5 Spectacular Tips on How to Look Expensive on a Budget

Wondering how to look expensive on a budget? Money is tighter than usual, but you don’t have to sacrifice on style. These tips will have you styled on a dime.

Are you a label queen?

Some people consider that a bad thing to be, but you might want to embrace your habit of seeking out designer duds. A study published in Evolution and Human Behavior confirmed what many of us suspect: people wearing name-brand fashion are perceived as higher status than those in lowbrow threads.

We have a protip for you: it’s not necessary to splash out serious cash for a posh appearance. Read on to learn how to look expensive on a budget!

1. Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a smart way to approach your style. Essentially, it consists of 30-50 items that you can mix, match, and wear often. Start by paring down your existing pieces, and keep only what’s flattering, comfortable, and versatile. 

More often than not, these will be your favorites! 

As necessary, replace those items or add new seasonal pieces. Consider these investments and spend as much as you can afford. One high-quality classic like a white button-down or black wool peacoat will likely cost less than half-a-dozen cheaply made, trendy pieces that you’ll discard after one or two seasons.

2. Be a Bargain Hunter

“Frugal fashionista” is not a contradiction in terms! While it’s OK to splurge once in a while, do your best to shop strategically. That means staying abreast of sales and seasonal clearances. It might also require spending some time spelunking in thrift and consignment stores, either in person or online.

3. Study Quality, Not Style

Do you love browsing the pages of fashion magazines or scrolling through your favorite influencers’ Instagrams? So do we! But unless you’re a budding Miranda Priestly, you don’t need to become an authority on runway trends or haute couture. 

Instead, learn how to identify a well-made garment, and which brands tend to make clothes that last the test of time. Don’t rely on a red-stickered sale price; the original cost may have been cranked up to compensate for the discount. Develop instinct and know-how to guide you as you shop.

4. Host a Clothing Swap!

A clothing swap is a super fun twist on the average Girls’ Night In. Stock up on the usual supplies like plenty of wine and snacks. Then ask your besties to raid their closets and bring all the clothes they no longer wear. You’ll get new duds and styling inspo, and you’re almost guaranteed to have a lot of fun!

Of course, this works best if all your BFFs are roughly the same size. (If not, make it an “accessories swap” instead.) 

5. Lean on Accoutrements

A variety of accessories is a great way to add pizzazz to your looks. Scarves, hats, belts, tights or socks, shoes, and of course jewelry can help you easily switch up your style from day to evening, workday to weekend, casual to dressy.

Whether you prefer colorful costume baubles, classic gold or sterling silver, or unique handmade pieces, jewelry is a fun and affordable way to play with fashion!

Now You Know How to Look Expensive on a Budget!

Do you love to shop ’til you drop? Or would you rather buy what you need and be done with it? Either way, knowing how to look expensive on a budget will serve you well as you head to the mall, the boutique, or the online consignment outlet!

For more great style tips, check out our Fashion section! 

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