Ditch the ‘Rich’ Look, Dress as You Please
Stealth wealth is supposed to be the stomping ground of the super-rich, preferably with generations of money behind them.
For a while now, the internet has been overflowing with stories about stealth wealth or the practice of not letting your attire or accoutrements indicate your affluence. That doesn’t mean that poor people can pass off as rich by revealing their poverty. Absolutely not.
Stealth wealth is supposed to be the stomping ground of the super-rich, preferably with generations of money behind them. These are people with more money than they can keep track of, or would like to admit to. And unlike the nouveau riche, who want to advertise exactly how much they’ve got, old money supposedly likes to fly under the radar and keep a low profile.
This means adopting a minimalist dress code that steers clear of large logos, big name brands and on-trend outfits, and focuses instead on impeccable cuts and peerless textiles.
Of course, if you think minimal means inexpensive or generic, think again. Subtle perfection comes at a price. A Loro Piana bag on the arm of an heiress may look as if it’s meant to carry vegetables home from the market, but it’s more likely to carry a five-figure price tag.
But that doesn’t deter the style gurus on the internet. Presuming that everyone wants to look rich, they keep generating endless tips on how to acquire a stealth-wealth aesthetic.
I have two things to say to these gurus: One, there is no specific ‘rich people’ aesthetic.
Like everyone else, the super-wealthy dress in all sorts of ways and go the full gamut, from sumptuous simplicity to decidedly drab to a Ranveer Singh over-the-topness. Just examine the personal styles of Savitri Jindal, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Nita Ambani, three of the richest women in India. Or compare billionaire investor Radhakishan Damani’s trademark white shirt and pant with industrialist Adar Poonawallah’s sharp tailored suits. It would be difficult to find more diverse individuals—even if you tried.
On a global scale too, the aesthetic of the super-rich varies widely. Kate Middleton juxtaposes Alexander McQueen and Mulberry outfits with Mango and Marks and Spencer, in every colour of the rainbow. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (who has a combined worth of $840 million with his wife Akshata Murty) goes around in hoodies and jeans as well as Prada shoes and Savile Row suits.
Clearly, all these people dress to please themselves. There is no one ‘look’ that they seek to create.
Two, why should people want to look wealthy?
I realise it’s important, especially if you’re a working professional, to look your best at all times. But since when has rich become synonymous with best?
Real luxury is about having the freedom to celebrate your individuality and dress however you want to. If your heart desires a muted aesthetic, so be it. But if bags and shoes in every hue and loud logos all over your clothes are what satisfy your soul, then that’s what you should go for.
After all, isn’t happiness an individual’s true wealth?
Delhi-based writer, editor and communication coach