Quiet Luxury for Men: The Rise of Understated Style

The Fashionisto


Updated May 18, 2023

Brunello Cucinelli Men Quiet LuxuryPin
One of the fashion brands at the forefront of quiet luxury, Brunello Cucinelli places an emphasis on quality and timelessness. Photo: Brunello Cucinelli

The world of men’s fashion has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, moving away from flashy logos and bright colors to a more understated and refined aesthetic known as quiet luxury. The fashion trend refers to a subtle, minimalist approach to luxury fashion that emphasizes quality materials, timeless pieces, and impeccable craftsmanship.

This trend reflects a cultural shift towards stealth wealth, focusing on a subtle display of affluence rather than a flashy one. In this guide, we will examine the evolution of quiet luxury, the appeal of this aesthetic, key players in the trend, the role of eco-friendly and high-quality materials, how to incorporate it into a personal style, and the future of quiet luxury.

Quiet Luxury

The trend towards quiet luxury can be seen as a response to the fast fashion movement, which has been criticized for its negative impact on the environment and the exploitation of cheap labor.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in slow fashion, emphasizing quality over quantity and encouraging consumers to invest in pieces that will last. This movement towards sustainable fashion has contributed to the rise of quiet luxury.

Facebook co founder Mark Zuckerberg is well known for his minimal but luxurious style.Pin
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is well known for his minimal but luxurious style. Photo: Anthony Quintano from Westminster, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From real-life figures like Mark Zuckerberg to fictional television characters like Kendall Roy, the concept of quiet luxury influences various individuals. Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, is renowned for his casual and understated style, often seen wearing a simple gray t-shirt and jeans.

Although his t-shirts may appear ordinary, they are rumored to be custom tees from Brunello Cucinelli, priced at a minimum of $300 each. This exemplifies how seemingly basic wardrobe choices can align with the quiet luxury trend.

Jeremy Strong wears an understated suede jacket, portraying Kendall Roy on HBO series Succession.Pin
Jeremy Strong wears an understated suede jacket, portraying Kendall Roy on HBO series Succession. Photo: David Russell / HBO

Similarly, Kendall Roy, portrayed by Jeremy Strong in the HBO series Succession, embodies the essence of quiet luxury through his minimalist outfits and muted color palette. Kendall’s character showcases this trend’s understated elegance and refined taste.

His wardrobe, characterized by clean lines, quality fabrics, and a subdued color scheme, reinforces the idea that luxury can be expressed without overt extravagance or flashy branding.

The Appeal

Loro Piana Men Quiet LuxuryPin
Loro Piana’s campaign showcases its affinity for stealth wealth with attention to detail. Photo: Inez & Vinoodh / Loro Piana

The appeal of quiet luxury lies in the mantra of “wealth whispers” versus “money talks.” It is about conveying a sense of wealth and status without the need for logos or flashy designs. The focus is on timeless pieces and quality materials that will last for years rather than trend-driven pieces that quickly go out of style.

Investment pieces are a significant part of the quiet luxury trend, crafted with meticulous attention to detail and made with high-quality materials. These pieces come with a higher price tag but are worth the investment as they are built to last. Rather than constantly buying new clothes, the focus is curating a wardrobe of timeless essentials that can be worn season after season.

Quiet Luxury Brands

Kieran Culkin Off White Outfit Zegna Campaign 2023Pin
Succession star Kieran Culkin wears an off-white outfit from Zegna to promote the brand’s Triple Stitch sneakers. Photo: Zegna

Several prominent high-end brands have been championing the quiet luxury trend with their respective philosophies. Italian label Loro Piana is celebrated for its commitment to quality, specializing in premium materials such as merino wool and cashmere. The understated elegance of their pieces ensures a timeless appeal.

Similarly, Brunello Cucinelli embodies a minimalist luxury aesthetic, offering designs with simple shapes and muted colors that convey sophistication without ostentation. Ermenegildo Zegna, another Italian brand, is highly regarded for its focus on quality and sustainability, marrying luxury with environmental consciousness in its collections.

The Row Menswear Fall 2023 Quiet Luxury Jonas Mason Pin
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s brand The Row has perfectly reflected understated luxury and elegance since its founding in 2006. Photo: Phil Engelhardt / The Row

Jil Sander significantly shapes the minimalist fashion narrative, emphasizing pared-down yet powerful design statements. Bottega Veneta has garnered a loyal following for its refined leather goods that subtly convey luxury. At the same time, British brand Margaret Howell captures quiet luxury by using organic cotton and linen to create comfortable, high-quality garments.

While mass-market labels may imitate the styles of these high-end brands, they often fall short in replicating the quality of materials and craftsmanship, resulting in a significant difference in quality and price points. Items from these quiet luxury brands are made with enduring quality and meticulous attention to detail, making them worthwhile investments for those seeking a durable and timeless wardrobe.

