We talk a lot on this blog about how to dress and how to behave. Traditional, discreet clothing and manners are two of our big talking points, and I’m delighted by the enthusiastic support our readers give to these topics.
However, I’ve received a couple of emails recently from well-intentioned young people who are asking about what brand of shirts Old Money people wear, where they vacation, and how one can meet and befriend Old Money Guys and Gals. While I understand ‘where they’re coming from’, I’ve got to address this on the blog so we can nip it in the bud.
Old Money people are individuals. They generally dress a certain way and have a tendency to buy and wear certain styles of clothes, but not all of them do anything the same way all the time.
The unglamorous truth about the Old Money culture is this: it’s not about what clothes OMG’s are wearing or where they’re vacationing. Their clothes are usually functional because their priorities are elsewhere: they’re working, most likely.
The people who want to be Old Money are busting their behinds to make money, squeezing their brains about how to wisely invest it, and trying to instill–by example and sermon–Old Money values on their children so that the family fortune isn’t squandered by the 2nd generation.
That doesn’t leave much time for primping in the mirror or posing for selfies. The real deal OMG’s are similarly inclined, if by slightly different experiences: they’ve been raised by parents and headmasters who don’t cotton laziness or flamboyance. ‘Style’ is a school uniform growing up and a generationally-instilled template of cardigans, khakis, button-downs, and loafers.
The priority for the OMG isn’t looking good, it’s doing good. The accomplishments of ancestors must be honored, if not equalled or surpassed. These 3rd Gens and beyond can’t drop the ball: their education and careers have benchmarks, self-imposed or otherwise, that have to be met.
What all this boils down to, again, for Old Money and New, is hard work. Old Money works to keep it through minding the expenses, honoring the values, continuing with the hard work, and communicating all of these important themes to the next generation. The First Gen of Old Money has to do all this, plus make the initial nest egg.
So put the Work Ethic first, and then let the wardrobe fall into line along the fundamentals we talk about here and in The Old Money Book.
Finally, a word of caution: I wouldn’t recommend trying to find out where Old Money Guys and Gals vacation or socialize in order to meet them and befriend them just because they have money. OMG’s are predisposed–almost genetically–to spot this kind of behavior from a mile away. When they encounter it, some of them will be polite and distance themselves with diplomacy. Some of them will be downright rude and cut the perpetrator off at the knees without a second thought.
If you don’t heed my warning and try to ingratiate yourself with OMG’s with a hidden agenda or under false pretenses, don’t come crying to me when you get busted and publicly humiliated as a poser or gold digger. I rarely say this, but will say it in this situation: I told you so.
Prioritize the Work Ethic. In Old Money culture, that’s what makes it and keeps it.