5 Style Hacks to Make Your Outfit Look Expensive

It's time to upgrade your look even when your bank account says no

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Words by Nicole Thomsen
July 14th, 2016

Browsing the feeds of Instagram and Pinterest has become a time eroding hobby, one that unfortunately evokes a sense of longing and lust. The beautifully stylised image of that coat on your wishlist may tug at your heartstrings and purse strings but it doesn’t mean you should purchase it if it’s out of your financial reach.

Living outside of your budget for the sake of owning a beautiful outfit isn’t a good idea. Especially when it’s possible to look just as good for a fraction of the cost. But if you can afford to update your wardrobe so that it consists only of high-end pieces, by all means, do so if you wish. There is a reason these pieces cost the earth and it’s down to the skill and craftsmanship that goes into creating each piece and the materials that they are made from. However, styling is essentially still styling, whether it is head to toe designer or from the high street, there are some simple styling hacks that will help you make your outfit look as though it came straight from a designer even when you picked it up in Zara. All it takes is a keen eye and a few tricks…



Whether you’re shopping in store or online seek out fabrics such as faux suede, velvet, linen and faux leather. These all come in at the cheaper end of the scale but they look more expensive than they are, giving a luxe sensibility. The trick with faux leather is to pick up pieces that have a textured or pebbled effect which more closely resembles the real deal as opposed to thin shiny pieces which not only scream “fake.”

Avoid manmade fabrics that consist predominantly of synthetic fibres such as polyester and rayon as they generally lose their shape much quicker than natural fibres, giving them that cheap, flimsy appearance. They also tend to be thinner causing them to fall apart after multiple wears. By avoiding these and opting for fabrics that are made of 80% or more of natural fibres like cotton,

wool and linen, the items you wear will instantly look more expensive. And while a 100% cotton t-shirt may be slightly dearer to begin with, it will last a lot longer than a polyester blend ultimately saving money in the long run.



If you’ve ever bought the perfect jacket only to find that it does nothing for you when you wear it, then tailoring could be your saviour. The fit is the most important aspect of any item of clothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blazer from Saint Laurent or if it comes from H&M, if it does not hang perfectly on your body then it will never look as good or as expensive as it should. Rather than allowing that imperfect item gather dust in your wardrobe, bring it to a tailor. A nip and tuck can do wonders to clothing, making it look ten times better than its price tag.



Style maven Olivia Palermo is a testament to this trick. If you were to examine her outfits you would see that Olivia always accessorises- and she always looks like a million dollars. The right accessory can elevate a look way beyond what it could ever achieve without.

Start with a great belt. Pick one that you can throw around any dress or shirt in order to cinch in your waist which will create a cleaner silhouette, making the overall look seem more put-together.

Invest in gold jewellery. They don’t have to be solid 24k but gold pieces will always be fashionable and look chic with even the simplest of looks. However, be careful when buying jewellery on the high street. You can find fantastic statement pieces in stores like Zara and Finery but avoid anything overtly shiny (control your inner magpie) as these can look tacky and it makes it obvious that the gold is not real.

If you want to follow the trends then a silk or cotton scarf tied around the neck is not only incredibly sophisticated but it really elevates a basic outfit to something more.

Top it all off with a pair of sunglasses. They’re the perfect accessory to amp up a look. They may be functional but they can also serve a styling purpose. The key here is to buy shades that are modern looking. Retro styles can be fun but ultimately it’s the modern shapes that look chic and will update your outfit. Have a few different styles on rotation so that you can match the perfect pair with whatever outfit you’re wearing.

Make sure that you have these key accessories and you can pull together any look.



You may have seen this phrase splashed across the underwear section of a department store and wondered what it meant but never actually found out. Well, it stands for no visible panty line. Now that you know what it means go forth and live by it. The easiest way to cheapen a look is by having your underwear on display (the underwear-as-outerwear trend is an exception to the rule but only when it’s done right). Thankfully, the dreaded knicker outline can be avoided even in the slinkiest of dresses if you choose the right pair of pants to go underneath. A thong is the easiest option, but frankly, the most uncomfortable. The next best cut is a pair of knickers that don’t have a seam along the edges, therefore giving you a seamless silhouette.

A well-fitting bra is also extremely important. Just like the blazer that needs to be tailored, your bra should fit like a glove. Otherwise, you will only add unnecessary lumps and bumps to your shape.



There is some truth in the commonly used phrase “only a model could wear that” but it has nothing to do with their lean stature and height. Yes, genetics help but the main reason models look so good in practically anything is down to their flawless skin, expertly applied make-up and perfectly blown-out hair.

Looking polished is the key to making the rest of your outfit look incredible. You can wear the finest couture but if your make-up is sloppy and your hair looks as though you were dragged through a bush then you may as well just wear a bin bag. Invest in a good skincare regime, the correct foundation shade and learn the tips and tricks to style your own hair and you will always look good. And freshly manicured nails also help. If you don’t have time to apply a fresh coat just make sure your nails are clean and filed- there’s nothing worse than chipped polish.

Ensuring that your clothes look polished is also incredibly important. It may take extra time in the morning but making sure that your crisp shirt is wrinkle free is worth the effort. A steamer is fantastic for moments like this and it takes half the time of ironing.

What are your tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments section below.