‘Quiet luxury’ is the new aesthetic trend loudly stealing public attention. Google searches for the term grew by 337% in April alone. Also known as ‘stealth wealth’, this subdued yet premium mode of dressing is leaving its mark on popular culture. As the term implies, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to quiet luxury.
What is quiet luxury?
Published 20 days ago
What is quiet luxury?
‘New-age minimalism’ and ‘coded luxury’ are two of the most common definitions we’ve seen parried around. And while these paint half the picture, there’s more to be said.
At its core, quiet luxury is a resurgent fashion movement that emphasises investment in high-quality, minimalist pieces that have timeless appeal. This is ‘anti-bling’ — the other end of the scale to popular avant-garde designer brands who experiment with bold logos and ostentatious patterns.
The quiet luxury convert is less concerned with projecting wealth than creating a wardrobe full of high-end everyday staples that speak to a more sophisticated understanding of style. To the untrained eye, it’s likely to go under the radar. Think neutral colours, smart tailoring, clean-cut lines and elite craftsmanship. Think logo-less Loro Piana baseball caps, Brunello Cucinelli cashmere sweaters and practically everything from The Row.
You can argue there’s a sustainability element too. By its very nature, quiet luxury aesthetic rejects the vagaries of seasonal fashion, trusting instead in time-honoured design. This mirrors the ‘buy less, buy better’ line towed by those who promote conscious consumption. An idea we definitely get behind here at Carl Friedrik.
Why is quiet luxury so popular now?
Two key moments have helped to thrust stealth wealth into the spotlight. One is the release of the fourth and final series of HBO’s widely popular boardroom drama, Succession. Google Trends data shows a dramatic increase in searches for ‘quiet luxury’ and related terms following the airing of S4E1.
The Roys' expensive but inconspicuous approach to fashion has become synonymous with quiet luxury. Every unassuming Bottega Venetta bag and Zegna zipped hoodie is duly noted by perceptive fans. There’s even an Instagram account dedicated to the outfits of Succession with 135,000 followers. The crowning moment of the series so far came when upstart chairman of ATN, Tom Wambgasms (Matthew Macfadyen), took a dislike to a logo-proud Burberry bag. The comment captures the spirit of stealth wealth in its rejection of loud luxury.
“She's brought a ludicrously capacious bag. What's even in there? Huh? Flat shoes for the subway?”
- John Doe
The other standout moment for quiet luxury in 2023 was Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski accident civil court case in Utah in March. Commentators called it a masterclass in pared-back chic. Brown and beige cashmere, head-to-toe Prada and Celine boots characterised her wardrobe over the widely-followed trial. Some even commented that the clothes she wore projected a degree of motherly innocence, helping to sway the jury.
Fashion analysts also root the upsurge in quiet luxury culture in socioeconomic factors. Some view it as a logical part of the post-Covid-19 fashion cycle. The argument goes that many luxury consumers adopted a maximalist approach during the pandemic, purchasing for a time when they could finally get out and ‘show off’ again. But as restrictions slowly waned, a more rational approach took precedence. Others suggest that in times of wider economic downturn, the affluent shy away from wealth signifiers, hence the shift towards muted luxury.
Loud luxury vs quiet luxury
While quiet luxury might be on the up, its more adventurous cousin — loud luxury — is still in the driver’s seat. What sets it apart?
You could argue that loud luxury is more about social status and using consumer goods, including clothing, to make a statement. The labels that fall under this category are instantly recognisable with visible brand markings and a more experimental design approach: Moschino, Balenciaga and Gucci to name a few.
These pieces are worn to spark a conversation, not fade into the background. Instead of neutral palettes, bold colours and playful prints are the order of the day. The price point and quality are still invariably high, but the philosophy and aesthetic are entirely different.
Stealth wealth luggage
Keen to take a note out of the quiet luxury playbook? Look no further than our collection of minimalist bags & luggage, as styled in the final season of the show that kickstarted the trend, Succession.
Whether you’re after a carry-on suitcase worthy of a media tycoon or a sleek leather weekender carried by Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) — “TV's most stylish corporate stooge” according to Grazia — we have you covered.
What is quiet luxury?
What are some quiet luxury men’s brands?