A few months ago, I was passing the time reading very old PurseBlog posts.

I remember there was one post that I lingered on for longer than usual, not because of what the anonymous author had written, but because of a rather heated exchange that went down in the comments underneath.

Now, we contributing writers are no strangers to the potential hostility of the comment section (typically it’s nice but sometimes it can be ruthless) because that just comes with the territory of expressing ourselves online. But I do remember how sad I felt that this person’s journey saving up to buy her dream LV bag was disparaged by one particularly nasty comment.

The also-anonymous commenter began by railing against knock-off handbags. I saw no problem with this; This is a place to discuss luxury goods after all and such an opinion is to be expected. However, I (and the other commenters) took offense to the opinion that followed ﹘ that they felt it was silly for the author to have saved for and bought a real designer bag because they worked in a not-so prestigious low-wage job, therefore owning the bag was pointless since everyone would assume it was fake anyway.

Chaos ensued.

Fellow users felt that this criticism was neither creative nor constructive but more of a putdown towards the author purely based on an environment she frequented or because of her perceived social class. Apparently, it didn’t matter that the bag made her happy because she wasn’t the perfect representation of the ideal luxury consumer.

All this comment translated to in my mind was “even after diligently working and saving for this item, you’re still not one of us.” And it honestly just came off as gatekeeping.

It got me thinking about why this even happens: How do we determine who has rights or access to our particular community or lifestyle? What factors are at play when someone tries to decide how acceptable or unacceptable another’s consumption practices are? Who’s really “deserving” of luxury?

Of course, most of us are reasonable people who already know the answer is that everyone is deserving of luxury goods. Sure, the price of these items serves as a barrier to many, but that doesn’t mean anyone is more or less worthy of owning them.

But why do some still insist on dividing us in this way?

According to the research published in the 2020 Handbook for Luxury Branding, it’s because many consumers actually fulfill their social needs and build their identity via their luxury consumption.

Let me explain:

For many consumers, luxury goods serve to signal either their actual position in society (i.e how successful/ cool/ fashionable they are) or their desired position in society (how successful/ cool/ fashionable they want to be perceived to be.) That’s no secret, but the researchers also explained that the ability to possess these things is often regarded as a privilege that should be limited to those who have either ascribed (born with) or attained (earned) status in society. And this way of thinking isn’t new.

Just as the ancient Greeks banned Spartans from possessing gold or silver, it seems we still have some people with a vested interest in maintaining some weird pecking order. The problem is, this becomes harder to do as brands open themselves up to selling to non-elites, and the lines between “Who’s Who” become increasingly blurred.

Since anyone with good budgeting skills can buy a high-end bag, it seems all these gatekeepers have to determine another’s status is perceived socio-cultural capital ﹘ where they live, how they speak, their personal tastes, their level of education, how much money they make, or even the type of job they have.

When someone who doesn’t have the “right” status markers is able to join in on the fun, the gatekeepers’ identity is threatened. The line of thinking goes: If they can’t find a way to differentiate themselves or gain an advantage over others, what is even the point? So they do what they can to protect their identity.

This usually comes in the form of making disparaging remarks, passing judgment on someone’s character based on their tastes, or downplay their contribution to the community. And it’s pretty gross behavior if you ask me.

Most of us are good people who have worked extremely hard for our possessions, which makes us deserving of luxury. If anything, I would argue that the only people who aren’t deserving are those who forget that kindness and understanding come at no cost and can only help to secure their position in a community that thrives because of our unique experiences and a shared love of luxury.

But let’s discuss it! Tell me your thoughts.

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lalarey
lalarey
1 month ago

None of us deserve luxury. We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, but we don’t “deserve” things, and no one deserves to be treated better than anyone else. Also, there is a difference between deserving money and earning. Women DESERVE to earn the same as men when they do the same job because it’s a sign of them being valued regardless of their gender, but bankers don’t DESERVE to make more money than teachers. It’s just the way of the world, and people make personal and career choices based on their values.

I know I know, I sound like a communist and maybe I am commie-curious but GOD I love and appreciate beautiful handbags lol.

Sego-Irm
Sego-Irm
1 month ago
Reply to  lalarey

Love this insight!

TheCityGirl
TheCityGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  lalarey

Amen to all of this!

VnV
VnV
1 month ago

We cannot talk about snobbishness and elitism in luxury without talking about race.
I have worked hard my entire career, am great with money, and now make a great living. I love luxury bags and shoes, and I have many. They didn’t put me or anyone else in debt.

Yet, it took me a very long time to learn to wear my luxury items without being self-conscious because of the looks and treatment I get as a Black woman carrying a Chanel CF or Hermés Kelly or whatever. I’ve been asked by strangers if they’re real. More often, I get looks that range from puzzlement to disdain, and the assumptions and judgments being made about me are clearly displayed their faces.

It took me YEARS to learn that not only is it no one’s business what bag I carry, but that others need to understand that folks like me have every right to be seen and respected within the luxury community and anywhere else. 

This is a big part of the snobbishness and elitism this thread is discussing. I know that people who value the exclusivity of these brands fear that these brands’ value are being diluted by me, even though they don’t know the first thing about me.

(FYI, I also get it as someone who flies first class a lot, for both business and pleasure. Other passengers and even airline personnel have gone so far as to try to stop me from boarding in the priority lane, or from entering the airline lounge! Like I couldn’t possibly belong there!)

Anyway, now I wear my bags proudly and I love seeing Black and Brown women enjoy luxury goods. It needs to be normalized. I don’t like influencers, but I’m grateful for a few like Karenbritchick for helping other see luxury isn’t just for a chosen few.

MCF
MCF
1 month ago
Reply to  VnV

As a brown woman with a few luxury bags 100 to all of this!!!

Tiffytiff
Tiffytiff
1 month ago
Reply to  VnV

Yes! As a Black woman who wears luxury bags, I’ve experienced the same. Especially since I do not drive a luxury vehicle or fly first class. Those are things I do not enjoy so it feels like a waste to buy them just so that some stranger who doesn’t pay my bills can perceive me as deserving. If seeing me wearing something that you also own cheapens it in your regard, then I guess you’ll have to find something else to base your worth on.

Alexis
Alexis
1 month ago
Reply to  VnV

100% agreed and thank you for sharing your experience!

Tina
Tina
1 month ago
Reply to  VnV

Love this post!

