Article about "it" bags changing lives

Megs

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Article reproduced from fashion magazine Her World, Sept 2005


How an It bag changed my life

If you are in deep need for some Venus envy, hang a beautiful new designer bag on your arms. It’s the fastest route to respect from women, as RUTH CHEW quickly finds out

You don’t need an Oxbridge degree, a million-dollar trust fund or a Nobel Peace Prize to earn the respect of women these days. Just head out to the shops and buy yourself a designer bag. Better yet, make it the It bag of the season.

Call me shallow but I’ve found it’s my shortcut to earning a few knowing looks of approval from women all around. After all, I don’t have an Ivy League education nor a fat bank account. I’ve made no scholarly breakthrough discoveries nor do I have success stories with a chain of food shops or online businesses to shout about. The respect I’ve earned lately is purely from my choice of bag.

I discovered this after I bought my first designer bag. A seasonal piece on sale over Christmas, it had a signature print from the brand’s Spring collection. Despite being a seasonal item, the bag’s famous shape and print caught the eye of every women whose nose I swung it under.

Getting the It bag is like scoring a coveted piece of jewellery or obtaining a limited edition Vertu mobile phone. Much like kids in the playground, when children get envious of one another’s special toys, having a bag in high demand is equivalent to getting your hands on the special edition 12-inch Star Wars collectible.

As someone without a fashion background, I am used to women ignoring me and my opinions on fashion. What does someone like me know about, say, the current Autumn/Winter voluminous skirt?, I can see them thinking.

But things changed after I bought the bag. Suddenly everyone wanted my opinion on the latest runway collections. Others volunteer information on new arrivals at the stores.

I don’t know what it is that elevated my status in their eyes – was it the beautiful leather accents on the bag which made me appear to be slightly put-together? Or was it the fact that the bag reeked of money spent (very foolishly, my husband would remind me sometimes) and that made me seem affluent, well-read and almost stylish?

Think of it like men and their cars. Say an average Joe acquires a new fast, powerful runner of a car like a sporty BMW or Ferrari. His friends would automatically look at him in a different light and even put him on a pedestal as someone with taste (and a lot of money to splurge).

Jennifer, my well-heeled friend, has noticed how often her limited-edition Lulu Guinness in violet has broken the ice for her, turning strangers who like labels into friends. She says: “Your bag is a reflection of your personal sense of style.”

My close friend Fiona got her first It bag recently. She tells me the looks she gets now from women in the office are different. “It’s as if I’ve found the cure for cancer or something. Everyone’s oohing and aaahing at it, and the female colleagues who never used to chat with me about clothes, bags and shoes, are now talking to me,” she shares. She’s reached handbag nirvana – where her quick fingers and a swipe of a credit card gained her secret entry to a circle of modish women.

Not who you know but…

Who’d have thought that, these days, it’s not what you’ve accomplished nor who you’ve become, but what you carry, that earns you respect. I always thought respect is earned with hard works, sound values or a successful career, but judging from my recent experience, it seems that admiration is easier to achieve just by carrying the right accessory. But hey, if the shoe fits, or in this case, if the bag does, why not?

Just how did things get this shallow, or worse, this easy? Basically, it seems that a good designer bag represents the finer things in life. Like wine connoisseurs who can tell, from a whiff of a cork, which region of France the wine comes from, someone carrying a designer bag looks as if they can tell the difference between mass market and quality.

To leave no room for doubt, all It-bag ladies advise that you bone up on everything you need to know about your accessory.

Understanding how many steps it takes to make the Chanel Ligne Cambon (last year’s bag du jour for Spring, by the way) is equivalent to getting a PhD in cardiology..well, almost.

My girlfriend Debbie, the proud owner of a few Louis Vuitton bags, explains in a litany: “Some brands like Hermes and Louis Vuitton only choose leather that is flawless. The animal skin doesn’t have a pimple scar or even a mosquito bite on it. Such quality bags are classic and last forever because of the intricate work that goes on behind the scenes. The woman who can appreciate this is most likely the one who has a certain air of style and fashion sense.”

Your research should go way beyond just reading what’s in the catalogue, she adds

“You must fully grasp the history of a fashion house or the inspiration of the design,” Debbie warns.

