I'll start off by saying I love our clothing system. It's one of my favorite features in the game, and it gives infinite power for customizing your character's style. Between all the stock items and the ability to tailor custom stuff, you can dress your character however you want, from a low life street urchin all the way up to a power mongering corp exec staring down at the puny ants from your gleaming tower.
But I feel like the social statuses represented by these different styles aren't all the pervasive. Specifically, themely reactions and consequences. There are a few such things in the game. You walk about Green and you'll see a message about someone cursing you under their breath. Beyond that, it mostly comes from RP, as it should. Corpie characters are suspicious of mixers, and mixers are likely to target corpies walking the mix. This is obviously done with puppeted NPCs as well. But I'd like to see it go a step further. Corpies walking the mix getting harassed by gangers, mixers walking topside getting harassed by Judges and CorpSec. But how?
Clothing, duh! Didn't you read the title? So, what I propose are "status tags" on clothing, which would give a character an overall status rating based on what they are visibly wearing.
The way I see it, there are 5 main social classes, which, though not totally distinct, most every person in the city could be slotted into, and the interact with each other in specific ways.
I will now list them, along with a bit of explanation, as well as clothing that I see as fitting into that level.
0-Street Urchin-Here you've got your homeless, park boys, and immies who have made anything for themselves yet. Clothing includes pretty much anything you buy at the Depot.
1-Mixer-The vast majority off players, gangers and such are here. Clothing includes anything that is halfway decent/pricey that is of a more "formal" nature. Du-Wear/neXus/ProTek would probably fall into this level.
2-Low Corpie-They may be at the bottom of the corporate ladder, but at least they're on it. Your average Joe pissing his life away for the Corps, in exchange for a decently nice and safe living. Clothing would included basic suits, and dress that are a step above mixer fashion, even if inspired buy it.
3-Mid Corpie-Here you've got the movers and shakers. Middle management. Low level celebs. They're making their way up the ladder, but the top is still out of sight. Clothing here is much as level 2, but higher quality and with a bigger price tag.
4-Top Corpie-Those fuckers everyone loves to hate, but everyone keeps ending up paying their salary. Here we're talking upper management. They may be the CEO, but they're probably at least in charge of Withmore operations for their Corp. If they're not on the corporate council, they have influence with someone who is. Clothing at this point is extravagant. The nicest fabrics, and they're probably not even synth. Gold thread, diamond buttons, pretty much whatever they want.
Now, at this point I'm sure you have noticed that each level also corresponds with actual areas of the game world. I'll go into that now. Where I see each one as and how those of different status levels would likely be treated there.
0-The park, sewers, mostly. Though there are plenty of street urchins prowling the mix, this is more their home turf. Other 0s are pretty much accepted and left alone. It's not like they have much to steal anyways. 1s can generally get away with going here, too. They might get hassled a bit or pickpocketed, but real trouble isn't that common. 2s, 3s, and 4s on the other hand are lucky is verbal abuse is all they get. They likely won't walk out with all their possessions or even their limbs.
1-The mix. The place we all, pretty much, know and love. 0s will be accepted here for the most part, but often looked down upon. They probably won't get robbed cause, again, what is there to take. TERRA might hassle them to move along if they hang around too long. Store owners might hassle them, too, thinking they're thieves. 1s are generally pretty safe, at least as one can be in the mix. There are always pickpockets and gangers who might hassle you if they're having a bad day. 2s will be able to walk in relative safety as well. They're more likely to get pickpocketed and hassled than 1s, but nothing too bad, most of the time. 3s and 4s are gonna have to watch their asses, cause they've got a target painted on them. Easy pickings, and it's probably a good pay out. If they're not getting attacked, someone is at least shouting off about them on sic, "Hey, you see that corpie on Fuller. Probably roll him for some nice flash."
2-Gold-Here is where you're mostly likely to see the different status levels, if not interacting, at least sharing the same space. 0s will be hassled by Judges and CorpSec for sure, and 1s will at least get a few odd glances. 2s, 3s, and 4s can walk the streets without problems. The most 3s and 4s will get are jealous glares from the plebs checking out their sweet shit. If something does happen, you can be sure the judges and CorpSec will put the lives and property on 4s first and 3s second.
3-Green-Mixers go home. 0s are gonna have security bothering them pretty much the whole time, and even 1s are gonna get hassled. 2s will be just fine, minus a few pitying glances. 3s and 4s obviously have no problems here, generally.
4-Blue-0s and 1s walking the streets are gonna have security on them immediately, getting questioned, detained, or at least sent back to the lower levels, unless they have a damn good reason. 2s are pretty safe, but they'll still get hassled. 3s will be getting those pity looks that 2s get on Green. 4s are, of course, right at home.
The badlands and places in it would generally be 0/1 depending. Done worry, I'm almost done.
So, we tag all the clothing with status levels, but what about custom clothing. Well, for starters, you need a higher skill level to even attempt higher status level clothing. If you've got pretty much no skill, the best you can do is 0. As your skill increases, so do the options available to you. Now, seeing as the higher a level a piece of clothing has, the more pricey it generally is, I think it would also make sense to have different levels of material. You can just buy a regular level 1 piece of synthcotton material and use it to make an amazing level 4 suit that sells for half a million or something. Okay, I promise I'm done for now. What's everyone think?