Summary: When The Joneses Wear Jeans

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Up from the Holler: Della Mae Justice grew up in “the Holler,” a poor area of East Kentucky. She lived with her mother and stepfather until the age of 15 when she was forced to live in foster care for 9 months before going to live with her cousin, a successful lawyer, who lived in the wealthy area of Pikeville. For Justice, who has since become a successful lawyer herself, “class is everything” (Lewin 2). It was and still is a difficult adjustment to go from living in poverty to being a part of the upper middle class. Justice still feels she lives in two worlds, the world she grew up in, and the one she lives in now, but that she doesn 't truly fit in either. Justice believes that the class she grew up in has had a significant impact on …show more content…
With increased incomes and buying power, increasingly available credit, and stagnating prices, it is becoming more and more difficult to assess one’s class. There is a widening middle class which leads to the illusion of a “classless crowd” (2). Americans are facing increased social pressure to buy luxury or brand name goods, but Steinhauer suggests this pressure is less from their neighbors and more from aspiring to celebrities, which is an unattainable goal for most. Additionally, there is a widening income gap which creates further obstacles for emulating or becoming a part of the upper class. The luxury market is expanding to meet middle class desires in order to create affordable luxury to give the middle class a taste of exclusivity. For many this affordable luxury can only be attained through the use of credit, and thus has led to a “democratization of credit” which can lead to reckless spending. The changing market dynamics, while allowing the middle class a perception of luxury, have lessened the exclusivity of luxury product for the wealthy. Many luxury companies don 't want to slip into the mass market in fear of damaging their reputation, which has led to an increase in higher end lines such as Godiva 's G-line chocolate. The sheer idea of exclusivity allows certain companies or restaurants to profit off of higher class individuals who want to maintain their prestige. The luxury markets can make marketing more difficult as it now has a broader audience than ever before. Steinhauer points out that it is not only the drive to purchase luxury items that makes it difficult to assess one 's class, but also the increase in personal services, which are not always obvious. Now people are competing more over the lifestyle of luxury than objects. While a middle class person can splurge on a one time expense,

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