The Role of Eco-Friendly & High-Quality Materials

Simon Nessman and Andreea Diaconu appear in the new Ralph Lauren Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold Cashmere Sweater campaign.Pin
Ralph Lauren champions sustainable style with its Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold cashmere sweater. Photo: Alex Nataf-Taghizadeh / Ralph Lauren

In quiet luxury, materials are required to meet the highest quality standards. They should be durable, long-lasting, and often sourced from natural fibers like organic cotton, linen, and cashmere. These materials deliver the tactile luxury expected from high-end pieces and align with sustainable practices, making them ideal for those seeking understated elegance with an eco-conscious mindset.

Organic cotton holds a revered place in quiet luxury fashion. It is grown without harmful chemicals, distinguishing it from traditionally produced cotton. This sustainable production method makes it a better choice for the environment and the wearer’s skin.

Reflective of its timeless quality, Theory highlights its latest linen menswear. Pin
Reflective of its timeless quality, Theory highlights its latest linen menswear. Photo: Theory

Linen, a material known for its durability and breathability, is another excellent option for quiet luxury apparel. Long associated with luxury, linen’s eco-friendly qualities, including its low water requirement for growth and biodegradability, further, enhance its appeal.

Cashmere, celebrated for its exceptional softness and warmth, is a favorite material among quiet luxury enthusiasts. However, it’s critical to ensure that the cashmere is sourced ethically, given the overgrazing and environmental degradation associated with its high demand.

Quiet luxury brands focus on creating timeless designs using these high-quality, sustainable materials. In doing so, they meet their customers’ desires for luxury and style and contribute to a more environmentally conscious fashion industry.

How to Incorporate Quiet Luxury into Personal Style

Hermès Fall 2023 Menswear Quiet LuxuryPin
Hermès is the perfect example of understated luxury with the French fashion house revisiting menswear classics such as the leather jacket and aiming for wardrobe longevity. Photo: Hermès

Incorporating the quiet luxury trend into one’s style can be daunting, but it can be effortlessly chic with the proper guidance. The key is to curate a wardrobe of timeless pieces that exude quality and understated luxury. Here are some tips to help you create a quiet luxury wardrobe that is uniquely yours.

For the warmer months, opt for natural fibers such as linen shirts, which are lightweight, breathable, and perfect for the summer. Neutral colors like beige, khaki, and white work well with linen, giving a relaxed and effortless look. Add a baseball cap to your outfit for a laid-back and sporty touch.

When the temperature drops, turn to cashmere sweaters, dark suits, and trench coats. Cashmere is the epitome of quiet luxury and will keep you warm and stylish in the colder months. Dark black, navy or gray suits are versatile and timeless, perfect for formal occasions and everyday wear. A trench coat is a classic and essential piece that adds sophistication to any outfit.

Giorgio Armani Made to Measure Quiet Luxury MenPin
For long-term investment pieces, look no further than Made to Measure lines from brands such as Giorgio Armani. Photo: Giorgio Armani

To distinguish luxury goods from regular clothing, look for quality materials, attention to detail, and craftsmanship. High-end clothes are often made from premium materials such as fine leather, silk, and cashmere and are carefully crafted with precision and care.

Mix and match your quiet luxury labels with other pieces to create a unique, personal style. Pair a cashmere sweater with jeans or a trench coat with sneakers to create a modern, relaxed look that exudes quiet luxury. Remember, the key is creating a quality piece wardrobe that reflects your personality and style.

The Future of Quiet Luxury

Berluti Quiet Luxury MenPin
Berluti perfects quiet luxury with its classic menswear that balances casual and formal elements. Photo: Berluti

As the trend towards quiet luxury continues to gain momentum in the fashion industry, it is no surprise that its influence is being felt globally. From high-end fashion labels to mass-market brands, the appeal of quality over quantity resonates with consumers.

Looking toward the future, it is clear that the quiet luxury trend is here to stay. The emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly materials is only growing more substantial, and more luxury brands will likely start to incorporate these elements into their collections.

As the trend gains popularity, it has the potential to impact American culture and the global fashion scene significantly. In a society that traditionally places a high value on flashiness and excess, the rise of quiet luxury reflects a shift towards a more understated and refined approach to fashion.

Boglioli Quiet Luxury MenPin
Boglioli adopts a quiet but confident luxury with its semi-relaxed take on menswear. Photo: Boglioli

However, it is essential to note that quiet luxury reflects old money sensibilities, which may impact society’s perception of wealth and luxury. As the trend continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how consumers receive it and how it shapes the fashion industry in the years to come.

Final Words

In a time when flamboyance is giving way to sophistication, the emergence of quiet luxury is a testament to the evolving tastes in men’s fashion. As we stride forward, the trend is not just influencing sartorial choices but also prompting a rethink on wealth, quality, and environmental consciousness.

These understated trends encapsulate a dual role—serving as a conscious consumer choice and an unspoken social statement. In essence, quiet luxury is not just about attire; it’s an approach, a philosophy, and perhaps, an attitude toward life. As it paves the way toward sustainable, long-lasting fashion, it will undoubtedly continue to refine, redefine and revolutionize the landscape of men’s fashion in the forthcoming years.

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