The term ‘Quiet Luxury’ has been swirling around the internet since the spring fashion season began this year namely with the brands of Khaite, The Row, Max Mara and Bottega Veneta as well as a few other headlining events in current culture – Gwyneth Paltrow in Park City and the final season of Succession; however, it goes far beyond fashion.
Along with the ebbing of the economy, the idea of living quietly luxuriously or stealthily exhibiting your wealth has come back into conversation, but such a term, as Time magazine pointed out, is far from new or original. In fact, many historians argue it started with the French following the revolution in 1799, when those who rose after the fall of the French monarchy “turn[ed] away from powdered wigs and floral-brocaded suits covered with lace . . .” and turned toward “a uniform, the dark suit . . . becomes the respectable uniform if you want to be both powerful and understated.”
With that said, it’s important to note, Quiet Luxury is not entirely all about one’s sartorial choices, and after reading the slew of articles about its definition, it is Harper’s Bazaar’s article that offered the most detail beyond the wardrobe component. If prior to knowing about Quiet Luxury, your style or preference leaned entirely in a different direction, then the concept of ‘quiet luxury’ will be a trend to follow and recede into the archives of history of your life journey when it is no longer in favor with the masses, BUT if you came across this ‘newly’ coined term and thought to yourself, “Well, that’s how I prefer to live and now I have a name for it”, then the over-arching objective for adhering to Quiet Luxury will be significantly different than for the previously mentioned group that chooses to observe and embody this lifestyle movement.
How I differentiate the two comes down to the intention each individual chooses to heed a lifestyle of Quiet Luxury: The former group desires to intentionally communicate wealth quietly to the outside world (IYKYK = if you know you know), creating a “tribe” of exclusivity and a feeling as to belong in a certain societal group; whereas the latter group seeks no attention, yet finds fulfillment and inner calm and peace as they savor and appreciate the life they love living without seeking applause; should the outside world place them in a particular ‘group’, that is the onlooker’s choice, not needed or sought after by the one living the life being commented upon. Ultimately, the difference will only be known to each person choosing to live a life of Quiet Luxury which is what makes the chosen term of the season all the more apt.
It is the latter group that I have a feeling many TSLL readers will find themselves, not because they wanted to be part of a group, but because they prefer such an approach to living as to find fulfillment and deep contentment. To the latter group, to focus on what the broader culture at the moment labels Quiet Luxury is to know through living in such a way long before it was trendy is to enable the noise of the world to lessen so that we can go about the business of fulfilling our purpose which will be unique to each of us. So while there are differences and key subtleties to note, especially regarding the intention behind following the trend, the similarities are plentiful.
After all, the entire fundamental premise of living simply luxuriously is to live a life of quality over quantity as to ground ourselves and each day of our lives in contentment, so that no matter what is happening in the world or with the people that surround us, this includes the economy as well as those we love and the journey they are traveling, we rest at ease knowing we have the necessary skills to handle well each day’s events, participating fully and bravely sharing our unique selves with the world. To invest in quality either monetarily or with our time and attention, we begin to build a life we enjoy living in the everyday as well as the once-in-a-lifetime moments. And that is what Quiet Luxury is all about, primarily, if we choose to dive deeper beyond what is seen or ‘not wanting to be seen’. So let’s now take a look at the definitions of both Quiet Luxury based on the bevy of articles I have read published in the past two months and situate it next to the definition of living simply luxuriously.
~Note about the links: Quiet Luxury links found in the list below connect to various articles posted on the topic; Living Simply Luxuriously links connect to further detailed reading on that topic as written about here on TSLL blog.
- “Clothing of the highest quality, but also clothing that has timelessness, is sophisticated and understated,” Thomaï Serdari, director of the fashion and luxury MBA program at NYU’s Stern School of Business
- 100% logo-less
- Classic, timeless styles, modesty, yet perfect tailoring
- Key items that only a subset of those ‘in the know’ recognize you are wearing
- Investing in high quality items that will last and wear well for a lifetime
- Stunning fabrics and textures
- Elevated basics
- Example: Wearing an elevated luxury coat (sans logo) over a pair of vintage jeans. So mixing high and low appearances, but still both high quality investment items.