Oh, so now it goes beyond the brand, its history, the inspiration behind the design, the price tag and even how it’s made. What’s really the connection between all this deep reading and your bag’s cache?

Fiona has a theory to quell this confusion: “Think of your handbag as your country club membership. If you have the right one, then you’ve earned your place in a high-flyers club.”

Why hadn’t I thought of that? All it takes is a little research into the collections from Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo and all those other big names, pick and invest money in the right bag, and I would forever be held in esteem.

Staying alive

Or would I? How long does forever last in this fickle world of fashion? Unlike a scientific discovery, which you can make money from, handbags are a different kind of asset.

Just as each season comes and goes, so do It bags. Each It bag will have its day in the limelight before it gives way to the next It bag. Unlike the classics like Hermes’ Birkin or Kelly, Louis Vuitton’s Speedy and even the relaunched Chanel 2.55, which have maintained their cult status from the time they were introduced till today, most other It bags share only a short moment of glory.

Unless you buy a classic, you’re probably looking at six months’ worth of respect before the next It bag comes along to dethrone yours. And for the average girl-next-door, that’s like investing a month’s pay on an item that will not earn you an interest – financially, that is.

But I think of it differently; Say you buy a bag at $3,000. Spread that over six months and it’s an affordable $500 a month. If you can stretch it out for a year, it comes up to just $250 a month. Most women spend twice as much on spa visits and clothes to keep their image up to date.

Think about it. Instant respect. And my It bag earns me more respect than my HDB flat, without having to take out a 15-year loan for it. When you put it like that, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched an idea for an investment does it?

For now, I’ve got only the one designer handbag and have to spin it out for as long as I can. I am sober enough to realize that it’ll be another six months before I can afford the next one. So till then, I’ll be doing my research, by leafing through magazines, look books, window-shopping and putting money aside in my piggy bank. To steal a tagline from a famous ad, It bag: $3000. Respect: Priceless.
What do you all think about this? I know many of us have purchased "it" bags, but do you agree or disagree with what was said- can a bag change how people view you or is it just materialistic?
 

chemlex

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Sep 13, 2005
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I recently put something in my blog about the obsession over brands vs. just loving a bag for its design. I coined a phrase "b.randy" -meaning we've become randy for brands.

I would agree - I think is does earn attention and respect from certain kinds of women - like the salesgirls at Neiman Marcus, or other handbag lovers.

I think the effect a great bag can have, though, is mostly on the wearer's confidence level. If the "it bag" you are wearing makes you feel more stylish, powerful, beautiful - that added confidence is going to make a big difference in social setting, not the bag itself.

I do think the "it bag" status of certain designers is biting them in the ass - because of the cheap knockoffs of the classic Vuitton monogram and multicolor monogram are (IMHO) quite tacky, and 80% of the time they look fake and I feel sorry for the wearer, and (because I'm shallow) I lose respect for the person.

If I see a woman (or man) carrying a bag - and it's something I usually don't see but have always wanted (like an LV Epi, Bacher Emden, Valentino, Pucci) that's when I am the most impressed. Any woman can sit in her pajamas and go to eluxury.com and pick out the most expensive Vuitton or Dior she can get her hands on. I admire people who have more of a personal style than that.
 

kojiko

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Sep 13, 2005
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I have to some what agree.
But whatever makes you happy I guess...if it's collecting colored toothpicks (from wood, plastic, to golden ones) if that makes you happy then go for it. LOL

About the respect part...for me a woman can have the "it" bag of the year that costs around $50,000+/- but compared to a good education it doesn't even scratch the surface (for me). Education is very important. I would take a hard earned 10-year degree over a Hermes Birkin anytime. An "it" bag can lasts for months and a few (10+/-) years. But a degree, an education, is a foundation. Whatever happens in life you'll have something to fall back on.

I think it was pretty interesting though...
 
Sep 23, 2005
952
74
Australia
The author should take her head out of her oh-so-fashionable bag and get a life.


If you even have to wonder whether it's shallow, self-absorbed and materialistic to represent your entire self-worth via your handbag... the answer ie YES. And no, buying the right handbag is not in the same league as finding a cure for cancer. I have a few handbags that I saved for and adore; but in the big scheme of things they are just bags.


