Overstatement/Understatement: Ferrari Baby Buggy vs. Barbour Liddesdale

This morning I passed the Ferrari shop on Park Avenue and noticed a black and red baby stroller, evidently designed for wealthy mommies who live life in the fast lane of the sidewalk.

But in our a garish age of screaming excess, it’s always pleasant to see some attention paid to those who don’t engage in the conspicuous display purchasing power, but in the surreptitious display.

This week Simon Doonan wrote a piece for Slate on “the rise of quiet luxury,” noting:

It’s an Upper East Side/Mayfair/Palm Beach kind of thing.


For Mr. Doonan, who admits he is a sucker for “trashy nouveau richesse,” the ultimate style symbol of tasteful understatement is a quilted Barbour jacket. And the personification of quiet luxury? None other than Ruth Madoff:

She spent years, and many thousands of dollars, pursuing a quietly luxurious mode of dressing. With her Belgian loafers, layers of muted cashmere and those dreary quilted jackets—remember Bernie was sporting the male version, accessorized with a baseball cap, during the famous paparazzi confrontation outside his apartment?—Ruth’s goal was clearly to look as little as possible like a long-nailed, tarty Long Island arriviste and as much as possible as though she lived in the English countryside and drove a Range Rover.

Mrs. Madoff should be praised, not castigated, for not keeping up with the Kardashians. And here’s to understated holiday shopping.