How to Fake an Expensive Look on a Small Budget

Just because you don't have a ton of cash to spend on clothing doesn't mean you can't look like you do!

Sure, designer clothes look expensive (because they are), but with a well-trained eye, you can find some pretty amazing pieces on a tight budget. Below, we're sharing how to fake expensive spending with minimal amounts of money.

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Pay Attention to Fabrics

Fabric can totally make or break a piece, and it's a surefire way to give away a cheap price tag. When shopping on a budget, natural fabrics always look the most expensive: cotton, linen, suede, silk and leather. Many fast fashion brands use rayon and polyester, which tend to look cheaper. You can find natural fabrics at budget-friendly stores, but you just have to look a little harder.

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Shop In-Store

In a digital world, shopping in-store can feel dated. But trust us, when it comes to finding quality-looking pieces on a dime, your best bet is to shop in the store to physically see what the clothes look like. You'll instantly be able to weed out the not-so-good-looking items and you'll save yourself the cost of shipping the goods.


Look for Details

Once your item passes the fabric test, it's time to move onto the details, like buttons, zippers and patterns. If you see a printed top, but it only has the pattern on one side, steer clear! A wonky zipper or dated buttons are also an instant giveaway for cheap clothing. Another thing to keep an eye out for are mismatched patterns at seams and inconsistent stitching.

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Switch Out Dingy Buttons

If you find something that you absolutely love but it has terrible buttons, guess what? You can change them! A great way to elevate a coat or trench is to replace the buttons with more expensive-looking ones from your local sewing or craft store.


Keep shoes and bags clean

No matter what the cost is, clean shoes and bags always make an outfit pop. Even if your bags and shoes aren't designer, treat them as such and make sure your whites are white and everything is clean and tidy. Nothing makes an outfit look cheap like a grimy looking high heel or a thrashed purse.

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Steam Your Clothes

Wrinkle-free clothing is an absolute must. A simple graze of steam can take a Forever 21-quality piece to Nordstrom level. You can get the small portable steamer that we use all the time from Bed Bath and Beyond for just $19.99—best investment ever!


Stay Away From Huge Faux Jewels

Nothing says fake quite like a huge "diamond" ring that isn't actually made with diamonds. Instead, opt for simple gold pieces like stacked rings and bracelets to achieve a more elevated look.

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Invest in One Key Piece

Mixing high and low pieces is one of the best ways to look expensive, so if you have the means, we highly suggest saving up for one key item, like a great black handbag or a trendy jacket, that you can wear with your lower-priced pieces to elevate them.


Looking to create your own signature look? HERE are eight ways to define your own personal style!