“Why [is everyone laughing up their sleeves]? Because she’s brought a ludicrously capacious bag. What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail?”
No shade to your mom’s Burberry tote, flats, or your packed lunch, but “Quiet Luxury” has been recently launched into the spotlight thanks to the styling choices behind HBO’s hit show Succession. So what is this anti-logo “Quiet Luxury” style, or “Stealth Wealth” aesthetic that’s got everyone hot these days? Read on to learn more about the trend from a professional stylist.
“Stealth Wealth” in Silicon Valley
To those in the Bay Area, subtle displays of wealth are nothing new. Compared to the camera-facing industries in Los Angeles and New York, Silicon Valley is quite literally the opposite. Here, the wealthy have likely made it big off of their work between the user and the camera lens, in the development of apps, technology, and other backend systems. When it comes to fashion, the goal around here is to appear well-kept, but definitely not flashy — in other words, you want to look successful, but in a way that both discloses your wealth and reveals how you’ve invested your time and money into other ventures.
“Stealth Wealth” in HBO’s Succession
“Stealth Wealth” spans across a number of different styles, from the simple lounge-friendly sweaters that Nan Pierce (of the powerful Pierce family in Succession) is seen in, to the well-tailored suits that Kendall Roy sports during his board meetings (which are just one example, despite the valid argument that the Roys are “new” to the “old-money” aesthetic, and therefore fail to grasp the concept stylistically). There are no clear-cut borders between brands or fits that warrant the title, either. However, “stealth wealth” fashion does share a few common denominators: the quality of the clothing and tailoring is undoubtedly exceptional, and there’s not a flashy or recognizable logo in sight.
In season one, we see Tom Wambsgans get ridiculed by Roman Roy for wearing a black Moncler vest over his light blue dress shirt. While this simple (although ill-fitting) pairing may not seem offensive enough to deserve the “What’s it stuffed with, your hopes and dreams?” retort, the mere presence of a logo indicates the wearer’s conscious choice to be seen sporting the Moncler brand, and to be affiliated with other high-rollers that would purchase items just like it. The inside joke, to season-one-Tom’s obliviousness, is that this kind of signaling is more than unnecessary to those of “real,” immeasurable wealth, because not only are they very much aware of flashy brands, they’ve actually risen above them and the need to flaunt their money… generations ago.
If Silicon Valley “Quiet Luxury” and the Pierce family’s “Stealth Wealth” style share the same distaste for gaudiness, then what are the differences, if any? The key is the presence of “old money” attitudes that have been hard-wired in the latter, versus a largely active ignorance of fashion due to the nature of their computer-bound work. Maybe you don’t have time to shop for your ideal wardrobe, or to pack for your upcoming work trips and vacations. A pro-tip from an old-money fly on the wall? Use a stylist. Click HERE to learn more about my New Client Collection, where I take care of your wardrobe edit and all your styling needs.