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The old-money aesthetic that took over 2023

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Quiet luxury is not a new aesthetic, but it has gained prominence over the fashion world in 2023. This style has also been known as “old-money aesthetics” or “stealth wealth” and is a trend that, in essence, goes against trends. It refers to elegant, timeless wardrobe staples that look expensive without outright displaying any link to a high-end brand. It is a break from the constant branding and promotion seen on social media by celebrities and influencers. Here is a deep dive into what the trend is and how it has gained prominence over the year.


What is quiet luxury?


Quiet luxury embodies the essence of “new-age minimalism” in the world of fashion. It is considered to be a lifestyle, more than just a trend. It is also referred to as silent luxury, stealth wealth, or the old money aesthetic.


In 2023, quiet luxury represents subtlety when it comes to fashion. It’s not about extravagant spending but rather an investment in high-quality, minimalist pieces that exude a timeless appeal. The emphasis is on creating a wardrobe of high-end everyday staples, reflecting a more sophisticated understanding of style.


It stands in contrast to avant-garde designer brands that show off brand logos. Instead, it leans towards neutral colours, smart tailoring, clean lines, and elite craftsmanship.


Can quiet luxury be a push towards sustainability?


Beyond aesthetics, there’s a sustainability element to quiet luxury. By rejecting seasonal fashion choices, it aligns with the “buy less, buy better” philosophy, promoting conscious consumption and time-honoured design. Since most pieces are subtle and generally of higher quality, they can last for years in one’s wardrobe.


Loud vs Quiet Luxury


While quiet luxury champions sophistication and subtlety, its counterpart, loud luxury, revolves around making a statement. Recognisable labels like Moschino, Balenciaga, and Gucci thrive on bold logos, experimental designs, and vibrant colours, aiming to spark conversations.


Movies like Rocky aur Rani kii prem kahani, show Ranveer Singh’s character sporting flashy clothes. Diljit Dosanjh has been spotted many times in the Balenciaga logo, and even Hardik Pandya is known for style that shows off expensive brands. This type of in-your-face branding is considered loud fashion.


Quiet fashion moves away from this to show off expensive style without the brand endorsement, where those who know know.


What are some markers of quiet luxury?


  • Going logo-free: Embracing a logo-less aesthetic.

  • High-quality materials: Valuing intricate embroidery and premium materials.

  • Clean cuts and muted tones: Smart tailoring, muted tones, and clean cuts define the look.

  • Minimalist pieces: Investing in minimalist pieces with timeless appeal.

  • Sustainability: Reflecting a commitment to sustainable fashion.

  • Thoughtful shopping: Focusing on quality over quantity.


How did the quiet luxury trend emerge?


Quiet luxury gained prominence through influential figures like Sofia Richie, who embodied the aesthetic with high-end, subtly luxurious attire. Even tech mogul Mark Zuckerberg has been known for wearing logo-free plain coloured t-shirts that carry a price tag of Rs 24,000+.


The comedy-drama series Succession also brought attention to the trend with Sarah Snook’s character, Siobhan Roy, wearing elegant muted looks. 


In March 2023, Gwyneth Paltrow received praise for her understated but luxurious style during her appearance in her ski trial. The Guardian termed this “billionaire chic” as the trend was only starting to take off.


Quiet luxury in India


In India, quiet luxury is deeply rooted in tradition. Indira Gandhi was well-known for her simplistic style, which included intricately woven, high-quality fabrics. India’s quiet luxury is embodied in the timeless elegance of saris and custom jewellery, celebrating the unbranded yet rich dressing style for which India is renowned. The resource-rich country can offer this trend in a manner that doesn’t hurt one’s wallet. People can purchase quality materials in local stores, fairs, and even homegrown brands. Clothes can be tailored to match one’s desired style.

 

First Published: Jan 03 2024 | 4:30 PM IST

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