There's no getting around it. We're all somewhat obsessed with our status. Where do we fit into the pecking order?
Some of us identify as dedicated individualists: our collection of stereo kit reflects exactly that: good stuff that most people don't have.
Others fall into the more traditional status roles: our collection of stereo kit has been vetted and lusted after by a pretty large group.
In fact, I don't know that there's much value in cataloging the many different status roles because we're all unique.
But when we think about our systems choices, how many of us are comfortable in how we got to where we are? Did we make equipment choices based on personal evaluations of performance? One vs. the other? Or did we choose more on reputation?
I don't think there's any one path better than the other. We all use reputation, reviews, and study to narrow down a crowded field of choices. And at one point in the process we of course made sure it meets or exceeds our expectations.
Still, I have a certain admiration for those among us that make decisions based more on how something sounds than how others will perceive that choice.
Once the noise and chatter die down, it's ultimately performance that's going to matter.