From the beginning of the 1880s people began to be engulfed in a society, which was concerned with consumption. Social stratification within society was increasing during the 1880s and the middle class was becoming very distinguished. The middle class was characterized as a group of people, which had leisure time and money to spend on goods that were not just out of necessity. The idea that people had money on things that were not just necessities to living gives way to the rise of the consumption in America. People now having the means to buy goods was not the only reason for the rise of consumer society, the rise of big business also aided in the rise of consumption. With the industrialization of society companies were able to mass produce goods. The social stratification beginning during the 1880s made it easier to distinguish people from different classes, a specific way to identify people in different classes was by looking at how they were dressed.
In the picture I have selected it displays a family gathering in 1894 on the porch of the Guild Hotel. By looking at the picture it is very easy to see that the family is middle class. All of the members of the family are well dressed. The style of their clothing was also obviously of a middle class group because each person was dressed in attire that differs from the person next to them. If the clothing of the people appeared to be the same and was not stylistically different then it would be more likely that the people were members of the lower class. The fact that the people are dressed differently does not only show that they are members of the middle class, but that the rise of consumption in society is prevalent. The ability to select different styles of clothing and to dress differently on a day to day basis shows people are consuming more than in previous years. Also that the people were dressed differently showed that people were able to dress differently and be selective in what they buy, not just because they have the money to, but because a variety of products was available to the people. Having a variety of products available to the consumer promotes consumption.
A consumer society was one that became very popular during the beginning of the 1880s. The consumption that started to become a part of society during the 1880s is now what today’s society is based on. Consumption is a way of life in society today and now has expanded from not only being a middle class privilege. People in the past similar to today are always looking for what is the next best thing from a consumer point of view. When the 1880s hit people were not only looking for goods that fulfilled their purpose, people were looking for goods that were pleasing to them. The picture of the middle class people on the porch of the Guild Hotel exhibits how people were looking for goods that were not just purposeful. The people on the stairs of hotel are exquisitely dressed, the people are wearing these type of clothes because they please them. Consumption was on the rise during the 1880s because people had the means to buy more goods and desired to have them, but this was also a result of the rise of big business.