Why are Rich People so Obsessed with Looking Poor?

By Alex Gryciuk 

What would you spend your money on if you were in the top 1%? What if you win the lottery and you could spend however much you want? 

A multi-million dollar home? A yacht? Golden Wagyu steak in Las Vegas? If you had a disposable income, would you buy the most expensive, luxurious clothes on the market? How about a $850 Balenciaga shirt or a $575 pair of Golden Goose? I know I most definitely would.

I have always thought of these high end, design brands to be the cream of the crop, the best of the best. Top quality garments made of the best materials and coolest designs; the hottest in fashion. 

Then why do so many of these so-called “luxury” brands “pre-distress” their expensive shirts? Put holes and scoff perfectly good shoes? According to the IRS, The top 1%, households that make over $515,000 per year, live life like royalty. With the ability to buy almost anything they want, why would they spend their money on clothes that look trashy?

In 2021, a popular TikTok thread asked users to stitch “What is considered trashy if you’re poor, but classy if you’re rich?” Some answers were thrifting, addiction, and minimalism. These distressed, damaged clothes belong in the same category. If a lower class individual wears clothes with holes or shoes that fall apart, they would be judged for their inability to purchase new pieces to add to their closets. Why is it suddenly socially acceptable when the shirt is $850 or when shoes cost $575? It begs the question, why are rich people so obsessed with looking poor? 

If you have money to buy new, good quality pieces, why default to something that is already broken? Not only does it seems like a slap in the face to those who can’t afford new wardrobes because their outfits are considered poor taste while Ms. 1%’s ripped shirt is beautiful, but also the overall concept of “pre-distressed” seems down-right dumb. Why would you pay extremely high price tags for something that looks like you pulled it out of the dumpster? Luxury brands supposedly look expensive or even cool. But, shirts with holes and worn in shoes defeat the whole purpose of these designer brands that are supposed to elevate fashion and the individual wearing the items. These pieces look ugly and are stupid purchases by consumers looking to appear fashionable and wealthy. 

If I were to save my money for something as expensive as Balenciaga, I would buy something I would love and distress myself. I don’t need anything “preloved” or “pre-distressed” for the price of something that costs as much as a whole month’s salary.