The key component of Thingness is knowing that everyone knows that everyone knows it's a Thing (aka Common Knowledge).
Social forms, apparel, aesthetic judgment, the whole style of human expression are constantly transformed by fashion, in such a way, however, that fashion—in all these things affects only the upper classes. Just as soon as the lower classes begin to copy their style, thereby crossing the line of demarcation the upper classes have drawn and destroying the uniformity of their coherence, the upper classes turn away from this style and adopt a new one, which in its turn differentiates them from the masses; and thus the game goes merrily on...
Psychologist Ross quoted by psychologist Hurlock (1929) defined fashion as "...a series of recurring changes in the choices of a group of people, which, though they may be accompanied by utility, are not determined by it."
When stylists dress Zadie Smith in long pleats it’s an acknowledgment that they are not working with a clean slate—and want a shorthand to accentuate her easy confidence.
In other words, Brahmins are more fashionable than Townies. Brahmin tastes, which are basically better tastes, flow downward toward Townies. Twenty years ago, “health food” was a niche ultra-Brahmin quirk. Now it’s everywhere. Suburbanites drink espresso, shop at Whole Foods, listen to alternative rock, you name it.
In Book Six, Knausgaard sheds some light on this very point. For he writes that “style is little more than self-awareness.”