Quiet Luxury is Modern Classism, but there’s one good thing

Cover photo by Cleo Vermij on Unsplash

It seems like just another Tuesday that a new fashion trend is rising on social media but, amidst the nostalgia-triggering revivals of flared jeans and XXX, Quiet Luxury is one that carries deeper implications than we think. Buried deep within the crisp white linen shirts and beige ballet flats is a subtle hint of classism that it’s been passed down through the ages – but I wonder how many actually see it.

The Quiet Luxury trend is marked by a preference for simple and understated fashion, as well as a deliberate rejection of mainstream luxury brands and logo-centric aesthetics, it encapsulates the “If You Know, You Know” (IYKYK) concept.

To really understand the implications of Quiet Luxury though, iWeb need to delve into the idea of ‘new money’: why does this term still carry such prejudice even do this day and, what all that in mind, how can we actually embrace the Quiet Luxury aesthetic without drawing undue criticism to people who… well, simply don’t like the same thing?

Old Money vs New Money (Sofia Richie and Succession)

New Money, or Nouveau riche as the French say, refers to individuals who have acquired their wealth rather than inheriting it. Historically ‘new money’ has always been looked down upon by the upper class elite. It’s believed that, although these people have the same wealth and means, they tend to be unrefined… or trashy.

It’s absurd, really, because it was back in the 19th century that people still obsessed over the idea of ‘pedigree’. Yet, Quiet Luxury is essentially a modern twist on the old-fashioned classism we thought we’d moved past.

This is very clearly evidenced when we consider the it girl of Quiet Luxury, Sofia Richie. She was previously most well-known as the ex-girlfriend of Scott Disick, who gained notoriety for his messy, problematic antics both on and off screen of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She had been mostly out of the limelight since the break up.

However, her recent reappearance in Vogue had everyone talking. Richie’s wedding to music executive Elliot Grainge seemed to come right out of a fairytale and, in a blink of an eye, she has metamorphed from Scott Disick’s insta-baddie messy girlfriend to a classy, mature lady of the upper class.

However, it’s important to note that Richie had always come from wealth – she is the daughter of Lionel Richie after all – and that an extravagant wedding with celebrity guests and three couture Chanel gowns hardly puts the ‘Quiet’ in Quiet Luxury.

In the end, it comes down to impression.

When she was linked to Disick, the public felt that she was loud and flashy – much like ‘new money’. In contrast, her private husband stays out of the media, coming across more understated and elegant. Whilst neither he nor Richie are necessarily old money, it raises the question on whether him being a businessman instead of a reality television star means people feel his money is ‘better’ earned?

At it’s core, Quiet Luxury implies that there is value in what the upper elite consider to be tasteful – that because they were born into their wealth, their opinion holds more value than people who have earned their wealth.

This Quiet Luxury trend also came at a point in time where people are feeling entirely fatigued with the Kardashians and influencer-culture, and so it’s almost too easy to criticize them.

However, the problem runs deeper than this.

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