Shelby
Shelby
1 month ago
Reply to  VnV

Great post.

Bex
Bex
1 month ago

I once read a newspaper column written by a man who dismissed women who bought handbags that he considered were a “social signal that the owner had lots of money” when in fact they didn’t. He said that if you can’t afford flying first class then you have no business owning a bag that signals that you “should be able to afford flying first class at all times”. Like he sort of laughed at people sitting in economy class with a nice handbag… In his mind that was money poorly spent. I felt kinda bad reading that because he obviously described someone like me who likes to save up and buy a nice bag once in a while but definitely can’t afford flying first class whenever I travel somewhere… I wonder if would have been so derogatory if he would have actually talked to someone like me, for example, who loves a handbag not for what it signals but for just being very very pretty.

Then there is of course the discussion of how much the brand and price of a bag (the perhaps so called “social signal”) influences how pretty we think it is. But that is not an easy one to answer 😊

Veronica
Veronica
1 month ago
Reply to  Bex

I have never flown first class, but my closet is full of only designer handbags. I do not have kids so most of my income is disposable. While I can fly first class I never do because to me that is a waste of money for only a few hours of flying. I think everyone’s priorities are different and not always tied to how much money we have. Nowadays everyone can afford more because of things like affirm

Fabuleux
Fabuleux
1 month ago
Reply to  Bex

The funny part is that I fly First / Business all the time because I don’t have kids… so I have disposable income, even though I’m very much middle-class. So everyone’s financial situation is different.

Randi
Randi
1 month ago
Reply to  Bex

It’s silly how some people assume that everyone with money will only spend it on super expensive things, like expensive plane tickets. Many millionaires don’t want people to know they’re rich and don’t want to show that they have money. Celebrities do the same. I know a TSA agent and they say that many celebrities will dress very casually and fly coach. I know a wealthy family and they look average in person. They dress well but nothing too crazy. No one would guess by looking at them that they’re multi millionaires.

Jennifer
Jennifer
1 month ago
Reply to  Randi

I know a lot of very wealthy people and many of them would never buy a designer handbag, though they may have a nice vacation home or belong to several private clubs. It all depends on people’s taste. There a plenty of people out there driving luxury automobiles, living in expensive neighborhoods and carry LV bags, but living paycheck to paycheck. In the past couple of years there have been people that appeared very wealthy by their lifestyle choices, but turned out to be broke due to these poor choices. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

J B
J B
1 month ago
Reply to  Bex

It’s all about how you allocate your money. What a silly assessment. Following that writers logic it is a never ending cycle of high spending justification. You summed up first class pretty well – in spite of the smug faces it’s typically full of frequent flyers, upgrades, expensed or people with money to burn – it’s nice to be up there comfort-wise but the ROI is low, and hard to measure due to its short duration whereas a nice bag has many attributes that can be measured long term as a ROI including resale. So in my opinion the girl with the designer bag in economy made a better investment with her $2k than mr and mrs Smug face that actually purchased a ticket in first class.

Y Y
Y Y
1 month ago
Reply to  J B

I guess it’s all about the choices we make. But aren’t you judging people who decide to travel in first class just like people who buy designer bags are judged? If they can afford both why not?

Megs
Megs
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Y

Totally agree…. I am always being judged by friends/ coworkers for buying designer bags and jewellery….even Called a snob(so I’ve heard) comments ranging from ……. Why do u need so many? Don’t u think that it’s a waste etc etc
i earn and save my money judiciously… also I come from a decently well off lineage ….. do I deserve the judgement?..

Catherine L Walker
Catherine L Walker
1 month ago
Reply to  J B

Well said!!!

Liz B
Liz B
1 month ago
Reply to  J B

Calling people Mr. & Mrs. Smug faced based on how they chose to spend their money isn’t very nice. We all chose how we spend our money on our little luxuries and no one needs to be mocked for how they choose to spend theirs.

J B
J B
1 month ago
Reply to  Liz B

LizB circle back to orig post for context …

Gabby
Gabby
1 month ago
Reply to  Liz B

Are you okay?

Tiffani C.
Tiffani C.
1 month ago
Reply to  Liz B

Love this, well said.

A L
A L
1 month ago
Reply to  J B

Exactly! I don’t spend money on first class because it’s not worth it for most of the flights I’m taking. If I’m going on vacation, I’d rather put the money towards a better vacation once I’m there than waste it on a flight. When I was in Paris last time, I got a new LV Pochette Metis that I will use forever, vs. being slightly more comfortable on a flight I slept through anyway.

K D
K D
1 month ago
Reply to  Bex

What a ridiculous man! Many people who can easily afford to fly first class simply choose not to because a flight only lasts X number of hours and it is an unnecessary expense with nothing to show for it afterwards. Those people would judge him for his poor spending decisions. And most of the people in first/business class are upgraded passengers, frequent flyer mile users and people flying on their company’s dime for work.

Rex LeRoux
Rex LeRoux
1 month ago
Reply to  K D

Additionally the passengers in coach arrive at the same time as the first class passengers.

Ed B
Ed B
1 month ago
Reply to  K D

I was about to say the same, most of first/business is people whose jobs are covering the cost, or got there with miles, or loyalty upgrades, etc. At least in my experience. I fly a lot for work and I rarely end up sitting by a casual super rich flier who’d fly first/business even for a 2 hour flight despite the bad cost vs benefit.

I fly business often because company miles, but I definitely can’t afford to buy 7k bags every season or anything…

C L
C L
1 month ago

Interesting post, Alejandra! How terrible for that rude commenter to cast a shadow over such an exciting and rewarding moment of saving up for a treasured purchase.

For me, it’s an inevitable clash when a luxury brand’s marketing (“Our products are exquisitely crafted, exclusive works of art that signify taste and means”) collides against the cold business logic of needing to sell, sell, sell, season after season, just to continue existing as a company (“We have a bag for anyone who can cough up the funds” whether $10,000 is spare change or a year’s rent to you).

Even here on PB and PF, we get a mix of commenters who insist they only buy what they like and everyone else be damned, and other folks for whom the shine of Hermes is wearing off because they see Birkins being flaunted by (what they see as) representatives of poor taste like Kardashians and social media influencers. I’m not immune to this — I’ll covet a bag until I see someone I dislike has it too, then I’m like “ugh, I don’t want people to think of me like I think of THAT girl”. Petty but something many of us are guilty of in our deepest of hearts.

