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Can’t afford a luxury bag? Then rent one

Rent a bag even if it’s just for the Instagram posts. Picture: Pexels

Rent a bag even if it’s just for the Instagram posts. Picture: Pexels

Published May 21, 2022


We’ve heard the expression, “it’s in the bag”, which generally refers to success.

However, for some women “it’s in the (luxury) bag”, and that means something a little different.

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Owning a high-end luxury bag is a symbol of success. The quilted Chanel casually hanging over her shoulder tells the world: “I’ve made it!”

A woman walking into a room with a Birkin on her arm is like a man pulling up at a venue in a Bentley.

What’s “in the bag” really doesn't matter as much as the bag itself.

While some women can afford to spend R50k on a Louis Vuitton Monogram Alma or R30k on an icon Bottega Veneta Jodie Mini tote, others will either have to spend a year paying off a huge credit card bill to own one of them or settle for a really good fake one.

Iconic Louis Vuitton Monogram bags. Picture: Pexels

We all know that there are many “genuine” knock-offs out there and if you don’t know a genuine Gucci from a fake one, it’s best you spare yourself the embarrassment of being outed.

Posting an image of the exquisitely plated meal you enjoyed at a Michelin star restaurant with your faux Dior bag strategically placed beside it, will make you the centre of petty gossip of the people you are trying to impress.

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No matter how much you spend on your hair and nails or your outfit, all eyes will be on the bag.

Owning a luxury bag has become such a big deal these days that women are opting to rent genuine ones in an attempt to keep up appearances.

Even if it’s for a night, a special occasion perhaps, or for a weekend of wining and dining and filling your Instagram feed with uber-stylish posts that will not make you the laughing stock of the “in” crowd.

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Doing it for Instagram. Picture: Pexels

Recently, a Twitter post by @maryjaneexplore went viral and caused a stir as it opened a can of not-so-stylish worms.

The tweet, “This must be hell”, showed screen shots of the rental prices of a Louis Vuitton Monogram bag. Prices ranged from R500 for a day to R1 000 weekly.

The response to the post has been overwhelming, with many outraged by the extent women would go to while others understood the need for the service.

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“If attending events and you want to wear something nice but you know outside of said event you are barely going to use the item, it only makes logical sense to rent. I mean, guys can rent fine suits and shoes but designer handbags is crossing the line?” was @pIodis_I7’s response.

Rent one even for just a day. Picture: Unsplash

Her response makes sense. Brides rent wedding dresses and matriculants rent their matric ball dresses all the time. Men rent luxury cars just for show and no one bats an eyelid.

Another Twitter user commented, “Luxury items are especially usually an emotional transaction whether it's creating wealth or not… there doesn't have to be any "logical" reasoning”.

He continues by quoting Augustus William Hare: “The feeling is often the deeper truth, the opinion the more superficial one.”

When your favourite celebrity steps onto the red carpet dripping in Cartier diamonds, many don’t realise that the precious stones are on loan – to be returned promptly – and there are probably a few bodyguards close by to protect the jewels rather than the celebrity.

While many A-listers could probably afford the luxury items, brands use them to display their goods, in the same way brands use influencers.

Followers who scroll through influencers' Insta pages, they envy the glamorous outfits they wear to exclusive events not knowing that they have been paid to attend the event and most of them are dressed by designers and, in fact, have to return the garments the next day.

The essentially means that people are trying to live up to an illusion of luxury, of wealth.

Besides, owning a luxury brand doesn’t automatically means you have good taste and style.

As the fashion icon Iris Apfel says, “No amount of money can buy you style.”

However, there’s no denying that wearing a luxury item, whether you own it or renting it, can make you feel like a million bucks.

Don’t forget that even Cinderella had until only midnight to look and feel like a princess.

This article first appeared in Saturday Insider, May 21, 2022