Explaining the 'Old Money' Aesthetic Beyond the TikTok Trend
Asia/ Fashionista/ Style

What Is the 'Old Money' Aesthetic?

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Trust us, in the world of high society, you do not want to be called nouveau. There’s nothing essentially wrong with being nouveau riche per se. But the term itself often comes with the implication of being gaudy — and it’s the exact opposite of how those with old money would like to appear. It’s the difference between an unassuming Brioni suit and a Louis Vuitton jacket that’s bedecked in damier. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s simply a little too much sometimes.

In contrast to the nouveau, old money is very much into quiet luxury. Unassuming and subtle, those born into generational wealth are not easily impressed. For those who want to emulate this breezy, almost blasé attitude, it’s not enough to simply hop on to TikTok. Granted, old money is a continuing trend that multiple influencers have talked about. But trust us: it’s not the colour or the cut that defines “quiet luxury.”

Out there, TikTokers are likely to have you believe that throwing on a white blazer over camel-toned trousers (and then pairing it with your four motif Van Cleef) equals quiet luxury. But it’s not that. Rather, the old money look is better defined by three things: fit, fabric, and rarity.

Fit

Everyone in fashion will agree: Fit is the most important thing when it comes to dressing for yourself.

Knowing your body type is a huge advantage and at this point, it isn’t even about name brands or designers. Because the one thing you will never see old money in is something sloppy. It’s simply taking advantage of the body you have by wearing clothing that highlights your figure in the best possible way.

Nothing too tight, nothing too loose. Everything fits perfectly because everything can be custom-made, altered, or bespoke. Not that they don’t buy off the rack, they do — but the clothes will likely be tweaked to fit better.

Fabric

Quality over quantity. Never buy something that isn’t made up to standard; clothes that won’t last more than a handful of washes are better left untouched. To recreate the quiet luxury look, consider the shape of the piece you are buying and how its fabric can affect your day-to-day lifestyle. Natural fabrics such as cotton, fiber, and silk are oftentimes more comfortable and breathable, but synthetic fibers such as rayon or nylon are more durable.

Make sure that the fabric of your item is good quality, fits your purpose of wear, and that the piece itself is made to last. Remember that when shopping, it’s all about style, not trends. Find something that will stand the test of time because quiet luxury is all about timelessness, not trends.

Rarity

Clothes and accessories can be a great investment. Think: Birkin bags and Haute Joaillerie. So it’s not true that old money only wears neutral colours and black dresses. People who have generational wealth know that having something rare and unique is one of the best ways to increase value. It’s simply supply and demand.

If you find something that resonates with your style that is unique to you then it’s definitely worth a purchase. Take, for example: Van Cleef and Arpels. Beautiful brand, really. But the market is saturated with the Alhambra pendant — so much so that there are an embarrassing number of knockoffs readily available.

Instead of investing in a 10 motifs necklace (that everyone and their neighbour already have in their collection), perhaps consider a Cindy Chao butterfly brooch instead? We love a Cartier Tank, but it is redesigned and reintroduced every few years, so perhaps a limited-edition Métiers d'Art Cartier would be better suited for your style.

At the end of the day, fashion is personal. Looking good and feeling good should never be reliant on how much your clothes cost or what boutiques you shop in. Neither should your style or aesthetic be defined by something that doesn’t resonate with your personality. Not feeling quiet luxury? Maximalist and bold is just as exciting. After all, style is simply about having fun.

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