# The Coat Hanger Equation Posted on 14 Dec 15:00

By Michael Wernicke

Have you ever added up the value of all your clothing?  Well, I recently went through a closet with a friend and this is what we found.  Now we didn't have all the receipts so we just used our best estimates based on what he could recall.  Nonetheless it would be a reasonable estimation.  For this exercise we only looked at his wardrobe and excluded the things he didn't have hanging up.

So in his wardrobe he had the following (in Australian Dollars):
5 suits x \$900 = \$4500
2 vests x \$150 - \$300
6 jackets X \$250 = \$1500
15 Office Shirts x \$120 = \$1800
10 dress pants x \$250 = \$2500
Total: AUD\$10,600

When you put it in those terms, a fair investment on an average sized wardrobe you might agree.  However when I looked at the hangers he was using - plastic, wire, varnished wood and plenty of dry cleaner hangers - I couldn't help but say something.  Not just about the aesthetics which frankly when it comes to caring for clothes is not the most important thing, however simply the damage they were doing to this quite large investment of his.  You see, \$10,600 is just the cost of the clothes hanging up right now.  What about the value of all the clothing he gave away because they don't quite fit right anymore.

How often do we put something on which doesn't fit the same way it once did?  Often we immediately say - 'oh that's probably because I have gained weight or I've lost weight'.  Yes perhaps, however often it is simply because gravity has taken its effect on your once much loved pieces of clothing.  The hangers you have been using have not properly supported the garment at the load bearing points and they have in fact - s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.  We often see this in the puckering on the shoulders of shirts, sweaters and jackets.

So how much do our bad hangers actually cost us?  Why might investing in an excellent set of quality clothes hangers make financial sense?

Now in my friend's closet there are 38 pieces of clothing.  Let's just say (for simplicity) that every item of clothing hanging up would get worn twice per month for an average of 10 hours at a time - or 20 hours per month total. In a month there are 30 days x 24 hours - or 720 hours.  This means that each item of clothing will be hanging up for 700 out of the 720 hours.  A whopping 97.2% of the time.  There really aren't many other products in your life that get used 700 hours per month are there?

Let's now say that a great set of hangers all work to negate the effects of stretching by offer the following features:

1. The right length - shoulder to shoulder
2. The right width - across each shoulder front to back
3. Velvet flocking on the shoulders maximising clothing grip, minimising slippage and effects of gravity

Truthfully, a bad hanger can stretch and damage a new piece of clothing within days.  However, let's say that the features of a quality hanger combine to extend the life of his clothing by an average of 10%.  How much would this save him?

Well the equation is \$10,400 x 10% = \$1,040 over the life of these clothing.

If a decent set of hangers can last me 9 years and the average life of my clothing is 3 years then the hangers will in fact save me 3 times that.  \$1,040 x 3 = \$3,120 over that time.

However, there are a few more 'if's' I asked my friend to consider.  What if the hangers would last longer?  What if they actually increased the life of my clothes by more than 10%?  Now what if the hangers make my wardrobe look great and when I go to sell my home, my wardrobe looks incredible - what might that add?  What if the hangers make me feel proud, make me feel more powerful, make me feel more successful - now what will that add?  What if my partner also got a better set of hangers?

Now, I am not one to sell to friends as I believe that products should really speak for themselves when it comes to friendships.  However, it certainly was a very interesting exercise.  Now you do not want to see my personal calculation :)

So, take a minute and have a think ... what is your clothing equation?

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