Status Items

At some point in our lives -- certainly  during high school, we've all bequeathed considerable status to certain items of clothing. Having attended private school with a harsh dress code, my classmates and I were all jealous of other teens in jeans and untucked shirts. My school put a ban on logoed appeal as well once they saw the frenzied ranking system "Abercrombie & Fitch" launched in the students.
Victorian mourning clothing didn't just symbolize mourning.
You had to be at a certain level financially to eve afford all of it.

On a broader scale, we used to associate pale skin with people who were privileged enough to not have to work in the fields. Decades after factories moved most heavy labor indoors, we began to value tan skin because it meant you could afford vacation. It bags and designer labels speak bluntly about your bank account. And just think about the hubub over women wearing pants or commoners wearing purple.

Applying symbolic status to clothing has happened so much throughout history, that it's even seeped into our language. The terms white collar and blue collar were born of status. A man with a white collar job did not get sweaty or dirty, thus he could afford to wear a white collar. A man who grew sweaty and dirty at his job would save money on laundry and clothing by wearing a blue collar.

Last week, I started thinking about clothing and status when I got a promotion at work. (Yay!) Of my many thoughts regarding this happy turn of events, I thought gleefully that I can once again wear white and can wear my wool blazers in the fall. In celebration, I am also buying myself a status symbol at my workplace: open-toed shoes.

What are some status items from your closet, past, present or future?


Anonymous said…
"Last week, I started thinking about clothing and status when I got a promotion at work."

You deserve it! Congratulations, I'm very happy for you.
Rachel said…
I remember in middle school everyone was wearing A&F... so of course I had to go get a couple logo shirts myself. Thinking back, they were baggy and unattractive, but they had THE LOGO.

Even now, when shopping at thrift stores or TJMaxx, I sometimes find myself considering an item because it's a fancy designer label even if it's not something I would normally pick out. And that's just silly.
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