Old Money Not In Your Budget? Here’s How to Make Your Outfits Look Expensive

For better or for worse, we’re still talking about the old money aesthetic. After blowing up this spring with Sofia Richie’s Eden Roc wedding, the allure of stealth wealth has proven itself a major driver in this year’s trends — from Zara dupes to the new prominence of major designers.

Sleek, unassuming high-end brands like Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta, The Row, Khaite, and Loro Piana have become the new status symbols, surpassing the heavily-logoed attire of the past decade. Phoebe Philo, designer extraordinaire of old Celine fame, just launched her new namesake brand of quiet luxury essentials. Even celebs are enamored by this lowkey luxury — take Hailey Bieber’s WARDROBE.NYC collab and Sofia Richie’s viral TikToks.

And the thing that makes quiet luxury so appealing is that it can’t be replicated. Yes, all the fast fashion brands are making knockoffs, but the whole point of the aesthetic is feeling like you’re part of the club. It’s an “if you know, you know” affair, and all I know is that I can’t afford any of it.

But if you’re like me, the allure of quiet luxury isn’t just in the labels or the status symbols. It’s the simplicity of a well-designed, unassuming piece of clothing that will pass the test of time. We all had our fun in cheaply made, flimsy party tops in our youth — always, always paired with the most absolutely filthy AF1s — and one too many nylon minidresses on a night out. But growing up is about trading those in for versatile pieces you can wear more than once and keep in rotation forever.

Quiet luxury pieces have two main things in common: timeless design and good materials. So even if you can’t afford the top-shelf brands, if you look for these two things in everything you buy…you’re on your way to creating an old money-inspired closet.

To get even more mileage out of your closet- taking care of your clothes goes a long way toward making them look more expensive and keeping them in good shape for longer. With proper care and proper styling, you can spruce up your wardrobe and upgrade your looks without dropping thousands of dollars on brands worn by the characters of Succession.

Here are the little ways you can upgrade your attire to demonstrate your expensive taste on the way more affordable budget:

Tailor everything

One of the most important relationships a person can have is with their tailor. I strongly believe that. They’re one of the few people I trust to give me an honest opinion on how my clothes look. From simple hemmings to more elaborate adjustments, I take everything from T-shirts to jeans to my tailor. And if you want your pieces to fit you like a celebrity, this is your first step.

Don’t be lazy with your laundry

No more throwing all your dirty clothes indiscriminately into the washing machine and hoping for the best, bestie. Even if you’ve graduated to sorting clothes by color, you could probably be doing more to preserve them on laundry day. Actually read the care labels on your clothing — at least on your most precious pieces. Hand wash what needs hand washing, and line dry what you can’t afford to let shrink in the dryer. Also, invest in good detergents and tools. Thankfully, The Laundress has made a triumphant comeback — their stain solution and bleach alternative have saved my life on many occasions.

Accessorize strategically

It’s not just what you wear, it’s how you style it. This is one of the golden rules of fashion. Different people can take the most basic looks and make them look unrecognizable. So if you want your outfits to be more old money coded, it’s all in how you accessorize. First, try the watch trend — it’s one of the most classic accessories and it’s having a resurgence on the wrists of celebs like Sofia Richie, Hailey Bieber, and Zendaya. Also opt for high-quality, small jewelry pieces. Delicate chains are the epitome of the “less is more” stealth wealth look. Which explains the line around the block at Mejuri.

Pick good fabrics

Anything synthetic probably has a shorter shelf life. But you can dress up synthetics with timeless, natural materials like cotton, wool, cashmere (if you can find it at a bargain), and real leather (preferably vintage). One statement piece in a sturdy, good material can take your whole look to the next level. They just sit better and last forever.

Invest in basics

If you’re wondering what to splurge on, pick the basics that you can build multiple outfits around. One great piece is all you need to put together a great outfit.

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