Old Money Aesthetic on a Budget

Going for an old money look doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. We’ll focus on ten items, including sunglasses, shirts and shoes that’ll elevate your look without deflating your account.

By now you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz around the phrase “old money aesthetic”. But what exactly is it? The “old money” aesthetic refers to a specific style and lifestyle associated with affluent individuals or families who have had wealth and social status for several generations. It contrasts with the “new money” aesthetic, which is often linked to individuals or families who have recently acquired significant wealth.

The idea behind this trend (and it is a trend, no one is expecting you to actually be a long-lost Rothschild) is to focus on three main concepts:

  1. Understated elegance: Old money individuals tend to prefer a more subdued and refined style, avoiding flashy or ostentatious displays of wealth. They often opt for classic and timeless fashion choices.
  2. Quality over quantity: Old money individuals typically invest in high-quality, durable, and well-crafted items rather than chasing trends or disposable fashion.
  3. Grace and poise: Old money is known for refined manners, etiquette, and graceful demeanor.

Sounds pretty expensive? It doesn’t have to be. Our editors have pulled together ten amazing pieces that have the quality you crave, at a price point that won’t require a trust fund.

Starting off with these fantastic aviators from Blenders. Called Mojave Gold (from their A Series collection) these shades have the classic pilot silhouette, elevated with a stylish matte bronze and silver combination that absolutely reads high price tag. Only you and your bank account will know better.

Blenders, A Series in Mojave Gold $59

Next, let’s talk jewelry. More specifically, an item that graces the hands of just about any six-figure fellow worth his salt. A large signet ring in gold is absolutely iconic to old money, which naturally means it comes with a hefty price tag. Not so this time, thanks to jeweler Zoe Lev. Their large gold signet ring (which if you order in 14k gold will set you back almost a grand) in the additional option of yellow gold vermeil (vermeil is the highest level of gold plate jewelry you can buy). The ring comes with the same choice of engraving, either a single initial, two initials, or monogrammed, but at a fraction of cost.

Zoe Lev, Large Signet Ring in Gold Vermeil $100

Being summertime, a great item to pull into your old money aesthetic look is the classic white linen shirt. Go for a long sleeved version to extend your fit options. This breezy and breathable material can easily set you back two or three hundred and up. We found ours for half that at Madda Fella. The Key West company specializes in easy luxe pieces, ready for boat and beach. We’ll be the first to admit, you could find a fast fashion version on the cheap. But remember this trend is about quality. And you can’t fake the drape of 100% pure Irish linen.

Madda Fella, Long Sleeve Linen Shirt $155

A solid watch is our next target. While we’d certainly love to sport a Cartier Pasha or casually slide our cuff back to gaze at our Audemars Piguet, there is a reason why luxury watches are far outside the realm of affordable. So again, we fall back on the second tenant of the old money aesthetic: high quality and well-crafted. Then we went hunting, and found a century old brand, who’s reputation of durability and style is still acknowledged today. Our choice is the Citizen Stiletto Eco-Drive Watch in classic black and gold. At regular pricing, it’s a great buy for what you get. But lucky you, we found ours on sale.

Citizen, Stiletto Eco-Drive Watch $159.99

(on Sale NOW from $395)

Moving on, another great staple piece is a quality polo. For this, we already had our favorite picked out from one of our favorite brands, Mott & Bow. If you’re unfamiliar, this NYC based brand has built its reputation on industry disruption in the form of “premium grade clothing at a reasonable price”. Their business model keeps everything in house, from design, to manufacturing, to washing and treating, so no big mark ups, no unnecessary waste, and high value materials that look and wear as good as they feel (see our last article on them here). All that said, their Jersey Sueded Polo is cut to a tailored fit, with a self fabric collar and not a logo in sight. Comes in four color options but our choice is the sophisticated dark navy.

Mott & Bow, Jersey Sueded Polo $75

An absolute favorite with the Quiet Luxury crowd, a pair of Blundstone boots are definitely something to rotate in to an old money look. Our editor’s favorite is the Original 500 Chelsea boot in stout brown. With a reputation of humble work boot beginnings, Blundstones have been seen on British royal feet (for casual dress, of course) for almost half a century. You really cannot get much more old money than that.

Blundstone, Original 500 Chelsea Boot $219.95

Just because the concept of blue blockers is a recent advancement in eyewear doesn’t mean you can’t give it a little old money twist. For our choice, we went with a prime example of classic men’s spectacles, the browline. With it’s vintage vibes and clean lines, this pair from Zenni Optical is perfect for screen protection, or anytime you want to give an intellectual edge to your look.

Zenni Optical, Black Browline Glasses $15.95

When it comes to trousers and old money aesthetic, the preface word is almost always going to be dress. Again, this is an easy way to elevate your look into something polished and professional. Our choice is a flat front, slim fit dress pant in the conservative palette of dark gray, from Haggar. Their Premium Comfort Dress Pant is made of wrinkle-free, 4-way stretch fabric that will give you a tailored fit without pinching or feeling uncomfortable. What could be better? How about it being on sale?

Haggar, Premium Comfort Dress Pant $44.99

(on Sale NOW from $70)

You may not think about it much, but your wallet says a lot about you. The style, the color and especially the condition it’s in makes a big impression on others, every time you use it. This is especially true with an old money look. An iconic bi-fold wallet in black, with a pebble textured finish (for a touch of visual interest) is a great mainstay that will never go out of style. Our choice for this is the petite, but surprisingly roomy, Accordion card case by Dagne Dover. The leather is dense and high quality, the hardware is sturdy zinc alloy (with a brushed gold finish) and, for the eco-conscious consumer, the lining is made from 55% Recycled REPREVEĀ® from plastic bottles that would have gone to landfill.

Dagne Dover, Accordion Card Case in Onyx $60

Finally, we channel a bit of the riviera look. This striped print, short sleeve shirt in white, with a spread collar, and straight cut hem, simply drips Dickie Greenleaf in Italy, a la The Talented Mr. Ripley. Luckily for you, you won’t have to go hunting this fellow down, as we managed to find it on sale on Farfetch for a reasonable price.

Tagliatore Kenneth, Stripe Print Short Sleeve Shirt $202.63

In conclusion, it’s essential to note that the old money aesthetic is a generalization, but the underlying aesthetic is based on a concept of simple but well-tailored silhouettes, quality accessories and refined taste.

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