How to Look Expensive on a Budget

I hear women always saying they feel limited in their style options due to budget.

The truth is you don’t have to spend a lot in order to look great.

Like anything, it’s all in HOW you go about it.

If you’ve been struggling with this in your own wardrobe, I’m going to share a few of my favorite tips on how to look expensive with inexpensive clothing.

Choose interesting texture

This is one of my secret styling tips when it comes to wearing inexpensive clothes.

Depth = interest and expensive appearance.

When you choose an interesting texture, all of a sudden, a plain piece of clothing can look no longer basic.

Examples of interesting textures are

  • Waffle knit
  • Cable knit
  • Faux fur
  • Faux suede

Mix different textures

Still on the subject of textures. There’s more you can do to make your outfits look more expensive.

Mixing different textures together in one outfit creates a lot of depth in an outfit.

Textures is a tricky area of fashion for many women, so let me explain a bit more to help you visualize what I mean by mixing textures together.

When wearing head-to-toe in the same or very similar textures it tends to emphasize the look of inexpensive clothes…and not in a good way.

Instead, when you mix and match varying textures it often leads to the inexpensive petite clothes appearing much more expensive.

Start with something like a faux leather skirt, something that’s a staple in inexpensive clothing sections. Instead of wearing a matching jacket with the faux leather skirt, mix up the texture and style it with a cable knit sweater like I did.

All of the pieces can be quite affordable, but the texture mix adds so much more style and individuality to create an expensive looking outfit.

There is nothing wrong of wanting to try the most trendy clothes for the season.

However, overdoing trends often leads to the clothes LOOKING like they are inexpensive, because, well, it’s just too much going on with the outfit!

Following trends too much can also make us overspend, as trends come and go each season, and, they never stop.

Having some high quality staple pieces in your wardrobe and mix these seasonal trends can not only make you look classy, but also save you money.

Choose rich looking fabrics

how to look expensive on a budget
Featuring Isabella, https://www.instagram.com/lifestyle_with_isabella/

One of the ways to look expensive is to choose the fabrics wisely.

There are fabrics that just look expensive naturally, and you cannot go wrong with them.

Silk is one example.

Fortunately there are plenty of reasonably priced silk clothing nowadays such as Lilysilk that do not cost an arm and leg.

100% silk garment does require more caring and you need to follow the special washing instructions. If that is too much to do for you, you can also opt for satin or silk blend clothing, which typically cost a lot less but has the similar silky look and feel.

One Statement Piece at a Time

leather jacket black jeans outfit
Featuring Carolina, https://www.instagram.com/chictalkch/

When putting together an outfit, instead of trying to wear a lot of statement pieces in one outfit, choose one piece to pop and style around it.

For example, if you find a dress in a neon color (a huge trend this season), let that be the focal point of your outfit.

Style the neon dress with a pair of nude color sandals, a white handbag and simple accessories.

Avoid anything flimsy

Often times when purchasing cheap clothes, the fabrics can be what affects the look of them.

Not surprisingly, sometimes the clothes are inexpensive because of the fabrics that are used.

Avoid any clothes that are made with fabrics that look flimsy, thin or see through.

It’s fairly easy to tell if the fabric looks inexpensive.

Stick to fabrics that don’t wrinkle too easily – this is a pretty good indication as to whether or not a fabric looks cheap.

Get alteration

tailor for petite long dresses

If you are petite like me, I’m going to guess you’re pretty familiar with getting clothes altered at this point.

If you’re not, you’re going to want to now!

One of the most crucial tips to look expensive with discounted clothes is to get them altered.

The opposite is also true, no matter how much you spend on a clothing item, if it doesn’t fit you, it will not look expensive!

A lot of times people will avoid altering inexpensive clothes, thinking that it’s not worth the investment on an item that didn’t cost them much to begin with.

However, when you get cheap petite clothes altered, they instantly look much more expensive. Ill-fitting clothes is a giveaway for clothes that are inexpensive.

Not only will the clothes look more expensive but you will feel so much more comfortable wearing them when they fit your body the right way.

Shop your size

how to look expensive on a budget

This may sound too basic.

But, a lot of times we are so tempted by the lower price, we may just ignore our true size and jump on a sale because the price is just irresistible.

“I normally am a size 2, but perhaps a size 4 won’t be too off anyways.” or “Hmmm, I’m usually a size 8, but perhaps I’ll lose a few pounds and fit in a size 6 next summer”?

Sound familiar?

I know I have done that plenty of times myself!

After all, we are all constantly on the hunt for a bargain, aren’t we?

