Reports Of Godless Materialism's Demise Greatly Exaggerated

After a 10-year bender of gaudy dreams and godless consumerism, Americans are starting to trade down. They want to reduce their attachments to status symbols, fast-track careers and great expectations of Having It All. Upscale is out; downscale is in. Yuppies are an ancient civilization. Flaunting money is considered gauche: if you’ve got it, please keep it to yourself — or give some away!

The Simple Life Goodbye to having it all” Time Magazine, April 8, 1991

Yeah… guess that one went the way of plaid shirts and Beanie Babies. — BEN POPKEN

[via Frugal For Life]


Edit Your Comment

  1. junkmail says:

    wait, plaid shirts are out?!?!

  2. tadiera says:


    Yeah, sorry you missed the memo.
    Might want to check in the baggy jeans and hi-tops, too.

  3. Omri says:

    Denim jeans are still chichi though, right?

  4. superflippy says:

    Back in 1991 I remember wearing a faded t-shirt and a pair of ancient, baggy cut-offs that I found in the dorm laundry room and thinking I was way stylish.

  5. kerry says:

    @tadiera: Hi-top Converse are back, though.

  6. etinterrapax says:

    Hey, I remember when this happened! Just in time for me to go off to college. Too bad it came back…more insidiously. Now it won’t do to be ostentatious (unless you do it in the right way), but it won’t do to not care at all, since if you don’t, you end up bereft of health insurance. But it also won’t do to talk about what will and won’t do, so you have to guess, but not look as if you’re guessing.

    It’s too much. I think I’m going to go and live in my shed.

  7. oldhat says:

    I think it’s true, that there is/was a sophistication or evolution of wealth since then. It’s true that lots of wealthy folks don’t flaunt it. They have million+ dollar homes, other assets, etc, but they might drive an older car and wear sensible clothes. In fact, a lot of the people next to you in line at the store are worth a lot but they still get into that old subaru. They live comfortable lives, take frequent vacations, etc.

    Or maybe it’s just the Bay Area…

  8. Bob says:

    Can somebody tell my wife?!?!

  9. next time materialism dies, can we keep the romaine lettuce?

    *shudder* iceberg *shudder*

  10. Just please don’t let stonewash denim come back in style. Yick.

  11. pestie says:

    Oh, how I hope and wish for this to be true…

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    No more $350 jeans that fall apart after twenty wearings?

    Oh, the horror. Cover your eyes. Mourn for our children.

    (until a Style reporter gets a raise or a new credit card: time for the New (new) Materialism)