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Roman Roy in Succession
Courtesy of HBO

Roman Roy’s £11 t-shirt was the most authentic example of old-money fashion

The stealth wealth veil fell during the last episode of Succession and rich person costumes became rich person clothes

Social media has managed to create a new lens for almost all pop culture to be tirelessly analysed, so when HBO’s Succession returned for its fourth and final season, the internet raked over the costumes: Bruno Cucinelli gilets, Tom Ford t-shirts, Gucci turtlenecks. The clothing wasn’t directional like Euphoria’s had been but it engendered just as much conversation. Both shows are about the extreme lengths people go to for social status but media scions have something more covetable than teenagers with a Depop account – trust funds and property portfolios. Add to this the popularity of Gwyneth Paltrow’s courtroom looks, and TikTok explainers on how to achieve an old-money aesthetic, and fashion publications had just enough evidence to claim that “stealth wealth” was going to be The Next Big Trend Dominating Fashion. 

How, then, did a show that launched an entire movement based on the allure of being rich, end with Roman Roy wearing a child’s t-shirt that’s currently for sale at Walmart for £11? Perhaps he regressed to a childlike state when he failed to take over the family business. Perhaps he had nothing left to prove and no longer required close-cut Brioni suits to signal status. Perhaps everything else was at the dry cleaners post-election riot. Or perhaps it was a metaphor for the hollow promise of “stealth wealth”. After all, people who are legitimately old-money are more likely to wear ratty clothes from the backs of their wardrobes than they are to log onto They dress in red chinos and waxed jackets and threadbare t-shirts, meaning the veil fell during the last episode of Succession and costumes became clothes.

It’s normal to wear something disgusting in the comfort of one’s home and Roman is unlikely to go public in a washed-out top that barely contains his frame, but when even Mark Zuckerberg seems to have committed himself to dressing himself like a small child, it feels like one of the most authentic costume choices of the entire series. And not just because Roman is a man-child. Perhaps the most telling aspect of what TikTokers are calling “successioncore” is that it reveals a universal desire to look rich, which is counterintuitive because that is the opposite of what rich people want to be seen as. For those with extreme amounts of wealth, the brands name-checked on Instagram accounts like @successionfashion wouldn’t qualify as signals of success. But an old, raddled t-shirt that’s been worn umpteen times just might.