The sight of Britney Spears hitting the shops in her Juicy Couture sweats may not exactly scream "luxury" to most people, but it certainly evokes her celebrity status, according to a new study by the Harvard Business School. The results reveal that shop assistants at luxury boutiques are more likely to assume a client in gym clothes, rather than an elegant dress and fur, is a celebrity.
Yah, you might want to dust off that velour track suit.
The authors of the study, Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino and Anat Keinan, recruited 52 shop assistants in Milan, Italy, who worked in boutiques selling brands like Armani, Burberry, Christian Dior and Valentino, to take a survey about client perceptions. (Upscale stores, instead of "ordinary" stores, were chosen, since their clientele is generally expected to wear expensive clothing.) They were given a general description of a hypothetical female client, but half of the participants were told she was wearing gym clothes and a Swatch and the other half were told she was wearing a dress, a fur coat and a Rolex.
Surprisingly, survey results showed that participants deemed the lady in gym clothes as more likely to spend more money and more likely to be a celebrity. The reasoning? "Wealthy people sometimes dress very badly to demonstrate superiority" one shop assistant said, "If you dare enter these boutiques so underdressed, you are definitely going to buy something." Meaning: Unlike us plebes carting around monogrammed Louis Vuitton purses and wearing Burberry checks to fit in with VIPs, celebs flaunt their wealth and status by not flaunting their wealth and status.
Hey, it makes sense to us. If the daily barrage of paparazzi photos of stars like Mila Kunis, Kim Kardashian and Katie Holmes prove anything, it's that a woman in sweats could very well be an A-lister... and more than prepared to throw down some cash.
Think there's something to these new findings, or are you more likely to think that a woman decked out in fur is a star?