- “A harmony in the colour palette, in different textures and shapes”
- Easy elegance, ‘good taste’, refinement
- The return of beloved minimalist and refined luxury Parisian-born British designer Phoebe Philo (look for her collection in September ’23)
- BEYOND THE CLOTHING, It’s giving attention and priority to Premium Basics in all areas of life (not only things):
- Taking care of yourself well: health (mental and physical), skincare, beauty (a timeless haircut and colour, radiant skin that shines with just a touch of makeup rather than obvious use of makeup)
- Having the time to workout well and often
- Choosing to host intimate dinner parties at home rather than dine out at the latest ‘it’ restaurant with those whose company beyond your household inhabitants you enjoy.
- Enjoying living your life privately without having to prove to the world through either social media or conversation how you live well.
- Having the time to take long, leisurely walks with your pups and/or people you love and enjoy their company.
- It’s how you act: thoughtful in your actions – thank you cards written and chosen with intention, giving gifts big with meaning, not necessarily expense; volunteering or supporting causes without needing recognition.
- “A quiet confidence not only in one’s wardrobe, style and social life, but in herself – which, some might argue, is the biggest luxury of all.”
Living Simply Luxuriously
- A life of quality over quantity in every arena of our lives
- Honoring our true self.
- Not being led around by the nose whether it comes to trends, social norms, cultural expectations for our life journey.
- Investing in style and ignoring trends in both our wardrobe and home décor.
- Cost per wear – investing in the best quality we can afford, buying fewer but better items; each that can mix and match well with at least two items in our wardrobe.
- No bling or exhibition of brands or logos
- Subtle sophistication and style appearing effortless
- Choosing clothing, accessories that while high quality are tailored to how we live and suit our life and individual style best.
- Living mindfully which involves being fully present, exercising our mind and thus having control over our thoughts, exercising self-awareness and awareness of the world around us.
- Having a calm inner peace due to being grounded in contentment.
- Not seeking approval from the outer world as we have found peace within which enables us to let go, knowing we only have control over our mind, our decisions and our actions, not all that swirls around us and outside of us.
- Understanding what true wealth actually is and what it is not.
I have no doubt, just as the Minimalist movement that came into its time following the Great Recession and has now largely disappeared from the broader culture as the ‘it’ trend in both décor and clothing, so too will Quiet Luxury when again the economy is thriving and people feel more comfortable to express their success. And when this shift takes place, that is when we will know and observe what the intention for adhering to the Quiet Luxury ideals were for each person, brand and business. Understandably, businesses and brands need to meet their consumers where they are and exhibit understanding of the economic situation for marketing to work, but as individuals, to blindly follow one trend to the next is to ignore a vital component necessary for finding and experiencing fulfillment and contentment.
Here on The Simply Luxurious Life and in our community, we have been talking and writing about living in such a way, a life of quality over quantity in every arena of our lives since the blog began in 2009, and as readers and listeners from the around the world have shared, it is when we pare down, not to bare bones, but to what we need to nourish us, our unique selves, our true selves, paired with setting boundaries, that we can thrive and consequently, can share with the world what we can uniquely contribute. This is the moment a simply luxurious life becomes our modus operandi and we experience a life of true contentment, an everyday life that sings. There is no one specific formula, but the fundamentals remain the same. Those fundamentals are available for each of us to understand and our choice to invest in, and they make all the difference to knowing what living well will look like for each of us.
Explore TSLL’s 2nd book and specifically Chapters 8 & 9 where the Toolbox of Skills and Strengths are shared in-depth.
SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Small & Simple = A Grand & Full Life, episode #97
1st episode of The Simple Sophisticate podcast: 8 Pillars of Building a Simply Luxurious Life