You might be under the impression that to look rich, you need to spend big money on brand-name clothes. After all, you don’t see the biggest influencers rocking outfits from Goodwill or the Walmart department store. What if I told you that you don’t need to fork over your financial future to be fashion-forward? Here’s how to look expensive on a budget.
A $15 top from H&M will look better than a $500 one from Hermès if the fit is better. Fit is an essential factor if you want your outfit to look good. You won’t be comfortable in clothes that are too tight or too baggy–and trust me, it will show.
Instead of buying all your clothes directly from retail, you can diversify your wardrobe with some thrifted pieces. This means checking out your local Goodwill, browsing Instagram shops, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and more. You can find hidden gems like quality pieces and designer brands when thrifting.
In tandem with my previous tip, most thrifted clothes won’t fit you right off the rack. That’s why you should get your favorite clothes tailored for your body. While this is an additional cost, tailored, thrifted clothes still tend to be less expensive than new ones. This should also only be done for your favorites only, as tailoring everything in your wardrobe would cost too much. It’s more cost-effective, not to mention better for the environment, to thrift and tailor than buy brand-new. Since I started getting my favorite pieces tailored, my clothes have never looked better on me!
The “quality over quantity” rule applies to fashion. If you want to look expensive on a budget, buy clothes that will last. I’m not just talking about clothes that won’t shrink after a few wash cycles, but timeless styles. Focus on pieces that will look good whether you wear them to the office or ladies’ night.
To look expensive means to look classy. While bold colors have a place in your wardrobe, you want your everyday ‘fits to look elegant. The easiest way to do this is to use neutral tones like black, white, beige, rust, olive, pastels, and more.
The difference between a good and a great outfit lies in the little things. Necklaces, bracelets, and socks can elevate an outfit to look even better. A nice watch is one of the most versatile accessories anyone can invest in.
Unless you’re specifically trying to build a Bohemian-style outfit, you don’t want to wear too many accessories at once. Limiting yourself to one or two accessories will keep your outfit looking elegant.
Did you know that most wealthy people won’t try to look rich? Wealthy people will try to dress down, like wearing simple clothes. Read more differences between the wealthy and the rich by checking out my article here.
Shoes can make or break an outfit, so find the right pair to suit every occasion. Of course, if you were to find the “perfect” pair of shoes for every outfit, you’d be out of money in no time. Instead, focus on having a few versatile pairs to be worn for different functions.
For example, a black pair of pumps can look just as good in the office as at the bar. Plain white sneakers are also timeless and can match many casual outfits.
Looking for expensive on a budget, you must understand how to use fabrics to build your look. Most clothes blend cotton and synthetic materials, but you can look expensive using different fabrics. Linen, for example, is an excellent fabric for the summer months because it’s breathable and has a unique texture.
When you buy new clothes, you get more value out of them the more you use them. Basic clothing care, like understanding how often you need to wash your clothes. For example, you may wash your jeans after every wear even though better to do it only every few wears!
An important add-on to the previous tip is that each kind of fabric has different needs. Some clothes should only be dry-cleaned, and others must be hand-washed. When buying clothes with different fabrics, many brands will have a care tag before purchasing. Ideally, you don’t want too many clothes to require dry cleaning, because that will just be an extra cost that can add up over time.
A nice outfit won’t fix a bad hair day. If you want to look expensive on a budget, you also need to make sure you’re taking care of your physical appearance. Follow a regular hair and skin care regimen to ensure you look as good as your clothes.
How many pieces in your wardrobe do you actually wear regularly? Chances are you have some clothes that don’t see the light of day anymore. Instead of keeping them inside your closet, you can sell them for money to buy even more clothes. If you want more tips on building a wardrobe on a budget, you should check out my article here.
Sometimes to get the pieces you want, you need to pay the full retail price–or do you? Many retailers offer all kinds of discount codes that can be used all year round. Some even offer them for free after signing up at their website or emailing list.
Coupons are also a great way to get discounts at your favorite stores. For some coupon site examples, check out my article on the best coupon code sites here.
The fall and winter months are the best time to get your spring and summer ‘fits. Retailers will be selling their leftover stock from last season’s pieces at a discount. Once you know this trick, you’ll never have to pay full retail for a winter jacket again!
Looking for a new hobby? Making your clothes is a fantastic way to get new clothes and learn a new skill. This tip applies to knitwear, which is perfect for Fall and Winter.
After reading all of these tips, you might be inspired to build or rebuild your wardrobe to look expensive. If that’s the case, then great! Just remember to budget just enough money for it. You don’t want to spend too much on clothes this month only to have to dip into your savings, especially when Christmas is right around the corner.
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Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
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