Fashion  —  post

Quiet Luxury Up… Aspirational Wealth Down

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The topic of Quiet Luxury has been well-covered territory in the fashion space. But lately there’s been a lot of focus on this consumer persona: Aspirational Wealth. It’s an interesting category luxury retailers have used to classify those buying their products who aren’t wealthy, but aspire to appear so. A lot of attention, marketing dollars and design efforts have targeted these aspirational wealth shoppers for many years. But these shoppers haven’t been spending their money on luxury goods lately. Could this be the reason for the rise of Quiet Luxury? Read on for my thoughts.

I’ve been drawn to fashion and luxury goods since I was in junior high. I’m not suggesting I ran around school in silk and cashmere while carrying my books in a Chanel bag. I couldn’t afford any of those things then, and I wasn’t about to ask my parents. My love of fashion and luxury goods grew and grew, and when I got to college in NYC, it exploded. Like most college students, my extra money wasn’t spent on designer goods, but rather on drinks and french fries (and still is to a degree). I wanted to go to school for fashion design, but my parents insisted on something more practical. So, I’ve long appreciated the artistry involved in the creation of a cohesive collection and a must-have handbag or pair of shoes. From the designs, patterns, materials and packaging, I recognized how many things had to come together to bring an object to life – not to mention all the people who made it happen!

It would come as no surprise to anyone that my career is now centered on luxury beauty and fashion. But I still catch myself sometimes, surprised, that I get to spend my time on what I’ve enjoyed since I was a young adult. We’re often the last to see these things, right? I’m grateful that I’ve found a way to showcase my sincere appreciation for these industries, and that I get to share it all with you in the wonderful community we’ve created together. I know I’m not alone in sharing that my style and preferences are dynamic, they change over time. Sure, my love for a few “can’t live without” items will likely never diminish, but with every new fashion trend, designer and season, I leave myself open to experience it all – to get crushes on new clothes and accessories. Then I give myself grace to change my mind. Fickle, I know. But it’s good to try things, to change and grow out of one thing and into another. Our shopper (consumer) psychology isn’t stagnant. What appeals to us now may not down the road. However, one “trend” that seems to be the underlying current in all my wardrobe choices is this “quiet luxury” trend that’s making a reappearance.

Over the last few months, I’ve read a number of articles related to quiet luxury vs. aspirational wealth. They are loosely related concepts in lifestyle and consumer choices, yet they reflect different attitudes toward luxury and success. Aspirational wealth in fashion places a significant emphasis on image and external perception. Consumers here lean toward the desire for visible displays of success like bright colors, flashy patterns and visible logos. It’s considered a “loud” approach as it overtly projects an image of affluence and status. Aspirational shoppers aren’t the ultra rich. Instead, they treat themselves to upscale items that symbolize wealth and enjoy a sense of accomplishment in acquiring such a special luxury good.

Logo-heavy brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton will always design pieces that appeal to a large majority of fashion enthusiasts but overall, consumers in the retail category of “aspirational wealth” are cooling their spending and designers are taking notice. Many young shoppers who used to gravitate toward bold designs and eye-catching logos in order to achieve some level of external validation are now preferring brands with a more minimal aesthetic – a brand or style that could be considered more mature, classic in nature. While aspirational wealth spending has pumped the breaks, overall spending has actually increased. Since aspirational shoppers are generally not wealthy, and are forced to choose where to spend their hard-earned money, one could conclude that former aspirational wealth shoppers are placing their attention and money elsewhere.

She knows how to balance making us dream with the reality of how a modern woman really dresses. She’ll go down in history, the same way that Yves Saint Laurent did for starting ready-to-wear and liberating women.

Sabrina Marshall on Phoebe Philo

While traveling to Florence and Milan in June, I was struck by the number of American tourists. It left me wondering if American aspirational wealth shoppers are now spending their hard-earned dollars on traveling and not Chanel bags. Perhaps the quarantine and drastic halt of invitations to social gatherings during the era of Covid led many consumers to reprioritize their spending habits. What good are shiny attention-grabbing items when there’s no opportunity for them to leave the closet? Where aspirational wealth shoppers once saved up for a LV handbag, maybe they are now saving up for plane tickets to photogenic destinations and other travel-related costs like hotels.

