"Those women are the most likely to be extravagant," said Ms. Danziger, the author of "Why People Buy Things They Don't Need" (Dearborn Trade, 2004). The tend to sacrifice vacations, restaurant dinners and other designer fashion in favor of a luxury bag. "They are the consumers who have something to prove," she said.
Luckily, I am way too poor...I mean pragmatic...to buy into (ha!) this source of self-esteem. Based on my casual observation and personal experience, I would have to agree that some people feel like they have to get the latest designer duds just to prove something (they may say it's just for themselves, to feel good, but you have to wonder...) And the Marketing Machine seems to prey upon these insecurities, enticing the middle-class folk in buying that designer brand/luxury option so they can impress their friends and neighbors and feel good because they can buy it.
There are some days when I just feel so sick at all the excess there is all around us. From SUVs to the overwhelming number of "choices"of everything at the supermarket (premium brands are often just the regular brand jazzed up w/ a new label and perhaps a fragrance)....But then I think about my own habits of excess and desire for the unnecessary, and I feel so pathetic and helpless because at the end of the day I really do want that Marc Jacobs bag! I guess I'm just human.