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How does "Old Money" actually dress…and why?

"Old Money" dressed appropriately.

Article contribution by Byron Tully

Photo: Danial Deen Isa Kalebic & Janetira Attaskulchai (credit: @janetira)

There are numerous magazines, websites, books, and blogs that offer up advice on how to dress. Very few of them tell you why to dress. In The Old Money Book, I do.

The first reason you dress is because very few people look good naked, and, secondly, we have laws against taking that kind of liberty in public. (Wink, nod.)

Seriously, we dress to communicate. And we communicate so much to others before we ever say a word…by the way we dress.  We tell them our aspirations, our occupation, our income level, our educational level, our family background, and most importantly, our values.

Let’s set aside the knee-jerk reaction of “I don’t care what other people think. I dress for myself.” Very few of us have that confidence, self-awareness, or freedom. Most of us are required to dress for work. Most of us dress well for an important event, like a first date, or the first time you meet his or her parents. We’re human. We care what other people think.

Some events, like funerals, require somber and reserved attire in order to be considered appropriately dressed. The job interview often requires a navy blue, grey or black suit for men or women.  When you conform your dress to accommodate the event, you are communicating that the event is more important than your own sartorial preferences. You might prefer your favorite T-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, but you’re not wearing them to your brother’s graduation ceremony.

(If you dress however you please, whenever you please, without regard for the circumstances and you are very financially independent, you are called an eccentric. When you do this and you are not financially independent, you are called an idiot.  And by the way, eccentrics don’t do what they do for public consumption: it’s just the way they are.)

Photo: Danial Deen Isa Kalebic & Janetira Attaskulchai (credit: @janetira)

OMGs (Old Money Guys and Old Money Gals) dress appropriately. They don’t need attention, and certainly don’t want the kind of attention one gets from dressing to get attention. They don’t dress to communicate how much money they want other people to think they have. Many people probably wouldn’t notice how they were dressed, which is exactly the point.

Old Money dresses so the focus (as opposed to attention) falls on them (not their clothes) when they interact with others.

So download a copy of The Old Money Book and read the chapter on Attire. You’ll have an entirely new perspective on how to dress, and why to dress.

About Byron Tully (right)

Grandson of a newspaper publisher and son of an oil industry executive, Byron Tully is an author who also writes for the entertainment industry. His nonfiction debut, "The Old Money Book," was published in April of 2013 to excellent reviews and enjoys consistently strong sales worldwide. His other works include "The Old Money Guide To Marriage", "Old Money, New Woman: How To Manage Your Money and Your Life", and "Old Money Style - The Gentleman's Edition".

Byron regularly contributes to its blog, www.theoldmoneybook.com, which has been visited by over 1 million readers since 2014.

In February of 2020, "Old Money Style - The Gentleman's Edition" was published by Acorn Street Press. This fourth book in the Old Money series reveals the fundamentals of dressing well in a classic and timeless style. In November of 2020, Byron published a 2nd Edition of "The Old Money Book", which expands on his original classic. This 2nd Edition includes vital information and insights for readers as they navigate a very different, post-pandemic world.

Byron speaks frequently about the culture and values of Old Money. He has been interviewed by KABC New York's Financial Quarterback Show, The Huffington Post, and The Simple Dollar, among others.

He lives in Paris and is happily married to an Old Money Gal from Boston.

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