16 Former Status Symbols That Are Now Embarrassing

Fashion trends evolve over time. Things that once symbolized luxury can quickly become outdated. This article explores former status symbols that people today find hopelessly obsolete. From pearls to gas-guzzling vehicles, these once-prestigious items now raise eyebrows. Let’s dive into the changing landscape of status symbols.

Fine China On Display

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Fine China was once a coveted possession—a sign of refinement and social standing. Families reserved their delicate plates, cups, and cutlery for special occasions, and the dining room display was a showcase of prestige. The younger generation views fine China differently. Instead of proudly exhibiting it, they find the practice outdated and impractical. As a result, it is no longer the status symbol it once was.

Fur Coats

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Fur coats, once a symbol of luxury and wealth, have fallen out of favor due to ethical concerns. The killing of animals for fur has sparked outrage, leading to boycotts and a rise in stylish faux fur alternatives. People who still insist on wearing real fur are ridiculed for their outdated and insensitive taste.

Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

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Wall-to-wall carpeting, once a popular trend, is now outdated. Today’s homeowners prefer low-maintenance, easy-to-clean floors, leading them to remove old carpets in favor of timeless hardwood. This shift reflects a downfall of wall-to-wall carpets that trap dust and allergens and the rise of elegance and practicality of hardwood.

Fake Tans

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Fake tans used to be the ultimate sign of wealth – a bronzed glow in the depths of winter screamed, “I can afford vacations!” The trend has now vanished. The bright orange hue of the skin is now seen as tacky and unhealthy, with natural skin tones taking center stage.

Pearls

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Pearl necklaces, once a symbol of timeless elegance and class, have seen a shift in perception. What used to elevate an outfit is now seen as outdated and old-fashioned. This change shows that the traditional markers of status are less popular with the younger generation.

Encyclopedias

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Encyclopedias reigned supreme in the pre-internet age. These big, heavy books, brimming with knowledge, symbolized wealth and intellectual prowess. However, search engines like Google, which offer instant access to information, have relegated encyclopedias to relics of the past.

Gas-Guzzling Vehicles

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Gas-guzzlers were once the epitome of style. Drivers are increasingly choosing eco-friendly hybrids and electric vehicles, with even traditionally gas-powered brands joining the shift. While big SUVs and trucks still have a niche, the idea of a giant Hummer as a status symbol is fading. Today, fuel efficiency and environmental consciousness are the new signs of an intelligent driver.

Bold Makeup

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The ’80s and early ’90s were all about bold makeup—bright lips and blue eyeshadow reaching the brows. The more dramatic the look, the cooler it was considered. Today, things have flipped. Social media influencers preach the gospel of “nude” lipsticks and a minimalist look. Excessive makeup is out, and the new status symbol is natural beauty.

Living Room Reserved For Guests

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Remember the “good furniture” rooms in our parents’ houses? The ones with the pristine couches that were covered in plastic and reserved solely for special guests? Thankfully, those days are gone. Our homes are for living in, not museums. Protecting furniture from playful pets or little hands is one thing, but an entire room deemed too good for everyday use is a no-no today.

Plastic Surgery

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Plastic surgery, once a privilege of the rich and famous, has now become commonplace. The trend of getting work done on your face has also changed. The overdone look is out, replaced by a preference for natural beauty. Today, excessive tweaks can land you more mockery than admiration.

Flashy Logos On Clothes

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Big, flashy brand logos used to scream “status symbol.” Not anymore. These are now perceived as tacky and boastful. Today’s fashion is all about subtlety and understated style. People care more about comfort and simple design than showing off labels.

Smoking

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Flicking ash and blowing smoke rings used to be the epitome of cool. Silver screen legends like Bogart and Monroe made cigarettes seem sophisticated. Today, with the health risks widely known, smoking is more likely to get you dirty looks than admiration. Shunned from cafes and forced to smoke on street corners, cigarettes have gone from glamorous prop to a costly, unhealthy habit.

CD Collections

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Once a music lover’s pride and joy, displayed prominently in specialized cabinets, CDs are now outdated. Streaming services and digital libraries reign supreme, leaving meticulously organized CD collections gathering dust as a reminder of a time before the digital music revolution.

Loud Car Stereos

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Ear-splitting car stereos that could rattle windows used to be the height of style in the ’80s. Now, they’re more likely to get you a ticket than admiration. Loud music ordinances and the question of actual enjoyment at that volume have turned the tables. This trend has gone from impressive to excessive and annoying.

Landlines

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Landlines used to be the ultimate status symbol. They were a symbol of stability, security, and social standing. Before mobiles, landlines were a mark of stability and the only way to connect. Today, they have lost their relevance in the age of cell phones.

Black and White TVs

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Believe it or not, black-and-white televisions were once all the rage. In the 1930s, they were a luxury only the wealthy could afford. While a mere $130 might seem like a steal today, it was a hefty chunk of change back then, representing about 10% of the average annual salary. Now, of course, these black-and-white boxes are a far cry from the high-definition televisions we have today.

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