How Conspicuous Consumption Helps The Economy

Hello Conspicuous Consumers,

This is one of my favorite topics of all time!! When I was a Freshmen in college at Indiana University, I took a fashion merchandising class. I was fully prepared to take my passion for fashion to the next level and pursue a degree in it. This class supported that assumption. For an entire week, I remember studying the concept of conspicuous consumption. I became utterly fascinated with the notion of consumer behavior and why we choose to make certain purchase decisions solely on perceived socioeconomic status. It was enough to get me hooked. This one week this one subject was enough to where if I hadn’t transferred to Ball State my Sophomore year, I would have immersed myself in the fashion merchandising degree. I’m still thinking of getting my Master’s Degree in Consumer Behavior, that’s how much I love this stuff!

If you are unaware of the phrase, conspicuous consumption is the consumption of luxuries on a lavish scale in an attempt to enhance one’s prestige. In layman’s terms, it means that you pursue buying things that are at a higher price point because you want people to think you have money. The term was first used by economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen in the 19th century as a way of describing families who showed off their great wealth publicly to manifest their social power whether it was real or living beyond their means.

So why is it important? Well, our society is inherently obsessed with social class. The items we buy on a daily basis puts us into buckets in other people’s eyes. If someone is waking around with a Dunkin Donuts cup of coffee, carries an Android phone and wears a label-less purse from Target, our society would put that person in the bucket of people who fall lower on the socioeconomic scale. If they saw another person walking around with a Starbucks cup, carrying their Apple products and toting a Louis Vuitton Neverfull, then that person has money.

We are all guilty of conspicuous consumption. To be completely honest, when I bought my Louis bag back in February, I had to take a step back and ask why. Why this bag, why this price point, is that reasonable? The answer was I wanted to be able to buy something that showed for how hard I had been working but the answer was also no, spending that much money on a handbag probably wasn’t reasonable. Just with the faint monogrammed LV plastered all over the canvas though, I could let passerby’s know that I worked hard enough to afford a bag of that stature. Same goes for the people who jumped at the opportunity to buy the new iPhone 11 as soon as it debuted. Did they really need that new phone? Likely no, but being at the forefront of those snagging the new luxury good allowed those consumers to “show off” their status as trend-starters and as someone who has the means to drop that kind of cash in a New York minute.

Makes sense? Sure, but I’m sure you’re asking well why should I even care, is it good or are these people just pretentious a-holes? Actually, conspicuous consumption is kind of a good thing because it stimulates economic growth. Since people are spending money on more luxurious goods, they are putting money back into the economy and thus back into businesses. The demand increases and the businesses need to hire more people. More people have jobs and ultimately have more money to spend back to the economy. It’s a cyclical infinity symbol of money both coming and going and that’s always a good thing for our economy.

My tip though is to always spend within your means. If you have the discretionary income that you’ve been saving to purchase a luxury good you’ve always wanted, that’s one thing. That’s exactly what I did. Beware though of the fad fashion items. The items that are all the rage and that everyone seems to be buying all at one time. They come into popularity just as fast as they fade into oblivion, becoming irrelevant and a waste of your hard-earned money. These are great items to buy on a dime. If you are purchasing a luxury item, go for something classic and timeless, something that will always be in style no matter what the year may be. That’s money well spent.

Sincerely,

Dry Goods Try On Haul

Hey Peeps, Happy Thursday!

I am not much of a mall person. Slowly, in the technologically advanced world we live in, I am becoming more and more of a shop online kind of gal. Recently though, on our way to a dinner date, my friend and I briefly stopped at the mall to check out this new store that had just opened up. All about the new and shiny thing. The store is called Dry Goods. Just hearing the name, I envisioned a rustic Homegoods type of vibe, which is why I had no idea why my friend was dragging me there, i.e. not my vibe at all. To my surprise, I walked into what I like to call the Francesca’s, Gap, Madewell married in heaven store. The styles can tend to fall a little on the boutiquey side BUT they have really great classic pieces that you can elevate in your everyday style. Those are the pieces I gravitated toward and actually purchased.

In all transparency, I thought this place was reasonably priced. I bought 7 items and spent around $200. This was my one good Fall fashion haul for the season, or at least that’s what I keep trying to convince myself of. What really sold me was the quality of the pieces. Everything feels like it’s going to last me years, which I love and justifies the money spent in my personal opinion. Why spend $10 on something that will fall apart after a couple of wears when you can spend $40 on something that will last multiple seasons? For all intents and purposes, Dry Goods is like a boutique. All clothes are not “Dry Goods” labeled on the tags, each piece comes from other companies, but they manage to select pieces to showcase in their stores that are cohesive and on brand. I also love that they carry Love Your Melon hats. If you don’t know the mission and value of Love Your Melon, check it out here.

