The “Quiet Luxury” Trend Will End–Classic Style Won’t!


Have you heard all the noise that’s being made about quiet luxury? Let’s explore what it is and how it overlaps with classic style.

Shows like The White Lotus and Succession and the real-life dressing habits of actual billionaires and power brokers have revived interest in the menswear concept of dressing like a million or billion bucks without immediately looking like it. And with their mutual interest in impeccable materials and quality craftsmanship, you might assume that quiet luxury and classic style are the same thing in the menswear space.

But, upon closer inspection, there is actually a considerable difference between these two menswear styles. We’ve given a thorough definition of Classic Style previously, so let’s first define “Quiet Luxury.”

If you need a refresher, here’s our definition of classic style.

Defining Quiet Luxury

Of course, as with most style phenomena, like dressing in a dandy style or the old money aesthetic, definitions can be somewhat subjective.

Example of quiet luxury styling from Ralph LaurenExample of quiet luxury styling from Ralph Lauren

what is

Quiet Luxury?

In general, however, we would define quiet luxury in clothing as reliance on items that feature simple, neutral, unassuming lines, colors, and details with no or few logos, made from high-end materials with fine craftsmanship that privilege comfort and understated opulence, with a high price point.

So, quiet luxury and affordable luxury definitely aren’t the same thing. Any article that you wear or carry with you can be evocative of quiet luxury—from a cotton-and-wool-blend blazer to a leather case.

Hallmarks of Quiet Luxury

So, now that we’ve defined quiet luxury, let’s discuss its hallmarks, starting with breaking down its name.

1. Quality

The “luxury” in quiet luxury obviously indicates an emphasis on luxurious materials. By this, we mean high-end fabrics that have been made and assembled according to exacting standards of quality. You can disagree about whether or not the level of quality entirely justifies the price, as Raphael examines in our review of Loro Piana cashmere, but generally, you are going to find the best of the best in terms of materials when it comes to quiet luxury offerings.

Even the rubber used in Loro Piana’s famous Billionaire Loafers is essentially the top-of-the-line rubber on the market, as much as that might at first sound like an oxymoron.

The luxury appeal of the Loro Piana brand really gave it an exclusive status.The luxury appeal of the Loro Piana brand really gave it an exclusive status.
The “billionaire” loafer from Loro Piana uses impeccable materials.

So, quiet luxury goods are almost always defined by their exceptional materials and quality construction, and continuing to draw out what we can from its name, quiet luxury is also, unsurprisingly, quiet. By which, we mean it doesn’t rely on obvious branding or logos to convey how expensive it is.

2. Unassuming

During the logo craze that started in the 1980s and that continued into the hype culture of the present day, luxury and designer brands have relied on prominent advertising to increase the perceived value and social cache of their products. Essentially, they want you to think, “Ah! This bag has the Louis Vuitton marque, and this tracksuit has the Gucci logo. They must be high quality because of the brand names.”

In contrast, quiet luxury doesn’t explicitly rely on immediate name recognition to create a sense of quality, value, or desirability. Instead, the garment’s materials construction and proportions do the work of giving the garment that air of desirability and allure; and the use of high-quality materials in construction, which we’ve already discussed, extends to garments of varying levels of formality.

Rare fiber harvested from VicunaRare fiber harvested from Vicuna

Would you pay

$10,000 for a Tracksuit?

For instance, it might be difficult at first to imagine such a thing as a luxury tracksuit unless that tracksuit is made from vicuña. This exclusivity is precisely why a simple tracksuit can carry such a hefty price tag.

A group of llamas standing on a windswept desert hilltop overlooking a valleyA group of llamas standing on a windswept desert hilltop overlooking a valley

the secret’s in its

Rare Material: Vicuña

Vicuña is an incredibly rare fiber harvested from South American camelids that are not only adorable but also expensive.

Conventionally, ultra-expensive materials and construction are saved for garments with higher formality levels. Think of something like a cashmere dinner jacket. But, especially because quiet luxury privileges comfort, these materials are used for garments across the formality spectrum.