All fashion publications right now are broadcasting the same lifestyle preference: one that leans heavily towards quiet luxury. In fact just the other week Harper’s Bazaar released an article entitled, “We’re Entering an Era of Logoless Luxury” in which they wrote, “If the collections over the past few years were filled with bright, vibrant, mood-boosting infusions of color and shimmer—clothes conceived for a once-aspirational vision of a Covid-free future of revenge partying—then designers have turned just as determinedly toward understatement for fall, with an emphasis on the finer points of quality and design.” It’s not surprising that more and more consumers are appreciating quiet luxury for its ability to transcend time and repel rapidly changing trends. Quiet luxury items are designed to stand the test of time, to be enjoyed for more than one season yet still maintain their relevance. There’s a sense of deep satisfaction in owning something of high quality that gives you “time back” in not having to chase the next best thing.

Since aspirational wealth shoppers have quieted, no pun intended, quiet luxury seems to be here to stay and will inform designers for many collections to come. The overall mood in the fashion world has shifted into something more subdued, considering quality over quantity. It invites you to join the “secret society” of people who know luxury when they see it, all without a logo hitting them in the eye. Less is more with quiet luxury, and the looks for this fall and winter are noticeably logo-free. Phoebe Philo’s return is slated for September, and the queen of quiet luxury could not have timed her return any better. A former design assistant to Stella McCartney, she’s been rising in the fashion ranks ever since. According to Woman’s Wear Daily, her highly anticipated collection will include over 150 pieces of ready-to-wear, leather goods, jewelry, eyewear and footwear. Sabrina Marshall, co-founder of the luxury resale site Re-See told Harper’s Bazaar, “She knows how to balance making us dream with the reality of how a modern woman really dresses. She’ll go down in history, the same way that Yves Saint Laurent did for starting ready-to-wear and liberating women.” On top of that, Philo values inclusivity, saying she believes that anyone, no matter what shape or size, can be sexy and beautiful. Cheers to that! 

Below I’ve shared some of my favorite quiet luxury designers, the first of which is The Row. On the website Who What Wear they wrote, “If The Devil Wears Prada was set in 2023, Miranda Priestly’s iconic line would no longer be ‘Are those the Chanel boots?’ Now, it would be ‘Are those The Row?’” I have no doubt Miranda’s character would recognize and appreciate something like The Row. As a fashion magazine editor, she knew both loud and quiet brands. Her character’s outfits in the movie transitioned so effortlessly between both styles yet seemed to favor a quiet luxury look. I’m cautiously optimistic that even Miranda would appreciate these quiet brands:

You may have heard me talk recently about quiet luxury in some of my videos. As I shared in this vlog, quiet luxury doesn’t necessarily have to be about traditional fashion and luxury goods. I consider my passion and appreciation for fresh flowers, teas and candles to be examples of my quiet luxury choices. I’m willing to spend money there because they are simple purchases that put me in a healthy and productive headspace. Admittedly, I also enjoy the fact that I don’t have to try anything on.

Friends, I’d love to hear whether your taste in luxury goods is more quiet luxury or aspirational shopper? Feel free to share your favorite items with us. You may give us ideas for future investments.

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  • Claudia De La Brena

    Hi dear Michele!! I love your favorites palette eyeshadows! I used the eye quard cream shadows from Tom Ford and I love them!! Definitely I want to get the Cle de Peau quard eye shadows! The colors are so nice and I saw your video on YouTube about them and you look so pretty!! Thank you for the article!! I really enjoy reading and watching your blog posts and videos on YouTube! You inspire me in many ways! Gracias!! ❣️ Best greetings from Austria 🇦🇹🇲🇽

    • admin

      Thank you so much Claudia!

  • Molly Baker

    Love to hear what Fall palettes you’ve been loving, Michele! I’ve recently subscribed to your blog posts and am really enjoying them :). I agree with you about the Natasha Denona I Need A Nude palette. It’s perfect for daily use or for going out at night!! Really quick ? I have regarding makeup is if you had to choose between Prada foundation & the new Shiseido one, which are you choosing & why?! Xoxo

    • admin

      I haven’t tried the Prada one yet!

  • Maria

    Wow! Your 49th year on this earth was amazing. Congratulations on turning 50. Hope you’re blessed with many, many more healthy years.

    • admin

      Thank you so much Maria!

