Do We Want to Eat the Rich, or Dress Like Them? at Elle

Véronique Hyland interviewed me again for Elle, this time about the resurgence of so-called “old money” style, or “stealth wealth” or any number of terms that seem at odds with our current political moment. She writes:

It seems we’ve traded one unrealistic fantasy—hustle culture—for another, namely, an inherited life of leisure. The current longing seems to be for “conspicuous consumption that’s somehow not tacky,” says Sarah Jaffe, the author of Work Won’t Love You BackShe sums up the appeal of the coastal grandmother as “effortless wealth that comes from asset ownership.” The same seductive fantasy could apply to stealth wealth, quiet luxury, old money, and preppy style—slippery, not-quite-synonymous terms that have one thing in common: they reify both subtlety and ease.


Now that wealth is, as Jaffe says, “more inaccessible than ever” for most, “people have started realizing that work doesn’t pay.” She sums up the mood as: “I’ve still got to hustle for everything. And it’s never going to shake out unless somehow I have access to family money.” Old money style offers a fantasy of permanence in a world where more and more things are disposable, temporary, or just off-limits. Even the fascination with coastal grandmother figures like Martha Stewart and Ina Garten feels like “an admission of the fact that we’re never going to be able to retire.”

Read the whole thing at Elle

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