In other words, collapsing sartorial norms in order to achieve the most pleasant and agreeable wearing experience. After all, if I can afford to wear a luxury baseball cap to a board meeting, who’s going to stop me? These factors are meant to be a subtle but unmistakable way to emphasize the luxury of usually commonplace and casual garments. As the saying goes…

“Money talks, but wealth whispers.”

2. Expensive

So, we’ve already indicated with several of our examples that quiet luxury is expensive. Usually, very, very expensive. On the one hand, this is due to the costs associated with producing well-made goods from superlative materials.

As we illustrate in our Why So Expensive series, there is an intrinsic cost to goods of a certain caliber, but quiet luxury also uses its high prices prohibitively to prevent its goods from becoming commonplace.

Designer products are often sold with high markups but are still attainable. These manufacturers want many people to be able to just afford their products at a price just high enough to make the buyer feel accomplished. For quiet luxury, however, the rarity of an item is its appeal as is the fact that no one else is likely to have one.

As a case in point here, let’s look at the iconic cashmere baseball cap featured in the TV series Succession. Originally offered at around $500, the unassuming and simplistic nature of the cap, at first glance, would lead someone to believe that it only cost around $50 or so; and only those who recognized its exceptional materials and who were willing to shell out were likely to be sporting one, at least before its rise to fame, that is.

The theory goes then that the $500 sticker shock would prevent the hat from becoming overly popular. Essentially, by adding a markup to its already high material value, the price is a form of gatekeeping.

Product web view of the $525 cost of a  navy blue cashmere baseball cap by Loro PianafroProduct web view of the $525 cost of a  navy blue cashmere baseball cap by Loro Pianafro
The high price tag of the Loro Piana baseball cap is essentially a form of gatekeeping.

Another reason that quiet luxury is so expensive is its emphasis on newness. Quiet luxury retailers push the benefits of buying items new at retail prices with things like a concierge sales process, attentive customer service, and warranties; all meant to make the buying of something new seem like a better value.

So, quiet luxury products are often marketed as highly individualistic and personal items. They’re implied to suit your lifestyle and your life philosophy, so you’re supposed to assume that they shouldn’t be bought secondhand. This point is further emphasized through fear of buying fake or knockoff products.

Spending on can be attractive, as buying secondhand run the risk of getting knockoffs!Spending on can be attractive, as buying secondhand run the risk of getting knockoffs!
Quiet Luxury employs its high price to maintain scarcity.

Essentially, quiet luxury embraces higher prices not only to reflect the realities of its production, but also to create an air of exclusivity. Unlike hip new designer items, which are often popular because everyone seems to be wearing them, quiet luxury items thrive when few people are wearing them. This imparts the sense that the items are unique, personal, and unattainable to others.

As former Loro Piana CEO Fabio d’Angelantonio said in 2020, “If people buy Loro Piana, they like to feel a little bit like they are part of a club, a club of connoisseurs.”

A quote from Fabio d'Angelantonio, Former CEO of Loro PianaA quote from Fabio d'Angelantonio, Former CEO of Loro Piana

So, as the reasoning goes, what’s the fun of being in a club that anyone can join? So, in addition to prohibitively high price tags, the exclusivity of quiet luxury is also maintained by an “if you know, you know” mentality. This is, at least in theory, centered around the hallmarks of quality.

3. Exclusivity

Most people probably couldn’t tell the difference between a regular black baseball cap and the one sported by Kendall Roy, and that’s exactly how quiet luxury aficionados seem to want it. If you don’t understand and can’t afford what sets quiet luxury apart, then quiet luxury isn’t for you. Does this mean then that everyone who sports quiet luxury is some kind of fabric and manufacturing expert? Well, the answer here is no.

Ironically, while logos are eschewed by quiet luxury, the space can still be surprisingly brand-conscious. A relatively small group of companies are most closely associated with this style trend. Many hail from Italy, like Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana, Canali, and Ermenegildo Zegna, or the UK, especially London, like The Row, Thom Browne, and Private White. While the more Innovative brands in the space tread the fine line between designer apparel and true quiet luxury. Think of brands like Tom Ford, Fear of God, Max Mara, or Toteme.

