Fashion may always be in flux, but the old money aesthetic has been around for a long time. And – thanks to TikTok – it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. While loud, Y2K-inspired trends have experienced something of a revival lately (we’re looking at you, Dua Lipa), many of us are still drawn to the discreet elegance of old money fashion.
The term “old money” traditionally refers to rich people who inherited their wealth, usually from a long line of ancestors who also inherited it; the kind of people you can imagine going to polo matches and sipping champagne on sailboats. New money, on the other hand, refers to those who became rich later on in life and whose styles are often (and sometimes unfairly) dismissed as too loud and flashy.
The old money aesthetic, otherwise known as “quiet luxury,” often consists of preppy, monochromatic and covertly luxurious clothing. Unlike the new money aesthetic, these clothes are seriously lacking in logos, which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your preferences.
Some view the old money aesthetic as classy and sophisticated, whereas others regard it as frumpish and outdated. Nonetheless, it seems to be a response to the “California rich” aesthetic popularised by the Kardashians.
Brands like Brunello Cucinelli and Hermès are renowned for their ‘old money’ clothing because of their elegant designs, emphasis on quality and craftsmanship, and their heritage. Brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, on the other hand, have more of a new money vibe due to their flashy logos and oversized fits.
Of course, TikTok creators are obsessing over the old money aesthetic, with one sharing a video “introducing the old money aesthetic” to the tune of Lana Del Rey – naturally. The clip shows a variety of luxurious pictures, from Christian Dior’s runway in 1993 to coastal Ralph Lauren editorials. You can watch it here:
Another TikTok user appeared to poke fun at the Kardashian’s specific brand of “new money,” with ‘I Love My Friends’ (AKA the Kardashians version of Kris Jenner’s classic birthday tune) playing in the background alongside various shots of influencers posing next to flashy cars and excessive amounts of expensive clothes and shoes. You can watch it here:
In one TikTok, @stylehard explained, “Generation wealth/old money fashion – often in the form of very expensive yet very understated fashion […] Some might consider it boring, some might consider it very elegant and sophisticated. Blair Waldorf is the perfect example of generational, old money wealth when it comes to fashion.”
She continued, “New money – also known as nouveaux riches – is often in the form of overdone, in-your-face logos like ‘I’m wearing my money and I want you to know’. Some consider this very cool and stylish while others [think it’s] very tacky.”
Another content creator agreed that Blair Waldorf is the ultimate “It girl” when it comes to the old money aesthetic:
People like the former first lady of the US, Jackie Onassis, Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn and the beloved gossip girl fashionista Blair Waldorf, fully embody the old money aesthetic through their simple and elegant outfits.
The simplicity of ‘old money’ clothes creates an interesting paradox: the things that don’t scream wealth are actually representative of extreme riches. This paradox fascinates the TikTok community who has been bombarded with logo-filled, showy clothing by various influencers.
Given that the hashtag #oldmoneyaesthetic on Tiktok has 320 million views while #oldmoney has 1 billion views, it’s fair to say that the old money trend is here to stay.