What Is The “Old Money” Aesthetic And How To Adopt The Style

If you’re a fan of shows like “Succession” or “Gossip Girl,” you may have found yourself appreciating the quiet but sophisticated looks of characters like Shiv Roy or Nate Archibald. How can an outfit that seems so basic and subdued look so classic and chic at the same time?

That’s the power of money – or, at least, the appearance of it. The “old money” aesthetic, as it’s being called on TikTok, is all about dressing like your bank account has six zeroes at the end of it. Here’s our breakdown on what “old money” is and how to mimic the style without going into debt.

What does “Old Money” mean?

Fashion is typically one of the ways that we track the passage of time. Trends come back in style, but they always call us back to the original era of the trend’s popularity. Watching older movies, you can predict the decade based on the fashion choices of the characters. However, with the “old money” aesthetic, you can’t quite tell in the same way because the style is much more timeless.

Money Suite 1
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“Old Money” references people who inherited their wealth rather than earning it. It’s a level of wealth that we cannot imagine nor ever dream of attaining in this lifetime, but it’s awfully fun to pretend that we live among the likes of the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers.

What’s funny is that the term originates from a time when those same families were getting their start in the shipping, railroad, and oil industries. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Vanderbilt and Rockefeller families were putting in the work to accumulate their wealth and considered “new rich.” They were likely looked down on by the more established families of that day, such as the Delanos, the Roosevelts, the Harrisons, and the Randolphs. These families, who built their wealth in the Colonial days of the United States, produced Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and Calvin Coolidge.

How to Achieve The “Old Money” Look

If you’re ready to build a wardrobe of the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, Cary Grant, and Paul Newman, keep reading.

1. Pick quality over quantity

In complete contrast to the “more more more” mantra of the 2000s, this aesthetic is asking you to be more selective with your wardrobe. Invest in high-quality pieces that will last decades instead of the fast fashion pieces that rip at the slightest tug. Prioritize organic cotton, linen, and silk for summer and cashmere and wool for winter.

2. Embrace neutrals

Money Select Coat
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They might seem boring at first, but neutrals have stood the test of time and come out the victor. Lean into the lighter spectrum of the neutral palette, looking out for every shade of cream, white, tan, and beige you can get your hands on. Carefully contrast with soft dark shades of black and navy. A pop of color here and there is acceptable, but keep it minimal.

3. Think “quiet” luxury

Take any designer pieces that loudly declare they’re Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Versace, etc., and pack them up in the back of your closet. Moving forward, any designer pieces you wear cannot have a big designer emblem or label on them. There’s a reason the “old money” aesthetic is also called “stealth wealth” or “quiet luxury.”

4. Tailor, tailor, tailor

Money Tailor
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Choose well-fitted pieces or invest in getting your favorite blazer tailored exactly to your measurements. This style is all about pieces that look like they were made just for you.

5. Aim for equestrian and naval style

If you want to look rich, dress like you’re going to do activities that rich people do. Riding boots are very stylish for women, even if they’re not going to the stables. Stripes evoke the image of an afternoon on your father’s yacht. Oxfords are a good men’s shoe choice. If you’re feeling stuck, look up what the rich wear to outings like Wimbledon, a polo championship, or a day cruise.

6. Stay timeless

Money Timeless
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There are certain clothing pieces that will help ensure you never go out of style. For men, a cable knit sweater can look great on its own or draped casually over your shoulder. Polo shirts, chino pants, leather belts, and loafers are other must-haves. For women, tennis skirts, pleated midi-skirts, Oxford button-down shirts, and white tennis shoes are good investments. Blazers, cardigans, sweater vests, and trench-coats are perfect outwear choices for both men and women.

Tip: Check out our layering guidelines for stylish men!

7. Shop second-hand

Whether it’s digging through your parent’s boxes of old clothes or visiting your local vintage shop, second-hand pieces are a great way to ace the authenticity factor of your timeless look. It’s also a more cost-friendly way to build up your new wardrobe.

8. Be confident

Money Dressing Room
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Not only should you dress the part, you’ve got to act it too! Make sure your hair is clean and properly styled. Be sure you smell good. Walk with grace and poise, knowing that you have nailed the old money aesthetic.

A life of quiet luxury

Remember, it’s not about how much money you spend on your clothes. It’s about how you carry yourself and choosing pieces that speak more to tradition and sophistication than fads and TikTok trends. Brush up on your wine knowledge, so you’re ready when you get that invite to go wine tasting in Cape Cod with the Kennedys.

Image credit: Pexels

Jules Rivera

Jules Rivera (they/them) is a writer and artist based in Nashville, TN. They are a multi-faceted human who can critique red carpet looks in one breath and discuss intersectional feminist theory and systems change in the next. After blogging their way through young adulthood, Jules is excited to be writing with Modern Ratio.