Why is she so coy about telling us exactly what bag transformed her little life? Probably people are looking at her now because she is so obviously & hilariously over-self-conscious about carrying it - she may give off a pathetic 'LOOK at MY expensive bag, mine, mine MINE!' aura.


And why on earth would you want fleeting admiring glances from the kind of bubble-headed women who won't even talk to you if your bag doesn't cost enough. It's like the awkward kid trying to buy 'respect' by flashing this expensive stuff - we weren't fooled back then either.
 

classwhore

purveyor of fun
Oct 1, 2005
383
4
NYC
MissFluffyCat said:
The author should take her head out of her oh-so-fashionable bag and get a life.
I realize your need to be self-important and condescending, but unfortunately even the most intelligent people fall victims to the one thing everyone craves: Acceptance.

Why would otherwise-normal women rush out and get breast implants and plastic surgery? It's because pretty girls get more attention than ugly ones. Whether they have lives or not.

Yes it's a sad commentary on our culture, but that's how things work. Expensive tastes also reflect success. You're successful if you can afford expensive things. Get it? That's how people see it.

If you were on a job interview, would you feel comfortable in a suit from JC Penney or would you rather a tailored Armani?

You're going to be judged on it, like it or not.

Don't be so quick to be so harsh. Your resentment only comes off as petty jealousy.
 

Megs

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I don't think a bag ever makes the person better than the next (a few gasps I am sure- since I love handbags). If a person carries themselves well, is confident, has proper ettiquette then they will be percieved as a confident and successful person.

Why is it that material goods can only buy success? To some success may be owning a Birkin, while to others success may be having a loving and caring family that is healthy. I grew up with the latter and those are still my values. Don't get me wrong... I YEARN for beautiful bags. But at the same time, I know what really matters in life.

Sometimes you can be wearing something that is not expensive, but pull it off beautifully because you are confident and look better than the person with the $3,000 suit :amuse:
 

Noriko

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I don't necessarily think of someone with a nice bag as a better or more successful person, I usually just think of them as someone with good taste. Who knows how they got the bag, they could be up to their eyeballs in debt, so I try not to make assumptions in that area.
 

chemlex

Member
Sep 13, 2005
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1
Well, besides not revealing the exact bag she purchased, the author of this article has some serious flaws in logic.

You don’t need an Oxbridge degree, a million-dollar trust fund or a Nobel Peace Prize to earn the respect of women these days.
Oxbridge Degree = Nobel Peace Prize =? Million Dollar Trust Fund
So does that mean Wangar Maathai is equal to Paris Hilton? I think not, and if this women thinks something you can store in closet is equivalent to winning a Nobel Prize, she needs help.

My close friend Fiona got her first It bag recently. She tells me the looks she gets now from women in the office are different. “It’s as if I’ve found the cure for cancer or something. Everyone’s oohing and aaahing at it, and the female colleagues who never used to chat with me about clothes, bags and shoes, are now talking to me,”
This is the saddest statement of them all. Because what the author is saying, is that if you buy a handbag, you can buy friends. I actually think this story was completely made up.

Suddenly everyone wanted my opinion on the latest runway collections. Others volunteer information on new arrivals at the stores.
Someone needs to tell this woman that the only reason people are asking her this is because they think she has the money to follow and purchase new fashions. Since she blew all her money on a bag, she'll be wearing her old stuff.

But I think of it differently; Say you buy a bag at $3,000. Spread that over six months and it’s an affordable $500 a month. If you can stretch it out for a year, it comes up to just $250 a month. Most women spend twice as much on spa visits and clothes to keep their image up to date.
Okay does that mean in order to fit your handbag into your budget you're going to stop buying clothes? Trust me when you wear a crappy pair of jeans with a $3000 bag, you look like a fool and people are going to think it's fake. In order to pull off a bag with that pricetag, you have to pay attention to your entire appearance, not just your bag.

