Why Some Buy Their Self-Esteem


The social aspects of today’s society can be incredibly frustrating and may even feel demanding to some extent. With self-esteem being a delicate subject for every individual, designer brands do an excellent job of targeting such fragile insecurities for their own gains. Luxury brands including Burberry, Givenchy, and Dior present ridiculously priced goods in the market. However, that never seems to stop any consumer from purchasing any of their products, even when they face trouble affording them, but why? The veracity is that high-end companies don’t truly target the rich when advertising because luxury is a concept for poor or middle-class people to aspire to. This is due to the desire to feel or appear rich in the façade of real wealth. In truth, wealthy people do not acquire this absence, because they are already financially comfortable. Perhaps this is why you may see extremely wealthy celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg or Adam Sandler wear completely average clothing.

Adam Sandler is more stylish than Harry Styles, Britney Spears – this year,  he's topped Google's 'celebrity outfits' search category | South China  Morning Post
Adam Sandler in Los Angeles, California on August 18, 2018. This year, he has topped Google’s “celebrity outfits” search category. Photo: GC Images

We like to believe that we form rational decisions when putting an immense amount of money into a purchase, but in reality, we probably aren’t. A rational individual would always act in accordance with reason and logic, including making the most coherent financial decisions. However, our emotions tend to influence most of our choices. Luxury purchases have been revealed to elicit feelings of pleasure and reward simply due to the value they acquire. Within a society where appearance matters, owning a luxury good can be reflected as a public proclamation of success, high-end taste, and social status.

People purchase luxury goods for various reasons. However, the most prominent are linked to strong emotions. Rather than focusing on the physical attributes of a product, high-end brands primarily aim to create a feeling that resonates with the consumer. Brands such as Gucci and Prada eminently feature their logos in most of their products which deliberately creates an immediate association with luxury, and a refined, glamorous lifestyle. When people see these logos, they experience a sense of desire and aspiration to be part of the exclusive status world.

Moreover, high-end items hold an immense amount of social power. This is due to the process of making their products more difficult to obtain in order to increase their perceived value. Evidently, designer brands do so primarily via price. By having consumers pay an absurd amount of money for their products, not only does this increase the perceived value in the consumer’s mind but it also solidifies a status symbol or may even allow the individual to feel more elite for purchasing that certain product. On that account, social power is not necessarily a characteristic that can be acquired internally. Frankly, it is difficult to obtain a natural sense of confidence and high self-esteem within an exceptionally judgemental society. Therefore, most try to gain this feeling of social power externally, via materialistic items as luxury items hold this social power. They provide the perception that an individual who carries a designer brand is wealthier and therefore holds more social power.

Nonetheless, although the allure of high-end goods may be indisputable, the decision to purchase them should be thought of with caution and self-awareness. It’s apprehensible that it is difficult to do so when immersed in a society that idolizes the extravagant. However, it is essential to distinguish between a sincere desire and the pressure to conform, because material goods should never burden one’s financial state nor should act as a temporary remedy for your insecurities. Surely, there is no harm in pampering yourself every now and then, but such items should not define your worth in any manner. Pure value and worth should not be based on luxury goods, and it is unfortunate that today’s society has resulted in this current state.

Featured image: Zadig & Voltaire Fall 2023  

Hana Abulkheir
Hana Abulkheir
Second year behaviour and social science student from Egypt but primarily lived abroad. Interested in mental health in well-being.

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