How to Look Expensive on a Budget

look expensive on a budget

Photo via Samantha Maria

How to look expensive & put together on a budget

The reason I love minimalistic and monochromatic outfits is because they are simple and classic. They look expensive and make you look put together. Some people may see bloggers like Annabelle Fleur from VivaLuxury or Tamira from TamiraJarrel and think that they are wearing all of this expensive clothing. However, it’s the type of clothing they wear (and how they wear it) that gives the impression that everything costs a lot of money, when it fact, they most likely shop at the same places you do. Although it’s okay to splurge on good quality pieces that you’ll have forever, there’s no need to spend a lot on every item in your closet.

I live in New York City and work a part-time job, so there’s no way I can afford to wear a head-to-toe high fashion look. And even if I could, I wouldn’t because I love mixing high and low. A lot of people think that “quality” and “minimalism” are synonymous with “expensive” and that’s not the case. I’m going to tell you how to look expensive and put together while on a budget.

look expensive on a budget

ph via VivaLuxury

1. Keep the overall tone of the outfit neutral.

It’s okay to add a pop of color but keeping the overall tone of the outfit neutral will give it the timeless, minimalistic feel that makes it look more expensive. All black, all gray or even all nude outfits look so glamorous and expensive just because they’re all one tone and they look put together. Colorful prints and pieces are more noticeable and become dated. Neutral toned pieces can be worn much longer and many times without people noticing that you’ve worn them 3 times in a row.

2. Fit is Everything.

It doesn’t matter how much something cost if it doesn’t fit well. If you’re wearing ill-fitting $200 jeans then they will look like they cost $20. If you really love a piece, why not spend an extra $10-$15 at the tailor to make it fit better? You look much more put together when your clothing fits just right.

3. Shop online for the best deals.

Sites like Asos, Missguided, and Forever 21 all have great pieces that are simplistic and affordable that you can use to build an outfit that looks expensive but costs less than $200. Even if you go to the sale section on a site like Shopbop, you can find really great pieces. (I actually got my Alexander Wang Rocco bag on Shopbop when it was on sale.) Just keep in mind the tips above and you can create some beautiful outfits on a budget.

look expensive on a budget

ph via ShopStyle

4. Learn to layer like a boss.

Pair an oversized sweater and white tee over a pair of skinnies and a pair of Nikes all in a neutral tone and throw on a statement piece like a bold lip or sunglasses and you have yourself a luxe and minimal outfit.

5. Leave the logos.

Try to steer clear of noticeable logos on your clothing. No one needs to know that your sweater is from the GAP. You are not a walking advertisement. Now, if you choose to invest in a KENZO logo sweatshirt, that’s a key piece that will make a fashion statement. However, if you’re buying a piece from a fast-fashion retailer, leave the logos.

6. Take care of your clothing and accessories.

Don’t wear a t-shirt with a hole in it that isn’t supposed to be there. Take care of your handbags and shoes. Buy things of good quality so you won’t have to worry about them ripping or falling apart.

7. Go bold on the accessories and lip color.

You can instantly bring your outfit to the next level by pairing it with a statement bag or sunglasses and a bright lip.

8. When you find a good and affordable basic, buy multiples.

If you happen to go into Forever 21 or find v-necks tees on sale at J.Crew, buy multiples. As a minimalist, I always build my outfits around the basics and add a key piece at the end to bring it up a notch. So when I see basics at an affordable price, I always stock up.

9. Know when to splurge.

I know that this post is all about dressing on a budget but you have to know when to save and when to splurge. This is always going to be an ongoing topic on this blog because I’m trying to help people choose wisely when it comes to fashion. There are some things you will have to splurge on at some point in your life. I think a leather jacket is one of those things. You need a good leather jacket that you can have for years to come. Being a Luxe-Minimalist is all about saving for the pieces that you can have forever and pairing them with basics that you can get for a cheaper price.


I'm Coreyiel, founder of The Luxe Minimalist, a New Orleans-based luxury beauty & lifestyle blog sharing reviews & recommendations to help you design a life you love. Follow along for the best in beauty, style, travel, and wellness. Don't forget to also follow on Instagram and come back for new posts every week!

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“Buy less, choose well, make it last” –Vivienne Westwood


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