There’s nothing subtle about a £14,000 handbag
Shiv’s wardrobe in Succession, Gwyneth Paltrow’s demure courtroom wardrobe and Sofia Richie’s chic South of France wedding have us all obsessed with one thing right now— looking rich. #OldMoneyAesthetic now has over a billion views on TikTok. A term accompanied by two other buzzwords: quiet luxury and stealth wealth.
Essentially, the trend implies looking like you have money without flaunting a bulging bank account. We’re talking logoless white T-shirts, tailored trousers, cashmere jumpers and wool coats: Extortionately priced basics, supposedly worn by Rothschilds not Kardashians— A listers with super sonic generational wealth, not quick (or flash) cash to burn.
But the It girl of the unstoppable quiet luxury, Sofia Richie, exemplifies a contradiction. Her plain white fits, black bodycon dresses and simple jumpers have been slideshowed by influencers on TikTok again and again as an example of stealth wealth: “Money talks, wealth whispers” the captions read. But how is a £14,000 Hermes handbag or a hot pink Chanel vintage playsuit covered in mirrored double C logos whispering what’s in your bank account?
Sofia Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow: These people are rich. So, they look rich. And elevated basics aren’t “old money” at all – Kendall and Kylie Jenner binned colour from their wardrobes months ago. Just look at this year’s Coachella outfits. Plain, plain, plain. Almost every single day. Patternless, and costing thousands.
Every other video on any fashion girlies For You Page being labelled “quiet luxury” right now isn’t just annoying (who’s buying a grey hoodie for £200 when we can’t afford to turn the heating on?) it’s completely fake. According to the trend analyst @databutmakeitfashion, brands aren’t moving towards away from garish logos at all.
“After analyzing thousands of looks from the 2023 runway collections, logos were actually everywhere,” they wrote on TikTok. “In around 60 per cent of Miu Miu’s collections, 42 per cent of Fendi’s collections and around 30 per cent of Chanel’s collections.”
Yet, depressingly, since Sofia Richie’s South of France wedding, endless TikTok girlies’ have made videos clearing out their entire wardrobes of colour or pattern in an attempt to emulate her style. And, as one person in the comments put it, what do you have without designer quality or logos? Zara basics. A sad sea of cream, white and grey.
“This ‘quiet luxury’ notion that people with ‘true’ wealth only wear discreet, conformist UNIFORMS is nothing but absolute nonsense,” wrote respected fashion blogger Bryan Yambao on Instagram. “Banal, rebranded. It’s not ‘luxury’ per se, it’s an old aesthetic rooted in whiteness and deception – dressing in a uniform manner to control how people perceive them.”
To put it simply, life’s depressing enough. Don’t let the allure of quiet luxury con you into donating all your fun vibes to charity shops or flogging them on Vinted when millionaires might be wearing neon next month. Enough with the joyless neutrals. Or if that must be your aesthetic, babe, buy them from Uniqlo x