Carolyne Van Den Hoogen's Summer 2017 Posts

Is Louis Vuitton For You? – By Carolyne Van Den Hoogen

Throughout history, material possessions are expressions of wealth and status. This was true hundreds of years ago and still strong today. Take a peek at my post from my visit to the Degas exhibition. More than one hundred years ago in Paris, hats separated the classes. Today, in Silicon Valley, there is a vast difference between the “haves” and the “have nots.” From hard working immigrants to tech executives blessed with ‘new money,’ many women have a common dream: Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton is for dreamers. But, is Louis Vuitton for you?

Is Louis Vuitton for you? It could be, but it’s important to understand why it might or might not be. Handbags are a serious investment and buying one deserves careful consideration.

There appears to be a thirst for Louis Vuitton bags. I notice that when I go to Facebook Marketplace. When I add my Bay Area location, hundreds of Louis Vuitton styles, both authentic and replicas, pop up. Why are people going extra lengths to create a replica? What does carrying a Louis Vuitton on your shoulder really mean?

Louis Vuitton signifies a certain status. The handbag is a way that women tell each other that they can afford a luxury handbag. There are different levels of Louis Vuitton, of course. The entry level bag costs $1,180 and one of the highest priced bags is $48,000. The average price of a typical LV bag hovers around $3000. Now, to some people in the tech valley, $3000 is just another check to write. To others, they dream, budget, and save up.

When a woman achieves the dream, she strut the streets in confidence. She shows up to Sunday morning brunch with the ladies, who discuss and marvel over the newly purchased dream. So what is the problem if it gives you confidence? None. I have another idea that might give you confidence: find something that represents you. Ask yourself, is Louis Vuitton for you?

Please don’t get me wrong, I appreciate many pieces at Louis Vuitton. All I am doing is observing the truth. I am studying current culture through the lens of fashion. Let’s be real here. A majority of people that purchase a Louis Vuitton don’t “fall in love” with the signature brown colors and patterns. We all know what is going through their heads at that time of purchase. My point is that the bag stands for something more than Louis Vuitton. Does that little something more mean that Louis Vuitton is meant for you?

A bag that represents you provides more confidence and a better appearance than a Louis Vuitton. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to look like a million bucks. An insignia splattered bag, such as Louis Vuitton, doesn’t have the same style value as a bag with more umph. The exception is that a Louis Vuitton bag could very well be the ideal bag that describes your personal style. Carrying a bag that represents your strengths and style is a far more valuable way to consider a particular bag. A $3,000 handbag, with LV plastered on it, is another status bag, unless its style messages match your own.

Is Louis Vuitton for you? Of all the people in this queue outside of a Louis Vuitton store, many will be looky-loos. But some will be big fans and followers of the brand. Does the look of the brand align with their own personal values and tastes? Maybe once they get inside they’ll find out.

When women glance at a woman in the Starbucks line wearing her LV bag, what are they dreaming of? Does she dream of the wealth and status associated with the bag, or, perhaps, of a better version of themselves? A person that can afford and wears a genuine Louis Vuitton bag symbols a well established woman. Dreamers are not necessarily dreaming of the status, but of the success and confidence that the woman carries. Keep in mind that the best possible version of yourself is not necessarily being an owner of a Louis Vuitton. It is in carrying yourself with great confidence and happiness that you become the best possible version of yourself. Do you need to represent LV by wearing their bag, or do you need a bag that represents you? To be aware of your own style and to be confident is of even greater value and status.

As an 18 year old young woman, I am aware of the interactions between women and statement bags. I once confessed my interest in a statement bag to my mother. She asked me, “Why would you want that? Why do you want a brown bag that has LV on it?” It turns out that my mother gravitates toward unique bags because she is creative. Whereas I, a traditionalist, want to buy into brands that have a rich heritage, that have been around for decades.

For me, the LV represents a grand history and the highest of quality. The iconic insignia of Louis Vuitton represents different ideas to different women. As a young woman entering college, I ask myself, do I want a statement bag for the right reason?  Is it my traditionalist nature or is it of a coveting nature? So I ask you, my fellow dreamers, is Louis Vuitton for you?

My role, as a personal brand and style strategist, is that of a storyteller. I learn about a person’s personality and strengths, translate that into an appropriate personal style aesthetic, and help each client to visually and non-verbally tell her or his story with ease and authenticity.