7 Cool But Socially Unacceptable Status Symbols You Can Finally Afford

Ryan Ong

Ryan Ong

Last updated 30 August, 2016

As teenagers in Singapore, we wanted these flashy status symbols. Now that we can afford them, why do they seem so uncool?

All your life you’ve wanted a supercar. But now that you’re 45 and earning enough to buy one, you seem to draw a lot of frowns instead.

Here are some slick status symbols that become socially questionable in Singapore now that you can finally afford them:

pangolin backpack Photo source

1. The Pangolin Backpack

Remember this trendy backpack, which was in vogue seven years back? That fancy Pangolin Backpack costs around S$380. When you were a Uni student, that was probably way beyond budget.

Now that you’re in your early 30s, we’re guessing you could conceivably afford one. Or maybe even 10. Here’s a bit of sad news though: it may not be a good idea by now. Can you imagine walking into the office, or meeting a client, with this thing strapped to your back? Can you see it going with your shirt and jacket?

It would have looked awesome when you were younger, and still University or Junior College. But now that you can comfortably pay around S$380 for what’s essentially a backpack with big rubber sheets, you’re likely working with (or for) people who can’t handle the sheer non-conformity.

We think you should buy for a loved one who’s younger, and live vicariously through them.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating


How to Pull It Off If You Must

Save it to use with your casual clothes, and never your work clothes.

midlife crisis cars Photo source

2. The Midlife Crisis Ferrari

They’re called “Midlife Crisis Cars” for a reason: you buy them in your mid to late 40s, partly as a way to make up for not having them when you were younger (among other things).

Social conventions are cruel this way: by the time you can afford the approximate S$950,000 for a Ferrari (or a like brand), society rolls its eyes and yells: midlife-crisis, ha ha!

Well here’s our take on it: they’re just jealous. If you get to the point where you can afford to spend nearly a million on a car, then no one gets to laugh at you. If you are accused of having a crisis, merely remark that you’re buying it because you appreciate the workmanship.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating


How to Pull It Off If You Must

If people make fun of you, ask what they drive. As an aside, non-sports luxury cars (such as a Mercedes) will actually boost your social standing when you’re older, rather than draw disapproval. Consider those instead.

designer distressed jeans

3. Designer Distressed Jeans

We’re sorry to say this, but designer distressed jeans are solely the province of rich kids (who want to look poor). By the time you can afford to blow money on these, you will be too...mature to wear them.

These expensive, deliberately worn out jeans can cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. The most infamous example is the Dussault Apparel Thrashed Denim, which can be in excess of S$300,000.

Regardless of the brand, it is never a good idea for a 35 to 45-year-old to wear distressed jeans. No, not even if they're designer jeans. It’s as embarrassing as walking into your living room, and seeing your mum or dad wearing a spiked collar and a Blink 182 t-shirt.

We’re sorry you didn’t get a chance to be the cool kid wearing these while growing up, but trust us - there are better ways to make up for it.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating


How to Pull It Off If You Must

Insist it’s not on purpose, and you simply mistook the blender for the washing machine.

sports watch

4. High-End Versions of Mass-Market Sports Watches

We’re talking about watches like this G-shock, which are around S$8,400. Now these have kind of a higher age limit, and you can passably wear them into your mid-30’s.

But once you hit the age of 40+, any mass market sports watch - however expensive the version - is going to look out of place. Unless you are actually working out, driving a rally car, or in any situation that needs a rugged watch, it can seem like a desperate attempt to look young.

The older crowd that wants to flaunt a nice watch should either go for a smartwatch or something like a Breitling. You can even earn hundreds of air miles from this with a travel credit card like the ANZ Travel Visa Card.

See Also: Is a Luxury Watch a Good Investment for Singaporeans?

It sure would be nice to have a S$10,000 G-shock when you’re 22 years old though. With any luck, some of you can afford it while you’re that young.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating


How to Pull It Off If You Must

It’s not as bad as the others on this list. The trick is to make sure it doesn’t clash too much with your outfit. You could maybe pull it off if you’re in Steve Jobs-style casual clothes, but definitely not with a proper jacket and suit.

Photo source Photo source

5. Skull Jewellery

We’re glad you can finally afford to blow anywhere from S$410 to over S$2,000 on various skull-themed accessories. But a word of advice: don’t.

The crystals, rubies, silver, and so on used to make the jewellery are impressive, and many things from Alexander McQueen are exquisite. But if you are over the age of 25, be prepared for people to roll their eyes when you deck yourself out with skull-themed accessories.

Also in this category: studded chokers, pentagrams pendants, demon faces, or anything that looks like it belongs on a Slipknot album cover. No matter how valuable it is, it’s cringeworthy on an older person.

It’s edgy and chic on a 19-year-old though, especially with the right haircut and torn jeans. Life isn’t fair that way.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating


How to Pull It Off If You Must

Start a black metal band. Become a well-known bomoh. Open and operate an underground Goth club.

party promoter

6. Zoukout Tickets

Congratulations! Now that you and your 35 to 45-year-old friends resemble a senior citizens’ delegation at Zoukout, you can finally afford the overpriced S$200+ passes. And the expensive drinks there.

While once you had to scrimp for weeks (or months) to afford attendance, you can now do so easily. You just wouldn’t want to, because there’s no quicker way to feel old and miserable. And while we don’t want to say the 20-year-old ravers will draw attention to your age and discuss how old you are, but the 20-year-old ravers will draw attention to your age and discuss how old you are. Sometimes on Facebook.

Parents, take note. Let your children enjoy Zoukout at least once in their youth and pay for it. Because by the time they can afford it, it might be too late.

Potential Social Disapproval Rating

?? to your face, ???? behind your back.

How to Pull It Off If You Must

You’re one of the few people there who can have a mature conversation, beyond what misspelled tattoos you have. Learn to play up the superiority that age brings.

Do not, under any circumstances including death threats, do the robot dance.

camo t-shirt Photo source

7. Things with Camouflage Patterns

We don’t care that Valentino charges over S$640 for this wallet. Nothing will ever make a camouflage-patterned wallet acceptable for a 40-year-old. Same goes for these S$547 camouflage designer pants from True Religion.

Granted, camouflage is a great way to yell “I’m different” when you are in your 20s. Ironically, the only reason to wear camouflage in public is to not blend in.

But once you are at the age when you’ve bought your first house, it becomes cringeworthy to see you pull a camouflage wallet from your breast pocket. What next, are we going to hear the sound of velcro as you open it?

Potential Social Disapproval Rating

??? or ???? if you are a high status professional, like a doctor or university professor.

How to Pull It Off If You Must

The only way to make this acceptable is to become a high-status Prima Donna in your industry. If you are considered an “eccentric genius” with a six-digit pay, you can get away with this.

Read This Next:

4 Things You Think Are Investments (But Are Really Not)

How to Afford a New Designer Bag Every Year


Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.


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