At the heart of the old money aesthetic is the Ivy League university, the Hamptons during the summer season, and the classic luxury of those who wear their wealth without fanfare. A quick review of designer Ralph Lauren’s collections since 1967 tells the story of the old money look and his indelible influence in creating it. Icons of old money include luminaries like Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, and Grace Kelly. All were sleekly coiffed, minimally made up, and dressed in subtle, neutral classics.

Let’s take a quick tour of outfits and accessories that exude old money style for women and talk about how you can duplicate the look.

Elements of the Aesthetic

A woman wearing a taupe, quiet luxury crossbody bag

The old money aesthetic follows Ralph Lauren’s fascination with the styles and behaviors favored by wealthy Americans. Creating a look based on what he observed, he effectively launched the old money aesthetic with his 1967 Polo tie and the collections that followed.

Quality fabrics figure prominently in the old money style for both women and men. Prints are subdued, if present at all. Colors are neutral, with the most important in the palette being:

  • White
  • Black
  • Camel
  • Olive
  • Navy
  • Cream
  • Grey
  • Taupe
  • Brown

One non-negotiable for the old money aesthetic is fit and that means tailoring. Pants, jackets, suits, dresses, skirts—whatever you have in your closet that slots into this look—should be tailored to render a classic fit. You’ll find that a good tailor gives your wardrobe the look of luxury you’re seeking.


Acrylic nails, hair extensions, false eyelashes, and other popular beauty trends for women have no place in old money style. Nails are short and French-manicured. Makeup is minimal. Hair is sleek, either cut short or pulled back off the face.

Skincare is essential to this look, so spend a little extra time on the quiet luxury of glowing skin. Twice daily cleansing and moisturizing are all you need, with subtle, barely-there makeup for the day and a more intense version for the evening.

Jewelry and Accessories

Like the beauty add-ons mentioned above, jewelry and accessories for men and women are kept to a minimum in the old money style. Earrings are quality studs or small hoops. Event dressing follows this pattern, with old money women letting their superb gowns take center stage. Quiet luxury keeps the volume low and tuned to the classics, day or night!

Just Add Tweed

A model with a black & white tweed purse in old money style for women

Associated with timeless quality and elegance, tweed was made for old money aesthetics. Tweed whispers of the highlands of Scotland, where this fabric has been hand-loomed for centuries. Fine fabrics like tweed are key to the old money style, for women and men equally.

Italian Melton wool is a gorgeous fabric that lends itself readily to the old money look, so a blazer is where you start. Pair a tweed bag with a camel Melton wool blazer that’s been tailored to fit perfectly. Choose cream-colored trousers in a lighter-weight wool, cut close to your body and, of course, tailored. Tuck a white button-through shirt into the trousers and add a slim black belt with a simple metal buckle. Choose stud earrings to match your belt hardware and penny loafers in black for skillfully achieved women’s old money style.

Boardroom Power Dressing

A woman wears a black croc old money style purse for women

Old money is managed in the wood-paneled halls of fiscal power. Around large, heavy tables of polished, burled wood, quiet luxury is at its most subtly potent. For this caper, you’ll need a tailored suit and a chic little purse made of faux crocodile skin (we’re vegan here!).

A suit that’s flexible has both skirt and trouser options, tailored to fit seamlessly at the ideal length. Key points to keep in mind when looking at women’s power dressing for old money style are minimalism, fabric quality, and tailoring.

Avoid anything too “trendy” (oversized is out of the question for this look) and stick to the old money color palette to wield power from a place of refinement and elegance. Under your suit jacket, you’ll be wearing the classic white button-through shirt that’s so central to this aesthetic.

Casual Summer Chic

A woman carrying a straw tote for a quiet luxury look

You’re off on a jaunt to the Hamptons. What do you wear? Start with the ubiquitous summer tote. A roomy straw vacation bag to pack a book to your favorite coffee shop in is a beautiful start to chicly casual old money women’s style for summer.

A simple white tank in an airy fabric like silk is your next move. Wear this fitted loosely over a pair of trim linen cropped pants, both in white. Next, toss a cotton sweater over your shoulders against the sea breezes and tie the arms at the neck. Your sweater is accented by navy stripes on white at the neckline and wrists. Navy slip-on mules and massive Jackie O. shades complete your Hamptons summer look of quiet luxury.

Ethical Fashion for Old Money Aesthetics

Come to Urban Expressions to add subtle elan to all your old money looks. Working with only animal-friendly materials, we update old money with new ethics for the 21st century. 

Discover trend-relevant styles that honor the earth and animal welfare while keeping you on-trend with well-constructed luxury purses and accessories. Shop old money handbags now!

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