  • Liz Lyons

    Fifty is a milestone. I saw it as my entry into true adulthood and it was a bit scary. But, I am on the other side of it now and, like you, my goal is to keep fit, stay optimistic, and be a joy to my friends and family. Happy Birthday, Michele. Thank you for being, well, you!

    • admin

      Thank you Liz! xoxo

  • Janna M Matsuoka

    “I want to live a life with no regrets. That’s both a simple and lofty goal, but one worth pursuing.” This is so well said. I enjoyed reading your birthday blog. So many things restarted with me. Thank you.

    • admin

      Thanks so much Janna!

  • Julie Swann

    Happiest belated bday, Michele! I certainly second both the method and intentions of celebration. I so enjoy hearing from you here and on YouTube. And I was moved by your discussion there about how relationships, big and small, are what matters. Thank you!

    • admin

      Thank you so much Julie!

  • Charli

    Great review! If it was in my budget I would grab it. It’s a gorgeous bag with personality. ~ Charli

    • admin

      Thanks Charli!

  • Frances

    This bag went to the top of my wish list as soon as I got the email from Loewe. It’s definitely a new classic. I am of the quiet luxury type. My row bags get the most use and my summer Loewe bag. Squeeze is just what I’ve been looking for.

    • admin

      <3 <3 <3

  • Louise Sharpy

    I love how you show cases the basic or pieces that can be really worn with anything. I miss FALL COLORS , dressing with warm jackets and boots. Living in Az , well if goes from desert, to barely green. It really gets cold at night. But the back north east ? girl in me gets excited for fall (Michigan) love xo Louise

    • admin

      Thanks Louise!!

  • Susan Petty Moneyhon

    I’ve worn the same perfume since college —Guerlain, L’Heure Bleue. Nothing else smells like me.

    • admin

      How wonderful! Thank you Susan <3

  • Brenda

    Catching a whiff of a perfume can send me deep into my memory banks. I love perfume and my collection has grown exponentially over the past 3 or 4 years. At last count I was pushing 80. My latest is Tutu by Gritti which is much more floral than what I normally gravitate towards. It reminds me of Amazing Grace which I wore many many years ago except Tutu is much more sophisticated. I’m a sucker for a gourmand fragrance. Amber and vanilla anything will call my name. Some of my favorite perfumes to wear of late are Coffee Addict by Theodoros Kalotinis, Vicious Cacao by Maison Tahite, Bake by Akro, Nuit et Confidences by Goutal, Apple Brandy and Love Don’t be Shy Eau Fraiche by Killian and L’Interdit Rouge by Givenchy. As I look at this list, I’m sitting here thinking about so many more that I love. Hard to choose favorites! This is a wonderful topic. Thank you.

    • admin

      Thank you so much for all these fragrances I have to check out now! Amazing Brenda! xoxo

  • Liz Lyons

    What a lovely and welcome topic. I too have a perfume “wardrobe”, but not 75! Mine is closer to 40. For years I wore Houbigant’s Chantilly. My dad was a perfumer, so we had blotters with all kinds of scents all over our house. My mother wore Joy and left me a few bottles that I now treasure. I love Bal a Versailles and Charles Blair of Paris, but I am a Guerlain girl and own a dozen of those that I rotate now. I still wear Chantilly from time to time. I am intrigued by that Sicilian Leather and would like to try it. I am also going to try Izia la Nuit, just love the name. Thanks for this, Michele. I think you are closer to genius than madness, LOL.

    • admin

      Thanks Liz! Wow, that’s amazing that your dad was a perfumer. You must have a very sophisticated scent palette! I definitely have to dabble more into Guerlain.

  • Gaynor Witts

    I absolutely enjoy different fragrances in different seasons. Each winter i look forward to Grand Soir by MFK, it’s so spicy and tobacco, just perfect for cold weather, my knitwear smells of it! It’s too much in summer when i’m living in white flower fragrances or my beautiful Another 13 from Le Labo. I love having many different ones to choose from and always feel like it’s finishing my outfit and matching a mood for my day ❤️

    • admin

      Oh I just got a sample of Grand Soir and I LOVE IT!! It’s so warm and made me think of winter too!And I’ll have to try Another 13. Thank you for the recommendations!