“It’s on sale” is the favorite three words for every woman, but, if you get something that doesn’t really fit you, you will end up not wearing it.

The most expensive clothes is the ones you never wear in your closet, no matter how cheap the price was!

Buy at the right time

Department stores have deepest discounts of the year normally during their end of season sales.

That is great because you are getting the best and lowest price.

To look your best without spending too much, you need to know the best time to buy, especially when it comes to high ticket items such as winter coats!

Here is the biggest sale schedule of some of the most popular retailers.

In addition, always check out the flash sale sites such as Ruelala and Nordstrom Rack.

It is very possible that you will find some nice dresses with name brands made of good quality fabrics.

Wear the right size underwear

cheap petite clothing
Photo: Pexel

Ok so I will admit you should ALWAYS be wearing the right size undergarments, ladies.

But this is even more essential when you’re wearing inexpensive clothes.

Fit is generally one of factors that shows that something is cheap, when we wear the ill-fitting undergarments it further enhances the fact that the clothes may not be the best fit.

More than that, when we wear the wrong undergarments, it can lead to the inexpensive clothes to appearing even worse, if there are panty lines or your bra showing through.

Makes sense, right?

So what this means is the right undergarment fit is an absolute must.

If you haven’t gotten properly fitted in the last year, it’s time to make a trip to get sized and make sure you’re wearing the right undergarment sizes.

Our bodies change often and over time, which is why it’s something that we need to be getting fitted for on a fairly regular basis.

Wear the right type of undergarments

In addition to wearing the right size undergarments, obviously you need to be wearing the right type of undergarments.

Don’t try to just make something work and think it will be good enough.

Since you are on a mission to look expensive in inexpensive clothes, it’s not something to skip or ‘make do.’

I always encourage women to make sure they are building a versatile undergarment wardrobe.

You will likely need different types of bras and underwear for different types of garments.

Take proper care of the clothes

how to care for clothing
Photo: Pexel

I know this may seem obvious, but I see so many women not taking proper care of their clothes, particularly if the clothes did not cost a lot.

Even if you’re not purchasing expensive clothes, you should still take proper care of them.

When we don’t care for our clothes in the right way, it leads to them looking worn and not lasting, in turn making them look inexpensive, in a very short period of time.

Not completely sure HOW to take proper care of your clothes?

For starters, read the care instructions on the clothes.

Most of the time the clothing will come with certain instructions to follow to ensure the right care is done.

Avoid dryer

In general I often find that avoiding a lot of heat with inexpensive clothes is the safest route to go.

When I say avoiding heat I mean in the washer AND drier, use the coolest settings. As much as heat is great to get your clothes dry faster, it wreaks havoc on the fabrics.

Since most most of us have clothing made of fabrics that include synthetic fibers when they are exposed to heat it leads to shrinking and clothes ending up misshaped.

Furthermore, wash/dry your clothes as little as possible.

I know that sounds odd but the more you wash/dry your clothes the more wear and tear they are exposed to. Some garment types don’t necessarily need to be washed and dried after every wear. Determine whether or not you can wear certain pieces a couple times before you put them through a wash cycle to prolong their lifetime.

Using these style hacks on how to look expensive in
inexpensive petite clothes will help you shop on a budget without having to
sacrifice style. Enjoy using these tips and styling inexpensive petite clothes!

Look for the best value vs lowest price

Finally, I wanted to share this with you. This is more like a shopping tip vs styling tip, but I think it is important when we talk about inexpensive petite clothes.

When you are shopping on a budget (most of us are!), you should focus on the best value instead of looking for the lowest price.

There’s several ways to look at this, and there’s quite a bit of misunderstanding regarding what is a good value.

When a piece of expensive designer clothes is on the clearance rack and marked 90% off, does that mean it’s the best value? It could be, but not necessarily.

Here is the key question you should ask: why is it discounted so deeply?

Is it because the color looks too loud?

The design looks too exaggerating?

The fit looks baggy and shapeless?

If that’s the case, you should avoid it even if it’s given out for free!

Please do not tell yourself “but it’s a Versace!” The label means nothing if the garment doesn’t look flattering on you.

On the other hand, if the clothes is on clearance because it is the last few piece left in that size, or because it is soon out of season, however it’s a classic design made with high quality materials, then it’s a no brainer!

If you can wear it for at least a few years, then that’s the best value you can find.

That is the difference of shopping for the value vs the price. If you shop for the best value, the inexpensive petite clothes you buy will never look cheap on you, because they are quality piece to begin with.

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