24 Tips on How to Look Expensive on a Budget (Easy)

how to look expensive on a budget
Valentine’s Day Outfits

Do you want to look expensive on a budget? It doesn’t have to cost that much to look elegant and classy. There are many styling tips that cost little to nothing which make you look chic and bougie. You don’t have to go out and buy designer items to look and feel confident. Most of the ways you can look expensive are quite affordable or you may even have them in your closet already.

You can look expensive on a budget by wearing stylish sunglasses, slicked back hair, gold hoops and red lipstick. Add chic accessories like a hat, belt, structured bag, statement watch and faux fur scarf. Wear your coat over your shoulders, purse on your arm and collared blouse under sweaters. Invest in an elegant capsule wardrobe. 

Invest in timeless pieces for a capsule wardrobe 

How to look expensive on a budget

When trying to look expensive yet stay on budget, it is most necessary to learn what looks classy and curate a timeless capsule wardrobe.

It is more important than ever to buy basics of solid neutralsclassic styles and flattering silhouettes that you can wear over and over. This way you can get the most wear out of your wardrobe because everything matches. 

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on nice pieces – there are many inexpensive stores where you can find nice-looking and quality pieces. 

Top off any look with a hat like a beret

Adding an elegant hat or headgear to your outfit gives it a polished look because you’ve quite literally topped the outfit off. Whether it’s a beret, brim hat, straw hat or headband, it gives the impression you have paid attention to every detail. 

Berets are universally flattering, can be worn on any cooler day during most of the seasons and they match and elevate absolutely any outfit. They are also the most affordable and super easy to slip into your purse when you’re inside as they take up little room. Wool ones are especially warm.

An affordable hat (or two) is definitely worth investing in since it’s very versatile. Besides, a hat is also perfect for bad hair days.

Meanwhile, opting for a brim hat in the winter is an even bolder look, and convenient as it’ll keep your head warm, your hair dry and the rain out of your eyes.

Go for a straw hat in the summer and for your beach looks. Not only is it super chic, it’s also practical for keeping your head cool and protecting your hair, skin and eyes from sun damage. 

Belt blazers, coats and loose dresses

Adding a sophisticated belt to your long blazers, wool / trench coats and high waisted trousers can change up your outfit in a classy way. 

This feminine silhouette is especially flattering with your coats in the fall and winter. 

If you can’t decide on all the options for a belt, you can never go wrong with a classic black belt with a golden buckle.

Wear light colors like white, beige and cream

how to look elegant and classy

Wearing light colors like white, beige, cream and light gray elevate any simple look and help you to stick out from the crowd of dark colors, especially in the colder months. The best part is that it doesn’t cost you extra to opt for these colors instead.

Try to incorporate these colors as much as possible in your outfit – which won’t be so difficult since they all match each other. However, the less colors the more sophisticated, especially if you can pull off a monochrome look e.g. all-beige.

These colors have always been associated with wealth, because they are known to be harder to keep clean. However, colors like beige and light gray don’t stain as easily. You should carry a stain remover pen with you as well, especially when wearing white.

Also be sure to buy looser sizes so that the leg and arm areas are not squeezed as this can be unflattering and make very light colored clothes see-through. Don’t forget to wear nude underwear – not white since that is very visible under white clothes.

Buy satin pieces instead of silk

Satin instantly adds a more elegant touch. This material has a much more affordable alternative to silk, but it still has the same effect. 

When shopping for pieces for your elegant wardrobe, try looking for the satin versions of whatever clothing item you’re planning to purchase. 

So instead of buying a cotton white or black blouse or skirt, buy a satin white or black version. You can find almost any piece of clothing in a satin.

Switch to pointy toed shoes

Always opt for pointy toed shoes whether they’re flats, mules or heels. 

Pointed toes always look more expensive and mature, while a shoe with a round toe can look more juvenile and girlish in comparison.

Extra Tip: Wear your pointy toed heels under wide leg / flare pants. Just make sure that the pants are long enough so that only the toe is peeping out from underneath.

