Wellness As The New Luxury Status Symbol

Observations January 28, 2015 9:10 am

The article “Looking Like Money: How Wellness Became The New Luxury Status Symbol” made the rounds last week on my social channels. It’s an interesting read, and argues that activities like $34 Soul Cycle classes and indulgences like a daily green juice (average cost, $8) are the new “it” things in luxury. Living in NYC, I’d have to agree– especially after yesterday’s “blizzard.” Like most New Yorkers, I was glued to social channels (not news channels, but that’s a different post) to learn about storm related news, especially subway closings and gym class cancellations.

You see, I had scheduled a workout class at a boutique gym on Monday evening, and while I was confident they would cancel the class in light of the storm, there hadn’t been any notification yet as to whether the class was still on or off. I booked the class through ClassPass, and while ClassPass waived cancellation fees, the gym never actually canceled the class. Yep. As news spread that the subway would be shutting down early, and as De Blasio warned New Yorkers to leave work ahead of the 6pm rush hour, the workout class was still a go. WTF was my first thought, and when my friend sent through a Snapchat of swirling snow with the caption “Don’t worry, Equinox is still open,” I just had to laugh. Style.com couldn’t have published the aforementioned article at a better time. Because only those wealthy enough to take an Uber home (which has been criticized in the past for insane surge pricing and general tendency to cater towards rich, young people) would risk squeezing in one last barre class before the snow storm hit.

Me, I went home. On Tuesday, NYC was in a weird blizzard-flux twilight zone; some businesses as well as schools remained closed, and public transportation ran on a limited schedule. But boutique gyms? OPEN FOR BUSINESS. And not just open, but open with additional classes. Because I belong to ClassPass, I’ve visited dozens of boutique gyms in NYC. And I received a similar email from many of them. Below, a sampling:




If being able to spend $34+ on a fitness class is a luxury, then the ultimate luxury is the time and flexibility to take them. These boutique gyms know their audience, and leveraged the storm to their benefit. The irony, of course, that many people probably “worked” from home… but found a way to make it to the gym.

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