  • Louise Sharpy

    It’s funny, from someone that can never buy anything ..this is more , to me, do I buy it because I want everyone to think I have money ? Or would I buy this if I could ..I don’t see this fitting in really to either. If I were to buy, it would only be for the LOVE of the product. Now since I don’t own a lot of designer brands , would I be in any of these categories? Interesting tho for sure. I do love the way they categorize the two tho. If I were to be able to afford luxury , it’s not to say “hey i bought this so I’m fancy” or “ i can afford it “ it’s for the love of how it’s made, how it feels on, or if it’s something I love to see Quiet luxury isn’t like a label for me. Interesting read tho. Would these be for cars we drive as well? ? I see the difference tho for sure Great read for sure. Thank you

    • admin

      Thank you always for your thoughtful comments, Louise! xoxo

  • Mona Khan

    Loved this article! I can’t agree with you more. 😘🩷

    • admin

      Thanks Mona!!

  • Grey

    I do definitely tend toward quiet luxury — although I will still occasionally make the “concert t-shirt” type of purchase, something that blatantly yells, “I was there!” I would say that I take quiet luxury one step further, though. I tend to prefer luxury that will last. I’ll spend money on a pair of shoes that will last for years, rather than fresh flowers. When I buy luxury makeup, it’s almost always in classic colors (mostly neutrals) and applications.

    • admin

      Thank you for sharing your insights!

  • Dianelys (SimplyDee Beauty)

    My style is gravitating more towards quiet luxury. Not necessarily luxury bags or shoes (although I do own a couple) but enjoying the expensive hand soap and candles, those little luxuries that only I know. I want to enjoy them for me, not just for others to see. xoxo

    • admin

      Thanks Dee – I love choosing and selecting special little luxuries to spoil ourselves!

  • Molly Baker

    I tried your method of application and it worked wonderfully! I have dark under eye circles etc so was pleasantly surprised when I tried the Peau de Rose shade on my fair skin! Love it.

  • Thelma Hill

    These products look wonderful on you. The colors and tones are a perfect match to your complexion.

  • Linda

    My skin is so much more textured (read: large pores) than yours appears in the closeup top of page, I’ve forever been leery of all highlighters, as they exaggerate the pores without fail. But this looks lovely on your already-beautiful skin, Michele!

  • Liz Lyons

    I ordered the Peau de Rose and am looking forward to it. Your trip to Italy was lovely and I am now considering adding at least Milan and Venice to my trip to France next year. I like the variety in your YT vlogs, Michele. And the fact that you cover luxury items that most people do not. While I can’t buy every luxury item I want, I do purchase some strategically on a regular basis and appreciate seeing them on a real person.

    • admin

      Thank you so much Liz!

  • Dianelys (SimplyDee Beauty)

    I’m also loving the WA Liquid Loaded, mine in the shade Peau de Peche. I did a comparison with the new Chanel Skin Enhancer. Also lovely but I find the WA does a better job of highlighting and natural look appearance. Its such a lovely product.

    • admin

      Thanks Dee!

  • Nancy

    Would like to receive your newsletter

    • admin

      Hi Nancy, at the bottom of the homepage, you can enter in your email address to subscribe to the newsletter. Thank you!

  • Dianelys

    Great suggestions! I used to dislike the rose scent when I was younger but as I mature, I’ve started to appreciate it more and more. I’m down for it!


    • admin

      Thank you Dee!

  • Julie Swann

    Enjoyed this so much, along with the brand trip to NYC.

    • admin

      Thanks so much Julie!

  • Irene

    Michele, your blog has helped me so much. Thank you. I am going through a traumatic experience right now, and your suggestions are resonating with me in a comforting way. I am enjoying your blog posts and hope to hear more life content. Again, thank you! One step at a time!

  • Ioana Androne

    Thank you for the article. It is very inspirational.

  • Charli

    I don’t know what to journal. I literally live such a boring life due to my chronic illness and chronic pain that I don’t know what to journal about. I don’t want to journal about my chronic conditions because that’s depressing to me. I literally just stopped writing here and looked up How To Journal lol. It actually was helpful, there are journal prompts. I do have goals, it’s just hard because of how I feel changes day to day and I can’t count on myself to feel physically well enough to do something each day that I get frustrated and depressed. It’s a lot for me to just do the dishes, take a shower, etc much less do something extra like start a YouTube channel or post more on ig. I’m lucky though, my husband is very supportive and he said just try to post once a week. And that’s what I’m going to try to do.
    Thank you for listening <3 xo Charli

  • Julia

    Wow Michele! I feel inspired now to start exercising. I used to always take exercise in school. When I moved to the US I took Physical Ed and realized most girls didn’t. I was kind of shocked. I don’t smoke anymore either! But I don’t like running on Rt.66. This Covid made me gain way too much. Moreover, I love to read. Thus the weight gain. Am not sure where to begin. If I had my way I’d have a private instructor. Hah! Any suggestions are always welcome. Thanks Michele.

