Neutrals vs Colors: Which Have the Better Cost Per Wear?


When we’re trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge and buy a handbag, we always end up circling back to one question: “Will I wear this?” (And, by extension, “how often will I wear this?”)

Oftentimes, our purchases make sense to us when we know—or at least have a strong inkling—that we’ll be getting a fair amount of use out of them. In fact, “cost per wear” is such a useful tool for thinking about purchases that an actual calculator was invented for the purpose of determining whether your desired purchase makes financial sense.

And while we don’t want to take all of the fun out of choosing handbags—whether that be trusting your gut, following your heart, or leaning into a whim—we do realize that the financial aspect of a big bag purchase is important (sometimes, it’s even the most important aspect). So let’s turn to an age-old debate, neutrals vs. colors, and try to determine which group of bags has the better cost per wear. We promise we’ll make this fun.



Season’s don’t dictate trends, but they do coexist with them. Commonly, bright colors are brought out in spring, brown-hued neutrals in fall…you get the gist. While you shouldn’t make a purchase based on what “makes sense” in a certain season, the weather and time of year are definitely something to keep in mind. It’s worth considering:

  • The season/weather of the place where you live
  • Where you tend to vacation at certain times of the year
  • What kinds of clothes you tend to wear in certain seasons
  • How your style changes over the course of the seasons

For example, if you love wearing neutral bags with winter outfits but prefer pops of color with sundresses, it may be worth it to consider where you spend the majority of your time. (If the answer is Palm Beach, a favorite bright color might make more sense than the “safe” black bag!)




This, of course, goes off the previous concern, especially as season is dictated by location. Different bags (and hence different bag colors) suit different cities. Sometimes, what’s in fashion in LA simply wouldn’t be as universally accepted in Paris.

And while we firmly believe you should prioritize your sense of style over what’s considered “trendy” and “appropriate” at a certain moment in time, we also know that how much you use a bag will be inevitably influenced by how comfortable you are carrying it in a certain location. (Example: Sunshine yellow and bubblegum pink in LA? Totally normal. In Paris? Neutrals will definitely be more common, though a bright red or purple would fit right in as well.)



The Color of Your Wardrobe

This is naturally the most important concern. First, you have to determine what the main colors are your wardrobe are. Consider:

  • Do you mostly wear black?
  • Do you go for dark neutrals (brown, grays, blues) over black?
  • Are you a color-minded kind of fashionista?
  • Do you tend to wear neutrals but often include pops of color?
  • If you usually reach for colors, are there a few colors you’re particularly drawn to?

Once you’ve assessed your wardrobe, you have to ask yourself this main question:

  • If X is the main color group of my wardrobe, which bag color will I be most likely to use?

This isn’t how you should go about every bag purchase, of course, but if you’re having a real neutral vs. color dilemma, and you’re really trying to determine cost per wear, this is crucial. If you love colors (and want a color bag) but wear a lot of red, perhaps orange, for example, isn’t the way to go. If you wear black and want a pop of color to brighten up your everyday outfit, the bag world is your oyster. If your wardrobe resembles the rainbow, maybe it’s easier to opt for a cream or black bag. Ultimately, it’s up to you. But these questions will hopefully guide you along the way of the decision-making process—we know it can be tough!



After looking at multiple sides of this issue, are you Team Neutral or Team Color? Is there anything else you’d consider with respect to color in cost per wear? Is “cost per wear” something you use to justify purchases to yourself? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read related articles:

The Perfect Neutral-ista
Upcloseandstylish and Her Perfect Neutral Birkin
The Bright-Neutral: Oxymoron or Solution to your Color Confusion?
Why is Black the Most Popular Handbag Color?
Saving to Splurge

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