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Branded Clothes As A Status Symbol Essay

A status symbol denotes the social position one holds in society. It can also be regarded as an indication of the economic capability of a person. In the past, there was a great disparity in what was regarded as a status symbol in different societies. However, today, luxury goods are in most cases regarded as status symbols.

The well-off in society are distinguished from the common folk by the ownership of big houses, latest car models or expensive clothes. This is an explanation to why most affluent people reside in penthouses, villas, condos or lavishly constructed and furnished mansions.

The wealthy attach a lot of importance to their public appearance. In most cases, this means wearing expensive clothes. The immense popularity of Italian and French designer clothes worldwide is, thus, a result of this trend.

However, perhaps the most revered status symbol today is a luxury car. This is because unlike clothes, which can be bought for cheap and still look presentable, or houses, which are stationary and thus cannot be flaunted, cars are status symbols that cannot be substituted for cheap knock-offs and are also mobile. Additionally, even laymen are familiar with the most expensive car brands. Moreover, it does not take one to be technology-savvy to notice the latest car models on the road.

Two opinionated writers give us their points of view on whether brands really matter.

Brand Name Buyer

By Shari Eisen

Tired of being told that brand name clothing just isn’t worth the price, and that by wearing them you’re being superficial? Well, buying brand names go beyond what the critics say.

If I walk into a store and see a plain t-shirt for $20 and a popular brand I recognize on sale for $25, I’m far more likely to buy the brand because I know that I’m buying a good quality product from a reliable company. After all, high-end companies will ensure superior quality in order to uphold their reputations. And if I get great shirts from a particular brand name, I also expect other products by the same brand to be well made. However, I’m not sure what I’m getting with no-name labels.

Generally, the first impression that someone has of you is focused on the image that you choose to project. For instance, if you don’t take care of your appearance, others may think that you’re disorganized. Brand name clothing gives a positive impression to everyone around you.

If you see someone else sporting your favourite brand, it’s easy to spark a conversation. Even if you’re shy, you will be much more self-assured because you know that you’ve got something in common with the other person. Self-esteem is a huge part of being a young woman, so a small boost in confidence can have a tremendous effect. Confidence allows us to try new things without the fear of rejection or failure. So, why shouldn’t we have something that gives us that “I’m unstoppable” feeling?

I’ll admit that part of the appeal of brand names may be how something looks, but I can’t help it if I love the look of Diesel jeans or a Coach bag! “I like being the centre of attention sometimes,” a friend tells me.

Brand name clothing and accessories are designed to appeal to consumers, and they do so very well. There’s no point in buying something that you don’t like, so if you like the brand name item, go for it!

Brand name products bring us good quality merchandise, confidence in ourselves and great looking items. That certainly sounds worth it to me.

No Name Necessary

By Arfeen Malick

Michael Kors, Coach, Juicy Couture, Burberry, Chanel: brand names swirl around in your head. The big names come with even bigger price tags. You pause for a millisecond and think, “Why am I wearing someone’s logo and advertising for them?” The thought quickly disintegrates as another trendy label catches your eye. You’ve already picked out the perfect skirt to complete the outfit.

Perhaps in all this confusion you ignore the price or maybe you’re sucked into this brand name world without knowing it. Whatever the reason, you walk up to the $50 designer label t-shirt, pull it off the rack and head towards the dressing room. The almost identical (but lacking the right label) $15 t-shirt from the previous store is forgotten along with your budget for today.

So why do some people put in the extra cash for the logo while others couldn’t care less? Jackie Burkhart (played by Mila Kunis), the fashion-conscious member of the gang on That 70s Show, feels more secure in her brand name clothes. On the show, in response to accusations of her being insecure, she screams, “I am not insecure! This is a designer sweater, this is designer eye shadow and those are designer shoes, and they make me feel INCREDIBLY secure!” Is she right? Perhaps those teens buying strictly brand names are looking to their clothes for self-confidence. By wearing the hottest t-shirt they try to avoid the awkwardness of fitting in, thinking that their clothes will provide comfort, much like a security blanket. They believe wearing brand names will automatically put them into a category labelled “cool & trendy”. To some, fitting in right away based on appearance is more appealing than making friends based on personality. Of course, our clothes should somewhat represent our personalities but they shouldn’t replace them.

Brand names have become a method to display status. Label kings and queens say they buy clothes and accessories because they represent who they are, but really, how can a t-shirt that is owned by nearly half the population represent an individual?

Also bizarre is the fact that some people will buy a plain 100% cotton, white tank top for way too much money because it has some sought-after tag sewn into the back (where no-one can even see it!), while a similar top can be found elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. Some suggest that the higher the price the better the quality, but isn’t 100% cotton just 100% cotton?

Some also argue that brand names spark conversation. Someone across the room might approach you wondering where you bought that “great” (code for designer) bag! While this might be true, do you really want to talk to someone who only approached you because of something you are wearing?

Although brand names are more expensive, perhaps the appeal is that you aren’t only paying for the logo but also for status, confidence, and for the ability to fit in. But wait a minute, can’t I get all those things for free?


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