Affluent women buy the latest styles so they stand out. Soon, though, everyone is wearing the same style, which means they don’t stand out anymore. This commonality de-stabilizes the affluent woman’s self-image, which includes standing out and feeling special. She demands a newer style, which the designers provide. The affluent woman buys it and once again feels special, because her self-image has been preserved.
Evelyn Brannon, who wrote the book Fashion Forecasting, places affluent women in four categories: Individualists, who are fashion innovators. They use fashion as an exploration tool. As they explore, they feel distinctively special. The Mimics are affluent women who look to others, such as celebrities, to give direction to their fashion sense. They constantly change their look according to what is “in” with others. Fashion Arbiters form the third category. Arbiters dress in a more traditional style, influencing others in their group. The last category is called Followers. Followers emulate the style of other mainstream, affluent women, such as the Arbiters.
In the ongoing search for feeling special, affluent women often find the feeling in distinctive designer brands. Zborowski points out that purchasing a brand name article of clothing can increase self-confidence, which makes the buyer feel special. Thus, brand names and designer logos are not only status symbols, but also symbolize a feeling of specialness. This means fashion choices are made deliberately for the feeling they carry with them. Clothing lets people feel special.