It's such a dilemma: You want to acquire several new designer handbags, but in the current economic climate, will it be seen as tacky, insensitive wealth flaunting? As marketing strategist James Chung tells Forbes: "We're way beyond the days of conspicuous consumption," which means it's more essential than ever to know the brands to buy so it doesn't seem like you're showing off.
So forget the Gucci Gs and Chanel double Cs in favor of, say, Bottega Veneta's braided bags (which, as anyone who matters knows, cost thousands, darling), or one of Proenza Schouler's new purses (as seen on Mary-Kate). Or, if you really want to go the whole nine yards, the Wall Street Journal suggests: "It's worth boasting these days about buying faux-leather Anya Hindmarch for Target handbags for $30—rather than the $500 versions at Ms. Hindmarch's boutiques."
Who could have predicted that the simple pleasure of shopping for overpriced leather goods would become so taboo? But according to a sales clerk at a Michael Kors store: "There's an umbrella of guilt over everyone." Especially since years of reckless spending means that many people already have plenty of barely-used stuff. So expect the thoroughly-depressing phrase "I'm going shopping in my closet" to be a staple of '09—and try to conceal your pity when you see a previous-season purse on someone's arm!