Quiet luxury could be anywhere. For all you know, it could be sitting right next to you…It’s wealth and high class, yet modest, and hidden in plain sight. Simultaneously, it’s loud to its intended audience.
Under the umbrella concept of “luxury” is the subclass now known as “quiet luxury’. Not a new concept, the style is commonly associated with “old money” and more recently, stealth wealth- the act of having wealth without flaunting it. The attitude-driven trend emerged with the prominent comedy-drama TV series Succession (centred around power, politics, and money), and has kept a steady rise ever since. So what does it take to buy into the trend? Let’s see.
What is Quiet Luxury?
Put simply, quiet luxury is a modern take on minimalism with a focus on investment pieces, craftsmanship and quality materials. Think Daniel Craig as Benoit in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, or Cillian Murphy as Tommy in Peaker Blinders. In terms of brand, look at Canali and Brunello Cucinelli. You want to wear expensive- you’re a well-to-do man, but you want to be subtle about it.
Pared-back brands and muted styles are critical components of the trend, alongside neutral colour tones and basic silhouettes. When united, the parts fabricate an aesthetic that communicates only to those within the society. You know, but only if you know. So how quiet really is quiet luxury? Well, if you can afford to participate, then to your peers, you’re likely not that quiet after all. That right there, is the goal.
Rise of Quiet Luxury
There was no rapid rise in quiet luxury (despite recent focus), it has been evolving slowly, and in character, quietly, over time. In retrospect, Europeans were the original pioneers of quiet luxury, with their affluence and nonchalance. Take the French for example. The typical Parisian wouldn’t be caught dead in Gucci slides or a luxury branded tee shirt. Instead, they favour refined colour palettes and tailoring fused with vintage classics. Their loyalty lies with brands like Sandro, Closed and Brioni for their understated style and impeccable quality. These ideals were not born in recent years, but years ago. The current interest, however, was ignited by the highly successful TV drama ‘Succession’ and its fascinating wardrobe.
Influence of Succession Style
The recent cultural ascension of ‘quiet luxury’ kickstarted as a result of the HBO drama series, Succession. For context, the show is about an American media empire headed by the Roy family (most likely based on the Murdoch family). The series is a feast for aspirational eyes, with a generous supply of moneyed individuals in pursuit of power.
It portrays American elitism at its finest with the help of the humble (or not so humble) dress code. The cast never deviates from monochrome tones and muted prints but excels in achieving ‘stealth wealth’. The average man may not recognise anything significant about what they are wearing, but those who matter, do.
The dress code: craft-focused brands, refined tailoring, logo-free clothing and choosing minimalist and essential pieces. For quiet luxury men, their wardrobe may include neutral polo shirts, knitted cotton blazers, quality leather shoes and tailored trousers.
Succession is a reminder that quiet luxury is designed for the 1%- the ultra-rich. It’s a portal in which high society people communicate their wealth to one another. Logos and monograms are no ticket into this elite club, it’s all about finding a silent style that speaks volumes to those who matter. For example, in the hit series, Tom Wambsgans describes a £2,500 Burberry bag as ‘ludicrously capacious’ and ‘monstrous’ for the simple fact that its classic pattern makes it ‘recognisable’.
The quiet luxury trend may seem unattainable to most, but at its core, the values and attitudes of the trend are being widely adopted. Consumer mindsets are shifting, and we are now leaning into investments over fast fashion, quality over quantity and subtlety over extravagance.
With stealth wealth taking Hollywood and Silicon Valley by storm (you can thank Steve Jobs’ turtleneck for that), the world is steadily taking note of the style trend. Google Trends data has indicated that searches for the term ‘quiet luxury’ have jumped by a whopping 614% in the past year, prompting more brands to get in on the act.
According to the fashion experts at Boohoo, quiet luxury doesn’t have to mean expensive, rather a stylistic approach to elevated basics. The brand suggests focusing on “more simple, versatile pieces to wear in various environments and outfits”.
