Splurge on select key pieces that can stand beyond one season like a great coat or handbag, which will elevate your basic pieces you already have. Know which items don’t require spending big bucks on (i.e. $100 white T-shirts) and don’t buy too many on-trend items that are likely to cycle out by next season.
When buying clothes always focus first on fit. Even if it cost you an arm and a leg, if it doesn’t fit well, it’s going to look cheap. Take any items that don’t fit like a glove to a tailor who can make adjustments and make your clothes go from Zara to Prada (we can only hope!) with just a few minor adjustments.
After fit, your next criteria when selecting clothes should be fabric. Look for great high quality textured fabrics that will go the distance and that look expensive like brocade, jacquard, suede and leather, which are thicker, luxe-looking and more likely to last. NB: We suggest not buying anything sheer as this look in cheaper material is never flattering on anyone.
Steer clear of lace because with less expensive items it’s usually not ‘real’ high-quality handmade lace but a flimsy, machine made version that never measures up in our eyes. If you must, splurge on a quality lace piece, as you are sure to get a lot of wear out of it for years to come.
Another thing to avoid with cheaper items is any sort of embellishment, which looks cheap when not applied by hand and will also most probably fall apart after the first wash, and nothing looks cheaper than a piece of clothing with missing jewels. Focus on simple pieces and glam them up with statement jewelry instead.
DIY with simple handy tricks like swapping buttons on a garment or changing the strap on a bag which can dramatically change the entire appearance of an item and also make it more personal. Always ditch the belt on a cheap dress and replace it with your own (don’t argue with us on this one).
Take your outfit to the next level with stand out accessories. Elevate your basics with key on trend statement accessories that don’t require spending an arm and a leg and can easily be replaced each season like a chunky necklace, large hat, sunglasses or bright clutch.
Keep prints to a minimal as they are likely to cycle in and out, but if you have to, opt for simple prints like stripes, polka dots and plaid which are usually mainstays every season.
In terms of colour, stick to a neutral palette of black, white, grey, navy and beige, which never really go out of style. Bright on-trend colours will be not so on-trend next season, so if you do want to add some colour to your wardrobe, be prepared that you might only get one season out of it.
Treat your inexpensive items like you would your more expensive items, and by that I mean take good care of them! Wash items with care and follow wash instructions. Buy a steamer (wrinkled clothes never look chic) or better yet head to the dry cleaners which will make cheaper pieces look much nicer and it will also make them last that little bit longer.
Look after yourself too! Make sure your personal grooming standards are top notch because then whatever you wear will look great. A good blow dry or manicure can make any outfit look more put together. Your aim should be to look expensive from head to toe.
If in doubt, wear a blazer, which can make even your pajamas look polished.
At the end of the day, dressing ‘expensive’ doesn’t necessarily require buying expensive items, just look at Kate Middleton. If it’s good enough for a Princess then it’s good enough for us. Remember it’s not what you wear but how you wear it that matters.