I stumbled onto the Hermes Web site and discovered this little bargain – a 100-percent cotton Hermes t-shirt for $345. What differentiates this t-shirt from the three-pack of t-shirts one can purchase at Target for $10 – aside from $335, and two fewer shirts – is the Hermes label and the “H” embroidered on the pocket.
In the spirit of this blog’s celebration of extravagant attitude and style, my initial reaction is to marvel at Hermes’ audacity and say, “Rock on!” If you can afford to spend $345 on a t-shirt without qualms, I salute you and your decadence.
Yet while I am generally a proponent for paying extra for quality, style, fit, comfort, and even frivolity and the perverse pleasure of sheer excess, paying $345 for a plain white t-shirt seems unnecessarily frivolous and perversely excessive. In fact, it seems downright idiotic.
I’m sure the salesperson at Hermes will explain that for $345, I am not only buying a white t-shirt, but I am buying a lifestyle, a prestigious name, and all that it personifies. I imagine the salesperson might even point out the t-shirt’s extraordinarily high thread count. I also imagine that as I gingerly run the t-shirt’s soft fabric lovingly across my cheeks, I will think, “High thread count? Hell, it better be so high that this t-shirt’s bulletproof!”
Ultimately, perhaps it’s Hermes’ equestrian and aristocratic preppy fashion sense, the stodgy lifestyle it represents, and its utter lack of any sort of edge that make it so unappealing. The over-priced vanilla white t-shirt is simply emblematic of that.