The extent of access to wealth, resources and certain memberships is what defines the social and economic position of people. Often, certain items are acquired to make living easier and more convenient, but from a sociological perspective, these possessions are considered status symbols. They are perceived as indicators of the high economic and social position of their owners and while some can be bought, others cannot. Although what is considered a status symbol is relative to people and cultures and is also subject to change over time, there are certain items that, since their inception, have stood the test of time and have retained their value as indicators of high standing in the society.
Uniforms, badges, coat of arms and insignias
While uniforms are generally used to show membership, and create a sense of order and organization, certain kinds are highly exclusive and not available to the general public. These items of identification such as uniforms, badges, coat of arms and insignia serve as proof of membership to certain organizations, fraternities, sororities and noble or even royal families. They also symbolize heroic acts and are official symbols of power and authority that usually cannot be bought or transferred.
Luxury modes of transportation
Private jets, luxury yachts, and cars are vehicles that have long been associated with wealth and affluence due to their high price tags. Iconic motor brands like the Mercedes-Benz is the perfect example of a machine that has established itself as a symbol of affluence and power. Its sleek design, classically tasteful interior and sturdy high tech engines are arguably the best in the world. The new Mercedes CLS 63 AMG with a price tag of a little over £50,000 is a testament to the high value of one of these beauties. They are typically only ever sold at Mercedes-Benz recognized and authorized dealerships like the Sandown-group, an establishment in the UK that deals primarily with brand new and approved used vehicles from the luxury brand.
Since the beginning of time, jewellery has been prized for its rarity and value. Ancient cultures used jewellery to identify memberships, heroism, and nobility. They were also used as heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation, and the practice continues to this day. Today, precious stones and metals like diamonds, sapphires, gold, and platinum, ranging from a couple of thousands to millions of dollars. Certain pieces are so iconic and expensive, and they can only be afforded by entire estates or extremely wealthy individuals.
High fashion (Haute Couture)
Haute couture is a status symbol like no other because it is wildly unique and the cost can differ like night and day but always on the expensive side. These articles of clothing are made completely by hand using high quality, expensive materials sourced from all over the world. Only a few people can afford these clothes which are typically seen at high-brow social events and red carpets.
Electronic devices and gadgets.
In this high-tech world, certain kinds of electronic devices and gadgets are considered status symbols because of their high price tag and limited availability. This is most common with the younger demographic as these items suggest to them that their owners are not just financially secure but are of a high social standing than most who cannot afford it.
Status symbols are part and parcel of society. They are the items that suggest a person’s social position and economic standing. While a few of them are highly exclusive and almost unattainable, there is thankfully a good number that is available to whoever wants them if they can afford it.