Making cheap outfits look expensive

Coming from an immigrant family, I grew up very frugal. It wasn’t until middle school when my family started shopping for clothes in actual stores, and even then, we’d only go to cheaper places like Winner’s and Urban Planet (they were pretty ghetto back in the day). So that’s how I’ve become the type of person who thinks $20 for a top is steep. However, I learned that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to look put together. Here are some Holy Grail tips passed from one fashionista to another on how to look fabulous for cheap.

Find a good fit!


If something fits good, it’ll look good! I cannot stress this enough!! I wrote in my post about what to cheap out on that well-fitted clothes are worth investing in. However, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot on them. Cheaper stores like H&M are full of trendy clothes in various fits and sizes. Anything fitted and in your size will make you look a billion times better than something unflattering.


Luxe fabrics


I learned this tip from Amber Scholl’s video, which inspired this post. When you’re wearing neutral tones, try layering something in a luxe fabric such as satin, chiffon, or faux fur. It’ll give the whole outfit that oomph factor, making it look expensive. You can also go for tops, dresses, and pants in luxe fabrics. For example, a satin-ish tank top for $10 will still look more luxurious than one in plain cotton.


Beware of rust


If you live for cheap bling like me, pay close attention to them. Rusted jewelry, no matter how much it costs, will be a downer. Check your jewelry from time to time to make sure they’re not too rusted to wear. When it’s time to let go, it’s time to let go 😦 You could prolong your jewelry by storing them in a box. 


Match your shoes with your bag


This is one of the fastest ways to look more well-dressed. If you must splurge on a bag or a pair of shoes, make sure it’s a neutral color that will be easy to mix and match. On the other hand, your shoes and bags can be under $40 and still make your outfit look more expensive if you coordinate them.


Shop the sales


My last tip is to actually buy expensive clothes at the fraction of the original price. If a pricier brand you like, ex. Banana Republic, has frequent sales, you’ll never have to buy full price. For luxury brands like Michael Kors, Coach, and Ted Baker, the drive to an outlet is well worth the discounts.

Author: Jin Cao

I am a multi-faceted designer, fashion blogger, makeup enthusiast, lover of cats, and connoisseur of ramen! Writer of Main fashion writer of Find my work at

7 thoughts

  1. I totally understand you on this post! I always always shop at discounted stores or used stores and all the sales racks! These are some good tips, that i’ll definitelty be trying.


  2. Timely and useful post. This note will save me a lot of time in summer outfit. I totally agree with you that we should match the shoes with our bag. It can make your outfit more coordinated. And I think we need some special accessories, like sunglasses, straw hat and chic earrings, to show your good taste of fashion.


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