Gail's blog post today struck a chord with me. She wrote about the halo effect -- how we are influenced by how we perceive others. It brought me way back to when I was between 10 - 13 yrs old.
My music and ballet classes were held on Bloor Street in Toronto. I walked that stretch of Bloor between St. George and Yonge St for many years of my life.
Those who are familiar with those few blocks would know that is where some of the biggest names in fashion and jewellery are found -- Chanel, Max Mara, Holt Renfrew, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany, Hermes etc. etc.
I remember when my aunt was looking for a shop space for her business. She insisted on looking in Yorkville (same region) because that is where the "action" was. I also remember how she would covet the Louis Vuitton store and when she and my other aunt bought their first purse there, it was a big deal.
Personally, I still don't see what the big deal is. Even as a 10 yr old, I didn't understand what the appeal was. I really like their steamer trunks and luggage collection but I wouldn't spend the money to buy it, even now.
So I grew up thinking someday, I would also be shopping at those stores. After all, I've had many years of window shopping under my belt and I had aunts who were grooming me for the "good life".
I still remember the very first thing I bought at Holt Renfrew. It was a hair clip that cost $55. I remember being pretty giddy about it.
Then came the time when I was shopping for a Tag watch. And the time when I realized I owned 59 pairs of shoes from Town Shoes. And the first time I spent $600 on a coat. And the time when I bought a plane ticket for $2200.
Those days are long gone now. I moved myself out of Toronto deliberately so that I wouldn't be so swayed by status and wants. Not all thing expensive caught my eye then nor now.
The things I would still buy are worth it from a design or function perspective, not because they have a great name. Sadly, there are many poor quality things that have a big name attached to it.
In my senior high school economics class, I won a contest on "conspicuous consumption" by providing the most expensive item you could buy that wasn't jewellery, electronics, cars or houses.
What did I win with? A haute couture gown by Yves Saint Laurent found at Holt Renfrew. I believe the tag said something in the mid $20000.