Quiet luxury is a lifestyle characterized by understated elegance and refined consumption, emphasizing exclusivity and discerning taste without overt displays of wealth.

It is a recurring trend that has been seen numerous times throughout history. The concept’s most recent popularity arose in 2023 when conspicuous consumption become less favorable. The ostentatious display of wealth increasingly became perceived as gauche and fostering futile competition. 

During this time period, the ultrawealthy subtly exhibit their status through expensive, yet inconspicuous, domestic and personal items. This discreet display of wealth is often through subtle signals recognizable only to those in the know. In other words, the wealth is only apparent to those who know what to look for. The products associated with this lifestyle tend to be high quality but subtle in visuals and marketing. The concept has been likened to minimalism, although more elevated and riskier, and normcore, but more polished.

The rise of social media has led to the increased spectatorship of the lives of the wealthy, with individuals creating narratives of a lavish lifestyle for public consumption. However, quiet luxury emphasizes privacy, discouraging overt displays of wealth that might make one a target.  Contemporary status symbols for the wealthy include inconspicuous designer clothing and discreet, yet expensive, jewelry. 

The quiet luxury trend in 2023 likely arose for a number of reasons. One is due to the economic conditions following the COVID-19 pandemic when people spent more disposable income on services and less on expensive, trendy products. The fear of economic stagnation or recession influencing the trend led to it being dubbed recessioncore. Also, the television series Succession portrayed some of the wealthiest New Yorkers wearing expensive, yet subtle pieces of fashion and has been attributed to fueling the trend.This led to the term Succession core. The Gwyneth Paltrow civil court case in March 2023 in Utah also contributed to the trend, as her wardrobe reflected the concept as well.

The benefits of quiet luxury include that it tends to focus more on the customer’s needs and less on image. Also, because of the focus on quality, it tends to be more sustainable. Although it may superficially appear bad for business since the consumer will need to make fewer purchases, it may actually be beneficial for businesses as well, as the consumer may continue to buy goods from the same brand. Quiet luxury also places an emphasis on more conscientious purchasing and investment pieces. Quiet luxury items in theory should have a timeless appeal.


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