Closet Staples, Prints & Hues: A Personalised Guide To Dressing ‘Old Money’ For Women On A Budget

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In a world consumed by fleeting trends and superficial fads, there’s a newfound allure in the timeless elegance of the “old money” aesthetic which would basically translate to looking like someone born into generational wealth.

But before we dive into this style journey, let’s debunk a common misconception: Dressing old money doesn’t actually require a hefty bank account. In fact, the heart of this trend lies in quiet luxury, a concept that prizes refinement over flamboyance and opulence.

For the masses of Gen Z who value style revamps or ‘glo-ups’, the old money aesthetic has also become a great way to express yourself and show that you’re in with the times. Plus, with the likes of new age beauty icons, the era of Lana Del Rey and the rise of Gossip Girl, who doesn’t want to dress like they’re headed for the country club every once in a while?

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Jokes aside, going for this look can be a journey that empowers you to discover your unique elegance, while serving as a versatile style guide that you can bring to the workplace as well as brunch with the girls.

So, whether you’re stepping into the world of “old money” style for the first time or simply seeking inspiration, remember that this pursuit is simply a fun, modern take on timeless fashion – and while this article is an opinion piece that can serve as your style guide to this particular, remember that there’s no right or wrong in dressing in a way that’s true to who you are.

Let’s get to it now:

Luxury Colour Combos: Artistry of Hues

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Delving into the realm of old money style, the art of pairing elegant hues is a masterstroke. Elegant neutrals like soft beige, classic navy, and understated grey evoke a sense of timeless sophistication.

These tones, paired with tasteful accents of gold or silver in the form of jewellery or clothing embellishments bring about a psychological flair to your outfits too – They resonate with high-end brands, and thus project an air of composed confidence. Not to mention, shopping with the knowledge that a cheaper outfit in the right hues can look better on you than a designer two-piece in the wrong tone will also help you stay within your budget.

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So, as you curate your wardrobe, consider the psychology of colour and how it can influence both your mood and perception. With the right colour combo, you won’t need to sport flashy designer logos to embody your favourite lifestyle brands. In fact, subtle is the new loud when it comes this fashion trend, but more on that later…

Discovering Your Style Icon(s)

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An especially useful tip for beginners, drawing inspiration from your chosen style icon’s closet can help you form a wardrobe that screams old money while integrating elements that resonate with your individuality. Let’s be honest. No one would have thought biker shorts could look classy before Princess Diana proved us wrong.

See, there’s no shame in wanting to emulate Sofia Richie and sporting a tweed skirt just like hers doesn’t make you a copycat if you do it tastefully. We all start somewhere, and filling your Pinterest board with photos of tennis bracelets and tailored pants is a good way to kick off your new style era.

Oh, and Kendall’s Miu Miu sweater you saw on Instagram? You can get a similar one, sans the fancy branding and make it look just about as good as it does on her. Keep reading to find out how.

Quiet Luxury: Making a Statement in Subtlety

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In the world of “old money,” quiet luxury reigns supreme. It’s not just about exclusive designer labels – it’s about clothing that speaks volumes through its impeccable fit and understated details. Contrary to popular belief, the allure of this aesthetic lies in its subtlety, inviting a closer look that unveils the understated extravagance beneath the surface.

Take the Birkin bag for instance – an accessory that has earned itself a major reputation in the fashion world as a timeless yet minimal wardrobe staple without the need of a clunky logo. Its beauty lies in its structure and classic tones, which, if you prefer, exist in smaller and more affordable brands as well.

If you still want a fancy bag but without the overexposure, you try going for simpler brands too, so the logos are visible but don’t seem like an attempt to show off. For example, swapping a Ralph Lauren piece with something Swiss Polo. Still quality, but in a quiet way.

Similarly, you may want to steer away from graphic tees and “loud” clothing if you’re looking to exude elegance ala “old money” on seen on TikTok. Your neon blue shirt from 2008 that says “I love ice cream” does look adorable on you, but it’s not very Blair Waldorf-coded.

