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‘Queer Eye' Star Tan France Uses a Simple Trick to Decide If Something Is Worth Splurging on

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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 spending a lot of money on his wardrobe.

In fact, "it's not very often that I splurge on clothes," the 38-year-old tells CNBC Make It. Instead, he prefers to spend larger sums on accessories or jewelry, which he says hold their value better 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 clothing item trendy, or is it classic? 

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

If, on the other hand, an item of clothing is something he thinks may go out of style in the near future, he won't buy it. France says he learned this lesson as a 16-year-old, 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 a pair of shoes that were trendy," he explains. "I wore them twice and they never saw the light of day again. I gave them away years later." 

When France does find an expensive item 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 how many cheaper items he could buy with the same amount of money. 

His thought process goes something like this: "Am I willing to sacrifice these three other pairs of jeans I could buy for this one [nicer pair]? How often will I wear this? Will it outlive the other jeans I could have purchased for the same amount of money?"

"If the answer is yes, that's what I will buy," France says. "If the answer is no, I will not get that thing and I will buy the other three things that equate to the same amount of money." 

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