7 Styling Hacks For Chic Outfits That Look Way More Expensive Than They Are

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Let's be honest: even a self-proclaimed fashion obsessive is reluctant to break the bank on every purchase. In fact, true shopping expertise may very well be savviness — the ability to make even the most affordable pieces look like they're actually superexpensive. Call it a fashion optical illusion.

There was a time when the most coveted retailers were only available in a select few countries rather than the whole interweb, and now Instagram floods our feeds with covetable new brands on the regular. Suffice it to say, our bank accounts are probably happy to hear that times have changed. With an influx of great fashion at our fingertips, and more and more moderately priced brands entering the market practically by the minute, it's easier than ever to find what you want at a fraction of the cost.

Of course, creating a designer-caliber outfit without the steep price tag requires a little finesse. For example, you'll want to nail the right accessories and add the perfect dose of glamour (you'll see what we mean). Read through for seven tips on how to create expensive-looking outfits on a budget. Trust us: you're the only one who will know the difference.


Add a Unique, Polished Shoe

You heard it here first: shoes have the power to make or break your not expensive but expensive-looking outfit. Strike the perfect balance with a style that has subtle statement details (think: distinct heel shape, contrast stitching, two-toned elements, and unique texture) while remaining neutral with the rest of your look. Avoid over-the-top silhouettes, excessive hardware, embellishments, and clashing tones.


Opt For Neutral Tones

Minimalism is in. If there's one hack to nailing the "expensive" look, it's having an outfit that looks put together and refined. And because most neutrals pair well together, working with these color families is just about the easiest route to take. Need more than black, white, and gray clothes in your life? Don't fret — earth tones like rustic orange, dusty pink, tan, olive, and chocolate brown all fall in this realm, too.


Choose Your Jewelry Wisely

Accessorizing can go one of two ways. If you're partial to statement jewelry such as chunky necklaces and oversize earrings, keep the number of pieces to a minimum (lest you overwhelm the rest of your ensemble). On the flip side, layering delicate jewelry always looks effortlessly elegant. The choice is yours — both will look equally chic.


Revamp Your Look With a Statement Belt

Sometimes bigger is better — when done tastefully, that is. A statement belt paired with a minimalist outfit instantly elevates your look. What's more, you can belt just about anything — a shirtdress, trousers, an oversize tunic with denim, the list goes on. The statement belt is truly the accessory that keeps on giving.


Tie It All Together With Tights

Though sometimes annoying to put on, tights (both sheer and opaque) are without doubt the item that pulls a look together when you feel like something is missing. Whether the magic lies in the delicate nature or almost-fully-clothed-but-actually-not illusion, tights just work.


Suit Up

Suit sets pretty much radiate expensive vibes, even when worn alone. No longer associated only with workwear or formal events, suits have the ability to create a refined look with minimal effort. What's an easier way to assemble a polished look than with something meant to be worn together? That said, other iterations like leather and silk trouser sets will get the job done just as well.


Add a Little Embellishment

On special occasions, you may be tempted to go for bling, bling, and more bling (sequined dress, crystal shoes, embellished handbag, etc.), and that's totally fine. But when it comes to creating an elevated outfit, there's a time to go all in, and there's a time for just a dash of sparkle. The latter will usually work in your favor — it allows your outfit to shine without overdoing it. Just a sprinkle of frost is the way to keep 'em guessing.