Minimal Accessorising: The Art of Pearls and Beyond

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As mentioned before, accessories are the punctuation marks of your outfit’s narrative. Think minimalism, and consider pearls at the forefront. Van Cleef’s use of mother-of-pearl in their iconic pieces can inspire you to incorporate these luminous accents into your attire. Pearls are the epitome of understated elegance, adding a touch of almost-royal refinement to any ensemble.

But remember, restraint is key – let your accessories enhance your overall look without overpowering it. Personally, I don’t recommend mixing metals (that means sticking to all-gold or all-silver). However, that’s a highly personal choice and Madison Beer’s mix-and-match Cartier bracelets, though not very “old money”, are a pretty look on her as well.

Find Your Colours: Your Unique Palette

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Now that we’ve mentioned gold and silver, the two options at the forefront of the general “female dilemma”, it’s important to note that the old money style extends beyond standard colour choices – and you should consider your skin tone as the canvas when dressing old money.

While it’s tempting to completely emulate style icons, know that celebrities tend to dress according to their undertones and “seasons”, usually curated by professionals. Sofia’s blueberry milk nails might be intriguing, but you run the risk of dulling the skin on your hands if you simply copy-paste.

Old money icons always as if they just wake up knowing exactly what looks good on them. And even with a variety of styles and clothing pieces, they all seem to exude that one familiar trait of looking put together and unique. There’s a science behind this, too.

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There are multiple websites and methods in which you can explore a spectrum of hues that complement your complexion. Understanding your skin tone can unlock the door to selecting hair colours, makeup tones, and even clothing shades that elevate your natural beauty. The goal? To craft a palette that resonates with your unique features.

Generally, Your skin tone, hair colour, and eye colour will fall into one of four main seasonal categories: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Sites such as this one can guide you through the process of figuring out whether you’re a warm, cool or neutral tone girlie, and that can open up a whole new world of fashion for you where you not only try out new colours you shied away from before, but come to navigate the old money aesthetic (and others) with a newfound sense of personalisation that enriches your individuality.

Elevate Your Basics: The Power of Fit and Fabric

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In the world of “old money” style, the fit, material, and shade of your clothing matter immensely. While luxury clothing boasts impeccable tailoring and quality materials are always the idea choice, you can recreate the same effect by investing in well-fitting pieces that hug your figure and well, as we mentioned, flatter your complexion. It’s not about what you wear, but how you wear it.

A plain black t-shirt might seem unassuming, but can turn into the pinnacle of style on the right person, emphasising the importance of choosing a t-shirt that harmonises with your individuality. If you successfully pick out one that comes in the right size, in a material that falls nicely over your figure, and purchase it in the right shade of white that suits you, it becomes almost indistinguishable from a luxury item.

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The same applies for your choice in jewellery, shoes, bags and more. Size, shape and colour are key factors. Thanks to modern tech, a simple Google search along the lines of “What necklace goes with a sweetheart neckline?” will suffice, but if you don’t want to go crazy on your purchases, discover your staples and go for items that, in their essence, flatter your height, body type and season.

For example, nude pumps are great if you’re looking to elongate your figure and they match with almost everything. Bags that match with your shoes are ideal too, but if that’s too “basic” for you, match them with your hair colour!

Own Your Timeless Journey

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From the psychology of colour to the allure of quiet luxury, each aspect we’ve explored offers a glimpse into this captivating world of old money icons. Our breakdown portrays how each aspect blends into one another, showing how embodying this aesthetic comes down to the details, and is much more than merely donning cable-knit sweaters and gold watches trying to “look rich”.

So, as you curate your wardrobe, infuse your spirit into every piece, and embrace the whispers of elegance that have stood the test of time. Remember true luxury isn’t only about the labels, and stay unapologetic in the ways you choose to express yourself.

Having the backdrop of the equestrian club in your #OOTD shot is great, but in the end, it’s about the confidence, authenticity, and grace you radiate from within.