Kudos to my daughter, Celeste, for defending $350 sunglasses in a comment to my post about her company, Barton Perreira, being mentioned in a New York Times story as being "a brand coveted by aficionados."
Another commenter gave me grief for talking about such apparent excess so favorably. Heck, I want some Barton Perreiras. What are my chances of getting a free pair from Celeste if I talk them down?
[Note: actually they can cost quite a bit more than $350.]
Anyway, I agree with what my brilliant, insightful, well spoken child (a chip off of the genetic block, for sure) said:
Interesting comment about it being unethical to spend $350 on sunglasses. Being in the luxury market, I actually think we are more ethical than all those cheap stores that sell $10 sunglasses that you have to throw away or don't feel bad about losing.
The whole point to more expensive clothes, accessories etc. is that they are made to last and the buyer will keep the sunglasses for many years instead of our toss-away mentality in the US. I personally buy one nice handbag, one nice pair of sunglasses, one nice pair of shoes maybe every year or two and keep them until I wear them out.
So who is more ethical, the person who buys tons of cheap crap and throws it away or the person who buys one "expensive" item and cherishes it for years?
Right on, Celeste. Once I get my pair of Barton Perreiras I'll cherish them forever. Or at least until I see some sunglasses that I want even more.
But seriously…you're right. I just dug through my closet and found a shirt that I bought at the Neiman-Marcus in Dallas when you worked for them right out of college.
I remember, when I visited you, that I felt I had to buy something in the men's department, even though all of the clothes seemed ridiculously expensive. If I recall correctly, the shirt cost $50 – big bucks in 1993, or whenever it was.
It's a Bugatchi Uomo. Black, with cool hidden buttons. I don't quite look like the guy on their web site when I wear it, but I definitely feel more stylish and…I don't know what to call it…quality – as in the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sense.
Or, maybe not. There's really no need to reach for philosophy to explain why something expensive often feels so good. Like Celeste said, there's a difference between crap and quality. That's about all there is to it.
Lastly, concerning the notion that it's unethical to spend money to sustain a lifestyle above that of the poorest of the Earth's poor: unless you're walking the walk, don't talk the talk.
If you're really doing that, what are you doing on a computer, commenting on my blog post?