Oh Boy do looks matter in my music room! I love certain designs and some turn me right off. I never thought of it as a vanity issue until a few years ago, but it undoubtedly is. Hell, it may even be a Freudian issue!
There are lots of factors that go into making one a better player, and sure, sound and playability should be at the top of the list, but simply being excited at how it looks (to you) is right up there. I've seen those blue "A of L" guitars Marion, and even though the colour wouldn't do anything for me....if it excites you, BUY IT!
Obviously this way of choosing an instrument isn't for everyone, but lets relate it to some of our other endeavours..........like food, for example.
Some folks enjoy their dinner.....and others (I'm one) simply can't wait!! I LOVE exotic foods, from far away places. Heather would probably be quite content with meat and potatoes forever. If I dealt with my playing needs strictly on a practical basis, I'd probably own a Yamaha. They're cheap, and sound remarkably good.....but I simply HATE their pickguard, and little indentation in the head stock. It would really bother me, and I doubt if I would play as well.
When it comes to cars and clothes though, I couldn't care less. If I won a Corvette in the lottery, I'd just sell it and continue to drive my Ford Escort. Haven't owned a suit since I was forced to buy one 12 years ago (by Heather's sister) to get married in. Haven't warn it since. Jeans, sweatshirts and cowboy boots make up most of my wardrobe.
Mike's point about a D-45, being a '28 in a tux is spot on. I think it's a wonderful design. Now there are SOME folks who'll pay a 1000 bucks extra to get a superstar's SIGNATUTE on a guitar (Clapton's, Kottke's, Stills'). That has the opposite affect on me. I'd pass up a wonderful sounding instrument simply BECAUSE of that signature. It would truly drive me nuts.
I know one thing though, when you're really emotionally excited about your axe (as Jenny is now about her Larrivee) it's gotta make it fun to play...and when it's fun....ya gets BETTER!
Rick (who definitely has FUN playing)