King Charles III’s coronation, Sofia Richie’s Italian wedding and even the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II. These extravagant regal and showbiz events have made TikTok obsessed with old money and quiet luxury. They have inspired wardrobe changes in fashion fanatics, but these aesthetics can ultimately be unattainable and damaging.
What exactly is old money?
It’s wealth that is inherited rather than earned, making the royal family a prime example. Quiet luxury relates to the uber wealthy not showing their affluence in their fashion and everyday lifestyle. Instead of big logos and diamonds, a £100 plain white T-shirt will do for people of this social calibre.
Old money and quiet luxury have been brought to the spotlight by the heightened press around the royal family, the release of Succession and celebrities such as Brooklyn Beckham and Sofia Richie having lavish weddings, which have captivated TikTok users.
Annelie Helgelin of Brandwatch says that their recent analysis has revealed that there has been ”more than 33,000 online mentions of quiet luxury and old-money aesthetics” from January 1 to April 14 this year, with a particular increase of 161% from March 2022 to March 2023.
Annelie’s research has shown that the hit Netflix show Succession, following the lives of the wealthy Roy family, has increased searches into old money British styles, as she says ”Ralph Lauren, Bottega Veneta and Burberry showing an increase in mentions after a popular scene in Succession.”
Various influencers including @n.mariaam have gained hundreds of thousands of followers from posting old money inspired outfits.
But the recent romanticisation of opulent lifestyles can be damaging, particularly in a cost of living crisis.
Megan Watkins, head stylist at SilkFred, says that “the ‘quiet luxury’ trend is just another TikTok-led fashion movement that most of us can’t afford, leading to users feeling like they aren’t keeping up or spending money on something that they wouldn’t have bought, had it not been for a well-timed clip from their favourite fashion creator.”
She continues that buying diamond studded dresses and wearing a different Prada bag everyday is also not a real representation of how most of the uber wealthy carry themselves in real life.
”There is an old saying that ‘money talks’ but, with fashion, it seems that wealth whispers,” says Megan.
”If we look closely at the 1% – think Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos – you won’t find them in the loud, overly logo-ed designs that upscale fashion houses have been pushing in the past couple of years. Instead, they dress in crisp white shirts, tailored trousers and even t-shirts that, believe it or not, may cost a small fortune. Their wealth is often only seen in statement watches, designer bags that only eagle-eyed fashionistas can appreciate and luxury cars,” she adds.
For those wanting to emulate an old money style, Megan says this can be done without breaking the bank.
”Apart from looking at sales, charity shops and reselling apps, consumers can shop at outlets that sell past season pieces for less. One of the keys to nailing the ‘quiet luxury’ trend is finding pieces that fit well. This can be as simple as taking your clothes to your local tailor. Tailoring not only ensures your outfits fit like a glove, they also prolong the life of your clothes which are often thrown away as our bodies change and fluctuate.”
Old money and quiet luxury may have been misconstrued in 2023, but trends are up to personal interpretation, says Megan. ”This is just the nature of fashion and what makes it so interesting. At this point in time ‘quiet luxury’ is only a concept without real definition, and people should just be able to have fun interpreting it in their own way.
”Keeping your eye on sales, scouring good quality charity and second-hand shops and using resell fashion apps could help you build the ‘quiet luxury’ wardrobe of your dreams.”