To determine whether or not something is a bargain, she suggests to not look only at the price tag, but instead to "divide [the price] by the number of times you wear the article in question, and then accord generous bonus points for the pleasure, self-confidence, and elegance it may have given you" (pg. 11). This is a tactic I use when shopping the sale rack because the low prices there can quickly overwhelm better judgment. It is easy to spend $15 on a shirt that you are on the fence about because it is not a huge financial commitment. I you only wear it once, then the price per wear is $15. On the other hand, a well-made blazer that fits you well and costs $125 may give you pause before you reach for your credit card. But if you wear it once a month for just 9 months then the cost per wear is already lower than the cheap shirt. These types of calculations in the dressing room can help minimize your spending on disposable fashion pieces so that you have the funds to splurge on pieces that may become bargains over time.
Although not addressed in the chapter, I do want to discuss another type of bargain: the experimental bargain. The idea is that you can't always know if a certain piece or style is going to work for you so it may be necessary to spend some money to try it out. In this case, the cost should not be calculated on a simple price per wear model. Instead, think about the purchase as a meal. If you want to try out a new meal, then you have to spend money either on ingredients or at a restaurant in order to learn whether or not it is something you like and want to try again. Once you have had the initial meal, then you are in a better position to make decisions about whether you want to have that same meal in the future. The same idea can work for clothes. If you are unsure about how a maxi dress would fit into your day-to-day style, you might need to buy one to find out if it is something you feel comfortable wearing around. If you don't end up wearing it very much, it is not a waste because you have learned something from the experiment. That knowledge will help you better estimate other bargains in the future.
Although lots of people like to brag about the incredible deals they snag on their clothes, I agree with Genevieve Antoine Dariaux that it is important to pick pieces that you love rather than succumb to the "sensible purchase" (pg. 12). With pieces you love at home, then every shopping trip can start in your own closet and then you really will be getting a bargain!
Dariaux, Genevieve Antoine. A Guide to Elegance. New York: William Morrow, 2003. Print.