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It's called “consumer impostor syndrome.” You’d think people would enjoy receiving or giving a beautiful piece of jewelry. Instead, Americans are embarrassed by luxury as they wrestle with privilege, class, and feeling unworthy to be in the presence of Gucci.

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Featured contributions

  • This is an important article by Sarah Todd. I say important because it tries to understand the driving force behind luxury acquisitions by people. Right from the days of the nobility, when it portrayed power and superiority to its present day definitions of class and wealth, luxury has had a difficult

    This is an important article by Sarah Todd. I say important because it tries to understand the driving force behind luxury acquisitions by people. Right from the days of the nobility, when it portrayed power and superiority to its present day definitions of class and wealth, luxury has had a difficult relationship with its owners and would be owners.

    We find it difficult to justify our spending, allure and need for luxury. This difficulty has different levels defined by different layers of luxury. It is easier to step up and justify a mid-market men’s suit but difficult when it comes to an Ermenegildo Zegna. The same holds true for the movement to Dorothy Perkins and then to a Hermes. Our social status, money, occupation etc doesn’t move as fluidly as luxury tiers and price brackets. What makes it more difficult is our differing definitions of special moments (poignantly captured in the article) and associated luxury. It is impossible to arrive at a standard definition and aspiration.

    Luxury continues to be aspirational. To reduce its complexity and untangle it with our lives, we need to start defining luxury as “who we are”.

More contributions

  • The study doesn't delve too much into how self-consciousness about socioeconomic privilege may inform people's feelings about wearing luxury goods, but I have to imagine that plays a role, too. Another question that occurred to me while writing this piece: Does luxury have a place in the fight against inequality?

  • This article’s study focused on a very small group of people. People who occasionally splurge or have been splurged upon shouldn’t feel guilty or pretend to feel guilty. I see a lot of people who seem to adore appearing privileged. If you don’t believe me, scroll through Instagram. I have a mix of both

    This article’s study focused on a very small group of people. People who occasionally splurge or have been splurged upon shouldn’t feel guilty or pretend to feel guilty. I see a lot of people who seem to adore appearing privileged. If you don’t believe me, scroll through Instagram. I have a mix of both high and low items and I feel nothing but awesome when I get to put on my Loro Piana scarf (bought at an outlet by yours truly). It was expensive but nobody else knows that because it doesn’t have the brand plastered all over it in a never-ending scroll. I’ve had it 8 years and counting and it’s still in perfect condition. That’s less than $1 per use. I’ve gone through a few scarves in between that were 1/5 the price and were made in Pakistan or China or Indonesia. I feel worse about those items because they add synthetic material to the water and because they were likely constructed by people not earning fair wages.

    If you don’t want to feel like an imposter stop wearing obviously branded items that advertise how much you spent. But be grateful when you receive a beautiful hand-me-down piece of jewelry and if you don’t want to wear it “as is” then get it remade into another item or wear it only on special occasions. My dad offered me a fancy watch when I graduated college. I said thank you and then asked that instead he help me buy a DSLR camera. Problem solved.

    I have a genuine reason to feel guilty when I throw away spoilt food from the fridge. That’s food i could have and should have eaten. I feel more (rightfully) guilty when I complain about how hard my life is (spoiler alert my life is cake compared to most of the world’s). I feel guilty when I buy things to try to prove my worth to myself and others. But I’ll never feel bad because I like beautiful things made from luxe material. Think about why you’re buying something. Is it to spoil yourself or is it to prove your status? That’s the true sniff test. Liking nice things is nothing to necessarily feel guilty about.

    Who’s the real imposter: someone who owns one designer bag and loves it to death or the Scrooge who wears a hoodie? Inauthentic authenticity is on the rise to once again prove status. Just be genuine, Hermès scarf or not.

  • The irony being that the luxury market is currently bigger than ever before at 1.2 Trillion Dollars with shoes and jewellery at the top of the list. This study is valuable to the zeitgeist however the elite account for only a fraction of the population and have not lost their thirst for luxury. The gap widens.

  • "Luxury" was trendy (look at all those LV bags out there). Now not so much. It's like any other trend - worn out. It's the difference between splurging on something you really like vs spending too much to fit in when you can't really afford the lifestyle, or you don't want it in the first place. So yeah

    "Luxury" was trendy (look at all those LV bags out there). Now not so much. It's like any other trend - worn out. It's the difference between splurging on something you really like vs spending too much to fit in when you can't really afford the lifestyle, or you don't want it in the first place. So yeah, for some wearing something that cost the equivalent of a month's rent might at the very least be regrettable on a few levels. If one wants to look back and call it "embarrassment", that's fine, but when it comes to trendy things, most people are inauthentic. It's the nature of trendiness vs trendsetter. Trendsetters and influencers aren't the same thing. Authenticity has never been part of the equation.