Okay so I’m being a bit cheeky. There is nothing wrong with looking like a schoolgirl if you are one. I’m just pointing out that the “Old Money” aesthetic became widely known through the wardrobe of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl. However, this article is not about helping you to dress up in costume, I just want to help you take inspiration from a very tasteful and eclectic style and make it your own. The old money aesthetic is a sophisticated style that has strong roots in the cultures of England, Italy and France, so, I’d like to show you three ways to “channel” old money vibes in a more authentic, understated and elegant way.
First of all, there is the quintessential English countryside aesthetic which has a borderline equestrian feel to it. This style has a very earthy and natural colour palette. The overall look is a mix of tradition, practicality and style so think tweed blazers, high collars, quilted fabrics, leather riding boots and small chequered prints as well. As you can see the first trick to mastering this style is layering and usually, a minimum of three light layers including a jacket or blazer is common (so it’s not the best for tropical climates).
It’s an outdoorsy style but it’s still sophisticated and elegant, so if you can add a touch of sharpness to the outfit (like a tailored blazer or a fitted sweater), that should help to pull it together. The textures are also important because they underpin the practicality of the outfit. Leather boots are perfect for wet winter days and quilted fabrics add much needed insulation. So you can say that it’s a style that emphasises the importance of being comfortable and being appropriately dressed for the situation too.
The Amalfi coast in Italy evokes images of those bold stripe patterns and floaty summer fabrics that just ooze casual sophistication. Obviously this style is more suited to warmer climates and summer time. It’s one of those styles where bold colours like reds, blues and yellows work really well because there is always a white or cream base colour to balance it out. Keep your eye out for bright colour palettes, loose palazzo trousers, bold & pin stripe garments and natural fabrics like linen and cotton.
Another important element to this style is accessories. The old money style emphasises comfort and ease, so sunglasses and hats are a great addition to your outfit, not only to look super stylish but also to protect you from the sun and stay cool. Usually cat-eye sunglasses look very vintage and can give you that old money aesthetic very effortlessly. Other accessory essentials include sandals, handbags, belts and light silk scarf scarves but there’s no need to pack them all into one outfit. Remember to keep it simple and prioritise your own comfort. Even something as simple as a two tone outfit with black sunglasses and a clutch bag can be all you need.
And finally the Parisian Metropolis wouldn’t be the same without Coco Chanel’s little black dress with a string of pearls. Not only is black a flattering colour on a lot of different women but it’s a classic and timeless look that women don’t utilise enough in the right way. Some people say black drains the energy from an outfit and it should be avoided at all costs. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen an elegantly dressed woman wearing black and thought to myself that it doesn’t suit her. In my opinion this look is perfect for when you need a touch of glamour, so combine it with a pair of your favourite classy heels and a bold red lip for maximum effect.
If you’re not a fan of the traditional looking pearl jewelry, you can find more subtle and contemporary ways to add pearls to your outfit. Even as simple as an earring will have the same effect, just in a more subtle way. You don’t have to keep this style for evening wear however, you can pair it back completely and just hint to it with a black and white ensemble for everyday wear and if you want to elevate it slightly you could still add that bold lip.
I hope this helped you to find some inspiration and got you thinking about how you can make this style your own. Remember it’s really not about trying to look rich, I look at it as a style that has more to do with culture and lifestyle, which is something that you can learn from and incorporate into your own wardrobe. I would love to see how these looks inspire your outfits so don’t hesitate to tag me on Instagram, Tiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message because I would love to see!
All images in this article are for educational purposes only and all credit goes to the original photographers.
About the author
Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she has an interest in classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.