In their pursuit of the season's most coveted bags, many are giving common sense the slip, parting with, say, $975 for a best seller like the Marc Jacobs Sofia bag, which which last fall commanded $895, or $1,445 for a leather Prada "bowler" bag that, a few seasons back, cost $940 or $990 for similar models. Shoppers' infatuation with handbags has lent that category significant clout, to the point, retailers and industry analysts say, that bags have supplanted shoes, jeans and even jewelry as consumers' choice signifier of affluence, social standing and hipness. Never mind that some models, in the battered and fringed styles now popular, look as though they belonged to a tramp.
"It seems that each year what we're seeing in the women's fashion luxury market there has been a migration from one category to the next," said Marshal Cohen, the chief retail analyst for the NPD Group, a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y. "A few years ago it was shoes. Last year it was jeans. This is the year of the handbag."
Handbag sales, which were $5.34 billion in 2003, were projected to climb 8 percent for 2004, the latest figure available from Accessories Magazine, a trade monthly. Women who bought bags last year spent on average only $40 to $65, according to NPD. Ultra-luxury designer bags - from $650 to about $15,000, which account for an estimated 5 percent of the market - are important because the designs invariably filter down, setting the trends for the mass market.
It goes on to say that women are compromising their rent, lunch, and other clothing in order to fit an expensive bag into their budget. I know a lot of drug addicts who do the same thing to get their "fix." I also think it's offensive that handbag companies are raising their prices for no other reason than that people will pay more.
I felt an "ouch" when reading, "They tend to sacrifice vacations, restaurant dinners and other designer fashion in favor of a luxury bag.
'They are the consumers who have something to prove,' she said."
I do like high quality: food, vacuum cleaners (got a $99 one that's as good as my mom's Dyson), clothes, bags, etc. On the other hand I think it's horrible that they increase prices just because they can. What's more disturbing is that I've been reading a lot and it seems like companies price in order to indicate quality and create a craze, even if the bag is made of vinyl and duct-tape. Now if it's made from buttery vachetta leather and has a nice lining etc, I understand that it's worth more than $100, especially if it's a larger bag. But where do they draw the line? When a bag is $3500 or even $2000 I wonder...Was this cow gilded? Did its' feet never touch the ground? Did it receive daily massages before it became a handbag? Will it actually hold up to the abuse us ladies in the city (trains, crowds, etc) can dish out? And better still, vacation to hawaii with my fiancee, or a buttery soft black Paddington? I love those bags, but i just can't understand how it got so insane. This is why I'm trying to explore some of the lesser known companies, and seek quality rather than just the "it" factor, otherwise I'll go broke and never go on vacation again!
This is why I'm trying to explore some of the lesser known companies, and seek quality rather than just the "it" factor, otherwise I'll go broke and never go on vacation again!
That is the absolute best thing to do! If I see a bag priced over $750, it better be diamond encrusted.
Handbags companies scramble to get their bags on starlets, so every time you buy an "It" bag, you're not only paying for the quality of the bag. You're also paying for the dozens of bags the company probably gave away to Lindsay Lohan.
I'm not going to pay for that, I'd much rather choose a bag for its design than its buzz. If you need to own the same bag as Jessica Simpson, and you're willing to sacrifice a well-rounded life to do that, you should probably re-evaluate your choices.
With that being said, I know there are some people who are fantastically wealthy and they are welcome to buy anything they want for however much they want to spend. I actually consider handbags to be pieces of art and if I had to the money to buy $2000 Vuitton and Diors, I would display them in my home like sculptures. But if you don't have that kind of money to waste and you are putting yourself into debt to buy a bag, I think that's irresponsible.
I don't get why people put themselves in debt over bags either. If I could afford to spend the kind of money I do on bags I wouldn't. It would SUCK a LOT! But thats life. I guess its their own personal choice too, but like chemlex said, not a responsible one.
I guess all people are different. My dad is a financial man and always stressed that we never spend more than we can- he is Mr. Anti-Debt. There is no debt in his name nor will there ever be. If you live pay check to pay check so you can afford the bag LiLo is carrying or just to have a bag with a name, then that is your perrogative.
But for me, I may be an impulse buyer, but that is still with much thought and figuring out. I don't ever want to not be able to travel the world just because I want a new bag. But it is always nice to get to travel the world and buy the bag I've been craving while doing so!
The large companies will price to make themselves seem better and more popular..the more it costs the "better" it is. or so they say.. When bags are that much you are paying for A LOT of advertising and expensive cocktail parties--oh and the runway shows...etc,etc,etc. You pay for the name. I think I would compare it to prices on gas--when times get tough they raise the price b/c they know people have to have it.I guess the fashion industry is doing the same..in a roundabout way.
Everyone has their line they won't cross in pursuit of a desired bag, as Issmom's earlier topic brought up. This Times article brings up the few people who actually throw caution to the wind, and go way past their comfort level. I've been laid off from my job twice this year, and I can't fathom actually buying bags I can't afford instead of paying my rent or buying food. But I guess there are people like that.
Luckily I'm not an impulsive shopper. I like to browse and then research and research some more. Waiting is actually good because that bag you had to have might just go on sale. Last fall I fell in love with a certain Pucci satchel that was way above my comfort level price. I looked at it online every now and then, and only 4 months later it went on sale for 60% off. Since I still wanted it, and could afford the sale price, I let myself get it. And it didn't hurt to spend the money :)
I just think it gets a bit much when people buy bags they simply can not afford- as in now they can't make rent. Have any of you done that?? I have been inclined to do so at times, but if I learned one thing from my dad it was that "credit follows you through life no matter what", and bad credit is a big no-no in my family!
I think that splurging once a year or so on something that's a little out of your range isn't that bad. Sure, you might have to bring your lunch to work more often or shop the sale racks for a while, but if it's something you really want, go for it. Now, putting yourself into major debt over handbags is a different story. You should pay that big purchase off ASAP. I'm sort of glad that I am getting a new car next month, because then I won't have the money to spend on bags. It will instead be going to the car, and I know I will have a budget to stick to. It gets tricky when you have extra money you should be saving or putting toward something else, and instead you spend it on bags.