Accessories, Fashion, Finding your style, Hot topics, Outfit Ideas

An Old Money Aesthetic Approach Even If You’re Broke

old money aesthetic

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer editorial intern Jenna Wirtz. Find her on Instagram at @jenna.wirtz. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Gold jewelry, slicked-back hair, Ralph Lauren, white linens, cardigans drooped over shoulders, Chanel, preppy, neutrals, pearls, cable-knit sweaters, Prada, vintage cars. The old-money aesthetic is blowing up all over social media right now. Why?

Luxury has been something sought after for generations, but Zillennials care more about the aesthetic behind luxury rather than the lifestyle that comes with it. Old money is something that you have to be born into, hence the ‘old’ adjective attached to the name. It is wealth acquired over generations. However, no matter how much you have in your bank account, you can find ways to elevate your wardrobe and lifestyle that can match your budget.

We are all into ‘dupes.’ Because of TikTok, you can look up a dupe for practically any product that gives a similar level of quality, even if it does not have a brand name attached to it. So whether you were born into generational wealth or not, there are plenty of options to elevate your style so that you can put together the perfect old money aesthetic outfit.

Here are 3 rules of thumb to follow on how you can elevate your outfits:

When in doubt, reach for classic pieces

It gives an air of sophistication, whether the pearls you are wearing are from your great-grandmother or your favorite influencers Amazon storefront.

I would love to have a real gold jewelry collection, but as of my budget right now, that is not a realistic goal. Even simple gold rings can start at $100, which might not be attainable for you right now, and that is ok! Thrifting, antiquing and going to estate sales are all great options to get some of those classic pieces. I have also seen some great options on Etsy, which would be a great option if you are looking for more unique pieces, while also supporting small businesses.

Go for quality over quantity

If you are not able to invest in good fabrics like cashmere, wool, linen, etc., thrift stores are a great place to start. I have found some of my favorite pieces that are extremely high quality, while still getting a bargain. For example, a common addition to an old-money aesthetic outfit would be a white linen shirt. You could order one on Amazon for $20-30 or buy a higher quality one for more on another site, or get one from the men’s section at your local GoodWill for $5.

If you are not used to dressing in linens (I can relate) it can make trying to thrift for these things intimating. What has helped me is shopping around the store with a lens for old-money/coastal grandmother clothes. I do this by gravitating toward neutral fabrics, striped patterns, and classic necklines and cuts of clothing. Even if you only get one or two of these things, they will be quality basics that will outlast any kind of trend!

It’s more about feeling than it is about consumption

As somebody who loves to shop, I relate to the feeling of filling your (online) cart with a ton of pieces you want but either not being able to afford it, or reflecting and realizing you don’t need it. Odds are, you already have some items that could fall into this category! That is one of the reasons why I love this trend right now because it has so many timeless items that a lot of us already have.

Something that helps me is going on Pinterest and seeing the things that attract us to this aesthetic. A lot of it I am noticing has to do with water, whether that is the beach, waterfront or lake. Even if this is a blow-up pool in your backyard, there are ways to integrate parts of this into your life even if you are not loaded, like putting together a picnic with friends, going on drives with beautiful landscapes, and enjoying drinks with a loved one.

I love putting together Pinterest boards that encapsulate the sort of feeling I want my life to have at the moment. It can be easy to forget, but it is always much more important to prioritize how your life feels than how it looks.

With that being said if wearing linen shorts and a blue and white striped long sleeve make you feel your best, then wear that! But don’t feel pressured to give into trends for the sake of overconsumption, follow them if they make you feel more empowered and more like yourself.

We want to see how you put together your own old money aesthetic outfit! Comment below some of your favorite elements to add to an outfit to get that old-money look.

More Fashion Articles

Lifestyle Articles

Relationships Articles

Health + Wellness Articles