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Q&A: Why is SHORTLISTED 'so expensive'?

Q&A: Why is SHORTLISTED 'so expensive'?

Want to learn how fast fashion will cost you $200 MORE in the long run than shopping small with SHORTLISTED? Read on!

I’ve always known that price will always be a legit barrier to supporting small businesses. Heck, that’s what keeps me from buying vs admiring local brands.

I want you to know I truly tried everything I could think of to get the cost down, but even a factory owner advised me to, "Go straight to luxury, go for the Holt Renfrew market.” Yikes.

However, that's not the difference I wish to make with SHORTLISTED. And shopping—the psychology and science of—is something I’ve thought about my entire adult life.

So before you decide to pass on the JumpSet, I’d like to make a case that paying more for a couple of good, solid pieces will cost you less in the long run.

I did the (fashion) math for you.



The most common way sustainable fashion advocates argue is that cost per wear ends up lower for higher-quality goods. Never heard of the concept? Let me explain.


Let’s say you buy a pair of pants at Zara at regular price, $70. You wear it 10x per season for 2 seasons before you slowly move it out of regular rotation.

It's $70/20 wears = $3.50/wear for fast fashion. Not bad!

Compare that to an ethically made brand using sustainable fabrics. We’ll use the Unstoppable High-Waisted Pants as an example. Right now after discount it goes for $160. Whoa, that’s almost $100 dollars more than the Zara pants—but only $10 more than Aritiza pants, regularly priced!

So how will you make this $90 difference in cost worth it to buy SHORTLISTED vs Zara?


The Unstoppable High-Waist Pants are made with good quality fabrics, and the design is timeless and the breathable, mid-weight fabric makes it seasonless. In that case, you might end up wearing it more often, say on average once every two weeks during three seasons of the year: that’s 20x a year! Let’s say it lives in your closet for at least 3 years (if not many more), that’s 60 wears.

So $160/60 wears = $2.67/wear for ethical fashion.

Maybe you’re thinking, that’s too much cheaper. I’d rather spend $3.50/wear to get styles. You sure can! I just want you to be aware of all the costs you’re dealing with. And I’m not making this up because I’ve been that fast fashion shopper/deal hunter my whole life, and it’s unknowingly sucked up my most precious resources: my time, effort, and mental energy.


Now, let’s add in all the costs beyond the price tag. These are the costs that you won’t see big brands talk about because it’s in their benefit for you to keep buying MORE, not FEWER.

(For the following examples, I assume a $75K/year salary that works out to be $35/hr)

  1. Time Cost of Replacing Items: salary x time spent shopping à $35/hr for 1 hrs = $35/time spent shopping to replace pants
  2. Direct Replacement Cost: $70 x another 2 pairs to get to 60 wears = $140/replacing the pants
  3. Alterations Costs: $12 x 3 (because none of them are petite length) = $36/alterations
  4. Alterations Logistics Costs: 10 min drive each way = 20 mins. 20 mins x 2 trips = 40 mins. .67 x $35 = $24/alterations logistics
  5. “Free Shipping” Costs: Any extra $ spend on hitting order minimums so you can get “free” shipping
  6. Or if you spend the minimum to get free shipping just so you can return things via free returns, the Time Spent receiving, opening, repacking, and walking it to the nearest post office or mailbox. = 30 mins x 2 = 1 hr = $35/”free” returns


Now we need to add back any resale value and subtract time spent selling.

  1. Resell Value: It’s pretty much next to nothing for fast fashion so it’ll be $0. For ethical fashion, you’ll likely get at least a 30% return. That’ll give you $68 back for the Unstoppable Pants, if not more.
  2. Time Cost to Resell: You could try reselling fast fashion, but even when I consigned a YSL vest, I only got about $75 (I shouldn’t have sold it). So if I were I wouldn’t bother, hence $0 in time lost. For the SHORTLISTED Pants, any Facebook Marketplace ad you put up could take you up to 20 mins to take photos, write some catchy copy à 20 mins x $35/hr = $24

True Cost of Fast Fashion

  1. $70/item +
  2. $35/time spent replacement shopping +
  3. $140/direct replacement +
  4. $36/alterations +
  5. $24/alterations logistics +
  6. 35/”free” returns

True Cost of Ethical Fashion

  1. $160 on promo price +
  2. $15 shipping
  3. $24 time to create ad
  4. LESS resale value $68

The difference in true cost is $209 (= $340 - $131, according to my math; you do your own math!)

