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Culture / Society

The true meaning of luxury during the festive season

By Fiona Embleton

Photo: Getty

When Fiona Embleton’s mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer at Christmas, it changed her perspective on what the definition of luxury really was

A Chanel bracelet to mark my 30th birthday. A pair of Isabel Marant boots to ensure I sashayed with confidence into my role as senior beauty editor at my old job. So many milestones have been etched on to my memory with a luxury purchase.


It’s not about a sense of status or wealth; I’m not ashamed to say that I saved for months to buy them. But like the shapeshifting powers of a comic-book superhero, these purchases were part social armour and part glossy coat... ones that took me from someone who wobbles in self-doubt to someone who feels they can do just about anything. It’s an idea, interestingly enough, backed up by a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, which found that if you feel strong positive associations with a piece of clothing, it can affect your
cognitive processes.