Add statement earrings like gold hoops or drop earrings

Gold hoops are the queen of earrings and universally flattering. They are a timeless accessory, especially a medium to small size. 

Gold drop earrings are another timeless shape and instantly add a luxurious, glamorous feel to any look.

You can wear them every day since they match any outfit. Pair them with other gold jewelry, like a gold bracelet and rings, or you could just wear them on their own. 

They will instantly add sophistication to your look. They are the perfect touch to add when you feel like your look is missing something.

Opt for structured bags

A structured bag is superior to more floppy bags because it is aesthetically more refined.

A good rule of thumb is that the bag is structured enough if it can stand on its own on a flat surface. It also retains its shape for a long time and thus looks less worn. 

You’ll find yourself reaching for it every day if you choose a good quality one in the right color. Just make sure it matches your wardrobe’s color palette, like a neutral. 

Add sunglasses to any look

how to look expensive on a budget

Add a sleek pair of sunglasses to any of your outfits to instantly elevate it. 

It’s the perfect accessory that adds a hint of mystery and makes you look more important than you really are – just kidding. In all seriousness, you really only need one great pair to go with every outfit. 

Not only does it look stylish, it protects your eyes from the sun. They are also an easy way to look chic without makeup when you just need to slip out of the house and get some errands done. They look especially fabulous with slicked back hair.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a nice pair since there are so many affordable classic styles and designer dupes. 

Extra Tip: Add a gold chain to your sunglasses for an even more showy look. 

Wear a slicked back low bun

how to look expensive on a budget

Hair slicked back into an updo will always look elegant – whether it’s in a twisted knot at the nape of your neck, French twisthigh bun or sleek ponytail

It’s especially great for those bad hair days and can be worn for any occasion, from work to a night out. 

If your hair is too short or fine to get the desired size, use tools like a donut or just leave it in a low, straight ponytail. 

Extra Tip: For an even more sophisticated look, add big sunglasses, gold hoops and a red lip. 

Red lipstick instantly adds sophistication

how to look expensive on a budget

Red lipstick is another super easy way to add elegance to your look. This is particularly great for those who don’t have any makeup skills. 

Wear your red lip with simple makeup (eyeliner / mascara) to balance it out. That way the color can shine and it isn’t overly dramatic. 

Opt for a good quality liquid lipstick to make it last the longest. This is especially important for tricky colors like red that can easily bleed, stain and smear. 

Cool toned reds tend to be the most universally flattering and make your teeth look white. However, but you’ll have to experiment with different tones to find the one the suits your skin tone. 

For a classic red lip, opt for medium tones, rather than very bright or deep shades. 

Wear a gold statement watch 

You can add one nice piece of statement jewelry like a watch to elevate any simple outfit. 

classic, all-gold watch matches everything in every season. It especially pairs nicely with sweaters but the options are endless.

But you don’t need a designer watch. You can get the same effect with plenty of affordable options. It’ll still catch everyone’s eye and they’ll be asking you where you got it. 

Add a faux fur scarf to a basic coat 

Why not add a faux fur scarf to your winter wardrobe? This instantly adds a luxurious touch to the jackets you already own at a very minimal cost. Besides they’re super cozy and fuzzy.

Drape it around any of your jackets, whether it’s your trench coat, wool coat or your winter puffer jacket. 

Look for gold and leather detailing

Try shopping simple clothing pieces and accessories with minimal gold or (faux) leather detailing, for example in the buttons, on the sleeves, collars or trimming. 

These subtle touches can make a jacket or a purse look much more expensive than it really was, compared to its more plain counterpart. Usually these extras touches don’t cost any extra. 

Invest in matching, separate pieces

It’s better to invest in two-piece outfits instead of one pieces when you’re styling on a budget. This way you increase the number of combinations you can make. 

This means you should avoid rompers, jumpsuits and even dresses because you’ll quickly feel like you’re always wearing the same thing.

Instead, opt for skirts, trousers and blouses that can be paired together nicely to look exactly like a jumpsuit or dress. 

