Fashion as a Gatekeeper's Tool

An excerpt from Tressie McMillan Cottom's Thick.

"At the heart of incredulous statements about the poor decisions poor people make is a belief that we, the hardworking, sensible not-poor, would never be like them. We would know better. We would know to save our money, eschew status symbols, cut coupons, practice puritanical sacrifice to amass a million dollars. There is a regular news story of a lunch lady who, unbeknownst to all who knew her, dies rich and leaves it all to a cat or a charity or some such. Books about the modest lives of the rich like to tell us how they drive Buicks instead of BMWs. What we forget, if we ever knew, is that what we know now about status and wealth creation and sacrifice are predicated on who we are — that is, not poor."

 

From the Zora published article "The Poor Can’t Afford Not to Wear Nice Clothes" in Medium.