What is the Old Money aesthetic and why is Gen-Z so in love with it?
Shiv Roy’s immaculately tailored ensembles in HBO Max’s latest comedy-drama show Succession, have sparked an interest in the Old Money aesthetic. Hashtags like ‘quiet luxury,’ ‘stealth wealth,’ and ‘old money aesthetics’ are trending on social media, and are now widely used interchangeably. Evidently, we’re looking at the biggest fashion trend of 2023.
Old Money is currently all the rage on social media, bringing to the fore pieces that were once thought to be the preserve of the elite. Though old money hashtags are making a buzz now, this style is not really a recent phenomenon. Displayed in myriad movies and TV shows the likes of Gossip Girl and Anatomy of a Scandal, it’s typically characterised by elegant and understated designs that eschew obvious logos or details — think polo shirts, linen dresses and cashmere sweaters. Complementing the Old Money aesthetic is, of course, a luxurious, idyllic lifestyle that runs the gamut of fancy cars, expansive mansions and estates, champagne-drenched yacht charters, ski trips at exotic locales — all without being overtly flashy or flamboyant.
A real life example? Look to Gwyneth Paltrow‘s choice of attire at her recent ski trial, where she showed up in low-key, neutral-hued and undoubtedly pricey outfits and accoutrements from brands like Ralph Lauren, The Row, Prada and Celine. She was also spotted clutching a blue notebook in court — and not just your regular stationery store journal but a USD 250 lambskin leather bound one from British luxury label Smythson. Indeed, it’s the subtle touches of luxury like these that set the Old Money crowd apart from the nouveau riche.
When it comes to fashion, it looks like you’ve got a choice between the uninhibited style of the 2000s and the Old Money aesthetic. Because while the noughties vibe looked like the dominant trend on the rise in recent months, it now seems like we’ll all be dipping into the closets of the aristocracy to stay up to date this season. Gone are the jogging suits, sneakers and hoodies with oversized logos — replaced by a more classic, more discreet kind of chic, inherited from a handful of heirs who swear by polo shirts and cable-knit sweaters.
What exactly is the Old Money aesthetic?
The term ‘Old Money’ essentially refers to the nobility, the aristocracy, or the WASP crowd. It’s about people who inherited wealth, rather than earning money by working. The aesthetic is comparable to the preppy look that was popular a few years ago, but in an even more chic version, like you just got back from the tennis club or if it’s winter, it’s more like you just got back from the ski slopes, with this slightly retro touch that makes all the difference.
Contrary to what you might think, the craze for this aesthetic is being seen across all generations, and even among the youngest fashion fans. In fact, the last we checked the hashtag #OldMoney has garnered over 2.6 billion views on TikTok. #OldMoneyAesthetic and #OldMoneyOutfits have 946 million and 222.5 million views and counting.
The literal term ‘old money’ is associated with the right family name and substantial inheritance. You have to be born with the titles to ever achieve it. That’s why the younger generation has adopted the aesthetic as a style statement, not a lifestyle goal.
Old Money aesthetics and quiet luxury in pop culture
We can certainly say that quiet luxury has never gone out of style. It has cemented its role in pop culture, from Gossip Girl’s (2007-2012) It girl Blair Waldorf (played by Leighton Meester) to Oscar-nominated 2022 flick Tár (starring Cate Blanchett) and TV shows like Netflix Spanish drama series Elite (2018-), The Crown (2016-) and Succession (2018-23).
We can’t talk about old money and not mention the royal families. They are quite literally the biggest influencers of the terminology. If you need some inspiration for your outfit of the day (#ootd), you can definitely check out some best fashion moments of Princess Diana or Kate Middleton.
It’s not only the British royal family who nail the Old Money aesthetic. Royals all around the world are equally cautious about their appearances, favouring elegance, quality and craftsmanship over flashy logos and oversized clothes. Some of the most stylish royals include Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, Queen Letizia of Spain, Swedish Royals Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia Hellqvist, Prince Mateen of Brunei, and Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur.
How to incorporate old money vibes in your wardrobe
If you want to try the Old Money aesthetic on, we’ve got you covered. The latest reboot of the style is not all about affluence. Steering away from logos and focusing on quality gives you the chance to appreciate craftsmanship and fine tailoring. Neutral colours, monochromatic outfits, tailored fits and minimalist accessories are the foundation of the style. It’s not about showing off your wealth — the aesthetic is more inclined towards sustainable fashion that doesn’t go out of style.
Here are some high-end brands that have been crushing the quiet luxury game for years. So you can rock the if you know you know (#IYKYK) vibe.
If you’re curious about the trend but are not so sure about spending a fortune, here are some alternatives that won’t break the bank.
The prices of the products mentioned in the story are subject to change.
A previous version of this article was published via AFP Relaxnews. Pallabi Bose contributed reporting.
(Main image credit: IMDb and Instagram and featured image credit: Bobby Bank/WireImage/ Getty Images)
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