What’s the difference between old money and style? It depends on where you are. There is a certain aesthetic that has been perpetuated in Hollywood circles since the golden age of Hollywood in the 1950s.
What will old money look like in the year 2023? It’s basically a stealth wealth dress, also known as quiet Luxury, but with a foot firmly planted in the past. You’ll understand what we mean if you have managed to look at any of the street-style images from the Pitti Uomo show in Florence.
Pitti, in essence, is a grouping of industry men dressed like old money, perhaps hoping that by some magic sartorial Osmosis, it would rub off on their accounts. We digress.
A passion for fine tailoring and fine fabrics defines the old money style. There is no branding or logos, just exquisite fabrics cut to perfection and in a timeless silhouette.
Old money style is not a new thing. It was popularized by actors, socialites, and other celebrities of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. They believed that stylish clothing was their right. Cary Grant and David Niven are still pillars of the old-money aesthetic. Gianni Agnelli, Slim Aarons, and other characters from Slim Aarons’ photographic work also continue to inspire.
There is also the Ivy League and preppy-style influence, which originated in rowing clubs in Oxbridge and spread to the US, where it was popularized in the top academic institutions.
You don’t have to be rich or have a double-barrelled name to adopt the old-money look, but there are some rules and regulations to follow to make sure you look the part.
Quality is everything
The old-money aesthetic is timeless and never goes out of style. Therefore, the pieces must be of high quality to last the test of time. Think of every piece you buy as an investment rather than something that will last you for a few seasons.
In the winter, you should choose premium natural fibers like merino and cashmere, and in the summer, organic cotton, linen, and silk. It would be best if you always bought only from artisans who can ensure the highest quality fabric and construction.
Truly well-made clothing should be able to be passed on to the next generations.
Neutral colour palette
The old money style is characterized by a color palette of muted tones, such as white, beige, off-white, and grey.
The darker shades of navy and charcoal are perfect for winter. However, they should be paired with lighter shades like cream or tobacco.
Old money is rarely seen wearing bright colors or flashy patterns. They are usually eccentrics. A neutral-toned wardrobe is much easier to style and more versatile than one that features every tropical color under the sun.
Branding is a waste of time
Old money style is a quieter, more confident way to express Luxury in a world where it seems that every luxury brand is doubling down on branding and logos.
Only the labels inside the garments will have logos. The old money style does not need to display its wealth in a crass way.
All old-money wardrobes are built around elegant tailoring. Lounge suits are a key part of the aesthetic. Two- and three-piece styles with sharp cuts are the most professional.
Old money tailoring is more traditional in its style, with full lapels, a bespoke fit, and tailored jackets that flatter the shape of the torso. Old money tailoring offers both single- and dual-breasted jackets, but the latter is preferred when separates are chosen.
It is not necessary to mention the superior fabric choice. Most old money wardrobes have a variety of suiting basics: the charcoal pinstripe suit, the midnight blue suit, a double-breasted navy jacket, flannel suits in grey and tobacco, as well as the grey flannel.
You can get inspired by the styles of Cary Grant and Gianni Agnelli during their prime. It is important to choose superior clothes with a timeless and flattering cut. The 50s suit will look the same in 2050 as it did in 1950.
Today’s icons include Andreas Weinas, Permanent Style’s Simon Crompton, and Alexander Kraft. He has launched his old-money ‘Monte Carlo” menswear line.
The Golden Age of Hollywood stars
The Golden Era in Hollywood is a great place to find inspiration for old money icons. It was during this period that the first style icons were created, and the actors had influence over fashions at the time.
Imagine Gregory Peck in his seersucker suit in The Catcher in the Rye or Cary Grant in a number of Hitchcock classics. There are also Fred Astaire and Humphrey Bogart. James Dean, Sydney Poitier. Frank Sinatra, Marlon brando, Clark Gable.
Agnelli, Gunter Sachs, and other industrialist billionaires, who came from money and made more but had a style and flair that was unmistakable, were also rising.
The navy blazer
The navy blazer, whether it is single-breasted or double-breasted, is the most important piece in an old money wardrobe. It’s like glue holding the whole collection together.
The navy blazer can be beautifully cut from worsted or tropical wool in winter or a hopsack or tropical wool in summer. It is a versatile tailored garment that can be worn with either a T-shirt or a shirt and tie.
Today’s navy blazers are more modern, featuring single-button cuts, elegant double-breasted styles, and broad peak lapels.
You can wear either with a pair of pants or a white shirt.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label is a modern take on old money style. The designer behind preppy Americana is one of the best advocates of old money style. He relies heavily on the classic Hamptons aesthetic with rich knitwear.
Lauren’s Purple Label represents the pinnacle of the brand. It features a superior sartorial offer in an array of stunning fabrics in timeless silhouettes.
Purple Label’s lookbooks are a great place to begin if you need inspiration. If you have the cash, this is a great place to shop.
Riviera Style of the 60s & 70s
You might think that old money style means double-breasted jackets and turtleneck sweaters, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The French Riviera was the Mecca of the ‘ money fashion’ that we all know and love today.
The old-money summer vibe is largely a result of places like Cannes, Antibes, and St. Tropez.
Gunther Sacks, a wealthy industrialist from Germany, was among the first to combine knitted polo shirts with sharp tailoring and inject more bohemian charm into a sartorial closet.
The fabric was the key to these bold looks. Consider linen chinos, shirts, and loafers with Gucci horse bits. The images of these playboys still influence many of the summer clothes that are produced by contemporary brands today.