Ask Jeanne


Dear Jeanne
Luxury can describe what we buy – a vacation, a silk scarf, a gorgeous bag – but it can also describe a routine – long baths, vacations, great books. What is luxury for you?



Dear Kelly:



Luxury certainly means different things to us at different times in our lives. I think back to when I was a girl, growing up in the ‘60s. In those days, my mom made most of my clothes for me. They were hip pieces, inspired by all the wonderful fashion glossies we used to read. These hand-made confections were a world away from the high-end designer fare we lusted over. But to me, each garment was ultimately luxurious because it was a bonafide original: My homemade wardrobe enabled me to have a clearly distinctive personal style voice. That, to me, was true luxury. But these days, as much as I adore all my luxurious material indulgences, when all is said and done, one of life’s biggest luxuries is simply time. With my busy career and hectic lifestyle, it’s the one thing I never get quite enough of. Whether it’s time to spend at my farm or lunch with my mom or shop with a friend or even just take a leisurely walk with my dog, I can always use more of it. And because time is an increasingly precious commodity for all of us these days, we really have to work harder to ensure that we don’t shortchange ourselves by eating up all our time with those obligations that don’t necessarily bring us personal pleasure.


Still, we are living in a very material world, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I often do luxuriate in some of the fabulous things I’m lucky enough to own—like my cool Audi convertible sports car, or some of my to-die-for shoes, or some of my great-fitting wardrobe pieces, or my fabulous new Louise Kennedy handbag, which I recently got on a trip to Dublin. Indeed, it’s those stylish accoutrements in my life that serve as touchstone reminders of how hard I’ve worked and how blessed I am to be privileged enough to afford such well-designed things. Perhaps that is key for me when it comes to material possessions: Design excellence really has become one of the ultimate luxuries in this day and age, when there’s so much sub-standard stuff coming at us so fast and furiously.


Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Luxury is the ease of a t-shirt in a very expensive dress.” That, too, resonates with me. Comfort is always taken to sumptuous new heights when it’s delivered in a well-thought-out, elegant package. It’s like my uber-high Louis Vuitton platform heels—I can wear them all day and night and feel perfectly comfortable. And that fact makes those shoes wildly luxurious to me. I also must confide that there’s another thing I consider a big luxury: sufficient closet space! Thankfully, I do have many closets in my home with lots of room for my treasured wardrobe stash. Call me territorial, but being able to lay claim to all those closets is certainly one of the precious few luxuries of living alone. Luckily though, it’s not a luxury I’m married to, and one that I would gladly forfeit if the right style mate came along.