What She Wants

Etiquette for the Nouveau Riche

Here, a few tips on how to graduate from tacky nouveau riche into Truly, Truly Rich.

There was a time when it was considered garish to wear clothes that possessed that bright sheen of newness? And so the Truly Rich Gentleman would let someone else (usually his valet) wear his jacket a couple of times until it was suitably lived in.

This curious practice can still be applied today—to you, the newly rich, who prefer always to flaunt your money to anyone and everyone, always and every time. You must buff down that blinding shine because, contrary to what you think, to the Truly Truly Rich, it reads as desperate or tacky, a clear sign that you are not a Truly Rich Lady.

Here, a few tips on how to graduate from tacky nouveau riche into Truly Truly Rich.

1. First, never consider or, worst of all, call yourself rich.

The Truly Rich downplays and, at times, even conceals their status. They never ever think themselves as rich in the sense of possessing so much money. They qualify their Truly Richness in terms of the happiness and comfort money brings them. Also, labeling yourself as rich is just obnoxious.

2. Avoid or minimize things that call attention to your stinking new money.

Your number one faux pas is wearing your wealth on your literal sleeve. You head into the most obvious peddler of what you think counts as luxury, and ring up all things logo. And then you wear all of them at the same time with undisguised pride. This is both in poor and bad taste, as in the practice is a misstep and the clothing is just ugly.


3. The illness also extends beyond fashion!

Owning a dozen flashy bespoke saloons in various shiny colors and inviting guests to a mega-mansion decorated in gilt and mono-brand Italian furniture (boring) are but a few examples. True luxury does not scream. It is about the details, which do not speak.

4. Mind your manner of dress.

Learning (or relearning) how to dress can be the simplest way to wipe away the smell of your newly richness. Seek eternal pieces versus on-trend buys. Wear the natural colors of the Truly Rich, which can be unexciting (lots of beige and neutrals) but nevertheless works. Dress always appropriately. One word: preppy.

5. Do not treat others differently.

And so what if you now have the capacity to drop a cool million in a store? That doesn’t make you god, queen, or master of the people who work there. It doesn’t, in fact, make you any better than anyone else. Please don’t act like a fearsome banshee or an entitled brat! Graciousness marks the Truly Rich.

6. Do not not work.

Yes, you’ve made a good sum that can sustain you for a lifetime, but the idle rich is not Truly Rich. The Truly Rich Lady seeks to fill her hours (at least six) to fruitful activity such as the commanding of committees on charities or the safeguarding treasures for a museum. Bonus points if the committee or museum is named after your family.

7. Build your future.

Remember, the Truly Rich sits on a fortune built over several generations. Your fortune should continue and grow, but not only in terms of booming businesses, but also in relation to your children and their children. Invest in their education and, most important, instill in them these rules, so that one day, they can be Truly Rich. 

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C.C. Coo
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