classic and timeless outfit

9 Tips on How to Look Expensive + What to Avoid

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Yes, you can look expensive without having your closet full of names such as Gucci, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent. While these brands do make great classic investment pieces, there are other ways to look high-end without spending the high-end price tag. You can keep all that money in your wallet and fool everyone into thinking you paid a lot on your outfit by using these super simple tips!

9 Tips On How to Look Expensive

1. Wear a long coat
Adding a long coat to your outfit is the easiest way to get that expensive look! Every coat has its place in your wardrobe, but to look expensive, go for a long coat over let’s say, a short and puffy one.

The longer the better, but ideally this coat would at least hit your knee. When coat shopping, quality is very important. If you can, splurge for wool fabric or something similar. Sometimes a coat will be the only thing someone sees of you. It could be your first and only impression!

But if an investment piece is not in the budget right now and you’re looking to shop fast fashion, look for a camel coat or one in neutral tones. Even if you didn’t spend a lot on it, it will instantly elevate your outfit and make you look elegant and luxurious.

Pay attention to the details on the coat as well. You don’t need a lot and usually simple is best, but quality buttons and a simple belt tie or drape can look fabulous too.

camel coat outfit

camel coat | handbag (similar here and here)

2. Wear tailored pieces
When everything is polished and fits you well, you look like someone that knows what they’re doing and where they’re going. Even if you don’t have a corporate wardrobe with tailored pantsuits, a white button down or a blazer is a good place to start because those can be worn anywhere, in many different ways, and by almost all lifestyles!

Coco Chanel is known for her tailored tweed blazers, and well, who can argue with arguably one of the chicest women that ever lived? In fact, you can get many tips from Coco Chanel on how to look expensive by just looking at the clothing items she wore and designed. Pearls and quilted bags? Yes, please!

But a blazer will never steer you wrong and good news, it will look fabulous with anything such as skinny jeans, a little black dress, or even a basic white t-shirt.

If you can, try to find these tailored pieces in neutral colors as neutral colors are one of the best ways to make your entire look feel like you’re wearing designer items…even if you bought everything at H&M!

chic outfit

Related: 7 Ways to Elevate Your Style (And What You May Be Doing Wrong)

3. Buy a structured bag
I’m going to let you in on some style secrets. Every chic outfit seems to have a classic, structured bag. This is an easy way, no, great way to elevate your overall look!

When aiming to look expensive, stay away from slouchy bags and backpacks. Instead, focus on black handbags with minimal hardware. Too much hardware can make your bag, and thus your whole outfit, look cheap. Expensive bags, like the really expensive ones, are very minimal when it comes to color, style, and design. The focus is all on the luxurious material and structured shape!

checked blazer outfit

4. Wear pointy shoes
It’s funny how just switching from a rounded toe to a pointy shoe changes an outfit. Talk about next level! A pointy toe shows that you mean business and it adds that extra polish to an outfit.

A shoe with a pointed toe will help you go the extra mile, both figuratively and literally. Assuming your shoes are comfy, of course. 😉 But in all seriousness, one of the first things people may notice about you would be your choice of footwear. Even if you don’t wear high heels, pay extra attention to the vibes that your shoes are giving off. Are they well made? Do they match your outfit? Or are they cheap and falling apart?

Also, it should be worth mentioning that you can get the chic look of a pointed toe without having to wear heels! There are plenty of flats out there that have this style. This is perfect for someone that’s not confident in their heel walking ability, want something more comfortable, or simply don’t have the desire to wear heels in their day to day life!

classy pointy heels

Related: How to Look Expensive On a Budget

5. Tuck it in
Just how adding structure to an outfit will class it up, so will tucking in your top. Feel free to go a step further too and add a belt to your classic white shirt. A belt will really polish it off, but don’t go too crazy here. Something small and classic, preferably in leather (or leather looking) is ideal.

When aiming to look expensive, we want to minimize the statement pieces as much as we can and go with what is a classic look. This goes for your color palette too! Even if you have a simple tee in a neutral color, it can look effortlessly chic when tucked into your pants.

classic fashion

6. Add tasteful jewelry to your outfit
You can’t forget accessories when looking to dress high-end. Avoid plastic jewels and costume jewelry, and instead, focus on classic pieces such as a watch, pearl earrings, or simple hoops. Extra points if the jewelry is gold because gold instantly equals expensive and luxe! As long as it doesn’t look fake and plastic, of course.

You can treat a silk scarf like jewelry too. Whether you tie it around your neck, hair, or purse, it’s a surefire guaranteed way to have an elegant look and add to your whole outfit.

cashmere sweater and pearl earrings

7. Throw on some sunglasses
Throwing on a pair of sunglasses somehow makes you look important, and therefore, makes your whole outfit look better! Not to mention the confidence that you’ll feel when shading your eyes from this simple yet important piece.

Big and black in a classic style would be ideal in order to look expensive. Sunglasses that look like they could be worn at the beach are fine for that purpose, but won’t help to elevate your whole outfit.

how to dress expensive

Related: 5 Combos That Will Always Look Like Expensive Outfits

8. Don’t forget skincare + beauty
Do you need to make an appointment at the nail salon? Don’t forget that your skin is a canvas and every little detail matters to the outcome of your look. It’s hard to make an outfit look good when your nails are chipped and cracked and your hair has seen better days.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love yourself the way you are or that you always need to always step out with a full face of makeup, but attention to the details shows that you care and adds polish to your overall outfit. A tasteful bold red lip never hurt either!

white button down and jeans outfit

9. Go simple
Simple colors, outfits, and silhouettes are never boring and instead, they’re classy! Don’t be afraid to tone it down.

It’s totally okay to love exaggerated styles and bold prints and colors, but you can be confident knowing that simple will give you the expensive look that you desire. We can always gather inspiration from the French, as they always look chic and expensive and are known to wear staple and timeless pieces in muted tones.

Related: 7 French Outfit Formulas You Can Copy

black blazer classic outfit

What to avoid to look expensive:

1. It should go without saying, but pieces that have holes, stains, or rips will not make you look more expensive, and instead, they will make you look careless and forgetful. Or worse, tacky!

Don’t forget to stop by a full-length mirror and look at your outfit before you leave the house. Look for loose threads, missing buttons, pills on your sweater, and deodorant marks.

2. Stay away from non-classic prints. Yes to stripes, dots, and leopard print, but prints such as Aztec, (some) florals, and chevron are just going to come and go. Also, be on the lookout for quality when it comes to your printed pieces. For example, florals in a cheap fabric can stretch when worn. This just won’t look good and it’s a dead giveaway that your item isn’t of high quality.


3. Avoid all things that just generally don’t fit well, especially items that are too small. It’s obvious to everyone when something fits completely wrong. It looks like you’re not aware of your body type! Also, be mindful of visible panty lines, bra straps, and anything else that could distract from your ever so chic, classic, and expensive-looking outfit!

You may not have much money and maybe you’re at a time in your life where you can only afford cheap clothes. Though I’m all about good quality, it’s important to know that simple tricks and tips are what it takes to be like the stylish women you admire and rock an outfit that would rival a designer look that you’d see on the runway!

Even if you have old clothes you can take these tips and wear pieces in new ways that make it look like you spent a lot of money on your outfit, because none of these fashion tips require dropping lots of cash on a designer-filled closet. Just make a couple of tweaks here and there, and of course, don’t forget your confidence.

Keep reading for even more ways you can look expensive!

Up next: 9 More Fabulous Ways to Look Expensive

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Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.