Brand Country of Orifgin Category
Brunello Cucinelli Italy True Quiet Luxury
Loro Piana Italy True Quiet Luxury
Canali Italy True Quiet Luxury
Ermenegildo Zegna Italy True Quiet Luxury
The Row UK (London) True Quiet Luxury
Thom Browne UK (London) True Quiet Luxury
Private White UK (London) True Quiet Luxury
Tom Ford US Designer, bordering on Quiet Luxury
Fear of God US Designer, bordering on Quiet Luxury
Max Mara Italy Designer, bordering on Quiet Luxury
Toteme Sweden Designer, bordering on Quiet Luxury

Within this sphere of influence, these brands are trusted to provide quiet luxury attire. So, buyers who may or may not have any idea of what actually constitutes quality cashmere are basically relying on the reputation of these brands to ensure that they’re getting real quiet luxury.

“Budget” Cashmere: Myth or Magic? (Uniqlo, Everlane, & More)

Thus, the exclusionary nature of quiet luxury is maintained by a barrier of either knowledge or cost or sometimes both. You might get the impression that adherence of quiet luxury are dressing not to be noticed. But, as the New York Times stated, “Luxury is only quiet if you don’t know what to listen for.”

4. Studied

As a somewhat more extreme example of sprezzatura in men’s fashion, quiet luxury seeks to convey a sense of effortlessness that applies not only to how the clothes are worn, but also to how they’re made.

This emphasis on the unassuming means that most quiet luxury attire has a very simple and new neutral appearance. The color palette consists largely of earth tones or subtle variations in muted primary colors; and patterns, if present, tend to be reserved and minimal.

So, the theory goes that in the current fashion world defined by branding, loud colors, and maximalism, this more neutral and reserved way of dressing becomes more noticeable. It may be muted, but it stands out by being so different from the current norm. After all, could quiet luxury have made such a cultural splash if it were completely under the radar?

A man wearing a light-colored trousers and black shoes. A gray-patterned blazer is worn over a white turtleneckA man wearing a light-colored trousers and black shoes. A gray-patterned blazer is worn over a white turtleneck

Quiet luxury entails a…

“Look at Me” Attitude

So, in some ways, quiet luxury entails a “look at me” attitude in a different way. This relates back to its exclusionary nature as if you don’t know what to look for, you’re just not in the know.

Quiet Luxury vs Classic Style

Now that we’ve thoroughly covered quiet luxury, let’s discuss all the ways in which it differs from classic style.

1. Attainability

Firstly, unlike quiet luxury, classic style is meant to be attainable for all. You don’t have to be in the know, shop at the right kinds of stores, or buy only new clothing to achieve a classic style look. This is because classic style favors genuine quality, regardless of how expensive the material or how well-known the designer or manufacturer might be. So, you can source any garment that’s of good value to you, including secondhand or vintage pieces.

Preston choosing a vintage wear from a clothing rack inside a  classic style thrift storePreston choosing a vintage wear from a clothing rack inside a  classic style thrift store
Classic style is attainable for everyone, embracing quality pieces, whether they’re new or vintage.

2. Versatility

Classic style also embraces a wider range of styles and formalities. The stripped-down styling of quiet luxury is meant to represent the essence of elegance. But only time will tell if it actually offers versatile, timeless pieces with its emphasis on minimalistic and neutral garments or if it will end up up looking as dated as a brutalist interior.

Preston giving the thumbs up!Preston giving the thumbs up!
Classic style is versatile and timeless, too, but not limited to neutral and minimalist pieces.

Classic style, meanwhile, has already stood the test of time and has proven itself far more versatile than quiet luxury. Variations between the casual and the formal add spice to dressing within classic style, but quiet luxury tends to squash everything down into what tends to look like a simplified neutral form of business formal, and it often privileges comfort to such a degree that informal items like T-shirts or baseball caps are incongruously included with more formal business elements.

3. Character

Furthermore, that innate focus on comfort and neutral simplicity means that quiet luxury often falls short of achieving true formality. Quiet luxury Black Tie, for instance, is so sleek and modern that it loses much of the uniqueness and character that sets Black Tie apart in classic style. This example emphasizes the fact that classic style simply allows more opportunities for personality at every level of the formality scale than does quiet luxury.

