Social Climbing: The Perspective from the Wardrobe
Posted on December 26, 2012
White teeshirts, jeans, sneakers. “Nice” is a sports jersey or a graphic tee. You own one skirt, or a dress. Your flats may be held together with tape, or you stuff toilet tissue into the toes in order to make a borrowed pair fit.
Nobody pays you much attention.
Lower Middle Class:
You wear polos tucked into khakis or jeans, with a belt. Your shoes may be boat shoes or Keds. You have more than one dress or tie. People mistake you for someone who works there. Maybe you are a secretary, or maybe you just look like one. Don’t wear a red shirt to Target, if you want to get through the aisles without being asked where to find the pepper mills.
You shop at the mall or other places beyond your means. You feel a strong need to buy new shoes and jackets every year. Your hoodies or graphic tees bear the name of mall stores if you are young, sporting goods companies if you are older. Your jeans are of the trendy variety. Your shoes are scarcely worn in before you think they seem trashy and discard them at the back of the closet.
Upper Middle Class/ Intellectual Set:
You buy a good quality blazer, nice tops and jeans, sturdy shoes, and wear them until they die. No one questions your wealth or status; it’s in your carriage rather than your clothes, though of course the poor could not afford your clothes. Your wardrobe lasts years and is peppered with good accessories. Your earrings are real. When you decide to make a statement, it is understated.
People smell your money before they see you. You smell expensive, and your gleaming clothing only confirms what everyone already knows. They are not looking at your clothes. They are looking at your eyes or your hand, wondering if you come in peace.