Wanna hear a funny story?
When I was about 14, my sister, Katelyn, and I boarded a plan to JFK to visit my oldest sister who had just moved to Manhattan. It was summertime, we had two weeks of summer break to spend with Brooke in her new city, and a long list of pivotal tourist attractions to see. One of those must-see attractions was Canal St. where I planned to buy a quilted Chanel shoulder bag. Mind you, I was 14 and my wardrobe mostly consisted of Abercrombie and Fitch jeans and tees.
That week, I DRAGGED my sisters into the land of knock-offs much to their disgust. With two less-than-enthusiastic sisters in tow, I quickly bought the Chanel knock-off bag I had been eyeing and then splurged on small Louis Vuitton shoulder bag in addition! All in all, I probably spent $60, but I had immediate buyer’s remorse. As we made our way back to the Upper West Side and retreated to Brooke’s air conditioned apartment, the remorse became overwhelming: “Why did I buy this? I don’t even like this!” I whimpered as I examined the clearly faux Louis Vuitton bag in front of me (as far as I remember, I was still smitten with the Chanel bag).
Needless to say, my older sisters gave me told-ya-so looks as I complained that I had spend too much money on something I didn’t even like. Being the great sisters that they are, Brooke and Kate made light of the situation and we all laughed and blamed my indiscretion on the summer heat. To this day, the story of the knock-off Louis Vuitton bag meltdown is brought up at long-family dinners and holiday gatherings.
Since then, I am proud to say that my style has become more refined and I do not own any knock-off items (ahh, maturity). Now, I find the hunt for affordable luxuries riveting and I have built my wardrobe and accessory collection from vintage treasures and thrift store finds.
So here is where this story gets good. Recently, I browsed the Long Beach Flea Market with my girlfriends. As we strolled up the aisles, we passed a vintage Louis Vuitton bucket bag for $125. It was in good condition, authentic, but had clearly been well-loved by its previous owner—but I happen to love the worn in look of leather, when the oils release and the straps darken. My dear friend Jessie watched me try on the bag a handful of times and ensured me that the bag was a classic accessory that I would use for years to come.
I walked out of the flea market with the bag for $50 (not joking!) and I didn’t feel an ounce of buyer’s remorse. Now, as a young woman with a wardrobe that doesn’t consist of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans and Hollister tees, the bag compliments my style. It’s a classic, vintage treasure.