Morrison has an interesting post regarding the appearance of wealth on her blog "All Doors Considered."
I admire her skill at maintaining her family's appearance of having money while living on a limited income. I also agree that often that appearance can be enhanced due more to careful shopping and a high degree of cleanliness than an actual expenditure of dollars. As Morrison herself put it, she has done a remarkable job of marketing her family.
I guess my question comes down to "market to whom?" and ultimately, "Why?"
I am reminded that most of the millionaires interviewed for Thomas Stanley and William Danko's book, "The Millionaire Next Door" didn't worry nearly so much about the appearance they projected. They wore clothes off the rack and drove mid-range vehicles.
I think it comes down to the 'why'--if one is a fashionista, then buying a pair of expensive Italian shoes on sale in Milan and taking good care of them for years makes sense. It goes to one's confidence, and the image one wants to project.
But if the only point is to impress in-laws that one rarely sees? I don't quite get that.
Then again, I'm the last person to talk about style. Let's just say that when the fashion genes were handed out, my sister got my share. (In fact, if you see me wearing anything the least bit fashionable, it's a good bet it was a gift from my sister.)
Still, I enjoy many activities that appear to be aimed at the wealthy--I go to the local Art Museum; I attend the symphony and the opera; I love the various lecture series offered throughout my city. It's just that I never buy season tickets. Instead I'm dependent on friends (Always make friends with doctors' spouses--they have season tickets to everything and their spouses are often unavailable to go.) and Groupon and waiting in lines for last minute empty seats. Once I'm sitting in the audience, no one really knows how (cheaply!) I got there.
Morrison's final observation is that "It is better to look good than to feel good."
I can't relate to that one either. I'm much more attracted to the idea of feeling good, whether it's about clothes, money, or lifestyle.