Why ‘Queer Eye’ star Tan France doesn’t ‘splurge’ on clothes

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“Queer Eye” star Tan France may be known as the most fashion-forward member of the Fab Five, but that doesn’t mean he likes to spend a lot of money on his wardrobe.

In fact, “It’s not very often that I splurge on clothes,” the 38-year-old told CNBC Make It. Instead, he prefers to spend larger sums on accessories or jewelry, which he believes are more valuable than clothes.

For France, who is currently working with software company Carta to promote its Equity 101 campaign, making an expensive purchase comes down to one question: is the garment trendy or classic?

“The things for me that are worth splurging on are the things that I would consider classic. Something that I could wear many times over the next few years, decade, decades plural,” he says.

The things for me that are worth splurging on are the things that I would consider classic.

If, on the other hand, a piece of clothing is something he thinks might go out of style in the near future, he won’t buy it. France says he learned that lesson at age 16, when he made his “first big purchase”: a $1,000 pair of shoes.

“I was doing a job that probably paid relatively well for a 16-year-old, and I picked out a trendy pair of shoes,” he explains. “I wore them twice and they never saw the light of day again. I gave them away years later.”

When France finds an expensive piece of clothing that catches his eye, he uses a simple equation to decide if it’s worth buying: he compares the cost of what he wants to the number of cheaper items he could buy with the same amount of money.

His thought process goes like this: “Am I willing to sacrifice those three other pairs of jeans I might buy for this one? [nicer pair]? How often will I wear it? Will it outlast other jeans I might have bought for the same amount?”

“If the answer is yes, that’s what I’ll buy,” France says. “If the answer is no, I will not get this thing and I will buy the other three things which equal the same amount of money.”

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