10 Ways to Look Expensive on a Budget That Actually Work

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Have you ever felt like you were underdressed? I certainly did and I can tell for sure that it wasn’t the best or most empowering feeling in the world. Looking good has a great potential of making us feel good, so it matters a lot. I am all about smart consumption and budgeting, so I came up with these 10 easy ways to look much more expensive without spending a lot of – actually most of these tricks are free – money. Let’s start!

Don’t wash your clothes more often than needed. And if you do, check the laundry symbols to make sure that clothes lasts you as long as possible. Remember how Rachel from Friends turned all her whites into a pile of marshmallow-colored mess? Don’t be like Rachel:

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Invest into a lint remover. I didn’t even know such thing existed up until recently! It’s basically a fancy name for clothing shaver 😀 I ordered mine from Aliexpress, it still works after two years of regular use, so I can recommend it. If you’d like to prevent pilling as much as possible, try to avoid items made of acrylic (it’s a synthetic substitute for wool) – it’s very prone to pilling. Also, you can wash things that pill inside out – this way the inside layer of the fabric is takes most of the damage.

Learn your body type and dress accordingly. Nothing looks cheaper than clothes that just don’t fit you. I am a firm believer than we should choose outfits not to fix something in our appearance, but to embrace our unique features! For me personally, Kibbe body type system has been absolutely outstanding. You can read about it in my post about how our wardrobe can be our good friend and take a Kibbe body type quiz with pictures and examples.

Skip seasonal fashion pieces. We all know this type of items. They come and go faster than a Shinkansen. First, they are on the runways, then all over Instagram, then – poof! – they are suddenly yesterday’s news. The problem is that once you get them you’ll never get the cost-per-wear from them that would make them actually worth it. They’ll go out of fashion and you’ll feel outdated wearing them, so they’ll become dead weight very soon. Examples: micro designer bags, Prada headbands, Balenciaga Triple S shoes, furry Gucci slides.

Don’t cake unnecessary makeup on. Now, at this point I think we all know that the ‘YouTube/Instagram beauty guru makeup’ doesn’t look that good in everyday life. The procedure is nothing short of an engineering project: two primers, foundation, concealer, brightening powder, setting powder, eye primer, eyeshadow, eyelashes, mascara… When you go out in daylight with all that face on, it shows. If possible, take more time blending the makeup into the skin rather than increasing its amount.

Spice it up with accessories. They don’t have to be expensive at all! A simple bright-colored silk scarf tied around the neck will do the trick if you’re used to wearing all neutrals and monochrome outfits. But! Beware not to overdo it. It has to be tasteful and just right, like a scarf and gloves, or a statement belt and elegant necklace. Too much of anything is a no-no if you want to look expensive.

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Match the metals in your outfit. This is my secret trick that I just can’t not share! If you like bronze, then let every metal element in your outfit be bronze. If silver, let it be silver – you get the idea! It truly binds everything together, you’ll instantly look so much more put together, and people will notice it, even though probably won’t be able to figure out why 😉

Up your grooming routine. If you wear nailpolish, make sure it’s not chipped. If your hair gets greasy quickly, use dry shampoo (I usually use Batiste) to keep it fresh in between shampooing. Carry a lipbalm in your purse to keep lips from drying. Keep a toothpick with you at all times for ‘something between my teeth’ emergencies. Grooming makes or breaks your whole look and it doesn’t even cost anything except for a little bit of time.

If you’re going to invest in something, let it be shoes and bags. The quality of clothing is sometimes difficult to tell, but the cost of shoes and bags can be more obvious. Instead of splurging on designer items pick well-made pieces that’ll work with most of your outfits – good shoes and bags usually end up having the lowest cost-per-wear! Such things as classic black chelsea boots, beige or black ballet flats, and simple cross-body bags never go out of fashion and will probably serve you for years if take good care of them.

If you see a knockoff,  run away and don’t turn back. The market of replicas and knockoffs is a huge issue for so many reasons. It’s unethical (starting from sourcing and ending with production and marketing), the items are made of low-quality materials, and it deteriorates the brand value of actual designer brands. Cheap knockoffs are easy to spot from a mile away even for those who don’t know much about real designer items. If it’s a bag knockoff, the faux leather usually has that cheap plastic feel to it, the hardware looks shabby after only a few months of use (or usually less than that) and the lining looks like it’s about to fall apart. Save your money and better go for no-name brands, but with good quality.

Wear your confidence. This is the 11th element on the list, but in fact its value is beyond any ratings. Here’s the thing: if you feel not so good about yourself, slouch, and feel restrained by your own lack of self-empowerment, then it shows. Lack of confidence will ruin your look in a worse way than dirty shoes or bad haircut. So try to love yourself a bit more and embrace yourself, because you deserve it. 

See you in my next post!

Alex

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