What Are Some Examples of Status Symbols?

Some examples of status symbols include designer clothes and accessories, home swimming pools, fine wines, driving a car with a leather interior and even following a healthy diet or going to the gym. Simply being “well” can be a status symbol because gym memberships, dietary supplements, organic produce and spa treatments all come at considerable financial cost.

Status symbols tend to be impractical or superfluous items, often bought for the sole purpose of belonging, or at least feeling a sense of belonging, to a higher social stratum. Owning a sports utility vehicle that is only ever used for suburban driving is a common example of a status symbol, as is the casual cold-weather wearing of highly expensive, highly technical outerwear intended for extreme sports and other active outdoor pursuits.

Status symbols are far from being a modern phenomenon. Regardless of the period, new inventions or styles have always been sought after as an indicator of high social standing. When humans first mastered working with bronze, for instance, their sculptures became status symbols for rulers across the world. Later, complex technologies such as the astrolabe, a time-keeping device that could identify the location of stars and compute longitudinal and latitudinal co-ordinates, became a symbol of wealth and influence.