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How to Look Chic While Keeping it Cheap

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Whether by circumstances or choice, sometimes buying high quality just isn’t in the cards and though the majority of your wardrobe may be “cheap”, it doesn’t mean you want to look any less chic! Here are some tips on how you can shop at inexpensive, cheap places and still look like a million bucks!

How to Look Chic While Keeping it Cheap!

1. Really inspect the fabric
You can just tell if something is low quality. Even places like Forever 21 can have pieces that look super good and super not in the same store, so really inspect the fabric and avoid anything that feels or looks low quality.

Such as frayed hems, no lining in lighter colored skirts, lining that only covers half the skirt, prints that stretch awkwardly when you try it on, pieces that are see-through when you try them on and you just know it wasn’t done on purpose, and sweaters that already look like they’re pilling before you even bring them home!

This rule expands to materials too. Be wary of faux leather and patent. Not this these are wrong, of course, but some can end up looking like plastic depending on where you shop!

cashmere scarf outfit

2. Shop neutrals
This is nothing new- but neutrals, neutrals, neutrals! Cheaper pieces automatically look chicer if it’s, let’s say, a black sweater instead of a lime green one. If you love color, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you are destined to a life of earth tones. The ever so chic French women wear color too after all! Their secret? They balance it out with neutrals.

Related: 9 Must-Have French Girl Shoes | French Girl Starter Wardrobe

3. Don’t be afraid of an oversized fit
Obviously you want things to fit right, but don’t be afraid of something that’s a little oversized. Boxy and oversized can look chic, but definitely don’t go for too small!

4. Steer away from clothes with lots of “bedazzling”
Remember when jewels on the jeans were super popular a couple of years ago? While they were cute and certainly had their moment, they’re not a staple and wearing them would date your look. Steer away from clothes with lots of bedazzling, jewels, embroidery, and designs.

tee and jeans outfits

5. Opt for “long” pieces
I talk about how a long camel coat is the easiest way to look expensive a lot, and it’s not just the color or the structure that makes it looks chic…it’s the length! Long=chic. So shop for long skirts, long sweaters, & long coats. And what else equals chic? Layers! Because we know it’s not what you wear but how you wear it after all, and longer pieces are great for layering.

6. Balance out the shorter pieces
On the flip side, if you want to wear “shorter” pieces like mini skirts or hot pants, pair them with flats and more layers on top. It goes back to the whole pick one thing you want to show off. If you pick and choose to highlight one body feature, that can make your super cheap mini skirt look classy and chic!

7. Look for simple, structured bags
Simple is best when it comes to making your cheap pieces look chic. Look for handbags with minimal designs and hardware. Especially if the hardware is that cheap plastic feeling faux gold!

structured black bag

8. Accessorize wisely
Belts? Good idea to take your outfit up a notch. Black sunglasses? Always chic and in style. Avoid anything too gaudy!

As a little visual I’m taking a very well known place, Forever 21, and showing you some “yays” and “nays”. Just to show you that you can shop at a seemingly “cheap” place, and look chic! And that you have to be wise wherever you shop, because one place can stock both chic and not so chic things.

what not to wear when looking chic
how to make cheap look chic

My favorite inexpensive chic brands





These are on the more expensive side, but they carry timeless pieces:



If you liked this post, then you’ll probably really like these:

How to Look Cute On a Budget
How to Look Expensive + What to Avoid
9 MORE Fabulous Ways on How to Look Expensive
How to Live a Luxurious Life On a Budget

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how to make cheap look chic


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.