Tag Archives: Designers

Check your labels and your ego at the door

3 Apr

I went to a public high school in a small, middle class town. My high school wasn’t like the movie Mean Girls, or at least I wasn’t aware of any similarities. We rode our bikes down on the waterfront, teased the actors playing Pilgrims and had more ice cream shops to choose from than most kids have underwear.  I got my jeans at Macy’s and a splurge was an annual trip to Abercrombie where I was allowed to get one item. That place was expensive! I don’t ever remember feeling like I was missing something by not wearing designer jeans or carrying name brand bags. In fact, I don’t remember any one in school having these things, although I am sure they were around.

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America’s Hometown

When I got to college I was introduced to the world of designer brands- and still I didn’t really care. I did covet one Coach bag- probably just to say I had a Coach bag, even though I had never before heard of or cared about the brand. Typical girl being introduced to the finer things, right? That Christmas, I put it on my list and was overjoyed to find the bag underneath the tree. My mom had outdone herself, especially as she had never been big on brands herself.

I went back to college and proudly wore my new bag over my shoulder like the trophy I considered it to be. When I met my friends at the bar, one of them snatched the bag, opened it up and looked at the label. “This is a knock-off!” she gleefully informed me in front of the table of girls with the tone of someone who knows better than anyone else. I insisted this was not the case. I was determined not to ruin my pride or the reputation of my mom’s generous gift.  I later tearfully called my mom. She told me she had bought it at a purse party. Neither of us knew the difference. Once my shock from being publicly shamed waned, it became a joke between my mom and I. We decided we didn’t want to be lumped in with the judgers anyways.

I ended up giving the bag to my sister who didn’t care either way about the brand. I just couldn’t imagine being called out like that again in front of a table of judging girls.

Now I know that the girl shouldn’t have been judging me for my knockoff. I should have been judging her for posing as a friend, when she was someone who thrived on other’s shame. I should have continued rocking that bag with pride.

Oh Coach, I’ve since outgrown you, but you’ll always be special as my introduction to designer bags and a dwindling bank account. I’m a grown up now and I always check the labels. Target anyone?

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