How to Make Quiet Luxury Sustainable + Cute Fit Ideas to Copy

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A hot “new” minimalistic trend has rolled onto the fashion scene. 

Affectionately known as quiet luxury, stealth wealth, or old money this is one aesthetic that tiptoed onto our radars to become one of the most talked about trends this year.

To embody this aesthetic, avoid anything overly capricious (read: no in-your-face designs, logo prints, or outlandish silhouettes). Think: elevated classics.

If you’re on a budget, you might be tempted to hit up your local fast fashion shop for cheap minimalistic designs, but for three tips on how to embrace this aesthetic while also thinking sustainably, keep reading.

1. Shop your wardrobe and restyle the pieces already in your closet in a quiet luxury way

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The most sustainable (and budget-friendly) item is always the one you already own. 

So before going out to buy anything new, take an inventory of what you have to see what you own that might fit the bill.

Pull out any neutral pieces (both in silhouette and color). Think: white t-shirt or button-up shirt, beige trench coat, pair of blue, grey, or black jeans that fit you perfectly, or a designer purse.

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The trick is, you have to feel like a million bucks when you wear these items. They should fit you like a dream and make you feel put together and comfortable.

If your closet already has a selection of neutrally-toned items, styling them is a breeze as everything can be mixed and matched.

And if you’re not sure where to start, a monochrome fit (in grey, beige, or latte) or the classic jeans and white shirt combo always look lux.

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Fit idea to try: wide-leg jeans + white t-shirt + cream jacket + classic purse.

– OUTFIT DETAILS –

JEANS | thrifted Kowtow (find a pair on eBay)

WHITE T-SHIRT | gifted Jan ’n June (use discount code HARMFREEFASHION5 for 5% off)

JACKET | thrifted Weekend Max Mara (find one on eBay)

PURSE | Stella McCartney (find one on Vestiaire Collective)

BELT | Peta + Jain (current styles by Peta + Jain)

SANDALS | vegan Birkenstocks

SUNGLASSES | thrifted Carrera (find a pair on eBay)

2. Add secondhand, preloved, and vintage pieces to compliment what’s already in your closet

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Now that you know what you have (and don’t have) you can consciously look for key pieces to fill these gaps.

Maybe that’s the perfect beige trench coat (a classic example of a forever jacket), oatmeal cardigan, or pair of khakis.

When you actively know what you’re seeking, shopping becomes easier and you’re much less prone to buy something you don’t need or already have.

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There are so many great secondhand stores these days (both brick & mortar and online) that stock quality and timeless pieces, so there’s often no need to buy new. (And if you’re looking to ensure your thrifted pieces are also vegan, be sure to give my how to guide on identifying vegan items a read.)

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It might take a bit of effort to find the best secondhand shops in your area (or identify which online platform is your favorite), but once you do you can return there whenever you have a hole in your wardrobe that needs filling.

I should know, as all the pieces of this trench fit (except the accessories) were thrifted from a single stop at one of my favorite preloved shops.

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Fit idea to copy: trench coat + oatmeal hooded sweater + olive green carpenter pants + vegan Birkenstocks.

– OUTFIT DETAILS –

CARPENTER PANTS | thrifted Carhartt (find a pair on eBay (watch for leather patches))

TRENCH COAT | thrifted Hugo Boss (find one on eBay (watch for leather details))

PURSE | Stella McCartney (find one on Vestiaire Collective)

SANDALS | vegan Birkenstocks

SUNGLASSES | thrifted Georgio Armani (find a pair on eBay)

All other outfit items bought secondhand.

3. Invest in quality timeless pieces from sustainable brands

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If you’re used to buying cheap clothing you might automatically think that shopping at sustainable brands is outside of your budget.

However, I urge you to think about your clothing in terms of cost per wear.

When taking this into consideration it’s oftentimes much more economical (not to mention sustainable) to save and invest in a quality item (made from earth-friendly materials) that you know you’ll wear on repeat, than to be constantly buying new fast fashion pieces that may not last a season.

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Remember that quiet luxury is about quality over quantity.

So maybe that looks like saving up for a few months (or more) until you can afford one really quality item that you could imagine wearing for the next 10+ years.

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Not sure where to start your sustainable quiet luxury brand search? I did the hard work for you and created a guide to the 7 best sustainable quiet luxury brands (that also happen to be vegan-friendly), covering everything from knitwear and jeans to accessories and basics.

Keep in mind that some of these brands have also been around long enough that you can find their pieces secondhand. Ebay and Vestiaire Collective are great places to search, especially if you’re looking for preloved Stella McCartney accessories.

It’s also becoming more commonplace for brands to offer a preloved section directly on their website (Jan ‘n June currently has over 200 items for women in their “new-ish” section). This is another great way to make sustainable pieces fit within your budget.

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Fit idea to try: white button-up + white tank top + beige knit midi skirt + beige Tevas.

– OUTFIT DETAILS –

KNIT SKIRT | gifted Jan ’n June (use discount code HARMFREEFASHION5 for 5% off)

PURSE | Stella McCartney (find one on Vestiaire Collective)

SANDALS | Tevas

SUNGLASSES | thrifted Georgio Armani (find a pair on eBay)

All other outfit items thrifted.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you want to call this quiet luxury “trend” it’s one that’s here to stay, so let’s make it as sustainable as possible.

I hope you found these tips helpful and for more quiet luxury goodness, check out my guide to the best sustainable quiet luxury brands.

Ready to find some killer secondhand pieces? Check out my guides to the best thrift stores in Brussels, Antwerp, Zurich, and Switzerland.

Enjoyed what you read? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about all the juicy developments in vegan fashion, learn about all the latest style trends, and much more.

As always, happy styling!

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Michelle Rothenburger

Michelle Rothenburger is a vegan fashion blogger whose work has been featured in such publications as Marie Claire, InStyle, Woman & Home, and Vilda. Find out more by reading Michelle’s full story (from bullied to fashion influencer) and feel free to send her a personal message.


Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a kind comment! 💛



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