If you’re a fashion lover, your TikTok FYP has probably served up more videos than you can count about the stealth-wealth fashion trend—also known as quiet luxury—that seems to be pretty much everywhere right now.
The idea is just as simple it sounds: looking like a very rich person by dressing subtly, simply, and in a way that exudes luxury without the obvious markers, such as excessive logos, obvious name brands, or trending shapes and styles that everyone else is wearing. Instead, quiet luxury leans into classic, tailored silhouettes typically in neutral shades like black, white, beige, gray, and navy. That means no low-rise baggy jeans and crop tops, head-to-toe neon, or sheer metallic cutout dresses. Classic Italian cashmere brands like Loro Piana and Brunello Cuchinelli and minimal designers such as Jil Sander, The Row, and Max Mara are being cited as labels to achieve the look.
All well and good, but most people who genuinely keep up with fashion know “quiet luxury” is really just a classic, minimal way of dressing using well-made pieces that never bow to the trend cycle or go out of style. True investment pieces you can buy and wear for decades. The Row founders Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have embodied this vibe for what seems like forever.
But because nothing is really ever new, minimalism has been rebranded online thanks to a little show called Succession and the characters’ wardrobes, which exude class and simplicity. Never mind that these guys are supposed to be actual billionaires. The series showcases a who’s who of subtly indulgent fashion brands, from Shiv’s Ralph Lauren–heavy wardrobe to Kendall’s signature Loro Piana cashmere baseball caps—logo-less and utilitarian—that come with a cool $495 price tag.
Gwyneth Paltrow, whose meme-worthy time in a Utah courtroom captivated the internet in March, has also emerged as beacon of stealth wealth thanks to her seemingly quiet wardrobe choices for the ski accident trial, which in fact featured a $4,800 The Row coat, Celine Boots, Proenza Schouler trousers, a Smythson notebook and—you guessed it—a Loro Piana cashmere sweater. The Guardian declared it “billionaire chic.”
“Money talks, wealth whispers,” some say of the quiet-luxury movement, though others claim that aspiring to resemble CEOs, billionaires, and members of the old guard is elitist and rooted in patriarchy and white privilege.
Fashion blogger Bryan Yambao, who goes by the handle @BryanBoy, referenced those points in a recent Instagram post:
Working in fashion and going to some of the most toe-curling exclusive events in the past two decades allowed me to meet so many wealthy people of all stripes—millionaires, billionaires, children of billionaires, new money, old money, you name it. Couture clients. Couture collectors with so much old money but amusingly questionable taste. Women—and men—with obscene jewelry and wardrobes. And let me tell you in layman’s terms, there is no standardized way in the manner of how they dress. They’re equally as chic and as awfully tacky (or fabulously vulgar) as someone with lesser economic means.
This “quiet luxury” notion that people with “true” wealth only wear discreet, conformist UNIFORMS is nothing but absolute nonsense. 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.
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For most people, how we dress is simply how we feel most comfortable—be that loud, quiet, stealth or overt. But if minimal, stealth wealth is an aesthetic you feel drawn to, look to accessible brands like COS, Theory, Eileen Fisher, Everlane, or Frank & Oak for that understated, pulled-together vibe Succession’s Shiv does so well, without the four- (or five-) figure price tags. Or, wear loud-and-proud logos, clashing colors and the It bag of the moment all at once. Or don’t. Most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle, anyway.
This story originally appeared in Glamour