How to Look Like Old Money

Who doesn't want to look classy and wealthy in an understated way? Leave the bright colors and flashy logos for the nouveau riche and channel your favorite Kennedy. Remember, old money in the U.S. is nouveau riche in Europe.


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    Only wear clothing from the quality "food groups"; tweed, cotton, wool, linen and silk and cashmere. These are lasting fabrics that will hold their shape well and will not pill (develop the small balls of threads and fibers that collect on garments from wear). Avoid acrylic, rayon, polyester and other such blends.
    • Color of tops should be kept somewhat neutral. Black, beige, brown, white and pastels.
    • Sweaters and coats are best kept black because they will go with everything.
    • Wool pea-coats are something worth splurging on. They have been classy and stylish since the 1940s. It is something that you will wear for the rest of your life.
    • T-shirts, tank tops and light sweaters can be found for between $10-$25 made from quality cotton. Shop at discount stores (Saks Off-Fifth Avenue, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Loehmann's, Burlington Coat Factory, etc.) for pricier items, such as cashmere or wool sweaters.
    • Jeans are always a safe choice, just make sure that they fit well. They don't have to be designer either. Levi's are just fine for hanging out around town. Keep in mind that rhinestones on your bottom are not okay.
    • Wool or tweed pants are nice for gatherings, dinners, coffee dates, etc. Pair them with a nice blouse or sweater.
    • Avoid logos on clothing. Brand logos suggest that you have a need to impress others, however clothing without brand logos suggests confidence and security with who you are.
    • Shoes are another area that will be worth the splurge. Invest in a versatile heel, something appropriate for all occasions. Black, leather, medium heel, slight peep-toe have been the most widely used in my experience. They can be worn with everything from a little black dress, to an interview or simply out to lunch.
    • Comfortable, durable leather flats are also a great choice, Cole Haan makes them in all sorts of colors and they are available at the Cole Haan Outlet for 50-75% less than retail.
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    Most days, I wear 5 year old black and white Jack Purcells. If you are of college age or younger, wearing sneakers is totally acceptable.
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    Take care of yourself. Don't pick at skin, use whatever keeps it clear and use it consistently. Old money can afford to do what it takes to keep their skin clear and healthy (facials, Crème De La Mer, whatever).
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    Remember that oral hygiene is crucial. Brush and floss 2-3 times daily.
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    Keep nails on the short side, and natural. No fake long acrylics that destroy your natural nails. Keep polish neutral as well; beige, opaque white, light translucent pink. Don't forget about your toes, if they're going to be showing! Find a cheap salon that you can stop by 2-3 times a month.
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    Have your Highlights be fresh and as natural looking as possible. Hair can be any length as long as it's trimmed (not fried), natural colors (not pink) and styled in a tasteful way (no mohawks).
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    Tweeze/wax eyebrows to keep them neat but never too thin.
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    KISS: Keep It Simple Silly! Makeup should be kept incredibly simple. Sheer foundation, concealer where needed, easy blush, mascara and lip BALM. Not gloss. If your activities call for eyeshadow, stick to taupe and browns or pastels.
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    Dot expensive perfume on your wrists and behind your ears. Even the most pricey perfume costs a mere 35 cents a day if you go through one bottle a year. It compliments your own natural scent, you don't want to swim in it.
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    Eat right, exercise. Old money is rarely obese.
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    Accessorize! Develop signature pieces that you love (and will love for years) and wear them every day.
    • Wedding/engagement rings, diamond/pearl pendant necklaces with gold/white gold chains, Tiffany & Co. right hand rings, diamond studs (ALWAYS classy), pearl earrings. No stretched ears, quadruple piercings, etc. Keep it to one or two jewelry accessories.
    • Wear really nice jewelry with casual outfits. If you have on jeans and a nice shirt (but still casual) put on a nice pair of diamond studs and maybe a ruby (it can be fake, or just a cheap quality, but make sure it looks nice/real) ring. Remember not to brag about your nice jewelry. If you were really old money you wouldn't have to brag because it is assumed by others you can afford nice things and it is considered bad taste to brag.
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    Carry a bag that will last for years. It will save money in the long run if you have one or two bags that you will use for 20-plus years. Coach is a good choice and will repair and clean damaged purses you have purchased from them, no charge, for a lifetime. L.L. Bean totes are incredibly durable for overnight stays and beach days. Even the customized totes they make are less than $50. No big, noticeable logos.
    • A Timex Easy Reader with a leather strap can keep you from constantly digging through your purse for your cell phone to check the time. It also sends the message that you have places to be, people to see.
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    Get good sunglasses. Again, logos are overrated.
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    The most important step, be polite. It's a fading art, but try. Don't talk about how much money you have/don't have. Don't discuss the financial status of others. Don't lie. Think before you speak. Go with the flow. Relax! You just got back from your summer house in the Hamptons after all.


  • Don't attempt to actually tell people that you are rich. You will either be found out or thought to be tacky for discussing money.

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Categories: Character Style Imitation