At the end of the day, luxury goods are just “stuff”. Outside of the marginal cost of materials and labor, this stuff is only worth the value we ascribe to them. My enjoyment of a beautiful object cannot be diminished by the ability for other people to acquire it too, if I’m truly only in it for the design, utility, and craftsmanship.

If it rankles you to see the undeserving/low-income/tasteless/etc getting their hands on the fancy stuff you like, my theory is this: The luxury experience sells a seductive story where you are a unique, sophisticated connoisseur of style. It does NOT feel good to see behind the curtain and see only money and marketing pulling on your heartstrings as well as those of every other luxury consumer on the planet. Now, if I could just stay this rational at the mall……

David Dunn
David Dunn
1 month ago
Reply to  C L

Love your comment CL. I’m also curious to hear what everyone considers to be “luxury”. What are the defining characteristics of luxury? Is it all the name? Workmanship? A combination of things? I think of one leatherworker that makes a beautiful handbag. His name is Peter Nitz and his handbag is called the Dream Bag. I think it is as lovely as any Hermes or Louis Vuitton. And they are expensive. But does anyone on this forum know who he is? I would buy one of his bags before I would buy a Birkin which seems to be getting cranked out and ever increasing speeds to meet the demand. How does this make the Birkin exclusive?

Sego-Irm
Sego-Irm
1 month ago
Reply to  David Dunn

I love Peter Nitz! So glad to see him mentioned in Purseblog!

Laura Shape
Laura Shape
1 month ago
Reply to  David Dunn

It’s so nice to see you post about Peter Nietz, David! His bags are gorgeous. I’ve been taking his luxury bag-making class for the past year, and I can vouch for his meticulous quality and attention to detail. His assistant Julian is an ex Hermès bag maker, and they are both excellent craftsmen and teachers.

Also, thanks for plugging independent luxury bag makers! It’s hard for us to get noticed over the marketing machines of the heritage luxury houses. But if you want truly personalized attention, and something no one else has, consider buying from independent artists and craftspeople.

azure5
azure5
1 month ago
Reply to  David Dunn

I agree totally. Recently I bought pre-owned Chanel tote, a Travel Line one.
It’s in very good shape in terms of the fabric, but the base was wobbly. On opening up the lining I could see this fine tan coloured powder it was from the base which is just paper cardboard!. So if you spilled water which seemed to have happened early on…it just flaked.
I have relined it with some recycled material.
Similarly the Chanel feet look ‘luxurious’ but in reality they open up on the inside with sharp, cheap feeling butterfly wings.
The bag will be revived, but the contrast between image and reality is comical.

I’ve been looking at the LV Neverful bag.. It’s a good bag but the main strength is in the treated canvas which is like a Sherman tank. I’ve also been looking at the LV bucket bags.
Then I happened on a rare, extremely strong bucket bag in near mint condition that’s a Mila Schon. It’s so rare that I can’t manage to google an image for a similar one.
Bid and won. I’m so pleased but hardly anyone will know what it is that I have.
But if you google wikipedia the label history is there.
Did I buy it for any of that? No. I just wanted a bucket bag that’s going to last and elevate my outfit. I’m thrilled.

Nothing like it in terms of quality from LV. It must have been owned by a collector, it was part of a very small auction in a city in Australia of 350k people.

Heather
Heather
1 month ago
Reply to  C L

👆💯

Charlotte
Charlotte
1 month ago

I remember that comment, because it screamed elitism. I could not afford any designer bag until my early 50’s and I bought a Chanel 2.5. Since I dress casually I don’t care what anyone thinks re: if it’s real or fake. People form initial opinions based on their own personal biases and sometimes they refuse to change their point of view.

I’ve read that many “celebrities” carry fakes and people may assume they are real because of the person’s “societal status”. So, it goes both ways.

In my opinion, anyone and everyone is “entitled” to own anything they can afford, without judgment. Since that won’t happen I chose to ignore the opinions of people that lack acceptance of other’s. This intolerance reminded me of my children who formed a “club”. When they were upset with one another they would say “you are kicked out of the club”. I believe adults also form classist “clubs” that don’t let everyone join because they can’t afford the latest clothes or bag. I’m happy not being part of some arbitrary adult “club”, seemingly based primarily on one’s ability to pay and where the rules are in constant flux.

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago

First of all I think we should all decide what we will spend money on and what we will not. I own many designer things and sometimes I choose to fly coach, so? I purchase things I like, I love fashion, it is for me alone. I do not let anyone influence what I like or spend my money on.

A L
A L
1 month ago
Reply to  Sandy

Agreed! I am a big proponent of letting people spend money how they choose to. It’s no one’s business. I would rather fly economy and have more money to spend on other things because where I’m sitting on a flight truly doesn’t matter to me. I drive a Honda rather than a luxury car because it is exactly what I want and need, and I’d rather have the extra money every month to spend on other things.

Aspen
Aspen
1 month ago

Anyone that freaking works for it. Anyone that appreciates it. Anyone that wants it. Period.

Shoebaglady
Shoebaglady
1 month ago
Reply to  Aspen

This. Exactly.

fashionablelena
fashionablelena
1 month ago

First of all, that’s an ugly thing to say to someone.

I have experienced this as well. I’m a teacher and drive a luxury car, carry luxury bags, wear designer jeans, and rock designer sunglasses. The secondhand market has made it possible for me to own these things. It’s what I’ve chosen to do with my expendable cash. I also have a husband that makes twice what I make. My children are adults.

Some think that it looks bad for me to have these things as a teacher. Ummm…no. It’s no one’s business. Mostly because it’s not like I’m walking around school toting my bag and wearing the sunglasses. Where does it state that a teacher is only supposed to have certain things?

To say that someone doesn’t “deserve” luxury is ludicrous. To call someone a poser for buying secondhand is equally ridiculous. I bet that person is fun to be around.

K F
K F
1 month ago

My chemistry teacher back in high school carried a Chanel tote around and wears designer sunglasses all the time! She was definitely fabulous and fun!

A L
A L
1 month ago

YES! I work for a non-profit and there’s so much questioning at times about whether I can afford what I have. But this questioning is coming from people who order Seamless for every single meal because they don’t want to cook. We all spend our money differently.

