If you've ever survived for months on $1 pizza slices just to afford the bag of your dreams — one with a lining almost as gorgeous as its exterior, that's immediately recognizable as more costly than your rent even without glaring logos — you've already drank the fashion Kool-Aid. Sweet, isn't it?
Some sip occasionally, only indulging in those few key luxury items with a level of quality (and, okay, a reputation) that is widely respected. Some label-obsessed others may consider the sticky stuff their life source. For this operation, we turned the tables on the non-believers, the group that says "no thank you very much" when faced with splurges of the big-ticket and name-brand variety. In an effort to find out if the dreamy touch of a leather handbag, the popularity of a pricey basic, and a dress with Kate Middleton's stamp of approval are worth the hype.