“High society approved substitutes for the ‘monstrous’ Succession bag”
Bridget’s Burberry tote went down like a lead balloon among the Roy hangers-on (Picture: HBO/Getty)
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When you’re heading to a fancy engagement, you may be tempted to don your priciest designer gear in order to fit in.
However, as Succession has proven, there’s a lot more to appropriate dressing when you’re mixing with the upper echelons.
In the first episode of season four, which aired this week, cousin Greg brings a date to Logan’s birthday.
Bridget, the date in question, is immediately othered by the Roy entourage due to her accessory choice: a Burberry Vintage Check tote bag.
It’s certainly not a cheap piece, coming in at £1,850. But the price tag wasn’t enough to save Bridget from Tom and Kerry’s barbs, with the former telling Greg that everyone was ‘laughing up their sleeves about [his] date.’
The ‘enormous faux pas,’ he said, was the ‘ludicrously capacious bag,’ which he described as ‘monstrous’ and so ‘gargantuan you could take it camping.’
Tom told Greg in no uncertain terms that Bridget’s outfit was a ‘faux pas’ (Picture: Home Box Office)
Bridget was later ousted from the party for daring to ask Logan for a selfie, although the damage was arguably done as soon as she walked into the room purse-first. In fact, the intended display of wealth made her stand out among the super-rich party attendees.
‘The bag is like a neon sign saying $3K,’ Dr Julie Ripley, an academic from Falmouth University’s Fashion and Textiles Institute focusing on clothing and costume history and theory, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Burberry was much admired and very widely copied by working – and middle-class aspirants in the 1990s, to the point it became something of a laughing stock in the fashion industry and had to do some damage limitation to regain credibility as a luxury brand.’
She continues: ‘A big, ostentatiously. branded bag like that is a great example of what Thorstein Veblen, author of “The Theory of the Leisure Class” called conspicuous consumption.
‘The Roys don’t need to consume conspicuously to prove their status: everyone already knows they are billionaires, but their acolytes are social climbers who can see other social climbers a mile off.’
That doesn’t mean the members of the media dynasty wear the same items as us commoners; Kendall’s Tom Ford suede bomber jacket retails at over £5,000, while Shiv’s signature power suits are from the likes of Giorgio Armani, MaxMara, and Ralph Lauren.
Bridget’s mistake was choosing an overly large handbag in an instantly-recognisable print, which TV writer Camilla Blackett claimed, ‘told you that this person has no self awareness and no awareness of the world she’s inhabiting.’
While it’s probably best to surround yourself with people who won’t judge you based on your clothing, Dr Julie recommends steering clear of visible branding ‘if you want to suggest that you have taste and class.’
‘A better choice would be a small but slightly quirky one-off, like a vintage item or something handmade but unobtrusive,’ she adds.
Nia Davis, Fiorelli Design Manager, echoes the same sentiments, telling Metro.co.uk: ‘When attending a high society event, it’s important your handbag is more than just an accessory, it should offer elegance and add another dimension to your outfit.
‘Likewise, the bag shouldn’t take over, it should perfectly complement your look.’
A small grab bag or elegant clutch is versatile enough to take you from day to night, but the colour and texture of the accessory is an important consideration.
‘A classic black bag is sure to look stylish, but also think about introducing other colours with your accessories which could elevate your outfit, or perhaps use tones of the same colour for that added edge,’ Nia says.
‘If your outfit is fairly simple, a textured bag can really amplify the look, whereas you may want to choose a smoother material if you’re opting to wear patterns.’
In general, the advice is to keep it simple – and that applies whether you’re splurging on a designer piece or keeping to a budget.
In terms of designers, Loewe, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and Chloe are typically safe bets for logo-free styles – and you may be able to snag yourself a bargain on sites like eBay, Vinted and Vestiaire Collective (or at your local thrift shop if you’re really lucky).
British brands like Smythson, Strathberry, Aspinal of London and, yes, Burberry (albeit something less garish like the Small Elizabeth Bag) are also worth investing in if you want a quality, timeless product.
However, you can ensure your reputation remains untarnished with a high street option, just as long as you keep things simple, elegant, and understated.
Fashion is a way to express yourself without having to speak, and they say beautiful things don’t ask for attention. Keep that in mind when you’re dressing to impress influential people, and let your style whisper rather than shout.
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