Clothing math

I like to shop at stores such as Winners, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx, where they sell mostly assorted surplus brand-name clothing for huge discounts. Aside, these garments would then be at a reasonable price for what you get. But it’s always really fun to go hunting in a store and finding just the right garment in just the right size at just the right price that just happens to be in the store at that time.

Well, the rest of it is uninteresting or doesn’t fit you.

Sometime last fall, I bought the following items for about $170 with tax:

  • 2 short-sleeved button shirts, let’s call them “O
  • 2 T-shirts, let’s call them “T
  • 2 shorts, let’s call them “B

Being super stylish, I can wear them in the following combinations:

  • A T-shirt and a shorts (T, B)
  • A button shirt and shorts (O, B)
  • A button shirt, a T-shirt underneath, and shorts (O, T, B)

Unfortunately I don’t have the body aesthetics (read: muscles) to go with just a pair of shorts, and just wearing a shirt and no shorts would be a fast way to have a date with a cop.

I talked to my friend and housemate, who was doing actuarial science and a bunch of probability courses at the time, to figure out how much of a deal I really got, in terms of utility per unit cost. I wanted to find out how much I increased my wardrobe and potential outfits by with my purchase. We do this by simply adding the total possible combinations from each of the three cases.

A. T x B = 4

B. O x B = 4

C. O x T x B = 8

D. Total = 4 + 4 + 8 = 16

So basically I got 16 (mostly) unique outfits for the price of $170. That’s $10.65 per outfit! I gave myself a pat on the back, had a beer, and played video games. Mission accomplished.

Well, one of the shorts was kinda too big around the waist and I ended up not wearing it as much. I swear my belt held it up when I tried it in store…

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