Tuesday, November 29, 2011

stealth opulence: how the upper class recognize each other

There's a false assumption in The rise of quiet luxury: Understated chic that is very, very expensive. - Slate Magazine: " In a last-ditch attempt to escape the guillotine, the top 1 percent are resorting to ever more devious tactics. First and foremost, they have adopted a bizarrely nondescript way of dressing: It’s spare simplicity with foncy labels; it’s a white gold Rolex that resembles a plain old tin Timex; it’s L.L.Bean-style basics with haute-couture prices. Simply put: The 1 percent are occupying Hermès (the luxury retailer most synonymous with understated extravagance)."

Stealth opulence is old in the US. The upper class have long been trained to instantly see the difference between Brooks Brothers and Sears. I read a YA novel (title forgotten, alas) in which a poor kid was taught how to pass among the rich: don't spend your money on a lot of slightly expensive clothes: use it to buy instead one very expensive thing, a watch or a belt or shoes that say, "I'm one of you; the rest of my clothes are just slumming."