5 Stealth-Wealth Fashion Lessons From "Succession"
HBO's hit series "Succession" is a family drama composed of chaotically evil, ultra wealthy, gorgeously dressed people. "It's like being a superhero, only better," Tom Wambsgans tells Cousin Greg Hirsch in season one about being rich and powerful. "You get to wear a costume, only it's designed by Armani and doesn't make you look like a prick!" As we gleefully watch the Roy family implode through the season finale, attention must be paid to the clothes. "Succession" has steadily become one of those sartorially-blessed series with fashion moments that trend on Twitter as often as the plot twists do. And there are plenty of style lessons you can actually apply from this absurdly rich, morally-bankrupt family.
One of the biggest trends of the moment is quiet luxury, the aesthetic that favors timeless, well-constructed pieces that communicate wealth without being flashy. The main characters on "Succession" naturally gravitate toward this style of dressing, investing in tastefully-tailored, colorless, minimalist wardrobes full of egregiously overpriced khakis, starched shirts, navy cashmere, and logo-less baseball hats. In fact, when characters on the show veer away from the stealth-wealth aesthetic, whether by carrying a logo-heavy handbag, or wearing brightly-colored suits, they're easily identified and quickly exiled.
While you won't be a social pariah if you add some color to your outfit, there's something to be said about embracing the quiet-luxury look in real life. Not only is it a huge trend, as evidenced by Sofia Richie's wedding ensembles, but investing in classic staples will go a long way in building up a wardrobe you'll treasure for years to come.
But remember: even though you're dressing like the Roys, you still want to accessorize your look with a moral compass. Trust us: you'll look better with a conscience.
Keep scrolling for the best stealth-wealth style lessons from "Succession."
Invest in quality fabrics.
Let's start with the basics: everyone loves cashmere, and everyone looks wealthy in it. The Roy family moves through their boardrooms and boar hunts layered with silks, cashmere, and other luxurious textiles — living studies of quiet luxury. Even the patriarch of the family, Logan Roy, swaddles himself in cashmere cardigans.
"If you go for quality it will always pay off," "Succession"'s costume designer Michelle Matland told Town & Country. "It's not the price tag we look at — we don't go looking to spend money — but the subtle texture, the pattern, the sheen. Cashmere, I'm sorry, looks different than a poly blend. It just does."
But that's not to say that your sweater should cost as much as your rent. "I also love an outlet store," Metland said, encouraging fans to shop for deals. "[It's] perfectly fine to buy it for less."
Skip the logos.
The costuming in "Succession" is fascinating for what doesn't appear on the Roy family. On a different show, an uber rich family would be dressed dripping in Mentos-size diamonds, exotic furs, swinging Birkin bags, and logo-laden prints. But the Roys are so rich, they don't have to flaunt it; they have nothing to prove. Their clothes are expensive, sure, but they don't need to posture with flashy logos or the latest-of-the-moment It item. In fact, you may not even realize how expensive some of their understated fashion items are until you look at the clothing tag.
Don't try too hard.
If you want to look like you're part of the established upper crust, Matland encourages you to follow Roman Roy's lead instead of Tom Wambsgans, which means aim for an effortless look, rather than one that feels contrived. Wambsgans joins the Roy family by dating and marrying the only daughter, Siobhan "Shiv" Roy. He's portrayed as an outsider from the start, trying way too hard to fit in from the first moment we meet him in episode one. In fact, one of the only things all of the Roy children bond over during the series is criticizing Wambsgans's fumbling sartorial attempts.
"The idea of matching your tie with your pocket square and suspenders is absolute nonsense. For anyone with real money, that would be an immediate giveaway that you're posturing and trying desperately to show something," Matland explained of the nuanced field of landmines that make up sartorial choices among the 0.001 percent. "People like Tom equate fashion with finance, and those two things have nothing in common. It's also something as subtle as the width of a pinstripe on a suit. Tom's is a little bit more pronounced whereas you would never see that on Kendall. If you saw a pinstripe it would be micro — on Tom, it's just a stage too intense."
On the other hand, Roman Roy, born into family wealth as the youngest son, dresses with a casual cocktail of confidence and disdain. Wambsgans's clumsy attempts to dress the part often are the very reason he stands out, but Roy is the inverse of that. He can skip his tie, wrinkle his button-down shirt, and still look like he belongs. Anyone can buy an expensive suit, but only the likes of Roy can casually flex his wealth by wearing a six-figure outfit in the most carefree way possible.
Stick to earth tones.
Does Shiv Roy know the Pantone Color of the Year? More importantly: does she care? Skipping the maximalist trends in favor of stealth wealth also applies to your color palette. If you're a Roy, you aren't dopamine dressing; you have more important things to give your energy to (like lying down in traffic, pre-grieving, and light treason). To really master the Roy family's approach to fashion, go for a power color like black, navy, and beige — and wear jewel tones sparingly.
Invest in classic, minimalist basics.
"Succession" fashion is all about wardrobe basics, and the characters don't respond kindly to conspicuous colors or capacious bags. There's no better example of this stealth-wealth gatekeeping than Wamsgans's memeable speech for Hirsch when he brought a date with a Burberry plaid tote bag to Logan Roy's birthday party in episode 1 of season 4. "Because she's brought a ludicrously capacious bag," Wamsgans says. "What's even in there, huh? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? I mean, Greg, it's monstrous. It's gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job."
Kerry Castellabate makes a similar fashion faux pas when she wears bold and bright colors, like pink and turquoise, as opposed to a neutral, understated color palette. In the world of "Succession," the vibrant hues make her stand out in a bad way, driving home the point that she doesn't belong on ATN or in their social circle at all, for that matter.
While there's nothing inherently wrong with a Burberry tote bag or a colorful wardrobe, it still is a good idea to invest in wardrobe classics that will stand the test of time. And the Roy family will certainly approve.
Know where to spend and where to save.
When The Ringer asked "Succession" costume designer Michelle Matland for a shopping-on-a-budget tip, she explained her "mix and match" philosophy.
"[...] Shiv is wearing a Tom Ford tuxedo in one of the scenes [at Connor's wedding], but she's wearing a top with a gold chain attached to it, which was like $47. So, you mix and you match. In the scene where she's in the browns and the tans, the pants were silk, but the T-shirt came from Zara. So you can find something that equates to the thing that you're trying to emulate. You can cheat certain corners. Some things you can't — sometimes it takes a $300 pair of pearl earrings instead of the $10 copy that you find at Macy's."
So, you heard it from the costume designer directly: splurge on jewelry, but don't shy away from the occasional affordable T-shirt find.