Is it coincidence or synchronicity or some other arcane force at work?
Head on a pillow this morning, I stumbled across a book review of The Children of Lovers, a childhood memoir by William Golding’s daughter, who wrote that her famous novelist father, author of Lord of the Flies “was bearded and wore scruffy clothes.”
I put it aside and delved into The Brain that Changes Itself only to discover that Paul Bach-y-Rita, a scientist, rehabilitation physician and inventor wears five-dollar suits and Salvation Army clothes.
In our day-to-day world, both brilliant men would be regarded as low status because of their down-market garments.
We would like people to admire us. That’s one reason why those who can afford it buy designer apparel. It gives them high status … no matter how dim-witted, greedy or cruel they are.
But research by Rob Nelissen and Marijin Meijers of Tilburg University, Netherlands, have shown it’s not the design of the clothes themselves that “lends an air of wealth, sophistication and high status” but rather, more pathetically, the label itself (The Economist, 2 April 2011).
This is something we pitiful consumers have long suspected.
In their experiments, a man was marked as significantly lower status when volunteers were shown a photo of him wearing a polo shirt with the Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger labels photoshopped out. When the unedited photo was shown to other volunteers, they gave him a much higher status.
I’m pretty sure, I, like most of you, would have done the same.
Perhaps William Golding and Paul Bach-y-Rita could have sewn designer labels on their low status clothes to elevate them in eyes of passerbys. After all, it’s not the capitvating design of the clothes that matter … and shabby chic is occasionally elevated to catwalk status.
But I doubt either men would have been interested in such deception, for inner brilliance shuns superficiality.
There is no interest in status. Only real things, that make the world a better place matter.
I don’t call it coincidence nor synchronicity.
It’s just what spilled out this Gucci-filled, Louis Vuitton morning … 🙂