Or $199 at regular price, which is still beyond the price of the pants right now, before taxes.

If this still doesn’t have you convinced, here are some invisible costs you may or may not have considered.



I want to bring up invisible costs into your fashion math calculations because if you’ve ever been asked to be on your work’s social committee (on your own time) or have had to raise a child (without anyone paying you for the world’s hardest job), you might've felt some stress or resentment.

I want to validate that these invisible costs that you feel, are in fact real.

  1. Environmental Cost
    • Enviro Cost of Production: water usage, dye pollution, putting 2 extra sets of zippers, thread, buttons into the trash (from the 2 extra pairs you need to replace the original with)
    • Environmental Shipping Cost: or the mileage used to get to the mall
    • Enviro cost of Disposing Clothes: If it’s a cheap fast fashion product, it likely has next to nothing resale value and ends up in the landfill, even if you throw it into a donation bin
  2. Cost of Getting Rid of Garments
    • Time Cost of Disposing Clothes: Time needed to drive or walk to a donation bin
    • Mental cost of Disposing Clothes: After you pack away clothes for donation bin, you feel a bit of mental clutter when you walk past the huge garbage bag full of clothes
    • Time Cost of Purging: This takes a huge chunk of time every time you closet-purge. This may include the actual sorting of clothes or researching new ways on how to do it.
  3. Social Cost: This is what most fast fashion critics talk about: the poverty line minimum wages. When we benefit like this, someone in the world takes the hit, socially, physically
  4. Opportunity Cost: Every minute you spend shopping, replacing garments, disposing of garments is a minute spent away from your partner, family, friends, exercise, passion projects…
  5. Cost of Closet Bloat
    • Time Cost of Consideration: Every day spending that split-second sifting through those pair of pants you KNOW you won’t wear adds up over time
    • Compounded Cost of Shopping Frequently: Cost of buying more items to complement your new pant styles, when you could’ve been perfectly fine with fewer
  6. Self-Image Cost
    • Cost of Subliminal Messages: Cost of your self-image each time you put on brands that ‘talk’ to you, remind you that “you’re not tall enough to wear our clothes” (for me, it’s Alo Yoga, even though I love the fabrics and still wear it)
    • Cost of Low Quality: The feeling of the fabric slowly deteriorating, pilling, getting more transparent and you feeling a bit less put together, less confident


      PART C | Don’t buy the JumpSet, unless...

      Of course I believe there’s great value in the Unstoppable JumpSet made specifically for petite/short women. But I don’t want you to make space for it in your closet, just because someone's telling you it’s a great set.

      Please mindfully go through these 6 questions to see if it’s a right fit for you, at the season of your life right now.

      Questions: Is the Unstoppable JumpSet right for you?

      1. Do I need it?
      2. Do I love it?
      3. Would it replace many items I currently don’t use?
      4. Would I buy it if it weren’t on sale?
      5. Is there good resale value?
      6. Am I ready to start outfit repeating?

      If you answered yes to at least 3, the JumpSet (or even just the pants) would probably be a solid addition to your wardrobe

      *Note: You can use the first 5 questions when you buy ANYTHING, and I encourage you to try it*

      Parting Words

      Congrats on making it to the end! These are things I’ve thought about the entire time I’ve been building SHORTLISTED. It really got me thinking about the invisible costs I’ve been unknowingly paying to have “cheap” items I proudly declare, “It was just $5!” not thinking it really wasn’t cheap at all.

      The older I get, the more expensive cheap fashion becomes because I value my time and mental clarity a lot more.

      In closing, let me ask you one last question:

      Are you the type of person who will sacrifice time away from family/friends/self-care/creative pursuits to get a 'good deal'?

      Or are you truly a smart shopper who values her time and money?

      Thanks for reading,


      Modern Comfort, Classic Design


      Unstoppable JumpSet | Black

      3 colours

      Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.


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