Stealth Wealth: How to make your clothes look more expensive than they are

A fashion expert explains the Stealth Wealth trend and how to get the look for less

five women wearing the stealth wealth trend
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While monogram detailing is back in fashion, stealth wealth or quiet luxury is the antithesis of showy fashion. Shunning obvious designer items for subtly expensive-looking pieces, this is the style you need to embrace if you want everyone to think your outfits are pricey, even if they can't put their finger on why. And better yet, we know how to get this look at a range of price points.

For many fashion houses, monograms and branding play a front-and-center role in key statement pieces, with the best designer bags decorated with logos and recognizable prints that have everyone you pass acknowledge your high-end purchase. But while these timeless buys - such as the best Louis Vuitton bags in the brand's iconic Damier canvas will always be much sought after, there is a growing movement towards a more subtle approach to dressing expensively.

Stealth Wealth, or old money-aesthetic as numerous TikTokers like to call it, is the art of dressing expensively, without shouting about it. This style revolves around timeless buys and swapping out the latest fashion trends for a more minimalist capsule wardrobe that champions well-crafted pieces that exude elegance. And while the easiest way to bag this look is by paying for it, we'll show you how to be more 'Stealth Wealth', for all bank balances.

Stealth Wealth fashion - how to look expensive for less

Finding its fashion feet thanks to the likes of the television show 'Succession', which revolves around some seriously stylish characters, Stealth Wealth is the art of looking expensive, without being brazen about your high-fashion wardrobe. And although the true Stealth Wealth aesthetic relies heavily on designer fashion brands, it's about selecting the buys that look and feel expensive thanks to excellent cuts, and luxe fabrications, and these don't always have to cost the earth. We round up the timeless buys that will ensure you look expensive, instead of flash and it's achievable for all price points.

1. Best blazers for stealth wealth

The best blazers for the Stealth Wealth trend are elegantly understated but crafted with excellence. That means that you're looking for quality fabrics and tailored cuts that sit beautifully across the shoulder and nip gently in at the waist. To elevate a blazer further, consider switching the original buttons for a more expensive button, to both individualize and give your jacket a playful twist. Buy the highest quality fabric you can, in particular wool or wool blend varieties for quality feel and handle. Opt for versatile neutral hues rather than bold colors for timeless elegance.

2. Best dresses for stealth wealth

When it comes to the best dresses to exude Stealth Wealth, there are some key capsule wardrobe heroes worth investing in. Classic styles, such as nautical stripes, cozy knitted dresses and warm weather-ready linen shirt dresses are ideal for adding this trend to your closet. The key here is to work around current trend, swapping bright colored clothing or time-sensitive prints for monochromatic and neutral block color designs that work effortlessly for different times of day.  

3. Best pants and skirts for stealth wealth

Similarly to blazers, skirts and pants for the Stealth Wealth trend are heavily reliant on fabrication and quality cuts. Excellently tailored pants, be it directional wide legs, or never-not-useful, slim fits will ensure that the rest of your ensemble hold together   and maintain its expensive aesthetic. If using less expensive pieces for this trend, don't be afraid to ask a local tailor to help give your pieces that 'made to measure' finish. When it comes to fabrications, wool, silk and leather are just three fabrics that give off that 'old-money' feel.

4. Best coats for stealth wealth

Stealth Wealth outerwear can be an easy win, as a coat is the first item anyone will see of your outfit and it immediately sets the tone for the rest of your look. To deliver on the trend, avoid any outerwear that relies heavily on the coat trends 2023, instead, opting for timeless investment looks that you can wear again and again. By skipping the trends, opting instead for timeless style, you're creating your own fashion pathways that doesn't require the runway for relevance. In this instance, it's building an outerwear wardrobe with the best trench coat, a great winter wool coat and a striking leather jacket that will see you through all seasons. 

5. Best bags for stealth wealth

The best designer bags can be the lynch pin to whether you successfully carry off Stealth Wealth or not. In the television show, Succession, one character was berated for their overly showy handbag, something that Stealth Wealthers see as a handbag mistake. As with blazers and pants, it's all about understated elegance, opting for high quality fabrications, that aren't dripping with obvious logo details or prints. 

While you can still shop the handbag trends 2023, swerve bold colors, instead going for neutral hues, buttery leathers and simple silhouettes, as these will feel the most effortless. Any branding should be minimal and discreet, it's very much a case of, 'if you know, you know'.

This makes this an easy one to fake, if a designer bag is out of your remit. Instead opt for the highest quality bag you can from straight to market brands, such as a simple leather tote or clutch, that still exudes quality, but without the eye-watering price tag. 

6. Best shoes for stealth wealth

As with bags, whether it's designer heels or comfortable flats, the key is simplicity. Avoid obvious detail that feels to purposeful, or anything too runway-worthy. This is about footwear that looks effortlessly elegant. Super-soft leather ballet pumps, sweet patent pumps, luxe loafers, or timeless winter boots, detailing should be subtle and purposeful, as opposed to heavily embellished. 

Stealth Wealthers aren't looking to stand out from the crowd overtly, what makes them noticeable is their subtle style, so always ensure that shoes are polished and well maintained to truly nail this look.

7. Best jewelry for stealth wealth

The latest jewelry trends are the enemy of sealing the deal on Stealth Wealth's jewelry style. While costume pieces are ideal for up styling an outfit and creating a statement look, to pull this tricky trend together, you're looking to create the ultimate jewelry capsule wardrobe. Simple hoops, a sweet tennis bracelet that has 'air loom' appeal, and dainty, wear-everywhere studs don't have to cost the earth, but will make your outfit look as if it does. 

While generally the best jewelry for this look avoids trends or cult pieces, something like the Cartier Love Bracelet is one that is universally loved and thanks to its timeless and simple shape is a piece everyone wants in their arsenal. Of course, if you manage to bag yourself one, stack it with over simple bracelets, so that you don't appear to be showing it off.

Rivkie Baum
Fashion channel editor

Rivkie is a fashion editor, writer and stylist with over fifteen years' experience in the industry. Having studied design and pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion, Rivkie fell in love with styling and journalism, covering fashion weeks in London, Paris and New York. 

Specialising in plus size fashion, Rivkie has long championed that style is for everyBODY and has been a regular talking head on a host of radio stations and television shows, pushing for greater representation for plus size women and fashion throughout her career.