In response to a couple of emails that I’ve received lately, I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the Old Money wardrobe, as it continues to be a topic that interests people. (Good.)
That’s completely understandable, as the way people dress may be the most visible and obvious expression of their identity, if not their beliefs. It is probably a ‘key indicator’ in many instances.
So let me just touch on some familiar but important parts of dressing Old Money Style that will confirm for our Members of the Tribe and clarify for some of our new readers.
First, view clothes as an investment, not an expenditure, and certainly not as a ‘statement’. You’re not trying to impress anyone in an obvious way. Dressing like Old Money will impress them, but in a more subtle and gradual way, but only if your performance, speech, and manners support your image.
As an investment, you’re going to opt for traditional/preppy/Old Money style (which doesn’t go ‘out of style’), natural fabrics, versatile garments, and quality construction. You’re going to buy garments that you wear every day first. You’re going to buy garments that you can wear for several different occasions (office, weekends, weddings, etc). You’re going to buy garments that you can easily mix and match.
If you can dress preppy from cradle to grave, do so. You will save yourself time, heartache, and money. Depending upon your budget, you can assemble a wardrobe from Ralph Lauren, Brooks Bros, Lands End, and LL Bean with relative ease. (Tribe members, add other vendors in comments if you wish, please!)
The trick will be getting the most for your money. That means acquiring garments that look good and ones that last. Comfortable options are cotton shirts or blouses in white, blue, or blue and white stripes, khakis or solid color cotton pants, grey wool pants, corduroys, penny loafers or Topsiders, solid color wool or cotton sweaters…these are the fundamental pieces that most people can wear every day and look good.
The blue blazer remains a go-to option for dressier occasions, and not just for guys. The navy blue suit with a not-too-tight, not-too-loose cut and traditional style is an eternal, fundamental piece at some point in time.
The fine line may be to look like you care, but don’t look like you’re trying. Also note that if you get rid of all the ragged T-shirts in your drawer or closet, you won’t have any choice but to throw on a polo pullover…and look much better in the process, without any more effort. (Keep the logos small.)
An imaginary exercise for your garment and color choices is to pretend that you open your closet in the middle of the night, pull out all the garments you need to be fully dressed, get dressed in the dark, then turn on the light. If you’ve curated your wardrobe well, almost anything will go with anything and look presentable…
Avoid the shopping mall, if they still have those. Look online. Shop at traditional clothing boutiques like McConnell’s of Buffalo, New York, or J Press. Only shop two to three times a year. Watch for sales. Avoid trends. Avoid synthetic fabrics, except with rain gear, of course.
And remember, Old Money style whispers. Old Money style endures.