Do you want to look classy or stylish but don’t think you have the budget to do so? Think again!
You don’t have to be a millionaire (or even close!) to look like a million bucks. I like to consider myself a certified bargain hunter and if I can look expensive on a budget then you can, too!
We’ll break these down but if you want to know how to look expensive on a budget, here are my top 15 tips:
- Stick to neutral colors
- Make sure your clothes fit properly
- Don’t overexpose!
- Coordinate your shoes and your bag
- Don’t overdo the jewelry
- Keep your shoes in good shape
- Iron/Steam wrinkled pieces
- Opt for fitted pieces over slouchy
- Carry a structured bag
- Go monochromatic
- Invest in timeless pieces
- Focus on fabrics
- Add a blazer
- Keep hair/makeup/nails presentable
How To Look Expensive On A Budget Style Guide
1.) Stick to neutral colors.
While you can make almost any color look classy, wearing neutrals is one of the easiest ways to look expensive on a budget. Neutrals never go out of style and styling them is much easier than working with bright and/or bold colors.
Finding affordable staples in neutral colors is actually quite simple. You don’t have to spend $50 on a sweater for it to be of great quality.
The turtleneck sweater I’m wearing below is from Walmart and only $11.86. It’s soft, true to size, and stretchy. Plus, it works great tucked AND untucked so you can style it several ways.
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Here are some neutral colors that pair well together and also work easily with many different styles.
And just an FYI – this entire outfit I’m wearing above was $100. Pretty good bargain if you ask me.
2.) Make sure your clothes fit properly.
As simple as this sounds, it’s incredibly important. An amazing pair of pants can go wrong pretty quickly if they’re a size too small.
As a general rule, when you want to dress nicely you should avoid overly slouchy or baggy clothing as well as clothes that are too tight.
If you find a pair of pants you absolutely love but they’re just too long, bring them to a tailor! I’ve done this on numerous occasions because I tend to fall exactly between petite and regular length. It’s well worth it to spend the money getting your pants hemmed if you end up wearing them for years to come.
3.) Don’t overexpose.
How can you look expensive AND classy? Don’t overexpose!
If you’re going for sexy then sure, maybe show a little more skin. But when we’re talking about how to look expensive you definitely want to reel that in.
If your top is super low cut balance it out by wearing pants or a full-length skirt. If you’re wearing a mini dress or a skirt with a high leg slit, keep yourself concealed up top.
4.) Coordinate your shoes and your bag.
You don’t have to perfectly match your bag to your shoes, but if you’re stuck with what bag goes well with your outfit you can’t go wrong matching them.
If you’re only wearing only 2 colors in your outfit you can match your bag to either your shoes or another one of the main pieces like I’m doing in the photo below.
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5.) Don’t overdo the jewelry.
A statement necklace is great over a polished turtleneck, with a blouse, or with a v-neck top. Just be sure that when you wear statement jewelry you keep your other pieces minimal.
A statement necklace is meant to do just that, make a statement. You don’t want other pieces of jewelry competing for center stage. It looks too busy and can take away from even the sleekest, most chic outfit.
6.) Keep your shoes in good shape.
You can have a fabulous outfit but if your shoes look worn it will ruin the entire look. Treating your shoes prior to wearing them can help extend their life.
This shoe protectant is my go-to and is incredibly affordable. It keeps the rain and snow from destroying the material and keeps shoes looking new year after year. If you live in a climate with a lot of rain/snow it’s the most cost-effective way to keep your shoes in great shape.
7.) Iron/steam wrinkled pieces.
Ironing your clothes is one of the simplest ways to look put together. Just be sure you iron your clothing on the correct settings so you don’t damage the fabric.
If you have some items you aren’t sure how to get wrinkles out of try a steamer. This one is also great for traveling because it’s pretty compact.
8.) Opt for fitted pieces over slouchy ones.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good slouchy outfit. However, when we’re talking about how to look expensive that typically equates to polished and refined.
When trying to look expensive, reach for pieces that are fitted and/or have structure. If you really want to wear that slouchy piece then pair it with some other items that will balance it out like a blazer, tie-waist coat, ponte pants, etc.
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9.) Carry a structured bag.
A chic bag almost always stands out and you can spot a good bag when you see one.
Look for bags with structure, meaning they can stand up on their own and they aren’t made of a flimsy material. And don’t think you have to spend $1,500 on a good bag. While I do believe in investing in long-term pieces, you can 100% get a great bag at an affordable price.
Here are a few bags from Walmart to elevate your outfit for under $25.
