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Pandemic Driving Sales Of “Stealth Luxury” January 07, 2021 (0 comments)


San Francisco, CA—What are fashionistas wearing in a pandemic?

In addition to leisurewear--especially the high-end streetwear variety--figures from online resale site TheRealReal show an uptick in sales of items the site calls “stealth luxury;” i.e. things that look (and are) expensive but without a screaming loud logo. Image: Italian brand Bottega Veneta has always been known for its "stealth luxury" positioning. Its designs are distinctive and instantly recognizable to those in the know, but never flashy or logo-covered.

To wit, the single biggest-selling jewelry item for holiday 2020 was diamond stud earrings.

Related: What Will Happen, And What Jewelry Will Sell, When People Get Dressed Again?

According to this article on, RealReal executives say demand for understated handbags has been nearly five times stronger than for statement handbags. The RealReal report, using data from its 17 million members, also revealed a profound increase in “investment” luxury items, like Rolex and other higher-value watches, higher-value jewelry, and more.

Part of the shift is driven by a desire to not show off when others are struggling, something that also affected buying patterns after the 2008 financial crisis. Indeed, the pandemic also led to a 27% of new consignors looking to sell costly items, said the report

Noelle Sciacca, Women's editorial lead at the resale platform said in the article that major societal events often shape fashion trends, such as women in WWII stepping into physically demanding jobs adopted pants (and the immediate post-war Dior New Look, with its tightly cinched waists and voluminous skirts, has been long described as symbolic of a push for women to return to more traditional roles after war ended and men came home to reclaim those jobs.)

But the current push for stealth luxury reflects a growing concern about fashion that retains its value over time, Sciacca said. She also said that as consumers can work from home, they are buying more of what excites them and with less concern about what’s practical for the office.

Art consignments and sales of luxury home goods also have increased, the result of people staying home in the pandemic. says the report.

Related: The Trend You Should Be Jumping On—Or At Least Seriously Considering

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