“It shouldn’t have bling quality but clean aesthetics; rather than clothing with a giant outright print of the brand name or symbol, wear and style logo-less tailored pieces. As well as this, choosing texture over logos can work, such as staple pieces made from materials like cotton, leather, cashmere, merino wool, and silk, to bring an expensive feel to the clothing.”
Quiet Luxury Brands
With the style trend slowly taking hold, it’s important to dive deep into the world of quiet luxury. So, what are the labels driving the unique fashion focus and what pieces should we look out for?
Kendall Roy has recently become the poster boy for Tom Ford in the latest season of Succession. The often logo-less brand is known for its modern elegance and refined luxury. As described by Ford, the clothes are made for the international, cultured, well-travelled gentleman with disposable income. Ford is an avid uniform dresser, like many elites who are sparing on time. His designs suit his own needs and way of life, and therefore others who relate. The brand is a standout choice for those looking to partake in the timeless trend.
- Top Pick: Wool-Blend Half-Zip Sweater
Brunello Cucinelli, also known as the “king of cashmere” is an Italian luxury fashion brand known for its meticulous craftsmanship and dedication to value. Frequent A-list wearers include Ben Affleck, Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Cooper and Leo DiCaprio. Brunello Cucinelli distinguishes itself from other luxury brands through its emphasis on excellence and heritage. Their garments exude a timeless and sophisticated charm while retaining a touch of contemporary elegance. Each item is meticulously handcrafted with the utmost devotion and precision.
- Top Pick: Wool and Cashmere-Blend Blouson Jacket
Thom Sweeney is a modern British tailor with stores in London and New York, founded by Savile Row-trained tailors Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney. Their brand offers tailored and casual clothes that combine contemporary design with superior craftsmanship. Thom Sweeney is the upper echelon of menswear- that’s Royal opinion. Prince Willam is often seen sporting the brand, alongside the royal of the football court, David Beckam (also his chosen attire aboard the speedboat carrying the Olympic torch to the opening ceremony).
Canali epitomises Italian luxury and men’s elegance, setting the standard for tailor-made craftsmanship for over 85 years. Since 1934, the brand has showcased artisanal expertise that is a perfect balance between wearability, comfort, culture, history, style, and taste. Not a stranger to the red carpet, Canali is adored by many high-flyers including Woody Harrelson, Sam Heughan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Prince Harry.
The Row wrote the modern-day script for ‘quiet luxury’. The brand was established by teen movie stars, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, which initially festered an industry of sceptics due to their “celebrity”. This narrative died quickly, as the logo-less label became one of the most respected and sought-after luxury labels in fashion. Quiet luxury was unwittingly the foundation upon which The Row was built. They make simple wardrobe foundations for men and women that feel luxurious and unique. Jonah Hill, Chrissy Teigan and Zoe Kravitz are among the brand’s cult followers.
- Top pick: Gettler Quilted Cotton-Blend Twill Gilet
Maybe a wider known brand but certainly no less fitting to the trend of ‘quiet luxury’. Saint Laurent is classic, and slick and has spanned generations with its timeless aesthetic and versatility. Saint Laurent is adored by famous and affluent individuals alike. Its high-quality timeless clothing transcends age, time and trends, remaining stylish and relevant year after year.
Quiet Luxury FAQs
Quiet luxury is a fashion style that celebrates simplicity. The trend encompasses basic elements of a refined nature, rather than relying on brand names for extrinsic reward. Examples of quiet luxury include extremely high-quality essentials, such as plain t-shirts, unbranded jackets and clothes with an absence of logo.
The style and dressing trend known as quiet luxury is also referred to as ‘Stealth Wealth’.
Brands such as Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Brunello Cucinelli are examples of quiet luxury brands. These manufacturers produce extremely high-quality, long-lasting basics without excessive logos or branding.
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