  • Dianelys (SimplyDee Beauty)

    It’s been in my wishlist for the past few weeks. It’s so unique and practical at the same time. I like how it doesn’t have the brand showing up everywhere, it’s more subtle. So beautiful ♥️

    • admin

      ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

  • Dianelys (SimplyDee Beauty)

    I love the highlighter. Its smooth and soft, not chalky or glittery. Looks natural too. Just lovely! My favorite is Moonlit (it’s the only one I’ve tried lol); I think it’s the best for my skin tone. Thank you for your review and comparisons. ♥️

    • admin

      Thanks so much Dee!

  • Ellen

    I went to the outdoor market at Bryant Park while I was in NY during November. I found a store that sold the most amazing candle. Twelve Nights by Fifth&Madison has become my favorite holiday candle. My new addiction for holidays.

    • admin

      Sounds wonderful – thank you for sharing Ellen!

  • Lisa Murcer

    Wow, I want to be at your house for Christmas. Just to meet you, and family.

    Along, with the sensory overload! 😊😊❣️

  • Dianelys (SimplyDee Beauty)

    I love candles too! I prefer fresher scents rather than holiday ones (some scents give me a migraine). Regardless, candles do change your mood, and the room’s atmosphere. Thank you for sharing your favorites for this season 🙂

    • admin

      Thanks Dee! -Michele

  • Emily

    I’m glad you had a wonderful trip, Michele. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. I am also really enjoying your new website. I feel like we get to see another facet of you through your written posts. You’re the cool older sister I wish I had. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  • Mary

    The trip looks and sounds fabulous. Did you go with a tour? Any suggestions or contacts for booking?
    You look great and like you are having a wonderful time! Thanks so much for sharing.


    I am so behind on your videos but I cannot wait to get caught up on Morocco! What an amazing trip and I really appreciate hearing what brings you comfort and joy upon returning home. There is nothing like home. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your mom, husband, and Miss Butters! I cannot wait to check out your spreadsheet!

  • Louise Sharpy

    Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures. And your words of travel ! I’m excited you have come back. A comfort to me, and I know we haven’t met , but still getting excited for your posts, tik toks, etc. HAPPY THSNKSGIVING to you all. My Miss MONA (beagle) gives her best to Miss FUZZY BUTTERS. I also spend time with my 93 old mom , my daughter, my man and some some family. I have 10 other brothers and sisters. 🤨🤨😜they all live around. They are 4 here in Az looking forward to your posts ! Thanks Michele

  • Christina

    What a lovely meditation on the joys of travel and of home. Thank you Michele for all you share with us. And thanks for the spreadsheet and the amazing discount!

  • Julie Swann

    I’m grateful for YOU, Michele, along with my other blessings. I think it’s so valuable that you remind us of that practice and part of what draws me to your vlog, in particular, is your honesty. May we all experience good health, passion and thankfulness!

  • Annette

    So good to see you Michele! You look great on a camel!! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure(s) and thanks for the great spreadsheet. You always go the extra mile. Now I am off to look at your store sale! Love, Annette (Armonk, NY)

  • Julie Swann

    So enjoyed this post and also your candid vlog posts (been watching old ones)! Thanks

  • Kerri

    Quick note: link broken….when you click on the tom ford eyeshadow quad, the chanel lipstick link pops up.

    • admin

      Thank you so much!!

  • Christina

    What a truly gorgeous site – such perfect design and calm look mixed with content that has your unique voice.

  • LaShae'

    LOVING your new blog. Congratulations!!

  • Charli

    Fabulous! Such a beautiful blog! Congratulations Michele! x Charli

  • Louise Sharpy

    I am so very excited for you ! I love the new logo , and I’m so excited for this sweatshirt. It’s so you ! Congratulations. Love you and I am so proud of you. Xo long time follower xo

  • Keyna

    This is just like you beautiful, sophisticated and fun.
    Best wishes

  • Tammy

    Hi. Where can I see more photos of the shirt would love to purchase one
    Thank you