How to Look Expensive on a Budget

Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent (1975)

And I agree 100% with what he said, with all my heart. I believe that no matter how expensive someone’s clothes are, they don’t necessarily translate into looking stylish and put together. Vice versa, in order to look classy, it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to empty our bank account. Designer pieces are certainly nice, but we can still achieve an “elevated look” without them. As long as we know some of the key points on how to look expensive and are smart with our choices and well-groomed (we’ll talk about this later), nothing is impossible!

It all started with the materials

This can easily be the first thing that can indicate the price of a piece of clothing.


Yes: natural fibres. Cotton, linen, silk, wool, cashmere, leather, suede, tweed (from wool). These quality materials look refined and will certainly pass the test of time. Another good thing about these materials is that they tend to look even cooler as time goes by. They will also feel better on the skin if you care for them properly. But as we know, these materials can come with quite a heavy price tag, why not try going vintage? You’ll be surprised by how many good things from the past were made of long-lasting quality materials! Another way is to look for natural-blend material. Like wool+acrylic, even some polyester blends can still look quite well-made when mixed with natural materials. There are also other synthetic materials that can look expensive, like viscose, tencel, rayon, modal, and cupro.

& Other Stories, Wool Blend Oversized Blazer
Pixie Market, Plum Ruched Tencel Dress

No: anything too plastic-y, too shiny, and non-breathable.

Go for eye-friendly colors

As much as we love all the colors of the rainbows, not all colors are equal when it comes to looking expensive.

Yes: Neutral colors such as black, different shades of brown, beige, white, grey, muted green, and navy blue will always look classy.

H&M, Coat with Tie Belt
& Other Stories, D-Ring Belted Mini Blazer Dress

Some soft pastel colors can also be in this category. The key is that as long as the color doesn’t hurt your eyes (and others, of course) and not looking too “out-there”, then you’re safe!



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Storets, Harper Oversized Boyfriend Jacket
Pixie Market, Olive Hourglass Blazer

Another tip is to wear a monochromatic look, this really is a shortcut into looking more elevated!


No: Neon colors. Neon pink, neon green, neon yellow, and any other color that you can feel with discomfort in your eyes. Although I know, they can be cute. But if we want to look expensive and timeless, unfortunately we need to think twice before wearing such colors.

There is a special case with red. Red is the boldest color and the first color that will get noticed by our eyes. I think the key of wearing red in a classy way is crucially depending on the style and material of the clothing. Keep in mind that red is already a strong color on its own, so choose a more elegant cut and not too shiny material (silk is still a good option, but avoid cheap-looking, too shiny polyester fabric’s in this case)


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& Other Stories, Satin Buckle Tie Mini Wrap Dress

The beauty in simplicity

There is an allure in minimal style.

Yes: a simple, fluid, and decluttered style will elevate your look effortlessly. Accessorise wisely, as Coco Chanel said:

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”

& Other Stories, Velvet Side Slit Midi Dress
Pixie Market, Cream Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress

No: Too much blings, clothing that is too complicated to wear, too many colors and texture all at once.

Always choose clothing that FIT you

Your body type, your height, your skin tone, your hair color, your personality!

Yes: wearing clothes according to your size. Not too loose, not too tight. Don’t get me wrong, I personally LOVE the oversized trend, but it’s best to keep the proportion well-balanced according to your body type.


Choosing a color that matches your skin tone will also always be a win. And this is the tricky part, if you want to go for a sexy look, think of sensuality instead of vulgarism. It is always considered classier to show a little bit more skin in the right places and still leave some space for our imagination, than revealing too much and leaving no secrets. Because if you want to look “expensive” you also need to act like it 😉


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Pixie Market, Leticia Halter Silky Dress
Revolve, Song of Style Wren Mini Dress

The essential: your self-grooming

Not everyone has the budget to go to a salon or beauty parlor every week, that’s why we need to know how to take care of ourselves at home. And it all started with the most basic thing: hygiene. Make sure your skin, hair, body, teeth, nails, are clean. Take a regular shower (do I need to remind you of this :)), trim your hair regularly so you don’t show any unhealthy ends. And no need to always rely on the nail salon to do your nails, you can also do it at home. Clean, neutral-coloured polished nails are always classy. Trust me, looking expensive come’s first from your self-grooming and attitude! what you wear comes the latter. No amount of expensive make-up can beat clear, fresh-looking skin. I’ve written an article already about French girls’ beauty secret, you can read here if you haven’t yet!



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That’s all that I can share with you for now. Feel free to customize any advice according to your circumstances. In the end, you do you!