Antonia
Antonia
1 month ago

AMEN to that! I have luxury items too (bags/shoes/clothing) and most come from consignment stores like The Real Real. I love having beautifully made things in my closet and I mix those with things from Zara and the likes. I find crazy good deals buying secondhand! So happy to be able to do it this way!!

TheCityGirl
TheCityGirl
1 month ago

Alejandra, I think you absolutely nailed why people get so hostile. They feel that their fundamental selves are being threatened. Luxury is a signifier of their (self-perceive) ‘superiority’ over others, and so if the general public can’t use these indicators to differentiate them from those they deem less desirable, then they lose part of their identities. And those part of their identities are everything to them.

Jenn
Jenn
1 month ago

This conversation isn’t really about who deserves luxury or who should have it. The answer to that question is easy; if you can afford to pay for it, it is there for the taking. The real thrust of this conversation is that the world has some petty, mean people in it. The internet gives everyone a voice, the good, the bad, and the petty. The trick is understanding that not everyone’s opinion needs to matter to you.

Catherine
Catherine
1 month ago

??? I work hard and buy purses I love, what is the problem?? How I spend my own money is not others business. To be honest , I don’t care what other think of me, I simply enjoy my lovely bags!

TKS
TKS
1 month ago

Hermes already does this for their quota bags, the spend ratio, to keep people “out” who cannot invest in the brand to their adopt the Hermes lifestyle (for some, they do actually enjoy, for others, it really does ring as merely “proof of funds”). Chanel is also doing this now w/ their new quotas, and “status” is only earned by purchasing fine jewelry, watches & RTW. Again, the “proof of funds” idea to show that a client has enough cash to burn on really really overpriced profit- and commission-heavy items before you are treated like with any sort of deference. My interpretation of all of that is this, these companies don’t want you to sacrifice to buy. If it hurts your wallet they don’t want you as a customer. If you’ve saved up for that special piece for 1-2 years, and it’s the crown jewel in your closet, they don’t want you. They want ppl that barely flinch with spending excess dollars on things that might hang in their closets for years with the tags on.

So, I would say as many houses have a particular distaste for those customers who have “saved up” for a big luxury purchase. They are the master gatekeepers, and they don’t want you either.

None of these are my thoughts by the way, quite the opposite.

S P
S P
1 month ago
Reply to  TKS

Yes this is exactly it. If you have to think about it they just don’t want your custom. Believe it or not I came across this snobbery in a Michael kors outlet store of all places. At the time I had very very little to spend on handbags and I thought I would treat myself to a nice tote from MK. There were two I was deciding between and I could act hear the assistants saying I was being irritating and it’s not as though it’s that expensive. Put me off the brand for life

RILV
RILV
1 month ago
Reply to  TKS

You are right on the money. I’ll go one step further and say that not only do the most elite fashion houses not want the “saving up for a bag” client, neither does their uber wealthy client. Chanel, LV, Hermes, etc…, routinely and DELIBERATELY raise their prices into the stratosphere in order to please their wealthiest clients. These flush clients will happily spend the extra money to ensure that they have exclusive items that the “hoi poloi” cannot afford. They will pay to be set apart by the price of their toys.

It is often said that the CEO of her firm doesn’t want her secretary wearing the same bag. I know many a well-to-do ladies (and men) who swore off MK, Coach, and the like because their employees regularly wore those brands. They also dumped their commonly seen Speedys for the same reason.

There is definite social engineering going on – as well as pricing and marketing games at play to ensure exclusivity for the top tier client.(The auto industry is rife with these pricing and marketing strategies).

RDM
RDM
1 month ago
Reply to  TKS

100% Agree

RDM
RDM
1 month ago

A similar comment happened to me recently in the tPf, along the lines of shock that it took me a year to research what I wanted and save up for my first Chanel. “What? A whole year”. I’ll spend my money however I like thanks. Also just because i want a good handbag doesn’t mean I would also want everything else pricey, I love a bargain, always buy vintage, I’m not fussed with expensive clothes. I like a mix of many things. On the airline discussion, how many of those people flying business class cant afford it but work has paid for it.

Shelby
Shelby
1 month ago
Reply to  RDM

Unbelievable. Congrats on your bag!

Reneé
Reneé
1 month ago

I’ll tell you what…2 Xanax and I’ll sleep in the loo!

Liz B
Liz B
1 month ago
Reply to  Reneé

I call that Pharmaceutical First Class 🙂

Kratos
Kratos
1 month ago

So….. the rude poster wasn’t exactly wrong. People will assume it’s a knock off. The posters harsh words were indicative on how people are looked down upon. Perhaps in their social circle seeing some ‘poor’ person with a designer back is funny to them. But likewise, to be in a social circle of wealth, were everyone is buying the same designer back, eating in the same prestigious restaurants just to keep up with the Jones- isn’t that just as bad? Buying things to keep up with your ‘higher class’ social circle?

Its also no secret that brands like Chanel keep raising their prizes to keep those like me- good income, good job but defo not in the right circle, from buying such goods. Even Hermes is not dependant on just money to get a bag.

And what about those who have family money- they’ve not worked for but quite happy to spend- are they more deserving then someone who saves up? In fact people from ‘old money’ wealthy families don’t (IMHO) feel the need to buy designer, and can be seen in clothes poor people wouldn’t buy.

Personally, I hope the original poster got al the joy out of her bag. Someone will always try and sh1t on your parade. As long as the bag is yours, and you haven’t gotten into debt to buy it, enjoy your life.

Kratos
Kratos
1 month ago
Reply to  Kratos

Please forgive the spelling mistakes.

Tiffany
Tiffany
1 month ago

I love a nice bag (watch, shoe, outfit) as much as anyone, and it is hard not to assume the wearer has a certain lifestyle or standard of living to match. That is what marketing has sold us, right? The fact is, that is not always the case. The question is, “Why does it matter?” Is it just human nature that in a group/society we have a need to size people up (I can see where this was useful in more primal times), and this is one way we try to do it? Just thinking out loud here…

jiljenner
jiljenner
1 month ago

No one is “deserving” of luxury.