If you follow me on Instagram (@_sydthompson), you may have seen the video I just posted. I have never really been a fan of the typical blogger “try on hauls” so I tried to take the same concept and switch it up a tad. I have either linked the exact item from the video below, or if items were sold out, I liked similar ones from the Dry Goods site or something I found on a different retailer’s site that is super similar and around the same price point I paid. Fall fashion is quickly approaching and I am super excited to have discovered this new brand to make shopping for the new season that much easier!

Black Jumpsuit (Sold out so linked similar) // I LOVE the fit of this piece because it hugs in ALL the right places. The cropped pant also makes it great to wear with multiple kinds of shoes and makes it a great transitional piece. The all black also speaks to my heart. I think this runs true to size, I got a Small and it fits perfectly. Another similar one here in Navy // Another similar option currently on Sale

Blue and White Stripped Blouse // I was nervous about this one because I thought it was going to be extremely see through, but to my surprise, it surpassed my expectations. I just wore a nude bra underneath and you couldn’t see a thing. I think this runs a little big so I would size down for a tighter fit. I purchased mine in a Small.

Marigold Print Blouse // Even though I’m not a huge floral print fan, I liked this piece because I don’t have much yellow in my closet and I thought this would be a great Thanksgiving Day shirt. I love the lightweight material and think this fits true to size. I got the Small.

Emerald Green Peplum Blouse // I love peplum shapes and I think this color is about to have a major moment this Fall season. The button detail makes it super feminine and it feels so super soft. The arms run a little tight, so I would probably size up. I got this in a Small.

Chambray Shift Dress // I loved this piece because I think it’s a classic that you can style so many different ways and layer so many things on top to make a completely different look each time. It runs a little big, I got the Small but could have easily fit into the XS. I couldn’t find anything similar to this on the site right now, so I linked a VERY similar option from Macy’s.

Gray Sweater Dress // Winter is calling my name in this dress. It is so cozy and heavy, which will be great paired with over the knee boots in the bitter cold months. I do think this dress runs a tad on the smaller side so if you are between sizes I would size up here. I am wearing a Small but would be more comfortable in a Medium I think.

Camel Turtleneck // Hands down my FAVORITE piece out of my whole purchase. I think I’ve already worn it a hundred times since I bought it. It is slightly cropped, which makes it perfect for a French Tuck in the front. The color goes with everything and the sweater is soft yet on the lighter side, which is why I’ve been able to wear it now! I am wearing a Small, it fits true to size.

Sincerely,

Powerful Jumpsuits

Hi Friends,

Out of all the articles of clothing, I feel my most powerful when I wear a jumpsuit. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it could be the masculinity of a men’s suit married to the feminine silhouette of a women’s dress. In my honest opinion, it’s the most comfortable, the most effortless and the one piece of clothing I can slip on no matter my mood and feel like I can conquer the world. Do you have any pieces of clothing that makes you feel this way too?

Where did the popularity of the jumpsuit originate from? Once upon a time, a jumpsuit sighting was rare. My earliest recollection of a time when jumpsuits were all the rage is in movies that took place in the 70’s. You’d frequently see the stylish women rocking a one piece as they’re dancing the night away at some club (think Farrah Fawcett’s emerald jumpsuit in Charlie’s Angels). That’s the thing…jumpsuits were too fancy for every day wear and too risqué for the office. Fast forward to the present, and you can’t walk down the street of any metropolitan area without seeing at least a handful of women rocking a jumpsuit in all different kinds of styles.

Jane Fonda called the jumpsuit “the epitome of a modern women’s wardrobe” and I couldn’t agree more. There are now jumpsuits for every occasion. Linen material and light weight for running errands, dressed up but conservative for weddings, form fitting and lace adorned for a night on the town or shoulder-covering and chic for the office. Whenever I go to any clothing retail brick and mortar, the first piece of clothing that attracts my eye is a jumpsuit. So much so, my mom has to steer me away or else all my money would go out the window and my whole closet would be filled with slip on one pieces.

The inspiration for the jumpsuit was drawn from the industrial overall uniforms people used to wear to protect themselves while at a hard day’s work. Fashion designers took this look and transformed it to fit the trendiest celebrities in the most famous movies. Then overtime, the jumpsuit went from Hollywood screens to acceptable on red carpets. Now, jumpsuits are the staple pieces every professional woman has in her closet. The evolution of the jumpsuit is actually quite incredible if you think about it. It has transformed into a piece of clothing that parallels a women’s busy life with the ease of slipping one article of clothing on and heading out the door. Thanks to Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Membership, I can now switch out the jumpsuits in my closet to align with every special occasion (or lack thereof) in my life. I have pulled together some of my favorites from the RTR site in case one of these occasions is coming up for you! All of these styles are available with the Rent the Runway Unlimited Membership.

*All images were pulled from and are exclusively credited to the Rent the Runway site

Wedding Season

Work Wear

Little Black Jumpsuit

Night Out

Daytime Errands

Summer Whites

Sincerely,