The highly publicised trial arising from Gwyneth Paltrow’s skiing accident has provided entertainment journalists with endless content for the last couple of weeks, especially the fashion looks the star sported in the courtroom.
She has been dressed conservatively but beautifully, mainly in neutral shades, and wearing expensive knitwear, silk blouses, leather midi skirts and cashmere coats. A shot of her in a cream roll-neck sweater wearing retro-style gold wire aviator reading glasses (Caddis Metamodernist Scout was the style) resulted in much mirth on the Internet, with people commenting on Paltrow’s “serial killer” look.
This style of glasses really does seem to have been the choice du jour of some dubious characters, including Jeffrey Dahmer, David Koresh and British serial killer Dennis Nilsen.
But back to Gwyneth, whose supercilious and disdainful demeanour towards everyone in the courtroom has been as elitist as it gets. Her similarly elitist wardrobe choices fall under the banner of ‘stealth wealth’, which apparently has made a comeback.
This means dressing like you come from old money, a childhood spent eating breakfast in a Ralph Lauren button-down and chinos, then moving on to an Audemars Piguet wristwatch and a Bruno Cucinelli suede anorak slightly frayed around the edges. The unlikeable characters from TV series Succession are all dressed in this same stealth-wealth style: the fashion is obviously expensive but never flashy.
There was one moment in this week’s episode where it was pointed out that someone had bought a handbag to a party that was far “too capacious”, its glaring enormity proving that its owner was from another class. That is the insidiousness of Stealth World’s philosophy: only other wealthy people, i.e. snobs, will pick up on the tiny insider details.
Some dead giveaways include…
- A Cartier tank watch. The stealth wealth crowd likes old-school timepiece brands, although you can scrape it in with a gold Rolex Daytona. An Apple watch is fine, but only if it has a Hermes strap.
- Minimal accessories, well chosen, very expensive. A small stack of recognisable bangles like the Cartier Just un Clou bangle or Love bracelet, a diamond tennis bracelet, a chunky gold signet ring that has been in the family for two generations and, maybe, a hippie string bracelet your child has tied on your well-manicured hand during an expensive holiday in the Caribbean.
- Leather-coloured covered notebooks make quite the statement, especially if they are from Smythson or Hermes. Old money still uses pen and paper. Probably to write bad cheques.
- Expensive handbags such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes apparently have far more cache if they are slightly scuffed and worn in (which is certainly not a style tip my mother ever taught me). The fact that your Gucci bags and clothes look a bit tattered and lived in means that you have so much money you don’t really care; they are just your everyday basics to throw around at whim.
Different rules for the rich.