That said, what we have now bastardized into “luxury” goods saw its beginnings in patronage. These items were historically commissioned by and/or designed for people in the upper financial and/or social echelons, who could easily—and repeatedly—afford to spend (or have spent on their behalf) relatively high sums. Because this exclusive (and historically limited) clientele essentially financed the lifestyle and production costs for those artisans, patrons would wear their craftsmens’ wares with pride, and would discuss amongst themselves the intricacies of the techniques used, the quality or rarity of the materials, and the complexity of the production.

In that spirit, many of the houses—and the houses’ top clientele—feel that, unless a customer can maintain a level of spend that makes a meaningful impact on the house’s survival, then said customer is undesirable or undeserving. From their perspective, the materials, man hours, and customer service “wasted” on that customer could instead be deserving of a client with a patron profile, who not only expects white glove treatment, but will spend substantially enough to justify the costs of said treatment.

However, the entire discussion is moot, in my opinion. Even if the aspirational classes cannot truly afford luxury goods, they are collectively spending so much that brands are changing their entire business model (online shopping, huge production increases, and, of course, annual price increases “to afford these changes”) to accommodate their “undeserving” dollars.

jiljenner
jiljenner
1 month ago
Reply to  jiljenner

*From their perspective, the materials, man hours, and customer service “wasted” on that customer could instead be invested into a client with a patron’s profile, who not only expects white glove treatment, but will spend substantially enough to justify the costs of said treatment.

fran
fran
1 month ago

What a great article! This is an interesting concept for sure. Maybe the discussion should be translated to why society feels there is a divide between “who can” and people “who want”. People are constantly changing as part of the diversity within our society. Just as the trends come and go with the seasons, so do designer. Do we judge a vintage Prada in comparison to someone carrying the new spring line? Who’s to say who can afford and who can’t these days? Yet the SAs (sometimes) and our society feel impartial to labels, seasons, and prices.

I’ll even give an example. My boyfriend and I went into the Armani store in Las Vegas on a trip. He wanted a designer tie since he didn’t own many nice ones. He picked one out and purchased. The SA hands me the bill and thanks me for coming in and shopping. Why? I was wearing a small Prada bag I had bought last year and a rather nice watch. Whereas my boyfriend was simply in flip flops and lulus. Coincidence? I think not!

Snibor
Snibor
1 month ago

I like nice bags and buy what I can afford. It’s not my business or concern what others choose to do with their money.

Connie
Connie
1 month ago

I’m loving this discussion. 🙂 I have some really beautiful things, but I mostly get them 2nd hand. That makes me love a bag even more. (It feels like winning to find something amazing and beautiful for a song!) And I appreciate beautiful things, and I also gift beautiful things and sell beautiful things. Who deserves luxury? Anyone and everyone. And one person’s luxury is another person’s everyday. My super plush blanket from Costco is LUXURY. Was it expensive? Not at all. People who want to decrease other’s joy such as the snarky poster quoted do not “deserve” joy. As far as people who make assumptions about other’s (like the guy who said only rich deserve first class flight), you know what they say about “assumptions,” they make an ass out of you and me. I have a breathtaking piece of jewelry (an inherited family heirloom) with this giant hurking diamond on it…I wear it for my joy and connection to family, not to show off to others.

CASV
CASV
1 month ago

I’ve noticed that people who disparage others who save for luxury items are usually social climbers who desperately want a better social standing themselves. In my experience, people who have genuine wealth don’t care how other people spend their money, nor do they tend to be showy of luxury items themselves. Beautiful shoes and classic jewels are pretty much the stock in trade of genuinely wealthy women, along with less-guache branded luxury items. The person who commented cruelly said more about herself than the person who works hard and saves wisely.

Regina
Regina
1 month ago
Reply to  CASV

Certainly! I must admit that I was born in a privileged family, yet, it would never occur to me, to one of the members of my family or to my relatives to criticise someone because they save their money and spend it buying luxury items. I would consider it peculiar thought if I heard a person who cannot pay her mortgage or rent, or even her basic bills, saying she is going to spend a few thousands of her/his savings on a handbag, rather than prioritising basic needs, but that is a different story. Personally, I can afford designer handbags and I do have several designer bags but I don’t buy them because of the brand, I buy them because I like them. I move in circles in which most of us are highly educated (masters, PhDs), are good looking, and have money (and/or come from families in which money has been there for generations even if they are not as wealthy as they used to be anymore), but we don’t care about what other people are wearing or which handbag they are carrying, that would be considered of very poor taste, extremely impolite and exceedingly obtuse. In my case, since I am not a fan of big logos, I tend avoid them. When I carry something in which the logo is all over it, I feel like a walking advertisement. In spite of that I do not criticise people who embrace the ‘big logo’ theme 🙂 People have different tastes and we all choose to express our individuality accordingly.

Lately, I am opting for subtle niche brands. I enjoy discovering new emerging, independent brands that work with good quality materials and have high ethical standards. I am not a loud person, hence, I care a lot about a brand’s aesthetics. I prefer elegant designs as long as they are not bland. Since I am naturally very slim but not tall, I mostly select small to medium handbags, but I do have a few large bags.

To be honest, I am more into shoes and clothes than I am into handbags. I do prefer designer clothes and shoes. I do care about fashion and the way I look most of the time reveals that; in spite of that, fashion is not the top priority in my life. In fact, I collect more books than I collect fashion items, yet looking at me you may not immediately think : ‘she collects books’. I bet there are many members who share my views 🙂

Regina
Regina
1 month ago
Reply to  Regina

Is there a way to edit a post? I should have double checked my grammar and syntax before submitting my response to your comment, alas, I forgot. It is almost 02.00am and I am tired…apologies for any errors you may find above.

cassis
cassis
1 month ago

I don’t really think anything in life is deserved, no one is really entitled to have anything, everything should have to be earned. How anyone spends their money is really quite subjective, and as long as they can afford it (by whatever means), I don’t begrudge them for buying whatever it is they want.

However, I do appreciate brands that curate their clientele, whether done through price increases, bag quotas, or requiring pre-spend. There is a reason certain bags hold their value on the second hand market, and other bags routinely show up at TJmax. When brands maintain their exclusivity, they also help the bags in my collection maintain their value. I think Chanel has been faltering during the past few year with careless dilution of its brand. Chanel used to be such a symbol of classiness, but it’s difficult to see the elegance when a black caviar CF is being carried by 20 something baby-mamas with their thong strips showing above their pants or half a breast hanging out of their tank top. So now I buy less Chanel and have ventured to Hermes.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago
Reply to  cassis

Of course there are things in life that people “deserve” and shouldn’t have to earn. If you’re American, believe in the Enlightenment, or just a decent human being: all people posses unalienable rights that are inherent to them upon their birth and no person, government, or body has the right to deny them to people. In the case of United States, it is the reason why we have the Bill of Rights, in the constitution—whether or not, the US lives up to it’s beliefs, is a different conversation.

