Ostentation would seem to be the guiding principle of the modern world – the bigger the bank balance, the more flamboyant the toys, the showier the bling, the more column inches. There are whole industries of publicists, PR execs, agents, managers and spokespeople who live to show off; whole rafts of the media whose sole aim in life is to report such ostentation; and whole sections of society who enjoy nothing more than reading all about the yachts, the parties, the million-dollar-necklaces.
But if you haven’t put in the grim and grimy effort of working towards success then you haven’t earned the right to be irreproachably ostentatious. Ostentation without a track record of achievement is just vulgarity. We’ve wandered a long way from the unassuming, ‘less is more’ discretion of the past, but do we not secretly still admire the sheer class of those powerhouses of industry, finance or the media who remain more private than public, more whispered-about than talking-out? Yes . . . but don’t go too far: flaunting riches and success is one thing, being ostentatiously low-key and scruffy when everyone knows you’re worth millions is just irritating for those of us who’d love to prove how much fun we’d have with the money.

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