10.) Go monochromatic.
Do you have to go monochromatic to look expensive? No, but it’s easier to style a chic monochromatic look than one with tons of colors.
There is just something so chic about an all-black or black and camel outfit. Camel not your color? There are plenty of other neutrals that pair perfectly with black including white, cream, and grey.
A monochromatic outfit creates long, lean lines and can also be flattering on many body types, making it a great choice for many people, regardless of your shape.
11.) Invest in timeless pieces.
A quality coat will never go out of style. And again, you 100% do NOT have to spend a fortune on one. I grabbed this coat below from Walmart and it was only $34.88. I’m not kidding when I say Walmart fashion is killing it.
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If you told me this coat was on rollback for under $35 I would never believe you. It is AMAZING! It’s warm, so comfortable, and looks much more expensive. It’s also a classic piece that will never go out of style so you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Over the last year, I have gotten SO MANY great Walmart fashion pieces. The prices are incredible and the variety of styles/sizes is really inclusive.
Classic and timeless staples to keep in your closet:
- Fitted turtleneck
- Longline cardigan
- Black jeans
- Quality boots/booties/heels
- Structured bag
- Simple AND statement jewelry
- Sleek Coat
12.) Focus on fabrics.
Fabrics play a huge role in the way your entire outfit looks. Acrylic and rayon are just a few to steer clear of when you’re trying to look expensive.
Polyester can go either way. The coat above is actually made of 73% polyester but the quality is incredible and it looks like a very expensive coat.
I normally have a very hard time finding coats that work because I have broad shoulders and big arms. This one has plenty of room in the arms without feeling oversized and the material is soft, not scratchy.
Here are a few more affordable options
13.) Add a blazer.
An easy to way look more polished is by adding a blazer as a 2nd layer. A fitted blazer can instantly take your outfit from drab to fab.
A simple tank with a blazer, a good pair of jeans and strappy heels is one of the chicest outfits you can wear. If you want to get that expensive look with a blazer, check out these pieces below. Spoiler alert: None of these are over $45.
14.) Steer clear of bold logos.
Big logos are trendy, not classy. Since most people correlate classiness to being expensive it’s safe to say that enormous logos don’t fit in.
That’s not to say that a logo is a bad thing, but try your best to avoid the HUGE logos in your clothing.
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15.) Keep hair/makeup/nails presentable.
This one might be the hardest to keep up with (coming from a mom of 3 little kids though, so maybe it’s just situational for me lol).
Personally, I no longer get my nails done because within a day they are chipped and it’s a waste of money. However, I still try to keep my fingernails “groomed” so to speak by filing my nails and keeping them all the same length.
I know some people who have good luck doing their own gel manicures at home. I haven’t given it a try yet but I plan to do so in the near future. If you want to try here’s a kit that has everything you need to get started.
Most times I’m either at the gym or chauffeuring my kids around but for the times I’m not and I want to look presentable, I spend a few minutes on my hair. Whether that’s straightening it, curling it, or putting it in a neat bun, it’s one of those things that instantly changes my entire look.
If you have a great outfit on but your hair is a mess, well….then you probably look a mess lol. No, you don’t have to have your hair perfect all the time, but brushing it and putting in just the tiniest bit of effort can make all the difference!
Let’s be real, the weather plays a major role in the way our hair looks. Hence the frizzies in my hair in some of these photos 🙂 You don’t need to go for perfection, just a little brush through will do!
How can I be fashionable on a budget?
When trying to be fashionable on a budget you’ll want to follow the same above rules. However, there are a few more things you can try as well.
1.) Organize your closet. This is the easiest way to save money. Who knows, maybe you already have something similar to that dress you wanted to buy.
2.) Check the sales sections FIRST. I have scored so many great deals this way. If I’m being honest, I hardly ever buy anything full price unless it’s already super affordable. You’ll notice almost every Walmart fashion piece I’m wearing in the photos above is on sale, on top of already low prices.
3.) Create new outfits with what you already have. Don’t feel like you can only wear a sweater with jeans. Try it with your favorite mini or maxi skirt – you’ll be surprised at how many outfits you can probably create with what you already have in your closet!
Above I shared how to look expensive on a budget with certain styles (a turtleneck, blazer, etc.). Here are a few of those for under $50.
That’s it for this “how to look expensive on a budget style guide”. I hope you’ve found some helpful tips. If you have any tips that aren’t on this list feel free to drop a comment so I can add them in.
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Thank you Walmart for sponsoring this post