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As far as style splurges go, TikTok recently gave us cottagecore, chaotic college, and coastal granny.

The latest trend to gain over a billion views on the platform are the hashtags #oldmoney and #oldmoneyaesthetic.

The goal of this latest fad is to post videos sharing what it takes to look like generational wealth, even if your last name isn’t Rockefeller, Hearst, or Carnegie.

This is not the first trend dedicated to the simulation of wealth. Last year, “rich girl skin” and “rich person hair” exploded onto the platform, featuring the shiny, poreless faces of Gigi Hadid, Lily-Rose Depp and Hailey Bieber and the elegant locks.

Interestingly, for a Gen Z trend, #oldmoney is extremely class-conscious and exclusive, promoting the sort of “you can’t sit with us” message that has spelled the end of preppy brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch who leaned on and paid the price.

Who is the “old money”?

“Old money” means different things in different countries.

In the United States, old money goes hand in hand with a famous last name. Whether it’s Vanderbilt, Rothschild, DuPont and Astor, old money in the United States is interested in the legendary ancestry and wealth that has been built through the actions of “robber barons” – industrialists and financiers who monopolized industry through exploitation in 19th century America.

Another inspiration from old money can be found among Truman Capote’s “swans”, the name he gave to New York socialites who flocked to befriend the Breakfast at Tiffany’sis the author. They included Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Jackie Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill, CZ Guest, Gloria Guinness from the famous drinks dynasty and Marella Agnelli from the Italian industrialist family.

In the UK, ancient money is inextricably linked to the aristocracy and landed gentry. Age-old family trees, close relationships with monarchs, large estates and hereditary peerages. Think of anyone with a title, several surnames, a castle and who makes regular appearances in the pages of the aristocratic columnist Tatler.

Old money tends to marry old money, and keeping wealth within the family remains an inviolable trait through the generations.

What is the “old money aesthetic”?

Polo and Guzman from the Netflix show

An example of #oldmoneyaesthetic can be found on HBO Gossip Girl, in which privileged teenagers run wild in Manhattan, live in penthouses and mansions, and use their parents’ connections to get out of trouble. In the same way, Elite on Netflix, which follows the lives of private school teenagers in Spain, including the children of marquises, diplomats and industrialists, is full of old money aesthetics.

Old money dresses discreetly, that is, handmade moccasins, old pearls and cashmere. If worn, designer labels are understated, think Prada, Coach and Gucci, as opposed to Balenciaga or Dolce & Gabbana.

In the UK, old money is often asset-rich and cash-poor. Holey sweaters, decades-old Barbour jackets, Savile Row suits. The clothes are of excellent quality, the shoes are handmade and all are bought knowing that they will be worn until they fall apart.

Women are always perfectly trimmed. Elastic belts are prohibited, scarves are required. Princess Diana and the Sloane Ranger Aesthetic, Recently Featured in Oscar-Nominated Film spencer, embodies old money.

Men dress like Gossip Girlis Nate Archibald or Eliteby Guzman Nunier. Brotherhood style rules and Prince Harry is a style inspiration.

New money, new rich and ‘California rich’

Old money has long despised and despised new money. Old money sees itself as classy, ​​new money sees itself as crass; the old money is discreet, the new money brings out the liquid money; old silver bears great-grandmother pearls, new silver is found head to toe in visible marks.

With the concept steeped in class snobbery, what used to be called “new money” has been renamed “California rich” by Gen Z.

In Revenge of a Blonde terms: Warner Huntington III is old money, while Elle Woods is rich in California.

TikTok users have taken to the comparisons a lot, posting videos asking, “Why be rich in California, when you can be rich in Connecticut?” alongside images of country mansions, polo matches, ponies, dogs and yachts.

Derived trends include “old money names” (William, Henry, Meredith), “old money houses” (closed mansions), and “old money lifestyle” (polo, tennis , charity galas).

While some fans have fallen in love with an aesthetic steeped in issues of race and privilege, a few voices on the platform point out that there are issues lurking beneath the superficiality of the trend.

“As a fashion aesthetic, it seems to be something that people are very fascinated with because it’s sophisticated, it’s understated,” says user @stylehard. “But old money is not always pure class.”

Updated: May 22, 2022, 4:05 a.m.

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