Some of you may know that I have a beautiful, big, shiny Chanel bag in my wardrobe. Today, I want to tell you the story of how it got there, what I learned from buying it and my general thoughts when it comes to buying and owning designer things.
In short, I don’t generally approve of people who spend their whole lives obsessing over having designer things. The markup on luxury products is enormous and for someone who works in marketing, I know that a lot of the time, the “superior quality” marketed rarely justifies the price.
From my experiences, the people that I’ve met who are genuinely wealthy, do not wander around in lots of flashy designer things – it’s the insecure people in the middle ground who are trying to appear more wealthy than they are, who do.
HOWEVER, with that being said, I think there’s nothing wrong with lusting after a few designer things that for one reason or another you genuinely LOVE the style of and have always aspired to own. When that’s the case, updating your wardrobe with a little luxe is a nice, and in many ways motivational thing to be able to do.
A little history/my first purchase
I, like a lot of other insecure teenagers, remember going through a stage of being a little bit designer obsessed. As I mentioned, it’s all just a status thing, right?
Of course, none of us could really afford a lot but still I had classmates wearing Tiffany and Vivienne Westwood jewellery and before I knew it, I had friends being given Mulberry bags and other expensive gifts for their birthdays and 18ths.
Maybe it was this kind of exposure to designer that, aged only 16, I decided that, more than anything, I really wanted a pair of Christian Louboutin heels.
I scoured them online with fervent enthusiasm and after saving up the money from my Saturday job, I found an awesome deal on a pair of nude peeptoes with a slight platform. After a few months, they were in my wardrobe, beautiful red soles and all.
Nowadays those shoes lie, hardly worn, at my parents home. Though they are beautiful, I hardly ever wore them because, no surprises here, I was too scared of ruining them! And honestly – they’re just not my style anymore.
I wish I’d of invested in a pair of the classic court shoes in black, or nude, as I know they’re a staple I would never neglect. But who knows what they’re going to love forever when they’re 16, right?
However what that experience taught me is that if I really, truly wanted something designer it was within my power to save up and buy it – which meant that my short-lived designer obsession died a very timely death – thank god!
Buying my Chanel
Since that experience I have only ever lusted after another designer item that I deemed a “must have” in my wardrobe – and that was a classic quilted Chanel bag in black and silver (probably my all time favorite colour combination). I had a fake one (who didn’t own a fake designer bag when they were a teenager?!) but really I knew that as soon as I was old enough and working I wanted the real deal.
This time, I was in no rush. I wasn’t buying one to prove anything to anyone or to myself. I kept “one eye open” on Vestiaire Collective for well over a year to find the best deal I could on a pre-owned Chanel and last year, low and behold, I found “the one”!
I can honestly say I have never been so excited to receive something in the post as I was to receive my Chanel. When I opened the box, the smell of clean, new leather and perfume was the first thing that hit me and I can still remember that to this day.
It’s worth noting that luxury product marketing is truly INGENIOUS. Appealing to all of the senses and involving customers in a brand “ritual” (such as untying the bow, opening the box etc) are two of the primary ways that brands create a luxury “experience” for the customer (marketing is my thing and one of my freelance clients is a retail consultant so let me geek out on this, okay).
But anyway, I was like a new blo*dy mother for the first week of owning that bag. There had been so much “build up” that I just kept staring at it and thinking how beautiful it was and wanting to tell all my friends about it. HA!
And in a nutshell, that’s what designer brands do – they make you feel special, important. But what people don’t tell you about is when that initial appeal wears off.
What I learned from the experience
I had wanted a Chanel bag for YEARS, right. Honestly, years. And as much as I loved it then and still do now, here’s the thing – at the end of the day, it is just a bag – and one that set me back quite a large chunk of money!
Would I still want one as much if I had say, a really good fake? It’s hard to say, but I think in this instance yes as I knew that only the real deal would do.
I learned a really valuable lesson here, in that the MAIN appeal of wanting designer items is that you THINK you can’t own them. And then once you do, they’re just a nice watch, or a nice bag, or a nice piece of jewellery. Nothing more.
It sounds really simple, but it was the main thing I took away from the experience – it was a slightly different scenario to my Louboutins as they cost significantly less.
So, right now, I am fortunate enough to say that through hard work and my own money I own the two designer things I have aspired to own in my life. I have a few pieces of other designer jewellery knocking about and a burberry heart scarf that I adore (a staple, and one bought for circa 40% less the RRP on Ebay).
So as for right now and likely the significant future, I can quite happily say that I am done with designer.
Sure, I like a lot of designer things. I like Gucci Marmont bags and Valentino studded heels but I don’t LIKE them enough to spend what is, quite frankly, a ridiculous amount of money on what are just bags, and shoes at the end of the day.
The beauty is, it’s the designs that I like more than the labels themselves and they trickle town to the high street anyway – before you know it there’s a bag that costs £1000 less hanging in your local Topshop (like the MAGIC quilted crossbody bag – probably aptly named magic as it saves you £1031 from buying a very similar Gucci Marmont bag)!
I”m 23 years old. I need to be saving my money into a lump sum for more important things, like a deposit for a house – not any more designer goods.
But MAINLY what I want to get across in this post is that I don’t ever want to be one of those 20 something bloggers with 50 million designer bags and clothes that are, in my view, just a bit unrelatable (just HOW do they afford so many, anyway?!)
Now I bet you’re wondering, so what do I think about fakes?
Honestly? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with owning a really good fake or something that’s very much “in the style of” without the logo, type thing. I know it “devalues the originals” but frankly, I just don’t care that much.
I will unashamedly admit that I have a really good fake Chanel boy bag and it’s BEAUTIFUL … even more so that it only cost me £100! As well as various lovely Chloe dupes from Ebay of all places (I told you… literally no shame) and, rather ironically, the Sophia Webster dupe butterfly heels that I chose to wear in this very outfit post.
At the end of the day, who really cares apart from A. Generally bitchy, nasty people B. People that don’t like you and will criticise everything that you do anyway C. All of the above.
At 23, most people who see me with it probably assume that my classic Chanel bag is a fake anyway, or that it was bought by the bank of Mum and Dad (I blo*dy wish! … only kidding, hahaha).
If we all tried, we could save up for designer. It’s just dependant on those who think it’s worth it, and those who don’t.
What are your thoughts? Do you aspire to own anything designer, or do you already?
Photography: Barton Chase Inc