In other words, quiet luxury constricts your style potential to maintain a façade of nonchalance, while classic style offers a full array of styling options to suit any formality, personality, or occasion, and perhaps the best part is that you can still use all of the luxurious materials and toned down styling elements of quiet luxury in a larger classic style wardrobe if you’d like to. This way, you can create an ensemble that looks like you and not just like a Logan Roy cosplay.

What is Classic Style For Men…and What Isn’t?


In conclusion, we hope we’ve Illustrated that while there is some amount of overlap between quiet luxury and classic style, they can, in fact, vary greatly when it comes to aesthetic principles and assessment of value.

Do you agree with our opinions today? Let us know in the comments below. Also, let us know if you’d like to see another head-to-head comparison of two of the hot trends right now: the old money aesthetic and quiet luxury.

Outfit Rundown

Today, I’ve attempted to use some of the classic style pieces in my own wardrobe to create something approximating a quiet luxury look. The cut and color palette of my outfit are neutral and unassuming in tones of black and dark charcoal gray.

My two-piece suit has just a bit of subtle pattern and texture in its weave, and I’m wearing it over a black mock-neck sweater

My pocket square is in plain, black silk, and my shoes are also plain black. They’re capless, single monk straps from the brand Velasca. One more explicitly classic style touch you’re seeing in the outdoor footage is, of course, my charcoal gray, short-brimmed fedora, and the socks I’m wearing are from Fort Belvedere. They’re dark gray in color with just a bit of personality provided by their light gray and black clock designs.

Finally, today, the fragrance I’m wearing comes from Issey Miyake. I think I was inspired a bit by the fact that Miyake made Steve Jobs’ famous black turtlenecks. The scent I’m wearing is l’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, and its clean, modern bottle style seems to harmonize well with the quiet luxury aesthetic.

So, for the socks I’m wearing, along with a wide array of other classic men’s accessories, corduroy trousers, and fragrances from the Roberto Ugolini collection, you can take a look at the Fort Belvedere shop here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ‘Quiet Luxury’ in men’s fashion?

Quiet Luxury refers to a sophisticated, understated elegance in men’s fashion. It emphasizes high-quality materials, fine craftsmanship, and timeless design over flashy logos or overt displays of wealth.

How can I incorporate Quiet Luxury into my wardrobe?

Start by investing in classic pieces made from premium fabrics such as cashmere, silk, or fine wool. Look for well-tailored items that fit perfectly and have a minimalist aesthetic. Choose neutral colors and simple patterns for versatility and longevity.

What are some key pieces of a Quiet Luxury wardrobe?

Essential items include a tailored suit, a crisp white shirt, a cashmere sweater, a classic trench coat, quality leather shoes, and a well-crafted watch. These foundational pieces can be mixed and matched to create a subtle yet sophisticated look.

What materials are associated with Quiet Luxury?

Natural fibers produced to exceptional standards or that are difficult to source are commonly associated with Quiet Luxury. These include linen, long-staple organic cotton, merino wool, silk, cashmere, and exotic materials like vicuna.

Are brand logos incompatible with the quiet luxury style?

Not necessarily, but the focus should be on the piece itself rather than the brand it represents. If logos are present, they should be discreet and not dominate the garment.

Is it possible to achieve a quiet luxury look on a budget?

Yes, while many quiet luxury items are investments, you can achieve this look on a budget by focusing on fit, fabric, and finesse. Opt for fewer high-quality pieces rather than numerous lower-quality items. Also, consider shopping at outlets or during sales.

Can I mix trends with quiet luxury?

Absolutely. However, the key is to integrate trendier items sparingly. Use them as accents within your outfit to complement your classic pieces without overshadowing the quiet luxury vibe.

How do I maintain my quiet luxury garments?

Proper care is crucial. Follow the care instructions on the label, use gentle detergents, and opt for professional cleaning for certain items. Store garments appropriately—hang suits and coats on proper hangers, and fold knitwear to avoid stretching.


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