The upper classes were obsessed with maintaining their status and individuality. This meant they must be different from the other classes and "better" in more than one way. They used to be able to easily claim that status by their opulent clothes so when one is walking down the street everyone knows your class. Another symbol was to have a tiny waist which was seen as a "natural sign of superior class status." But, with the increase in industrialization it was becoming easier and easier for women of lower classes to access corsets that were made just as well. If you saw them side by side one could see a difference but since clothes were covering the corsets, it was possible for lower class women to achieve the same tiny waists.
Tattooing arose as a way for the wealthy to differentiate themselves from the other classes. One could instantly see the difference between a tattoo done by the famed Professor Riley and some other tattooist Thus, if someone was to pose as a member of a higher class at a party and tattoo showing ensued which often did, the impostor would be found out.
The aristocracy was grasping for something they could claim as solely their own, and tattooing fit that bill. Everyone’s tattoo collection could be uniquely one’s own. Although all of one’s friends might have tattoos, they are all one-of-a-kind. One had the choice of choosing animals, flowers, crests, automobiles, or their husband’s initials. This gave aristocratic women a feeling of freedom and individuality that was becoming harder to achieve in the modern age.