My feeling is, designer prices are rarely justified by the absolute value of the design, materials and workmanship. But, then, what is "absolute value?" After all, the other side of the argument is that designers are justified in charging whatever people are willing to pay, especially considering that we're talking about luxury items. (Yes, clothing is a necessity. A Kiton cashmere suit is not.) Personally, I buy almost all my clothing and accessories at sales, outlets, consignment shops, and so on. I won't pay "designer prices" just for the temporary privilege of having an exclusive item during the season in which it was produced. If it's worth all that money, then the item should be good for years, not months, and thus there's no downside for me in wearing something that isn't "of the moment." (If an item is "over" by the time it drops to a "reasonable" price, that's a good argument that it was never worth the money in the first place. I'm more interested in exploring my personal style than in following trends, anyway.) Even given that, I'm willing to spend more money on a classic item that's built to last than a relatively trendy item that may or may not fall apart before the trend is over. Speaking specifically to Joe's comments about Prada, I have found that some Prada items are constructed quite well, and of quality materials, just as others are decidedly not, and that some Prada designs are classics while others say "fashion victim" the day they debut on the catwalk, let alone one year later. I can get my kicks out of even the "disposable" Prada items sometimes, but I can assure you that I only pay disposable prices for them. It is nonetheless as galling to me as I think it is to Joe that a label should charge such astronomical prices when they do not consistently produce products of high quality, regardless of what you think of the current season's designs. Likewise, it is indeed painful to see a high-quality product line bought out and cheapened (while retaining the same high price point)"”a complaint that does not apply only to clothing and luxury goods. If you're going to spend the money on any single part of your wardrobe, make it your shoes. They have a direct impact on your physical health, they endure the most stress, and, as status/style items, they make a statement about you that is at once more subtle and more profound than virtually anything else you wear. A modestly dressed man with great shoes is like a so-so band with a great drummer; you're still going to rock. In both cases, the inverse relationship will simply suck.