Thanks to a lack of student jobs and a love of shopping, I held a variety of retail positions throughout high school and undergrad. The list includes two clothing stores, a beauty store/salon, and a fine jewelry store. These experiences not only helped pay for tuition, but they also taught me a lot about shopping and style.
One thing I learned was the idea of cost per wear. It’s a simple calculation: cost of the item divided by the number of times you’ll wear it. I think that cost per wear is most important for wardrobe staples and sale items. A wardrobe staple, like classic black trousers or a flattering cocktail dress, will get a lot of use. It’s worth paying a bit more up front for fit and quality because you’ll be wearing them often for a long time, so cost per wear is low. Sale items may not seem like pieces where cost per wear matters but if you’re buying an ok item just because it’s on sale, you’ll wear it a few times and the cost per wear will be high. Like with any item, you should only buy sale pieces you love.
Of course, cost per wear doesn’t work for everything so you have to use your discretion. A relatively low cost per wear for a purse, for example, doesn’t always justify an overly expensive purchase. Let’s say you’re deciding between two purses. One is $40 and the other is $80. Assuming you use the purse roughly 4 times per week for two years, that’s about $0.10 per use or $0.19 per use, respectively. Really not a big difference between the two but you’re paying double up front when you probably don’t need to. So long as the first purse is well-made, you may want to buy that one then save the rest for groceries.
Do you use cost per wear as a rule of thumb? When has it worked or not worked for you?
We’ve all got pens, paper, and other necessary school supplies in our bags and that’s pretty standard. What about personal items to make your day run smoothly? Here are my top 5 picks:
- Energy bar: These babies pack a punch with plenty of calories, protein, and a variety of micronutrients to get you through a crazy busy day. My favourites are from Clif/Luna and Vector.
- USB stick: Keeping a USB stick handy makes it so much easier to transition from home office to school office and back again. So crucial for all the statistical modelling I need to do!
- Water bottle: Hydration is key when you’ve got a long day and want to stay healthy.
- Beauty bag: I keep a small bag of basic beauty items for when I’m on the go. It includes lip balm, cream, blotting pads, and bobby pins.
- Fun book or magazine: I like to keep an interesting book around for when I’ve got time to kill, like on the bus or waiting for a meeting. For me, this is usually the latest edition of The Economist (nerd alert!).
What do you keep in your bag? Let me know if you’ve blogged about your list and I’ll add it below!
Torrey’s list at UCSB Grad Post.
Following in the footsteps of bloggers from Wild Academic Woman and Ramblings of a PhD Student, I’d like to throw in my two cents on my favourite beauty products. Here are the 6 products I use just about every day:
Clean & Clear dual action moisturizer: I’ve always had acne-prone skin and this product has worked miracles. It keeps my face moisturized while the salicylic acid improves my skin.
Covergirl Clean liquid makeup and pressed powder: This little duo is fantastic for evening out my skin tone while looking completely natural.
Covergirl lashblastlength: Gives amazing length for my eyelashes without clumps! I also love that it’s water resistant.
Annabelle Smoothliner: It’s a pencil that looks like liquid – how great is that? It’s also long lasting and waterproof.
Nivea Essential lip balm: I prefer this for everyday wear because it’s hydrating without adding any colour
My daily make-up routine is pretty basic – I prefer a natural look and I also don’t have much make-up experience. I’m looking to branch out though and I’m on the waiting list for Topbox! Can’t wait to try new products.
What are your favourite beauty products? Anything you recommend I should try?
Lately, I’ve been scouring the internet in an effort to find new ways to save money. It was spurred on by some recent number crunching for grad school and let’s just say I’d like more money than I forecast I’ll have. That’s how I came to learn more about Six Items or Less.
The basic premise is to challenge yourself to 30 days of only wearing six different items of clothing. You can read about some experiences in the New York Times and on College Fashion. I’d heard about it before and decided to look into it further. It wouldn’t hurt to spend less money on clothes while learning to appreciate my current wardrobe…right?
This is where ‘picking your battles’ comes in. As much as it sounds like a great challenge, it’s not for me. I love clothes. I love combining new outfits and having all sorts of lovely things to wear. I balance this out by limiting my monthly clothing budget, buying items on sale, and only buying items I genuinely like so I know I’ll wear them. There’s no point in taking on a financial challenge that goes against what you enjoy if you can do something different instead. So, in my case, instead of cutting out my clothing budget and a lot of my options, I’ll cut down all areas of my budget in manageable ways.
Would you take the Six Items or Less Challenge? What items would you pick? If I really had to, I would probably pick: dark blue skinny jeans, black slacks, white t-shirt, pink blouse, gray cardigan, and purple leopard-print tank top.
For me, strolling around campus isn’t just about the books side of the equation. It’s also about the looks. I, for one, like to look cute. I like clothes and make-up and accessories. Deal with it.
There are plenty of ways to look fashionable while staying comfy for long lectures. My current favourite option is to ditch sweatshirts for cardigans. They look much more polished and are just as comfortable. Look for thicker knits or add a scarf if you’re cold in class (I always am). Step up your jeans by wearing a dark wash in a classic bootcut or trendy style, like high-wasted or skinny. Skip jeans with holes, please. If you love wearing heels, go right ahead, but don’t feel that you have to. Flats always look good. I’m a huge fan of loafers: comfy, cute, and I think they look academic. If flats or heels just aren’t comfy enough, there are tons of cute options that still support your feet. I personally have to wear orthotics for my flat feet so I wear skate shoes…so comfy and they add the right amount of attitude to my look.
Not only will dressing up help you look better, you’ll feel better with the confidence boost of knowing you look great. You’ll be more likely to raise your hand to contribute an insightful point in your discussion group, or even just ask the question your entire class feels too sheepish to ask. I also feel more motivated when I look the part. If I’m kicking it in sweatpants, I feel like more of a slacker. If I’m looking cute and professional, then I feel like and act more like the A student I am. Maybe it’s shallow, but if it gets me the top mark in the class, then who cares?
What’s your go-to style for school?