Running out of luxury

Matthew Steeples bemoans the overuse of the word “luxury”


You can’t get away from it: “Luxury” is everywhere. Be it a luxury goods brand, a luxury hotel or a luxury loo roll, everyone’s at it.


The word "luxury" has lost its way
The word “luxury” has lost its way


Luxury used to mean “a treat” or something “lavish”. It was the preserve of the affluent and associated with quality. Now it’s applied to just about anything. You can’t open a magazine without hearing about it and our screens are peppered with it. Estate agents, well known for their misuse of the English language, fill their brochures with it and “mass luxury” is just about as common as the Emperor’s New Clothes.


Luxury has indeed lost its meaning. It now represents more of an overinflated promise than an accurate description. It should be used more sparingly. Let’s cut it from our vocabulary.

  1. just came from Hong Kong , where the locals are used to queuing patiently outside , Hermes , Gucci Prada. Not because of “sales” (Hermes doesn’t do sales) . No this is a daily occurrence . I think Coco Chanel must be turning in her grave.

  2. Also looking at things globally…. one man’s luxury is another man’s surplus. Furthermore – this covers weather, food, oil/fuel, land, water etc.
    So – it’s very difficult to give a clear definition of luxury without looking at the context!

  3. Different strokes for different folks. The individual’s concept of what is perceived as luxury are influenced by factors such as culture, enviroment and financial means. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
    The indulgence and enjoyment of wealth and comfort including a sumptuous lifestyle of caviar and other culinary frills are exclusively for the privileged such as the sometimes intoxicated pretentious Ecclestone sisters.
    Retail outlets such as Primark, Matalan, TK Maxx and my personal tailor “George” of Asda sell fashion at affordable discount prices. Good value for money. Who needs Gucci? Money is better in my pocket.

  4. Post makes an excellent point. “Luxury” in todays terms is pushed and over used. Luxury is coined so much by the way of the brand and not the product. Luxury is becoming more of a sartorial elysium then the defining of excellence. “Luxury is dead yet long live Luxury!” via Paris Hilton

  5. depends on what people consider “luxury” – material things? or things like extra time? When it comes to material things I can see it used and abused every day. Must have this and must have that, commercials for designer clothes or upscale cars. I think with all the media surrounding us we are (made) more aware of luxury

  6. It’s funny how quickly you can break away from it. I lived in Egypt for a while, and came back with a whole different perspective.

  7. I think it is often over-used. On the other hand, it’s often about selling goods and services which people aspire to owning or using. When spending my own money, I’m perfectly happy to buy (and wear) a t-shirt from Tesco. If someone offers me something luxurious for free I’m perfectly happy with that too. The difficulty is when people who can’t afford luxury get into debt to pay for it. Perhaps it’s a self-esteem thing or keeping up with the Joneses. Aspiring to better things isn’t wrong in itself, but one needs to be aware when the quality really is better or if you’re just paying more for an expensive label.

  8. 1. Something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity. 2.Wealth as evidenced by sumptuous living.
    Now over used and flaunted to try to attract people to purchase, cheapened in the true meaning of the original word. Braggart talk!

  9. ‘Luxury’ is overused. But it depends what you currently have that defines ‘luxury’. For instance I watch I’m a celebrity get me out of here every year, and all the celebrities after a few days start to appreciate that they are happy in a jungle with no worldly goods, just food, shelter, somewhere to sleep and people around them – probably more happy and content than ever before. They then realise that even if they receive their favourite item of food or comfort that this is a luxury to them in that situation, even if it is just a chocolate biscuit! Luxury is relative.

  10. by far overused. especially in things of minor quality with objectie to sell them for a higher amount of cash. in addition luxury depends on the angle of est: it is variable. for some poor people a warm meal might be luxury while for wealthy people a lamborgini might be luxury

  11. Luxury is relative. Extravagance and comfort to one person or culture are different to others. I think, if anything, we should be aware that the idea of luxury is extremely. I’m pretty sure that the toilet in my bathroom is considered a luxury to some third-world countries. I may find this odd or even disturbing, but it doesn’t mean that the people in the third-world country are incorrect for thinking that it’s a luxury. To them, it beats a hole in the ground.

  12. Maybe but the definition of luxury has changed as lifestyles have improved for example – running water into the house was once a luxury now in most parts of the world it is not a luxury – yet really it is, but is no longer considered as one

  13. Don’t think it’s used much more than in the past but the term itself has lost some sparkle.
    What is the quote, that philosophy is the luxury of a full stomach?
    Well today, for many, offer them “luxury” and they will react with “I need mortgage money, food money, etc.” first. And since the uber rich and greedy got us into this mighty mess, being “that person” just isn’t as appealing as it used to be, IMO.

  14. This luxury can no longer be enjoyed by the middle classes… since they are getting phased out over time and will be an extinct species. Only the rich and poor need remain. :

  15. Brands such as Poundland, Poundstretcher and the 99Pence Stores are exclusively targeting the new middle classes as their clientele. Iceland and Wilkinsons are becoming a luxury.


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