What Is Old Money Aesthetic? Here’s How To Curate The Look
Garnering 461.1 million searches on TikTok at the time of writing – the old money aesthetic is the new, or rather, old trend that’s taking the fashion world by storm.
Focusing on quality tailoring and logo-free designer pieces, it embodies collegiate preppy American looks and centres on a wardrobe filled with crisp linens, subtle styling and classic designer handbags.
But just what is an old money aesthetic, what inspired it, and why is there a new generation desperate to capitalise on this classic look?
In this blog, we’re digging deep into the trend and looking at how and why it’s become so popular with the fashionable Gen Z elite, alongside our top tips on trying it yourself. Prepare for a world of quiet luxury and understated elegance!
Table of contents:
What does old money mean in fashion?
Old money fashion is an aesthetic inspired by the rich upper classes and how they dress.
To define old money fashion, there first needs to be an understanding of the term old money and where it originates. Old money describes families that have inherited their wealth over generations and haven’t elevated it from the working or middle classes.
The money in these families usually originates from generations of big business, an inherited fortune, or from nobility, hence why many have aristocratic titles.
The rich, upper classes were the first to adopt what is now known as the old money style, but with the rise in popularity of shows like ‘Succession’ and a resurgence of noughties classics such as ‘Gossip Girl’, a modern iteration of old money style is slowly taking over our social media feeds.
Also known as quiet luxury, an old money aesthetic is timeless and elegant and prioritises well-made, high-quality, understated garments over flashy designer logos and branding.
It’s embraced by the wealthy, as it helps signal who they are by what they’re wearing in a way that only those in the know will understand. Every item in their curated capsule wardrobes is carefully selected whilst appearing effortlessly put together to the untrained eye.
New money vs. old money fashion
Those with new money, or money earned recently, are usually first-generation millionaires or billionaires, and this can often be recognised in how they present themselves. For those who have worked to become ‘new money’ wealthy, there is usually more emphasis placed on statement dressing to showcase wealth and status.
New money fashion embraces designer logos, bolder logo prints and statement handbags featuring designer branding to present the wearer’s achievements as they reach a point where they can afford these aspirational brands and trend-led purchases.
With the ‘old money’ wealthy, the aesthetic is completely different. Embracing a neutral colour palette, an old money look can easily transcend trends. In old money dressing, more emphasis is placed on building a wardrobe filled with high-quality staples where the brands aren’t bold and flashy but rather classic and refined; think crisp, clean and simple without being bland.
In a time when we are constantly faced with recession and rising living costs, it can be considered in bad taste to display your wealth in a new fashion way, which is why the old money trend is quickly rising through the ranks. Although it is still aspirational, it’s also a look that can easily be replicated without the need for designer brands, which is why there’s so much enthusiasm for it.
Another great positive of old money fashion versus new is its emphasis on timeless styles and their positive impact on the environment, pushing towards a more circular economy that is not so reliant on fast fashion.
What clothing brands are old money style?
For the rich, fashionable elite, the clothing brands associated with old money style read like a list of shops on Bond Street. Classic brands such as Chanel and Dior for their timeless accessories and Ralph Lauren for its classic tailoring and sporty emblems embody that ‘if you know, you know’ old money style.
Most old money brands share an affinity for high-quality tailoring, minimalist logos, and effortlessly put-together style.
How to adopt old money style
Are you wanting to adopt the old money trend but unsure where to start?
Here are some basic rules for styling your look the old money way, from what you should be wearing to the style icons to take inspiration from!
Choose a light colour palette and neutral tones.
Light colours are a key ingredient of the old money aesthetic, particularly in the summer. Light and pastel colours are warm and inviting, which is great for networking and expanding your empire, whereas a completely black ensemble can make the wearer appear distant and closed-off.
Choose lightly coloured chinos and pair them with a preppy GANT shirt for the ultimate in understated chic!
Tennis clothes and chic sporty styles help you ace your old money game
Preppy collegiate youth attending Harvard or Yale are all purveyors of that classic old money look, and nothing screams understated wealth like a sporty emblem. Whether you’ve just stepped off the tennis court in head-to-toe tennis whites or perfected your swing on the golf course, a stylish, sporty ensemble is the epitome of old money style.
A Lacoste polo shirt paired with fitted jeans or chinos is an easy way to perfect this look. Or, if you’re looking for more tips to ace this style, why not head over to our Tenniscore blog for more inspiration?
Drape your sweater over your shoulders in true preppy style!
A style adopted from the golf course, where players would drape their sweatshirt around their shoulders in case the weather took a turn, there’s no denying that wearing your sweatshirt this way is a nod to sophisticated style!
Ensure your chosen sweatshirt is in a classic colour like these from Barbour International and complements your outfit, keeping logos to a minimum.
Avoid statement styles and flashy designer brands
Whatever garments you choose, keep them classic and traditional and avoid logos that scream wealth. It’s an unspoken rule that the old money elite all appreciate each other’s stylish and expensive clothing and tailoring – so there’s no need for overt labels. Instead, opt for minimalist sport-inspired emblems like the iconic polo player featured on a Polo Ralph Lauren sweatshirt.
High-quality fabrics are key
Remember, with old money fashion, the devil is in the cut’s detail; if you’re wearing cheap, synthetic fabrics, this will show in the fit. Opt for natural fibres where you can, such as linen, organic cotton, wool and cashmere, for a chic fit and finish. Your best bet for building a curated capsule wardrobe is to choose several core pieces in good-quality materials that you can combine easily in effortlessly stylish ways.
Take inspiration from old money style icons
Old money may be a new trend, but there have been plenty of perfect purveyors of it in both reality and fiction over the years. For men, look to Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, George Clooney and the male cast of Succession for inspiration on perfecting old money fashion.
Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy in Succession wears neutral, light, old money staples
As for ladies who excel in preppy chic, the late and great Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy Onassis were experts in the classic old money aesthetic. Or for a fictional take and hours of stylish inspiration, Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf is the queen of old money style in both her effortless and formal looks.
Leighton Meester plays Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl
Try on the old money trend by shopping for stylish pieces at CHO
So now you know what the trend is, why not try it on for yourself, either by shopping the links above or by exploring some of our favourite preppy, old-money brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, GANT, Penelope Chilvers and Tommy Hilfiger?