some heels, grab a matching clutch and you’re set!

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Cue belt, Betts heels, model’s own bag.

And let’s not forget the accessories – try a matching hat (or my fave, a Russian-inspired number), gunmetal jewellery or a chic snakeskin bag.

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Dotti hats, Kookai necklace, Cue metallic sweater.

Thanks to the lovely staff at Cue for use of their store, and Westfield Stylist Lauren Dilena for all her help.

xx Lucy

Pictures by Westfield and Jemma Pietrus.

Published at The Urban Silhouette.

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