How To Look Expensive Part II: Styling Tips


Whether I'm shopping at thrift stores, department stores or anywhere in between, I think that looking great has absolutely nothing to do with how much money you spend, and over the years I've honed in on some tried and trusted tips that help me feel and look like a million bucks - without spending it. To share this philosophy with you, last year I outlined some of the important features that make an item look expensive regardless of the price. As follow-up to that post, today I'm sharing some of the styling tricks that I rely on to make those pieces look their best and ultimately help me look "expensive" and put-together every single day. Much like my first video in this series, these tips have absolutely nothing to do with how much an item costs, but instead have everything to do with how you wear it, so grab your favorite blazer and let's get started. 


Wearing the same color from head-to-toe is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to looking your best. Often credited with being the key to looking luxe, chic, tall and thin, this sartorial formula is often billed as a catch all for looking your best and I have to agree. From white to black and every color in between, wearing a monochromatic look is one of the easiest ways to look expensive. In my experience, a look of simple pieces in similar shades that fit you well, automatically leave you looking like a million bucks.  


Along those same lines, simplicity is key when it comes to looking luxe. Whether you're wearing a $500 sweater or $30 sweater, you'll always look expensive if you stick to simple, classic separates paired with minimal accessories. I touched on this briefly in my first post on this subject, but essentially the key here is to pick pieces that do the work for you. So, in place of an elaborate top with detailed embroidery, opt for a simplistic button down in a neutral color for a look that instantly reads rich. Case in point is the outfit below. In this example, the woman pictured looks confident, put-together and ultimately luxe thanks to her thoughtful pairing of classics, simple silhouettes. 

The base of her look is a simple crewneck sweater and tailored pants which are perfectly fitted and in a rich neutral hue. This combination creates the perfect canvas for her timeless accessories - a simple belt and delicate jewelry. The final look is one that leaves her looking luxe without giving away how much she spent. Instead, what you notice is a beautifully styled outfit that conveys confidence and style.

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In my experience, shoes have the ability to make or break an entire look and I find that they're critical to making your overall look feel expensive. The first thing I like to keep in mind when picking shoes, is that the more structured and classic the shoe, the more expensive it looks. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel,I like to let my pieces do the work for me and I find that classic silhouettes like simple ballet flats, loafers, sleek ankle boots and pointed toe pumps always read expensive. 

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structured shoes.jpg

Now. one other important distinction to keep in mind when picking luxe looking footwear, is to opt for neutrals in believable man-made materials or natural leathers and suede.

I find that subtle texture details like a pebbled grain or delicate suede always look more elevated than their matte or patent counterparts. Also, neutrals are always a safe bet and are more likely to match the majority of your wardrobe which takes the guesswork out of looking great. 

Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing your footwear is that certain details or lack thereof in some cases will always make a shoe look expensive. Generally speaking it's a good idea to keep hardware at a minimum and in the case of most flat shoes like ballet flats and loafers, a slight stacked heel (less than 1-2 inches makes all the difference in the world. Below, I've outlined some other design points to look for when aiming to look expensive. 


bad ballet flat.jpg


good ballet flat.jpg

Another safe bet when it comes to footwear is to match your shoes to your handbag and belt (if you're wearing one). While this tip may seem antiquated, it's one of the fastest ways to make your outfit look thoughtful and cohesive, which always reads as expensive. I also find that matching these pieces is a great way to create a foundation of great accessories that you can pair with everything in your closet and always look your best.

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My next tip is all about how you wear something rather than what you're wearing. It doesn't matter if your outfit cost an arm and leg if you don't own it and wear it in a way that's unique to you. While navigating my own personal style I've found that simple tweaks to the pieces I'm wearing make all the difference and I just don't feel right unless I've draped my coat, rolled my sleeves, tucked my shirt or popped my collar. These slight touches help make a look feel customized and as if you have your own personal stylist on speed dial - which always makes things look more expensive. 



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The rule of 3's is another style tip that I like to keep in mind when getting dressed.

Essentially, this "rule" suggests that no look is complete without the addition of a third piece. Generally speaking this third piece is a great accessory of some sort like a statement necklace or silk scarf, but it can also be a structured blazer or fun socks.

Below, I've outlined some easy to recreate looks that showcase the rule of 3's beautifully so you can see it in practice but like always, don't feel constrained to these examples. Instead, let your imagination run wild and let your creativity shine through your clothes. 

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I've mentioned this countless times before, but even the most expensive item item won't look as great as it could if it doesn't fit well. To help keep things looking luxe I like to balance out proportions and avoid wearing things that are too loose all over or too tight all over. A careful balance of both is essential for creating a well-rounded look.

Along those same lines, if something doesn't fit you well don't hesitate to take it to a tailor. A little tweak here and there makes all the difference in how an item lays and beautiful tailor helps make an item look like it was made for you. 



My next tip is one that instantly makes you look like you have a personal stylist. By adding different textures to every outfit you add visual interest and keep things from feeling stale.

Whether I'm working with the same color or complimentary shades, I love to add a pops of silk, faux fur, denim, leather and more to every look. The juxtaposition of these differing textures helps keep things interesting and ultimately make every outfit look and feel custom. 



Even though I have a never-ending love affair with statement jewelry, when I want to look luxe nothing fits the bill quite like delicate, classic pieces. '

For this I opt for simple studs, classic bangles and bespoke pieces with personalized engravings. 

Another no-fail way to make everything you're wearing look more expensive is to add a great watch. I find that the simple addition of a classic timepiece is enough to elevate even the simplest outfits. When choosing a watch that fits the bill I prefer classic silhouettes with small to medium sized faces and straps in neutral leather, silver or gold. 


My final two tips are to mind your undergarments and not wear anything with scuffs, tears or rips. When it comes to underwear, nothing cheapens a look quicker than visible panty lines, obvious bra straps and uncomfortable bunching. In order to avoid these very common mishaps, I like to always check my outfits in full 360 before leaving the house. Along these same lines, it's important to never wear white underwear or bras under white shirts, skirts, pants and shorts. Doing so will cause your bra to be incredibly visible and shine like a beacon in the night under your shirt which ultimately detracts from your overall look. Lastly, if you want your overall look to feel expensive, avoid wearing anything with scuffs, tears or rips. These flaws will only detract from your outfit and cheapen what may or may not have cost you a lot of money - even the most expensive shirt will look cheap if it has visible flaws.