In an era when some self-made billionaires are increasingly flashy—think Jeff Bezos wearing a cowboy hat to space—many generationally wealthy are decidedly restrained, at least in what they wear. Their current dress code, described as “stealth wealth” and “quiet luxury,” is expensive, but discreet.
While quiet luxury among the rich has been around for a long time, thanks to Succession and the wardrobes of stealth wealth celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Sofia Richie Grainge, emulating the trend has grown more popular with young people in the upper middle class. On TikTok, one can find videos of fashion influencers teaching followers how to adopt the quiet luxury look with lower-priced items, usually by neutralizing their wardrobe’s palette to only blacks, grays, and beiges.
The trend was a big topic of discussion among fans of Succession, in which the main characters wore staid business casual attire including well-tailored but visually boring knits, blazers, and slacks. For example, Kendall Roy’s Loro Piana cashmere baseball caps, which retail for $525, became an emblem of quiet luxury and new status markers.
Loro Piana and Brunello Cucinelli, Italian clothing brands, are among the most popular stealth wealth uniforms. In addition to Kendall’s famous cap, the designers produce a range of neutral-toned knits that go for hundreds (or thousands) each. Other favorites include suits by Tom Ford and Zegna, and everyday wear from Khaite and The Row.
What all these brands have in common is how unbranded they are, usually without a logo in sight. Only those in the know, who are also fabulously wealthy or wealth-obsessed, will notice. To the world’s richest, especially those with old wealth, there’s nothing to prove. Flashing well-known logos and jewels is louche. While people with new money may want to telegraph their wealth to a wider audience, the generationally wealthy really only care about signaling status to their moneyed peers.
“Quiet luxury [is] pieces that to the naked eye don’t seem luxury at all. They could be a dollar, they could be a million dollars,” fashion TikToker Charles Gross said in a video. “Only those who are wearing them and those who really scrutinize them know they’re quiet luxury or luxury at all. The uber wealthy often have closets full of quiet luxury because that’s just their normal.”
For the fictional Roy family, who supply most of the backstabbing in Succession, and people of their wealth level, Loro Piana is H&M, he said. The super rich want to resemble people in lower tax brackets in terms of their wardrobe, but with invisibly higher quality garments, often made with more labor intensive techniques or rarer fibers (Brunello knits are made from ultrafine vicuña wool, from llama-like animals that live in the Andes).
The trend goes in contrast to the garb of non-stealth wealthy people, who dress in expensive trends or designer streetwear, such as monogrammed Louis Vuitton leather goods, splashy Gucci belts, and iridescent Moncler puffers.
The stealth wealth fashion trend has inspired some mere millionaires, in trying to copy their deeper-pocketed counterparts, to ditch athleisure and logo-mania and to look more normal in the most intentional, detail-obsessed way possible.