Low-Key Luxury Is Set to Be 2022's Key Aesthetic

"Luxury" is one of those words that has been grossly overused in the world of retail over the years, be it fashion, interiors, food or beauty. The irony is that the more the term is saturated, the less it is able to represent its true meaning. Yet one of this year's most notable trends has been described as "low-key luxury," an aesthetic that champions a quieter and more considered approach to style away from shouty logos and fast-moving fads. Is this the closest we've ever come to the original meaning of luxury in the modern fashion market? Quite possibly.


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

From the fine fabrics of The Row and Totême's elevated basics to Raey's oversized silhouettes and Jil Sander's muted colour-blocking, it takes a mere glance over the industry's most popular brands to see that wardrobe basics with a twist are a hot commodity. While the low-key luxury look definitely feels of the moment, it has been around in some form for decades, but the last few years have seen it really gain momentum. Yes, the rise of minimalism has certainly fuelled the demand for a more stripped-back aesthetic, yet this sartorial shift is so much more and reflects a wider change of consumer mindset. 


(Image credit: Jade Belmes)

"Our customer has always resonated with understated luxury pieces, and although we have seen an increase in demand for more statement fashion pieces recently, our customers continue to engage strongly with knitwear, outerwear and modern wardrobing with a relaxed aesthetic in luxurious fabrications," explains Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at MATCHESFASHION. "For the S/S 22 season, we have seen a new twist on some of the classic wardrobing styles, with brands such as Sacai, Margiela and A.W.A.K.E. cleverly updating the classic white shirt and crew-neck knit with interesting new details. Our customer is always looking for wearable pieces with interesting details."


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

While this trend has been steadily gaining traction, there's evidence that it's going to have a real moment in the spotlight this year. For example, this season, MATCHESFASHIONS's minimalist in-house brand Raey saw 500% growth, with countless fashion editors spotted in the brand's cosy cashmere coats and sharp tailoring. Leading shopping app Lyst has also released data that shows a rise in search terms centred around this idea of elevated staples: "As the fashion world awaits for Phoebe Philo's return, we expect to see an increasing demand for minimalistic pieces. Since September, we've seen a rise in searches for monochromatic co-ords (+33%), neutral tones (+22%), white shirts (+41%), leather loafers (+57%) and wide-leg suit trousers (+55%), all reflecting a move towards a more low-key luxury approach."


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Of course, we also can't ignore the growing concerns around the fashion industry's environmental impact, which has driven many consumers to focus on a "buy less, buy better" approach to their consumption. This is a trend that is only set to grow, particularly as Gen Z's spending power increases and their demand for a less wasteful fashion industry follows suit. In its sustainability report, Edited revealed that, despite their low income, Gen Zers are more willing to invest in high-quality, sustainable goods than any other generation, with 54% stating they would pay 10% more for such credentials. It's a sign of good things to come.


(Image credit: Nanushka S/S 22)

So whether you're new to the low-key luxury aesthetic or have long championed elevated basics, we've put together an edit of pieces that perfectly exemplify 2022's new approach to luxury. Scroll down to see and shop our edit.


(Image credit: Jil Sander S/S 22)


(Image credit: @abimarvel)

Shop Our Low-Key Luxury Edit

Up Next: Spring/Summer 2022 Trends: The Only 17 Looks You Need to Know About