You all remember that scene in the first Sex and the City movie when Carrie buys her personal assistant, Louise, her very own Louis Vuitton bag as a send-off present? And Louise was happier than a pig in shit because she finally owned her “very own Louis Vuitton bag;” up until that point she had been renting a new bag every month from something like BagBorroworSteal.com. It’s ostensibly a feel-good moment now that Louise doesn’t have to rent her handbags anymore but I’d like to argue that Carrie has actually done an injustice to her Saint Louise, relegating her to a one-bag-woman, and who, I ask, would ever want to be that?
The beauty of renting a new bag every month is analogous to leasing a car. Minimal upkeep, you can keep trading up for the latest model, and you don’t have to worry about getting rid of it when the creative directors are suddenly switched on you and nobody loves Gucci anymore (my current plight). Thankfully, my shares in Gucci are up. Unfortunately, the pieces I own are from the dark ages of Frida Giannini. And this is precisely why I might never buy a handbag ever again. It’s too risky in the long run.
If you calculate the cost of one bag, one really really good bag, you’re looking at about $4,000. DA FUK. And all you get for it are repeat outfits. Sure, everyone will be oh-so-excited for you when you first whip out your new Chanel boy bag but after an entire year of it, and if you’re a fashion blogger, this will get you one season of wear, people will start to think you pathetic. Don’t call me shallow – I don’t make the rules! I’m just telling you that’s what will people will think. You may say you don’t care now, but after a few years of the same bag, you, too, might get bored.
And then oh, all the new ones coming out that you can’t afford because it takes a really long time to earn $4,000 in disposable income in one shot and you still don’t have a dining room table…
Instead, take that $4K and spread it out over a few months – a year, even. The average cost of renting a bitchin’ bag is about $300/month. So with your initial investment you can effectively wear a new bag every month for 13 months. And that’s if you want to go big. You can certainly cut it down to half that number and skip a month in between. It is much easier to set aside a few hundred bucks every month than it is a few thousand in one afternoon of shopping on Bloor St.
But for heaven’s sake – do buy the designer shoes. If bags are like cars, then designer shoes are like owning a yacht. Sure, you’ll have to hose them down after every wear and they will depreciate in value, but nothing, and I mean nothing, can replace the feeling of walking into a room – or pulling up to the dock – in a killer pair of shoes.
My new philosophy? Rent the bag, buy the shoes.