Old Money: Return of the Gentleman

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Old Money: Return of the Gentleman
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After the release of The Crown, the world literally fell ill with the Old Money style. Respectable restraint, reasonable consumption and rejection of logomania, inherent in the old aristocracy and the financial and political elite, spilled over into popular culture. And this is understandable: everyone wants to be like the rich, successful and confident.

How and where did the Old Money style originate, what are its principles and philosophy, how to follow it, who is it suitable for? Let’s figure it out.

Luxury is no longer a virtue

Since time immemorial, the powerful have proven their exclusivity by demonstrating luxury. Gold, precious stones, overseas fabrics – everything that was inaccessible to most people emphasized the special status of the elite.

Old Money for men
Picture: suitsexpert.com

Battlefields, religious festivals, and palaces of kings were places where wealth was ostentatiously displayed. Let us remember Porthos and his “luxurious baldric, embroidered with gold and sparkling like the sun’s reflections on the water on a clear afternoon.” It will soon become clear that it shone only on the outside, and on the back it was made of buffalo leather, but the royal musketeer considered it unacceptable to wear a simple baldric.

This was the case before the religious reformation broke out in the Catholic world. Puritans appeared in England, Protestants appeared in Germany and Holland. They did not decorate their temples with gold and jewelry and wore simple clothes. They contrasted pure faith and virtuous behavior with the unbridled luxury of the Vatican.

Many of these people were forced to flee to the New World from religious oppression. Many of them were among those who founded the young state – the United States, amassed impressive capital, and entered the political elite. But money, power, and new social principles did not change their ethical model, which did not allow conspicuous consumption.

Modesty and dignity

The aesthetics of Old Money finally took shape in the USA, in the 20s of the last century, in the east of the country, that is, in the territory of the very first states. It has become a recognizable style for young people – heirs of family capital. Their Puritan grandfathers, along with the family capital, passed on their lifestyle, worldview and beliefs to their grandchildren. Young owners of “old money” did not want to be like these “upstarts”.

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It is not for nothing that the Old Money style is associated with the Ivy League, a community of eight oldest universities. Their students, the offspring of the wealthiest families, constituted and continue to constitute the country’s financial and political elite. Discreet respectability in dress, good upbringing and refined taste distinguished them from the nouveau riche from the Western states, who, on the contrary, were not shy about ostentatious, loud luxury.

So, a century ago, the Old Money style was formed, which today has received a new breath.

The style has two basic rules: it is unobtrusive and does not catch the eye, but at the same time, a knowledgeable person will immediately understand that this is Old Money, and not a budget mass market. Those who wish to follow this style will have to follow certain rules. To neglect them is to turn elegant simplicity into boring plainness.

Basic principles of Old Money style

Reasonable consumption

Old Money people are not slaves to changing fashion, they do not buy things that quickly become irrelevant, and they do not change their wardrobe every season. They prefer solid, high-quality classic items that can be worn for a long time.

Natural materials

The Old Money man’s wardrobe consists of very high-quality items made exclusively from natural materials: leather, suede, silk, wool, cashmere, cotton. Plastic, faux fur and leather, modern wrinkle-resistant fabrics – all this is out of place in the Old Money style. After all, Old Money was born before the rise of the chemical industry.

Old Money for men
Picture: pinterest.com

Color matters

Flashy, acidic shades are inappropriate in the Old Money wardrobe. Preference should be given to classic natural colors: white, black, beige, brown, gray, sky blue and indigo.

No logomania

Old Money style does not allow any logos on clothing or accessories. Its adherents do not boast about the name of the fashion house that made the suit or briefcase. At the same time, one glance is enough to understand: these things were not bought in a department store, they cost a lot of money. This is the art of following the Old Money style.

Relevance

You shouldn’t wear these things to a decent bar or nightclub, ride a trolleybus or go to the market. Old Money style is intended for places where others will instantly read and appreciate it.

A gentleman’s wardrobe

The Old Money aesthetic is like a time machine that takes us back a century. These are films about English gentlemen brought to life, in which respectable people wear nice pinstripe suits, woolen coats and elegant trench coats. Monochrome shirts, silk scarves, tweed jackets and leather shoes remained unchanged. Accessories are as classic as the clothes: leather gloves, watches, cufflinks.
Old Money for men
Picture: uwmmensshop.com

A polo and classic-cut cotton trousers are a must-have in your summer wardrobe. An Old Money person would only wear shorts and sneakers for a morning jog.

Lifestyle as an integral accessory

It is important to note that the wardrobe of the Old Money man is not about strictness and boredom. It has a zest, its own special style, emphasizing the individuality of the owner. Achieving this is not easy when you have to build your image within strictly defined boundaries. But it is achievable. Take King Charles and Prince William, who are today considered the first faces of the Old Money style.

To follow this aesthetic, choosing a wardrobe is not enough. Manners must come with it. A polite and confident tone, thoughtful actions, self-control, correct behavior – everything that is inherent in a noble, strong, confident person.

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Yulia Petrova
ICF business coach, practicing psychologist, entrepreneur

In a word, the Old Money style obliges a lot. Before you go shopping for a new wardrobe, you should honestly answer a few questions:

  • Is this style appropriate for your lifestyle and social circle?
  • Are you ready to wear only classic things?
  • Does this image correspond to your inner world?
  • Are you ready to consistently follow this path or is Old Money just one of the stages of development for you?
In any case, by choosing the Old Money style for ourselves, we are choosing a new way of life, new values ​​and priorities. And to follow all this, you don’t need to be a millionaire or a titled person. All you need is taste, perseverance and self-esteem.
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