You're So Fancy

Conspicuous consumption rides a wave of public popularity and continually reinvents itself — but it never goes away. One year it may be driven by visible logos and labels, another it may focus on elite objects whose value only the socially initiated will recognize. But any way you slice it, it’s still about status.

Two of the latest entries in the conspicuous consumption game are real doozies:

How much is a paperclip worth? What’s its value? What makes it desirable? It’s not inherent in the object, but subjectively applied by the culture. And it goes beyond supply and demand or even beauty. This paper clip money clip is Prada branded, which elevates it beyond function and makes it a status symbol.

Maybe paperclips aren't your thing. Want to always look like you just shopped at Balenciaga? Drop a cool $1,100 on their leather shopping bag and give off that fresh-from-Fifth-Avenue vibe no matter where you are.

No one is exempt from the status game — we're always exchanging visual signs and symbols. The goal isn't to opt out (that's impossible). But to choose wisely.

What’s the most absurd status symbol you’ve seen? Tell me in the comments and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more realtime cultural analysis.

Yours,

Anna

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