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Quiet luxury may be Americans’ most expensive trend yet

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow enters the courtroom for her trial in Park City, Utah, March 24, 2023.

Rick Bomer | Getty Images

What is quiet luxury?

The quiet luxury, also known as hidden wealth, which features expensive materials in muted colors, is the “total lack of logos and anything too obvious,” said Thoma Sirdari, professor of marketing and director of the Fashion and Luxury Program at NYU’s Stern School. a job.

“Luxury brands rely on the quality of materials, and they have their own techniques,” she said, “such as cut, stitching, or other small details that are recognizable only to those very familiar with a particular item.” “That becomes a differentiator for those in the know,” Sirdari said.

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In her daily courtroom appearances, Paltrow wore high-end brands like Celine and The Row along with $1,450 black Prada shoes and carried a $325 Smythson notebook in the company’s signature blue.

“We have access to these semi-private moments, and we want to replicate her style,” said Sirdari.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow exits the courtroom where she is accused in a lawsuit of bumping into Terry Sanderson during a 2016 family ski vacation, Park City, Utah, March 21, 2023.

Rick Bomer | Afp | Getty Images

Of course, simple luxury is nothing new.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Sirdari said, “people who had money wanted to be a little bit calmer.” In the decade and a half since then, she added, fashion has gotten bigger and bolder.

Now, the pattern of hidden wealth is on display again as Americans’ economic conditions are increasingly divided after the so-called K-shaped recovery left the richest Americans better off than before.

This time around, however, there is an understated tinge to it, despite its higher price tag.

One of the central characters in the “Succession” series even pokes fun at the Burberry tote bag that retails for $2,890, calling the luxury bag “laughably roomy.”

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Can the average American afford a $600 Loro Piana cashmere baseball cap, like the one worn in “Succession”? “I really doubt it,” said Sirdari.

Fortunately, the quiet luxury trend isn’t about buying the exact item, but about replicating the look with clothes that match well, in neutral or monochromatic tones, she says.

Caroline McClanahan, a certified financial planner and founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, suggests buying some signature staples, like a coat or handbag, on sale or at a local consignment store, and pairing them with less expensive jeans and T-shirts from Goal or Walmart — just like Romain Roy did in the final season of Succession.

McClanahan, who is also on CNBC’s board of advisors, added that this kind of quiet luxury, without brand names and logos, is “overdue.”

With the economy slowing and inflation continuing to make many Americans feel deeply vulnerable, it’s time to move away from the “keeping up with the neighbors” mentality.

“Find high-quality things that will last longer—it’s better than discarded pieces,” McClanahan said.

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