Stealth Wealth Gains Popularity

By: James Flippin · April 25, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is Quiet Luxury?

Stealth wealth, also known as quiet luxury, is a high-end fashion movement. It describes when consumers show a preference for understated — yet equally expensive — clothing.

Luxury clothing trends have often been dominated by oversized logos and flashy colors designed to let everyone in the room know what brand you’re wearing. In other words, you’re paying for the logo, not the clothing.

More recently, big spenders are showing preference for well-made clothes in neutral tones with no logos.

What’s Leading the Trend?

This isn’t the first time that stealth wealth has been in vogue.

Quiet luxury recently gained popularity in 2008, during the height of the Great Recession, as it is generally considered bad taste to flaunt wealth during such a steep downturn. Even for those whose income was not affected, it would’ve been a faux pas to rock a Gucci (PPRUY) shirt while others were getting laid off and watching their income shrink.

The recent resurgence of the trend might speak to the uncertainty in the current macroeconomic climate, but stealth wealth has been gaining popularity for a few years now. It can be seen in shows like Succession, in which mega-rich characters often don understated wardrobes.

Fashion Understatement

Even if you’re not shopping at Loro Piana (LVMUY) or Hermès (HESAY), you can still expect to see fashion houses on a whole stocking more understated looks featuring fewer designs and lots of brown, black, and gray. Additionally, mass-market retailers are seizing the opportunity to double down on products that are durable, sustainable, and timeless.

With that in mind, the next time you see a new “Big Pony” polo shirt from Ralph Lauren (RL), it might be a sign that the economy is improving.

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