Unlike communities within a few miles of large bodies of water (e.g. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston), Dallas doesn’t have huge amount of people who derive social status from their waterfront views. While a lake front property is nice to have, it isn’t something craved by all residents and blatantly touted like it is done in other major U.S. cities.
Instead, other measures of social status are rewarded as part of one’s overall “style”. Some of these are obvious: the luxury car you drive (or “cars”!), clothing options, accessories like luxury watches or designer eyeglasses, fun toys and where you dine. Other measures of style include elective surgery, the nightclubs or country clubs you frequent, and if you have additional beautiful ranch property outside of DFW area.
You also could have other property rights such as:
- a prize horse that you board outside of the city
- having beautiful antique furniture restored to prime condition after you inherit it or purchase it elsewhere
- owning rights in an entertainment entity like a pro sports team or theater
- having shared property rights in something like a private jet or helicopter or oil wells
- having a sizable trading account where you meet with financial managers in town and network with them
The reasons why these can boost one’s social value (“status”) include:
- Scarcity – not everyone can have these physical items, property rights, or luxuries
- Beauty – appealing to a wider range of people based on one’s physical appearance
- Reduction of pain (physical or emotional) – the ability to remove a hindrance of some form appeals to many, especially if all it takes is money and a minute amount of effort compared to solutions that most others pursue to eliminate the same issue(s)
- Entertainment – being able to share enjoyable experiences with others that you choose increases the social value/status
- Recognition – having a unique luxury car will command attention in certain spots around DFW, and it may open up conversations you otherwise would not have had
- Business and professional – “Like attracts like” so the perception of success opens up the increased possibility of more professional opportunities
- Escape – if you need to “escape” from the stresses of the city, having these status items (especially property outside of the area) allow you to “get away” for a while to reset and come back stronger. Not everybody has this option available to them
One other major area not often mentioned is the status and judgement from those who visit your home. Since Dallas’ residential status is not usually going to factor in waterfront views, then the way to differentiate is your home’s overall style. There are several magazine articles each year commenting and featuring people’s homes in Dallas in order to showcase their various styles.
Should you wish to make your home a statement about your style and status, there are a few things you can do to transform your home’s status into one which boosts your style:
- You may have to move locations. Certain parts of town just don’t have the “style” status no matter what you do with your home. Find a good real estate agent to help you buy or lease a property in a part of town that meets your needs for work/social reasons plus offers you a chance to have more cache with your home. Be sure to find a mover who understands what you need in order to preserve the current items you have of value such as antiques, high-end entertainment electronics, art work and similar items
- From there, talk with an interior decorator or interior designer about what you can do with the home you have. You would be surprised what options you have available to you to transform an otherwise “bland” (aka “no style”) room into something which helps you express yourself. Some of the options include custom furniture, window coverings and treatments, unique paint/trim color combinations, upholstery fabrics, rug/carpet styles, and accessories for your kitchen and living room. Artwork, lighting styles and much more can be included in this discussion as well
- One thing to remember about having “style”, regardless of how it is defined, is that is presumes cleanliness. Keep your rugs cleaned, home dusted, bathroom free of visible dirt, and your clothes looking clean at all times. Why spend all of the money, time and energy to improve your style if you allow it to get dirty?!?
- Your home’s exterior also plays a role. Consider at least talking to, if not paying for full service from, someone who specializes in luxury landscaping. You at least want the same type of advice and guidance as you would get from the interior decorator/designer. Remember that many more people will see the outside of your home than will see the inside of your home! This also means fixing issues such as a roof needing replacement, tree trimming, fixing broken gutters, and fixing your fences. Even though the phrase “curb appeal” tends to be associated with your home’s resale value, it also helps define your style as seen by others. Having a beautiful exterior to your property keeps the neighbors happy, and those who don’t know you well at least pass along the compliment that you “keep the property looking nice”. If you help protect their home’s resale value then they may reciprocate and help keep your reputation looking good as your improve your overall style!
- If you have the room and desire for it, you may wish to improve your home’s style with some form of custom swimming pool remodeling or other modifications. Doing so will help make your home unique and add to the enjoyment if you like having friends and family over during the late spring and summer. This also applies to hot tubs, waterfalls, grottos and other swimming pool related structures. Just remember, like your carpets and bathroom, keep your pool cleaned for both appearance related as well as health related reasons. The same applies to your pool’s maintenance for pumps, valves, etc. A beautiful swimming pool, covered in algae, does not make for a pretty pool!
As you can imagine, there are dozens of ways to improve your overall style and status in the Dallas area. Just remember that each professional serving those areas tends to look at his/her area of interest as the main catalyst to boost your social status. Very rarely, however, is that the case. Just by reading this article you can tell that each, in isolation, rarely is the “tipping point” that allows you to break through to a new level of social status, style and acceptance. Each requires time, money and/or energy to acquire; and many require some form of consistent maintenance – just like exercising and nutrition.
If you are comfortable with pursuing an overall level of improvement in your style then consider starting with the basics. Get your physical appearance and overall health improved with nutrition, health improvements done under your doctor’s guidance, and appearance-related issues that also affect your health such as fixing your teeth and getting your eyes checked. Remember that a lean, muscular physique combined with great teeth and eyes that sparkle when you smile often go a long way toward people wanting to get to know you better regardless of the car you drive or the style of watch you wear (if you wear one at all!).
From there, fix what you have to make it look great. Get your car fixed or traded in for a better car (get a good deal on it if possible), clean your house so it looks presentable and is cleaned for your health purposes, repair any furniture or antiques you want to keep, and get the outside of your home looking great. Repair and clean any nice clothes you have (formal wear or for social attire), repair any nice shoes (or go shopping for new ones), and get some presentable accessories such as a nice watch or repair old accessories you haven’t worn in a long time.
Also, start spending time in higher end settings. This can be as simple as having your morning coffee at a high end hotel coffee shop instead of the coffee shop down the street. Read the higher end Dallas/Fort Worth magazines to find out more about high end events in town. Get involved with charity functions (please stick with causes that actually motivate you!) and meet donors and organization sponsors; and you may get invited to attend formal charity events. Get motivated and passionate about something and take an executive to lunch once a month to learn how to think at a higher level. The invitations that get accepted should help your style in the short-term (being seen with important people), but more importantly the conversations may help you change your thinking to understand broader topics and become more worldly. That type of transformation may help you become more charismatic and appealing to those you want to know better because you will be that much more interesting.
Hopefully some of these tips help. If you have helpful suggestions for readers then please feel free to share them for an upcoming post. Thanks!