What Is 'Quiet Luxury' And Why Is It A Great Selling Point For Corporate Apparel?
The terms “stealth wealth” and “quiet luxury” have been percolating for the past year, thanks in part to TV shows featuring ultra-rich characters, like HBO’s Succession. In general, the terms are interchangeable and refer to an understated “old money” aesthetic of high-quality garments and accessories made with quality materials in classic cuts and neutral colors.
Quiet luxury “leans into classic, tailored silhouettes typically in neutral shades like black, white, beige, gray and navy,” writes Fiona Ward for Glamour. Bottom line, she adds, it’s “just a classic, minimal way of dressing using well-made pieces that never bow to the trend cycle or go out of style.” It’s about investment pieces meant for the long haul, made from quality fabrics, rather than chasing the latest trendy colors, materials and silhouettes.
In many ways, promo’s corporate apparel niche – with its emphasis on providing versatile and durable garments that blend in with a variety of styles and situations – is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the quiet luxury trend.
For starters, corporate colorways tend to be a more muted, neutral palette of navy, gray, black and earthy tones that are evergreen. Another trend related to quiet luxury is monochrome dressing. Head-to-toe black is nothing new, and it’s a standard uniform for plenty of industries from salons to film sets, but earthy neutrals like brown and cream have become popular as well – and these are colors that play well with others, too, whether you’re going for a pop of color or a minimalist monochrome look.
Hashtags like #neutralaesthetic, #neutraloutfit and #monochromeoutfit have garnered hundreds of millions of views on TikTok – and the palette of colors considered “neutral” has expanded in recent years to include more earth tones like warm browns, sage greens and sandy desert colors, so there’s something for everybody.
Subtle decoration and branding is also a must for the stealth wealth vibe, with tone-on-tone embroidery, custom inner labels and other clever but low-key touches that let the wearer know whose brand they bear without feeling like a walking billboard.
As Thomaï Serdari, professor of marketing and director of the fashion and luxury program at NYU’s Stern School of Business, told CNBC, “the complete lack of logos and anything too conspicuous,” is a hallmark of the quiet luxury trend, adding that subtle detailing recognizable to the end user “becomes a differentiator for those in the know.”
Those stealthy details create a sense that the garment has been thoughtfully produced, which helps create a personal experience for the wearer. Subtle branding also adds to the longevity of a garment and builds brand loyalty, especially with a high-quality piece that the recipient is more likely to keep and wear for years to come.
Quiet luxury brands tend to keep the logos to a minimum for minimalist look that keeps the pieces simple and clean-looking. For that stealth wealth feeling, keep your brand embroidery (or whatever decoration method you choose) subtle, perhaps with a tone-on-tone approach that looks more elevated and elegant.
Choosing key pieces that last, versus following the latest trends, also supports sustainability. These elevated basics – classic garments with a look that will stand the test of time and the quality to endure – mean fewer replacements (and potential discards) over time.
Here are a few promo apparel and accessory options, including brand-name fashion brands, that fit into the quiet luxury trend:
Merino Wool Sweater
Quality and craftsmanship meet timeless design in this Washable Merino V-Neck Sweater, built for layering. Made from extra-fine Merino wool, this machine washable sweater feels as luxurious as it looks, and it makes a versatile addition to any outfit. Both men’s and women’s come in sizes XS-4X and four colors (navy blazer and Windsor gray heather shown).
Button-Up Oxford Dress Shirt
Go for classic workplace style with this button-up Ultra Wrinkle Free Shirt, made of a cotton/recycled polyester blend with elastane for stretch and wrinkle prevention. Men’s shirts feature a left chest pocket, and ladies’ shirts have princess seam tailoring for a flattering fit. Both come in sizes S-3X and four colors (blue frost and white shown).
Cold office? Try this cardigan-style Ladies’ Perfect Fit Draped Open Blazer for a stylish and professional added layer. Made of a poly/spandex blend for moisture-wicking performance, it features a draped open front for easy layering and a longer length for everyday activity and movement. Sizes XS-3X, black only.
Athleisure Matching Sweats
For a more casual workplace or leisure time, matching sweats remain popular. Pair the Unisex Fleece Quarter Zip with Unisex Fleece Sweatpants for a polished athleisure look. The soft cotton/poly blend provides weightless warmth features and a comfortable relaxed fit with just the right amount of weight to keep cozy. Available sizes XS-3X and black, navy or heather gray (shown).
With hybrid work and digital nomads, a great bag is a must-have. This Gibson Messenger Bag can accommodate up to a 15-inch laptop. It features two main compartments outfitted with a variety of organizers, along with reinforced carrying handles, a trolley sleeve and a removable, padded, adjustable shoulder strap. Comes in black or gray (aka Raven Crosshatch, shown).
Elevated Polo Shirt
This Micro Pique Spinner Print Polo is a soft and lightweight moisture-wicking golf shirt that features a tonal all-over golf print pattern for a touch of sophistication. The women’s cut features a mandarin collar and curved hem bottom. Both come in black and sizes S-3X.
This Sweater Fleece Pullover offers a classic layer for work or play, with a front kangaroo pocket and woven fabric accents on the collar, placket and pocket openings. Available in men’s sizes S-5X, women’s XS-3X and heather navy (shown), heather stone (shown) and heather obsidian.
Custom Duffel Bag
This Canvas Atlas Gym Bag makes a great bag for the gym or an overnight stay. The exterior can show two different custom logos – one on the handle ribbons and another debossed on the leather patch (as well as the included dust bag). Available in khaki or navy (shown) canvas with black or tan (shown) vegan leather trim.
Classic Tailored Blazer
Blazers are trending this year, but they are “100% a wardrobe basic, must-have, go-to” all the time, writes Lauren Eggertsen for WhoWhatWear. This Suit Coat, made of a poly/wool/spandex blend offers a tailored fit with a comfortable stretch and multiple pockets. Machine washable or dry clean. Available in navy (shown), charcoal or black, men’s sizes 36S-46S, 36R-58R and 36L-58L and ladies’ 0-32R and 4-18T.
Tote your essentials in this sleek and functional Daily Backpack, designed to carry up to a 16-inch laptop and more in its multiple interior compartments, dual side water bottle pockets and quick-access front V pocket with zippered phone slot. The back panel, straps and top handle are padded for comfort, and the trolley strap makes it easy to secure on rolling luggage. Dust bag included.
No stealth wealth list would be complete without a direct nod to Succession, whose characters sported wildly expensive luxury baseball caps. This Cashmere Baseball Cap, crafted from 100% Mongolian cashmere, offers an ultra-luxe look and comfortable fit. It comes in four colors (camel shown) and sizes XS/S or M/L.