A lot of institutions and bodies exist to ensure people receive what they are entitled to: labor unions, laws (ex. 1964 Civil Rights Act), social programming and protections (ex. social security, FDIC, FDA, public hospitals, public schools, community based organizations, etc.). Many people, correctly, believe that no one should be hungry, cold, abused, etc., because some feel that people should have to “earn” the right not to suffer and have opportunity. To say otherwise is cruel and demonstrates—at the very least—an apathy towards humanity.

Lastly, I recommend that you tread carefully or just come out and say what you mean (so others may call you out), because your tirade about Chanel’s clientele is dog whistling, and again, says more about you, than the “baby’s mama’s” that you inelegantly rail against. A piece of advice: If one is confident in themselves and their convictions, it doesn’t matter what others carry or do, for they will know where they stand and who they are.

cassis
cassis
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex

Perhaps I should be more specific, since the title of the article centers around luxury and who deserves it, I assumed it was understood that we are at least talking about material goods rather than intangible concepts. So material things are not deserved, no one “deserves” a Chanel CF or a Lamborghini, they should be earned. If a person can afford them, regardless of how they afford them, great, no one should make others feel bad for having things.

As for the last paragraph of your comment, your advice is neither needed nor wanted. How I tread, carefully or not, is none of your business.

I do agree that a person has to be first and foremost confident in themselves and comfortable with their station in life, a luxury bag is just the cherry on top of the cake, but luxury is mostly an image, unless you think people pay $8000+ for the “quality” of Chanel CFs.

The perceived added value of luxury items is not independent of its users, a brand’s image is associated with the people carrying them. If a brand that I own are increasingly being carried by people I don’t want to be associated with, I change to another brand. There is nothing I should have to treat carefully about, I have the right to make a choice as to which brand I purchase, and I have no problem with coming out and saying what I mean, I find skimpily dressed people distasteful. I’m not going to approach them and yell in their face that they should put on more clothes, because it’s their choice and their right to give everyone else a free show, just like it is my choice and my right to have an opinion and spend my money elsewhere.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago
Reply to  cassis

“Station in life”

LOL! Ok, your lady ship. We’ll try to mind our station.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago
Reply to  cassis

You’re correct you do not have watch to what you say, I do again recommend that you evaluate your open judgments—this is a public forum, not the inside of your head. People are going to reply back.

Your previous comment didn’t only reference dress, or lack of, as the source of your disgruntlement. You mentioned 20 something year old baby mamas, who dress skimpily as your issue. The way you strung your words together denote certain connotations, I.e. dog whistling. I’m not going to unpack it for you, but I suggest you think about it.

If your issue with Chanel (or anything you associate with) being tainted by skimpily dressed figures, than you must find most actors, models, movies, magazines, and cultural institutions, that feature skimpily dressed and even nude bodies to be distasteful and not anything you wish to be associated with.

TamTam
TamTam
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex

Thank you Alex. Her comment definitely sounded exactly like the people the article is speaking against.

BridesdeGayla
BridesdeGayla
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex

Beautifully said and totally on point.
Werk, sis.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago
Reply to  BridesdeGayla

🙏🏽

Mary Halsted
Mary Halsted
1 month ago

I know it’s only a minor point, but the Spartans banned themselves from possessing gold and silver as they were sure it would be corrupting. Nobody else did it to them. Their one and only value (pretty much) was supposed to be physical courage, not $. They had a lot of, er, peculiar laws to keep this going.

zerofsgiven
zerofsgiven
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary Halsted

haha lovely point! I thought it was weird that other Greeks can ban Spartans from anything, given their superior military strength in comparison to other Greek, their response to any such attempts would’ve probably been very violent XD

beat_boutique
beat_boutique
1 month ago

All I can comment is on Oprah who was refused to buy a $38,000 designer handbag while shopping in Switzerland. That has stuck with me for years….

HBR
HBR
1 month ago

It’s none of my business what others buy with their own money. I’m only concerned with my own coins.

Indy Wifey
Indy Wifey
1 month ago

Wealth markers (sociology) morph over time and alongside any given culture
Overweightedness was once just that – it still exists too, but rare – now it’s underweightedness less gained via “work,” now also purchased (passively received high dollar procedures).
Carlin “things n stuff” ditto
Quantity of any given thing
Cost next
Rarity (aka controlled resourcing = all marketing, aka demand > supply manipulation)
Is the easiest first tier means to express “wealth” more accurately moneyedness
Then turn it upside down: the most moneyed people get high-cost/“rare” stuff for less to nothing
The middle grade consumer pays full price, plus if it entails any kind of hardship
The low end consumer includes acquisition by theft. Generally held results is no elevation of self/self perception or perceived status or gratification
Much more this really of consumption can be philosophized/posted on endlessly, things still tend to circle back to an ultimate briers
Money (possession of tangible wealth markers) can’t buy “you”
happiness (self actualization) – even to the extent that money can “buy” health, that internal cross over to well-being remains the metaphysical often futile quest
..& this is written by one who loves beautiful and nice things 😉

Indy Wifey
Indy Wifey
1 month ago
Reply to  Indy Wifey

Aye yay yay that auto correct! Can’t edit! mea culpa!

Chris1011
Chris1011
1 month ago

If you have the mindset that high-priced purses should be “deserved” based on social or monetary status, then YOU are part of the problem: Arrogant, selfish and entitled.

Electra
Electra
1 month ago

Apparently, to many, fat people are not deserving of luxury either.

Shelby
Shelby
1 month ago

I also read the old threads. Around 2008 posters were complaining that Britney Spears was seen with the same bag they had, and there were a lot of negative comments about her. I am pretty sure none of these people knew her. Now, knowing what she has been going through with her father, it just made me feel so bad for her. She was going through a terrible time in the public eye and was harshly judged for it.
So why do you buy the bag? Don’t you buy it because you love it? Apparently not all the time, some people stop using a bag because the resale is low. Or they saw someone, or many, with the same bag they had-but they did not “look the part”.
Anyone who does this IMO is buying only because of how they think other people will see them. And they need to be seen as better than others.
In the end, people may forget what you said or did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.
Great article!