To steal a tagline from a famous ad, It bag: $3000. Respect: Priceless.
This is where she gets it right, but it's only because she doesn't know what she's talking about. A handbag has a pricetag, you can go to a store and buy it. Respect is priceless and it is not equivalent to a handbag. If she doesn't know that, I'd hate to see her walking down the street swinging around her purse like it means something. I'd have to shake my head, point and laugh at her.
 

classwhore

purveyor of fun
Oct 1, 2005
383
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NYC
It really depends on whose 'respect' or admiration you're looking for.

Not to get political again, (ok yes I do,) but think about it: Does bush care about the intelligence level of the people who voted for him? No. He just wants as many people to vote for him as possible.

A vote is a vote.

Unfortunately, more than 1/2 the nation makes judgements about their politicians on whether they'd want to invite them to their barbeque or not. Kerry seemed stiff and impersonal, and bush jr. was more relaxed and genial (even though he's by all accounts a failure in all of his previous business ventures.) Now we're ALL paying for the poor judgement of half a nation.

It's the old saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover," and yet everyone is still guilty of it.
 

Zippy

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How very sad that ones' life is affected by those whos' opinions' are formed by the name on a purse. It is, unfortunately, the American way.
 

Megs

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mharvey816 said:
All I know is that I could never get the time of day from a Saks sales associate until I walked in carrying my Chanel bag. Feh.
Same with me sometimes! I specifically remember a time I went shopping down in Miami and my mom and dad had given me their CC with a $2,000 limit they said for a birthday present. I was so excited but not one soul would act like I existed bc I was young and I had a Coach bag and nothing better. It is sad! I remember being so upset and feeling shafted.

A few weeks ago when I was home my mom was carrying her Gucci Horsebit Hobo that I got her, and I had my Paddington, and the SA would not leave us alone. It was like they were swarming around us like a carcas. My mom just told me how sad and silly that is, which I truly agree. :weird:
 

chemlex

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Sep 13, 2005
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Megs said:
Same with me sometimes! I specifically remember a time I went shopping down in Miami and my mom and dad had given me their CC with a $2,000 limit they said for a birthday present. I was so excited but not one soul would act like I existed bc I was young and I had a Coach bag and nothing better. It is sad! I remember being so upset and feeling shafted.

A few weeks ago when I was home my mom was carrying her Gucci Horsebit Hobo that I got her, and I had my Paddington, and the SA would not leave us alone. It was like they were swarming around us like a carcas. My mom just told me how sad and silly that is, which I truly agree. :weird:
Isn't that a shame? I have been ignored in high-end stores, just because I didn't feel like getting dolled up to go shoe shopping. When this happens to me I always write a note to the company with the exact date and time that I recieved poor service. I usually end up getting an apology and gift certificate.

You really can't judge people by the apparel they already have - because someone who doesn't have a nice bag might be going into a store to get one. And everyone deserves respect, no matter if you don't think they fit it.

This why this article still bothers me, especially the anecdote about the woman at work being ignored by her coworkers until she bought a new bag. It's just a handbag - it's only function is to make you happy and look great. It might get you better service in a store, but it isn't going to make you a better person.
 

CCbagaholic

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Sep 28, 2005
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I don't know that the writer was totally correct, but on some levels I have to agree with her. I work hard to make a living, pay the rent, bills, and save for our retirement and vacations, not to mention that we're getting married in the spring. I can't spend $2000 on one bag, especially given that I like variety. I like my $400 Coach bag with it's nice quality and soft leather. No, it's not a Botkier, a paddington, a Bulga, and no the leather isn't quite as buttery soft as those bags, but I can't really afford those right now even though I think they are gorgeous. It doesn't mean that I don't have incredible taste or a sense of style, it just means I have other things to spend my money on right now. Those are incredible bags, and maybe my Coach bag isn't as spicy of a label, but it's not junk either. I admire those pricey bags for their lovely leather, etc, but I will not invest unless I know the that the style is a classic and the quality lasts. I do agree that you get what you pay for, and I love great quality, but to some degree with an "it" bag, you are paying for the label. I don't think you can judge someone's taste by what bag they carry, and frankly you can't even assume their budget, because as previously said, just b/c they're wearing their levis and moccasins from Target with a coach bag doesn't mean they can't afford a luella. Can you tell I had a bad experience with a SA this weekend? Stepping off soapbox sorry hehe