If you buy a two-piece set like a matching blazer and pants/skirt suit, then you’ll also have the option to pair each piece with other pieces. It’s as simple as that.

Have polished nails in a classic color

How to look expensive on a budget

Nice nails always add a more put-together touch. Especially if you’re going to be holding your bag up where your hands are visible, then you need to make sure that your fingernails are polished. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on nice nails, they just need to be maintained. This just means no chipped nail polish

Light, nude tones are universally flattering and are more forgiving to chipping.

There are many budget-friendly, at-home manicure options that can still give you a long-lasting manicure. 

Stick to classy, timeless make up

How to look expensive on a budget

It’s time to get good at doing your makeup. Having nice makeup just finishes off your classy ensembles. On the other hand, bad makeup can actually ruin your look. 

Learning to do your eyebrowsconcealerbronzermascara and lipstick is a basic necessity. Thankfully, nowadays you have access to unlimited tutorials on YouTube and the internet so that you can learn how to do sophisticated, timeless makeup looks

Once you’ve mastered the techniques that bring out your natural features, they’ll become second nature and you can do them on the fly. 

If you’re not very good at makeup, then lipsticks are your best bet.

Combine black opaque tights and pumps 

Pairing black heeled pumps and black opaque tights is a timeless sophisticated combination

This look is especially flattering as it elongates and slims your legs since the tights and heels transition seamlessly into each other. 

The best part of this style is that you can pair it with shorter skirts, like a black A-line skirt, and still keep the look classy and modest. 

Drape a coat over your shoulders

How to look expensive on a budget

Sure, wearing a coat over your shoulders can look a little pretentious or bougie, but isn’t that what you’re going for? There is just something so nonchalant about draping clothing around your shoulders. 

So the next time you need to add a little umph to your outfit try this super easy styling tip with your any of your blazersor jackets

Extra Tip: Before you disregard this for being impractical, a trick is to use safety pins to secure the draped blazer if you want to make it a permanent part of your look.

Hold your handle bag on your forearm 

How to look expensive on a budget

First, make sure you get purses with handles. If you want to go the extra mile, then hold your structured purse on your forearm or in the bent part of your elbow.

It might sound like such a simple styling hack but it really does make a more graceful impression. You can also hold your purse directly in your hand if it has a handle. 

Holding your bag in a unique way helps to differentiate you from the crowd because everyone usually just wears their bag on their shoulders or across their body.  

Layer a collared blouse under a sweater 

You can get more use out of your white button downs and collared blouses by wearing them under crew neck and V-neck sweaters. This makes your casual sweater outfit fancier and it costs you nothing.

Just make sure that the sweater is large enough to fit your white button down underneath, or you can opt for a sleeveless button down.

Pop your shirt and jacket collars

how to look expensive on a budget

You can also change up your look by simply popping the collars of your coats, blazers and button ups. 

This simple styling hack looks especially high fashion and unique since not many people attempt to pull it off. 

You’ll have to experiment a little to see which collars look good, stand up and stay put. 

Extra Tip: If you really want to show off your popped collar, wear your hair slicked back and up. 

Try clip-on shoe embellishments

When you feel like your pumps or flats are missing something or are bored of them, you can add clip-on shoe embellishments.

This way you don’t have to buy so many shoes with different embellishments, you can just elevate your basics. 

There are endless options but you’ll get the most use out of them if you go for a classic style like crystal or a goldenembellishments.

Maintain your clothes to avoid wrinkles and rips

Nothing can ruin a sophisticated aesthetic faster than a wrinkled button up shirt, ripped jacket or dirty shoes. 

Especially when you’re on a budget, it is essential that you keep your clothes looking new. You need to learn how to wash, store, and even wear them properly.

The number one thing that you should make sure of, at least, is that your clothes aren’t wrinkled. Get yourself a steamer and other affordable tools that make your life and maintaining your clothes a whole lot easier.  

Cover Photo Credits: дарья шелкович

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