Conspicuous consumption, this research suggests, is not an unambiguous signal of personal affluence. It’s a sign of belonging to a relatively poor group. Visible luxury thus serves less to establish the owner’s positive status as affluent than to fend off the negative perception that the owner is poor. The richer a society or peer group, the less important visible spending becomes.I had a roommate in college who insisted on wearing shirts that had some corporate logo or another on it every day. She did everything in her power to hide the fact that she was raised white trash. Everything, that is, but get rid of the telltale rhinestone manicures.
Take the tan-on-brown standard Fendi bag that is a staple of every streetcorner knockoff purse stand. I can't imagine why anyone would buy those. Aside from the fact that they're hideous, they're the most obvious and recognizable fake purses ever. What's worse, who would buy a real one? If you were to spend however many hundreds of dollars on a purse, why choose the one that is the icon of cheap purses?