Just when you think you’ve got it goin’ on, here comes Biff Bankbook, Leonardo da Einstein and Groovy J. Funkdaddy to harsh your buzz.
Like it or not, and try as you might, there’ll always be somebody richer than you, smarter than you, cooler than you—some smug, insufferable showboat stealing your thunder. It’s frustrating, infuriating, demoralizing. You know in your heart that you could be smug and insufferable too, if only you knew how.
Happily, honest-to-gosh scientists conducting jen-yoo-wine research have identified and catalogued characteristics Joe and Jane Jejune expect of the rich, smart and cool, attributes that can be mimicked to convincing social affect. You may not be well-heeled, well-schooled or well-liked, but you can fake it.

Act Rich
Read magazines and watch reality TV shows that showcase the habits of rich people. Spend some time in high-end stores and five-star restaurants. Attend equestrian events. Even if you never take your wallet out of your pocket, you’ll grow conversant in the language and interests of the affluent.
Rich people can afford to look good all the time, and so must you. If you can’t swing weekly facials, develop a home skin-care regimen within your budget and stick to it. Have your teeth whitened and use mouthwash twice a day. Men should have their hair cut every two weeks, women should see their stylist every six weeks, and both should use the best conditioner they can afford. As to dress, hew to the one-third rule: Instead of buying three shirts at JCPenny, buy one from Lawrence Covell. And steer clear of garments or accessories with prominent branding, as logo-wear is the uniform of the wannabe.
Try to appear confident in all situations. People without money assume that people with it are never at a loss. A show of aplomb will impress.
Treat others with polite reserve. A little distance is classy. Rude or condescending comportment, however, will quickly spoil the illusion, as it’s widely accepted that insulting behavior betrays personal insecurity, and nobody with means could possibly have anything to feel insecure about. Think cool, but cordial.
Don’t get excited about nice things. If you were as rich as you’re pretending to be, you’d have been bored with Rolex, Ray-Ban and Rolls-Royce a long time ago.

Act Smart
Shamming smart is mostly about appearances. For starters, put away those contacts and put on those Coke-bottles. Psychology Today tells us that people tend to rate folks wearing glasses as “more intelligent.” The thicker the rims, the brighter you look.
Wear dark or muted mono-colored clothing. For some reason people perceive showy duds as low-brow. The same goes for revealing outfits and body art. The smart look is uninteresting.
Dreary attire aside, try to look bright. Smile and stand up straight. University studies indicate that people who look glum or tired are seen as less intelligent than people who present a cheery smile and good posture. Both convey confidence, self-possession and competence. Also, the more eye contact you can manage, the more intelligent you’ll appear.
The Journal of Consumer Psychology warns against something it calls “Imbibing Idiot Bias.” To wit, simply holding an alcoholic beverage in your hand will lower your intellect-apparent, possibly because observers assume that in half an hour you’ll be wearing a lampshade and drooling on your uninteresting shoes.
Don’t impose your supposed genius on everyone without also asking for everyone else’s opinions. Trying to seem smart by spouting declarative statements just makes you look like a pompous blowhard. Research by the Harvard Business School suggests that people who ask for advice are seen as more competent than people with all the answers. And don’t effectuate sesquipedalian locutions. Big words are for posers.
Want people to think you’re smart? Start using your middle initial. No kidding. Want to look even smarter? Start going by your middle name and initializing your first one. It’s science, people.

Act Cool
You can start by acting like being cool doesn’t matter to you. Like following a bunch of Mickey Mouse “cool rules” just ain’t your style. Like you’re cool by Act of Divine Providence and not because you ever once aspired to coolness.
Cool people don’t always toe the line, and neither should you. Knocking over a gas station isn’t cool, but wearing a pajama shirt in the daytime, or eating Pad Thai for breakfast shows that you don’t care what other people do, and most people think that’s cool. Chart your own course, be your own person, just don’t let anybody know that your cool, oddball style was agonizing months in development.
Keep a low profile. Cool people don’t advertise themselves. They wreath themselves in an aura of mystery. Mystery is cool.
The cool consider everyone their equal, even the rich and the smart. And they never judge. Cool people dig everybody’s scene, and treat everyone like they’re cool, too.
Not everyone will appreciate your bogus cool persona, and it’s cool to not care. Cool people don’t ask for, or need, validation. And, as the saying goes, never let them see you sweat. Cool people don’t stress, at least not so’s you’d know it.
You already know this one, but here’s authoritative confirmation: People think people who wear sunglasses are cooler than people who don’t. Again, science.
It’s important to remember that none of these valuable free tips will change who you are, they’ll just change who people think you are. Facts are, not all wealthy people dress well, plenty of intelligent people have pierced navels, and cool people can be just as dorky as the rest of us. But by following these simple guidelines, there’s no reason you can’t be mistaken for wealthy without wherewithal, brilliant without brains, and hip without happening. If you’re doing it right, smug and insufferable will take care of themselves.