Keeping Up With The Joneses: Status Symbols Through The Years

Time machine, hot tub, or status symbol?

How do you know you’re doing okay compared to the rest of your neighbors or friends?

My wife would like to have a Louis Vuitton purse or two, but she settles for her collection of Coach bags. I’d like to have a 60″ home theatre in the basement, I’m settling for our 40″ on a cabinet.

In my subdivision, a lot of people have trailers or boats they use for vacationing at their cabin on the lake each weekend. We have a tent that we toss in the back of our SUV to go camping.

I don’t think my wife and I chase status symbols, but we are envious of some of the things our neighbors have, sure.

According to a survey out of the UK, the top status symbols for this decade are a hot tub, a walk in closet, and a music system with speakers in every room of the home.

I guess we should appreciate our closet more.

After the jump, check out the status symbols our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles strived to gain to look like they were well off. Can you believe an electric carving knife was worth bragging about?

  • 1990s – Black Dining Room Set 1 of 16
    1990s - Black Dining Room Set
    It couldn't just be a black, shiny dining room set. It had to have teal seats, or something equally Nagel-esque.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1990s – Breadmaker 2 of 16
    1990s - Breadmaker
    If you're really upset you missed this trend, my Dad has one he could sell you. I swear he's used it twice.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1990s – Beige Carpeting 3 of 16
    1990s - Beige Carpeting
    Fluffy, beige carpeting that was oh so comfy under your toes and matched everything in your home - including the black dining room table with the teal seats.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1980s – Commodore 64 4 of 16
    1980s - Commodore 64
    The 80s were the dawn of the home computer. A Commodore 64 was pretty wild because it said "we bought an extra tv JUST so we could have a computer." We had one of these growing up, today my brother works for Google and I .. um .. well .. my brother works for Google.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1980s – Avocado Bathroom 5 of 16
    1980s - Avocado Bathroom
    Yes, the bathroom trend everyone spent 20 years trying to avoid, that is now coming back.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1980s – Garbage Disposal 6 of 16
    1980s - Garbage Disposal
    Before we recycled, and composted, it was cool just to stuff pork chops down the drain.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1980s – Microwave 7 of 16
    1980s - Microwave
    When we first got a microwave, we did everything from roast a turkey to bake muffins in there. Now, all it's for is reheating frozen stuff.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1970s – Fondue Set 8 of 16
    1970s - Fondue Set
    You didnt just put your key in a pot to hook up with a random in the 70s, you did it with your food too.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1970s – VCR or Betamax 9 of 16
    1970s - VCR or Betamax
    You were even more sophisticated if you could make the blink 12:00 stop..
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1970s – Home Minibar 10 of 16
    1970s - Home Minibar
    All you have to do is tour a 70s house for sale to know this trend was popular, and how it totally screws up where the playroom should be in the basement.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1960s – Washing Machine 11 of 16
    1960s - Washing Machine
    You'll start to see the status symbols become very gender oriented in the 60s. Liberation was about more than just bra burning.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1960s – Sewing Machine 12 of 16
    1960s - Sewing Machine
    You'll start to see the status symbols become very gender oriented in the 60s. Liberation was about more than just bra burning.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1960s – Electric Knife 13 of 16
    1960s - Electric Knife
    My grandfather used to carve Thanksgiving turkey with one of these. And I still don't know why. What a terrible invention.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1950s – Transistor Radio 14 of 16
    1950s - Transistor Radio
    Whereas we want hot tubs, the older days had simpler requests. A pocket sized radio was worth bragging about.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1950s – Pushbutton Phone 15 of 16
    1950s - Pushbutton Phone
    Rotary was soooo declasse.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto
  • 1950s – Electric Toaster 16 of 16
    1950s - Electric Toaster
    A fancy way to make toast made the neighbors jealous.
    Image Credit iStockPhoto

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