Tracey J
Tracey J
1 month ago

I live in a smaller town/city and I don’t buy handbags to impress the people of my town. I have loved bags all my life. My mother said I would take my babies out of the stroller and add handbags at 3 years old.
When my husband and I were both working at good jobs. I owned several popular bags. I even got my dream bag, a Hermes Kelly. I owned several Chanel and a lot of LV. I AM NOT BRAGGING.
In 2009 my husband got very sick and was in and out of the hospital for 10 years, we lost everything. During that time, I did have to sell all my above named handbags. The money kept us going. I did loose him in 2019, and yes I still have a lot of debt from all his health issues. He had very little life insurance through my work. Point being, I am saving for a top handle Chanel bag. It might take me a while and yes, I still live in the same area.
I think another factor, I am a plus sized woman and don’t always find the trends or even nice basics for that matter, so I have always gravitated to handbags. They are my thing.
My little collection helped with my husband’s expenses and I am thankful for that. So, yes they are an investment.
I will continue to put some money aside to get my new dream bag, someday….
I’m sure some would think I am “unworthy” but my investment paid off.

miChiaroscuro
miChiaroscuro
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracey J

I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you do get your next dream bag.

Tracey J
Tracey J
1 month ago
Reply to  miChiaroscuro

Thank You. I miss him terribly but I know he is not suffering any longer.

Tracey J
Tracey J
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracey J

When you are with someone for 38 years now, you would do anything for them.

miChiaroscuro
miChiaroscuro
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracey J

Oh absolutely! What a blessing in disguise that purchasing those bags became a source of funds when most needed.

Star
Star
1 month ago

What Chanel bag is that in the photo? It is gorgeous!

zerofsgiven
zerofsgiven
1 month ago
Reply to  Star
Star
Star
1 month ago
Reply to  zerofsgiven

Thanks so much.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago

I was 19 years old eating at McDonald’s and carrying my first LV bag that I had saved up for when I heard two girls probably not much older than me discussing loudly that my bag must be fake as my clothes were not of the same quality. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was affected by this and the memory of this is still very vivid.

Here I am now in my 40’s and I still love designer handbags and have the means to wear ‘better quality’ clothes yet when I walked into a Chanel store on my recent trip to Hawaii (Waikiki) the SA’s had an elitist attitude barely acknowledging us.

Sadly, I have come across this attitude far to often.I have learned through the years that this attitude of elitism stems from the insecurity of the offender.I refuse to let people of this nature irritate me. The person next to you with designer everything could be broke and the person next to you with just a designer bag could have more wealth than you can imagine.

Tracey J
Tracey J
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Be proud that you have worked hard and saved for it. People’s words do hurt. Try to remember it only matters how it makes you feel.

Thérèse
Thérèse
1 month ago

My cleaning aid came withe a fake LV becouse she didn’t want to buy a real bag, she didn’t want to spent so much money. This is terrible🥲🥲🥲
i love to see a young girl who saved money to buy an expensive bag! She has style!
And this in the discussion earlier mentioned man about economy clas and busines cals😱that’s a fake person whom I would recommend to read the book from Paul Gallico: mrs.Ada Harris goes to Paris.
The book tells the story from a London cleaning Lady who wants one’s in a lifetime to buy a dress from Dior. In Paris she helps a lot of poeple who are in trouble while waiting for her dress. That’s a social feeling Lady and that’s what’s life about and not that business class ticket.

Alisa
Alisa
1 month ago
Reply to  Thérèse

One of my favorite books, too!
I would say that anyone who appreciates the style and quality of a particular bag or maker has “earned” the right to enjoy it, regardless of whether they’d had to save for a long time or it’s easily affordable.

Whereas anyone who is buying that item for only its perceived status might consider spending some money on a therapist to address their self-esteem issues 😊

ALB
ALB
1 month ago

I collect luxury handbags for myself.. my love of the bag. Yes I can fly first class now in my 50’s. But my handbag passion started long ago with careful saving and budgeting. I still love and have kept every luxury bag I have ever purchased. I can’t imagine someone who takes the time, energy or effort to care what another person chooses to save for. Get over yourself.

Is there a difference if someone budgets for a luxury automobile that is (perceived) out of their economic status? BTW our handbags will retain their value and relevance LONG after the “luxury” automobile has dramatically depreciated in value and status. .. I will still be carrying my handbag with pride.

Louie
Louie
1 month ago
Reply to  ALB

Some ultra expensive cars can appreciate in value. A McLaren F1 in the mid-90s cost $500,000 and is now worth $20m, not a bad return on investment. But yes, ‘mainstream’ luxury cars do go down in value.

Kathy B.
Kathy B.
1 month ago

Since the ability to purchase genuine luxury items — up until the past few years (thanks to Affirm, etc.) — was the roadblock for many to purchase genuine luxury items, their next best was the fake/knock-off. Yes, there are GREAT fake/knock-offs that I’ve seen that from just looking at the outside of the bag, are very hard to determine their authenticity and then there are the “spot ’em from a city block away” fakes and knock-offs. But, to compartmentalize someone because of the economic status as not being “worthy” to carry designer bags is simply ludicrous. It’s their business. I will not judge someone, nor will I ever discount their status in society because of accessories.

Tiffani C.
Tiffani C.
1 month ago

Also I think several key factors are ignored with those assumptions Luxury brand artists/designers get their inspiration and influence from ALL walks of life, All social classes, certainly not just the elite ones. Why shouldn’t populations of people whose social norms help inspire the designs be able to indulge in those same designs as they are able to? Its another fragile way to attempt to draw some arbitrary line of distinction between the haves and have nots. Also they could argue the point of who should be indulging in what, right down to the quality of food everyone consumes and zipcodes they choose to reside in and it would still be arbitrary and based on silly assumptions. Also a person can spend $700 on 20 cheap items that they won’t get any return on later or that same $700 on 1 item something that they can potentially get back at least 1/2 of their money from when they get tired of it down the line, so it’s not actually ‘foolish’ to spend money that way if you do your resell research before purchasing. I wish people would stop judging others to help displace their own fragilities.

