How to buy clothes that look expensive but actually, aren’t. Smart shopping.

April 11, 2022

What do Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Letizia of Spain, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden have in common? The three royals often wear clothes that look expensive but are the best example of affordable, fast fashion. They show up at official events and trips looking gorgeous in clothes from high street labels, proving that you don’t need a millionaire’s budget to be chic and elegant. The secret lies in the art of buying clothes and styling them in a high/low fashion.

But how to buy and wear affordable clothes that make you look like a princess? You’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to have a private secretary with a stylist degree; we have your back. So, if you have a rich-girl taste but are on a budget, here’s what you have to consider when shopping and the ten staples you must have to elevate your wardrobe.

The details that make affordable pieces look like expensive clothes

  • The fabric

Of course, natural fabrics look chicer and hence more expensive, so choose clothes in cashmere, wool, cotton or linen. Polyester is widely used in more affordable garments and you can wear the synthetic fabric if its quality’s good, but avoid pieces that are too inexpensive. Likewise, stay away from Acrylic and Rayon if you agree we should buy less but buy better.

  • The cut and fit

An excellent cut is almost as significant as good material because it allows the fabric to hang on your body in the most flattering way. Additionally, the seams, hem and buttonholes shouldn’t look poorly finished. Finally, make sure your clothes fit perfectly, not too tight or too loose.

  • The style

Minimalistic and classic styles are timeless and always chic; think of Jackie Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn in their fabulous little black dresses.

Keep scrolling for fantastic style inspiration, and find expensive-looking clothes from affordable fashion brands to refresh your wardrobe. Our editors choose independently all products featured on Notorious-mag. However, we may get a commission when you buy through our links.

A chic Coco Chanel vibe

The Breton t-shirts and knitwear that Coco Chanel made fashionable are must-have staples to get the French-girl style. In addition, the easy-to-wear striped tops add elegance and nonchalance to your spring outfits.

Satin clothes always look luxurious and expensive

If you’re looking for an affordable wedding guest dress that looks expensive, satin is the answer. But you can also wear the shimmering fabric in your everyday outfits—for example, satin slip dresses, skirts, trousers, or pyjama sets, which look equally sophisticated.

Button-down Oxford shirt for a preppy look

Combine a classic light-blue Oxford shirt with a Chanel-style jacket, or retro cardigan like the French Annabelle Belmondo does. And don’t forget to complete your preppy outfit with a cute headband.

Yes to jeans, but consider wearing sandy-hued denim

Swipe your regular jeans for off-white or sand-hued denim trousers that look more premium. The BCBG style icon Inès de la Fressange wears hers with a chic scarf and loafers.

The classic must-have staple

Of course, the classic beige blazer is the hero of any capsule wardrobe. The versatile jacket transforms your white t-shirt and jeans combo into a polished office look like magic. We suggest you invest in a good-quality blazer to wear for many years since the timeless piece never goes out of fashion.

A navy suit for springtime

Dark suits look more polished than bright-coloured ones, but you should choose navy blue instead of black this season.

Channelling the French Riviera headscarf style

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I tie a scarf around my head, I feel like I am speeding in a vintage convertible Spider along the French Riviera coast. A silk headscarf adds glamour to your look, whether you’re wearing expensive designer clothes or more affordable high-street labels.

Wear the timeless flat ballerinas

You can never go wrong with classic ballerinas. The flat minimalist shoes are the go-to footwear of elegant women, from Audrey Hepburn to Karlie Kloss, Inès de la Fressange, and Queen Letizia of Spain. The Spanish espadrilles are another excellent example of affordable shoes that look expensive; they are timeless, elegant, comfortable, and made with natural fabrics.

  • Our shopping tips

When shopping for shoes, pay attention to the materials’ quality; any pair of shoes in leather or other natural fabric looks way more elegant and more expensive than synthetic ones. Also, look at the heels; they should be, preferably, lined, and avoid cheap looking shoes with plastic heels; these are a total no-go.

Embrace the oversized shopper trend

An excellent styling trick is to carry a boho-chic canvas shopper. We hand-picked oversized totes that are among the main bag trends for SS22, and although they affordable look like models from more expensive brands.

Last but not least, the accessory that elevates any outfit

The smartest and fastest manner to elevate your outfit and make clothes look more expensive than they are is by adding one or several rows of pearls. The classic pearl necklaces bring chicness to any look, from a basic tank top to an evening outfit.

Title photo: H&M Conscious Spring 22, courtesy of H&M.

Visit with us Paris in the footsteps of Coco Chanel.
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