The Creative Class starter kit

Rules of the creative money aesthetics

Ana Andjelic
3 min readFeb 11, 2024
Vintage Helmut Lang

Members of the Creative Class gravitate towards a cluster of creative expressions, ideas, experiences, places and things that both unite them and differentiate them from each other and everyone else. The politics of the creative money aesthetics is that never stand out in an obvious way, but to be immediately noticed and envied. It has to be aspirational: others need to wonder where a member of Creative Class acquired this particular piece of clothing (Osaka? Shoreditch? Milan?), or heard about a particular book or a movie. Differentiation is in the details visible to the insiders, never in-your-face.

Proenza Schouler

The outcome is a consistent, recognizable, and aspirational aesthetic world, shaped by the following rules:

Unisex. Clothes are gender-interchangeable, designed to be worn oversized and in a comfortable fit. What matters is their classic cool, superb tailoring, flattering shapes, and exceptionally pleasant materials and textures. Fits are made to be relaxed and oversized on purpose, as to allow for freedom of movement, cocooning, rich layering.

Uniform. Repetition and recognizability are key when it comes to the Creative Class looks: members tend to find what works for them and stick to it; they buy similar styles with slight, seasonal, and trendy variations and there is a consistency and repetition in their wardrobe. This turns their outfits into a uniform by which they are recognized and known for.

Comfortable: Everything in the Creative Class wardrobe is well made. Loro Piana The Gift of Kings and the evolved Zegna menswear are examples. The clothes of made in fine fabrics and excellent construction, with good tailoring. Outfits are modular — easy to remix and wear in different combinations — and are built to last. Keywords are: timelessness, reasonless, comfortable chic and rich textures.

Versatile: Layering is a natural response to the Creative Class lifestyle; they never know where they are going to be and what they are going to be doing next. The Creative Class clothes need to withstand everything from urban rain to sitting by a fire; hiking in a metropolis or hiking in the Highlands. Keywords are: outdoor-inspired, gorpcore, urban sport, smart layers, modern eclectic.

Tasteful: The Creative Class less about displays of money and more about expression of taste. They have always been about quiet luxury: their clothing details are discreet, logos are invisible and jewelry is downplayed, never loud. Subtlety is the goal. Shoving off is forbidden and leads to expulsion from the Creative Class. Stealth style is what differentiates the Creative Class from every other style, subculture, class, and group. Clothes never overpower the wearer, and individual expression is in tailoring and fit, stitching and cuffs, buttons and details, and strategically placed embroidery.

Read the rest of this analysis on The Sociology of Business.



Ana Andjelic

Brand Executive. Author of “The Business of Aspiration.” Doctor of Sociology. Writer of “Sociology of Business.” Forbes most influential CMO.