Roma
Roma
1 month ago

Congratulations for writing this article Alejandra! I enjoyed it and every comment made on it.
For me every person’s reason for his/her decision to buy any luxury good is their business, as long as the funds used to purchase the goods are not stolen or otherwise unlawful. Gatekeeping, odious as it is, has been with us since humankind started living as groups. Do humans judge others? Yes! Does everyone have the discretion and the discipline to keep their judgments to themselves? No! Frankly, what others think should be irrelevant to any person who buys a luxury item because they truly love and enjoy the design and craftmanship.

Admin
1 month ago

I believe that the degree of gatekeeping and elitism in luxury is proportional to the degree to which a person’s identity is wrapped up in the stuff they own. If a large part of your ego is consumed with how you are perceived and how the luxury articles you carry or consume shape your image in society, the more likely you are to feel that others are undeserving of the same goods, access, or treatment.

Connie
Connie
1 month ago
Reply to  Vlad Dusil

Yes!

Madam Bijoux
Madam Bijoux
1 month ago

Whoever buys luxury goods is deserving of luxury goods.

Reiko H
Reiko H
1 month ago

In my humble opinion, everyone is entitled to their definition and version of luxury. But it is important to live within one’s means.

To some, luxury may be an exquisite croc leather Birkin or Kelly. To others, it could be a Chanel or LV. To some, splurging on Business/First Class is their luxury. To others, owning an expensive watch, car or yacht. Nobody can judge anybody on their pursuit of luxury enjoyment.

But experience shows that if we are a nobody, then it’s harder, almost impossible, to lay our hands on the desired highly-coveted luxury item as most, if not all, of these luxury boutiques have VIP/VVIP/VVVIP customers who have first access to these luxury pieces.

So your social status brings you to the front of line of any waitlist, whilst those who painstakingly saved up for years for that Himalayan Croc Birkin most likely will never get one (even if they have the money to buy).

As for air travel, most people traveling on business class are actually business travellers whose business class fare are paid for by companies. I know someone who spends so much on company expenses that he can clock at least a million miles every year to perpetually redeem business class flights to anywhere for his entire family. Sometimes what we see as luxury is not real luxury. A person who travels on Business Class for free vs One who actually purchases his Economy/Premium Economy Class seat – who is the richer one? *food for thought*

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

Hermes had a sale recently n London. Items, mainly shoes, scarves and costume jewelry were heavily discounted (up to 70%). The only people who had access to this sale were customers of the brand. Also, they were divided in categories based on their spending. E.g. first 2 days of sale only super VIP clients, then the rest. At the end of the week long-sale some people managed to get access through competitions etc, but there was nothing left!
This is exactly what brands do, they only want their rich, loyal customers to have access even to their discounted stock. I would love to had access to this sale as many pieces were on my price range, but I only found out about this afterwards, when luxury bloggers uploaded videos and hauls.

Sophie
Sophie
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Just to say that this isn’t entirely correct – the sale was run by Arlettie (a company that organises sample sales) in conjunction with Hermes and all subscribers to Arlettie also had access to the sale. If you were an Arlettie VIP (i.e. you paid for a membership) you had early access to the sale, alongside some of the Hermes customers. After the first few days of the sale, the sale was then open to the general public if you had signed up (for free) with Arlettie.

I went as part of the general public on the latter days – and there was actually a lot of stock still available!

Barbara Melser-Lieberman
Barbara Melser-Lieberman
1 month ago

find the answer to happiness inside.everyone deserves joy

Mahogany
Mahogany
1 month ago

this discussion is so interesting to me because i am someone who absolutely adores luxury handbags, and if you knew me and what i did i guess i would be one of those people someone with the classist mindset would say “how did you afford that”. Well i don’t buy luxury items for a status symbol. I buy them because i genuinely love the look, i love and respect the fashion houses and genuinely love the fashion world. I’m 26 years old, i have no children and my guilty pleasure is handbags. I do like to dress nice as well however, this includes, Zara, H&M, clothing. I am not a huge fan of shoes, and everywhere else in my life I’m extremely low maintence. I think people have this weird perception of others and look down on people who indulge in luxury because they don’t understand it. Majority of regular people who buy luxury could care less what others think. Yes there are people who buy to show off, but those people show off in ALL aspects of life. Luxury is one of my passions and hobbies, i study it and love it. I don’t think that makes me “full of myself” or wanting to “show off”. Awesome discussion 🧡

N M
N M
1 month ago

I think when it comes to purchasing items you buy something because you love it and what your ROI is for that item, I don’t think it determines your social class etc yes of course it can as to much of that item you purchase.(copious amounts of handbags, multiple investment properties etc) For example young consumers are attempting to get into the housing market should they not even attempt because they have to budget and save for this asset? No that’s ridiculous, everyone saves and budgets for something regardless of the actual price. Being wealthy or not, people will ask themselves “should I really buy this” – mid earning consumers are the ones that feed our economy and saying they don’t have the right to purchase luxury goods would see our economy crash. They also say don’t judge a book by a cover, you don’t really know how much a person can or cannot afford. Food for thought.

Sammy
Sammy
1 month ago

This was so well written, so insightful and just had to be said. Elites aren’t the same anymore and what’s considered an accomplished person looks different to everyone . Just like everyone considers luxury differently.

Lizz
Lizz
1 month ago

It’s about your priorities. I visited a cousin in New York once and she had no furniture. She had some furniture like an old couch, a few chairs. Her money went to taking cruise trips all over the world. She spent 10 of 1000s for these trips. She would pay $300 for pictures with the captain. She didn’t care that she didn’t have good furniture. I luv designer bags. I also believe one should have good furniture and don’t mind if my bags or my furnishings are second hand.

Louie
Louie
1 month ago

The person who criticised the purchaser should look up ‘Zahavian signalling’.
If they’re so interested in protecting their social status from the working-class, then maybe they should buy a yacht, a private jet, book a flight into space or something else that’s well off limits for us mere mortals.

Most people in the western world can afford a LV bag, so it’s not exactly the best status symbol. That’s partly why you don’t see any billionaires wearing LV. Hell, not even Bernard Arnault wears anything showing a Vuitton logo.

I think it’s safe to say that most people here are just passionate about purses and are less concerned about how rich they look compared to their neighbour.

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