I believe that anyone can make the best out of the clothing pieces that they already have in their closet, and investing in quality designer pieces is achievable. However, in most cases, you don’t need to own expensive things to look expensive, mind-blowing!… I know. So if you want to find out some of my tips on dressing ‘expensive’ and effortlessly chic, then keep on reading!
1. Know your body and your style.
Do you know what your body shape is? How about your style?
Start by listing or writing down things that you like or don’t like about your body (although you should love it all anyways!). What kind of clothing items do you like? What do you like to wear? What do you look good and feel good in? Would you wear that particular clothing piece again? Do you have a favorite clothing store? And why do you like the clothes that they are selling? What does your closet look like? Are there a lot of colorful pieces or does it look plain and boring? Whose style do you like the most? Do you have a style icon or anyone’s style you like? It helps if you have it all on a piece of paper.
What are my body type and my style? Lots of people think I am skinny and petite because I am Asian and have a smaller waist and thinner body (thickness). However, I am 5ft5 and eat a lot. I have wide clavicles, hip bones, and chunky thighs and legs. Most of the time, I like to consider myself as a regular as I don’t like how petite clothes fit me, a bit too short and snug. I like the oversized length in coats and jackets, midi length in skirts and dresses, mix and match feminine and masculine pieces (unisex!) and mix and match high street and designer pieces. All of these eventually make me and my style, and it all started with me experimenting (lots of shopping and pairing outfits) and writing things down.
Before heading out of the house, I always make sure to look at my outfit in front of a full length mirror making sure nothing fits or looks weird in comparison with the rest of my outfit. One advice from me to you here is to take a photo of it every time and look at your outfit journey through time. You’ll start noticing what you like and what you look good in, and I can assure you that is the best way to figure out your style, what looks good on you and suits your body type! Knowing what your style is will help shopping much easier and more effective as you know you will love and wear that piece of clothing again.
2. Wear clothes that fit! Alter if needed to!
Are your pants too long? Get them hemmed! Do you have a dress that has been sitting in the closet for too long because it fits you funny? Get it altered! Tailors will make you stand in front of the mirror and start pinning the extra fabric to hide them away. They will explain and convince certain ways that the clothes fit and make you look good. Talk to them and ask them questions! I mean I have been there and done that, so I know! (fyi, I used to work at my aunt’s tailoring shop for a while before!). And if you cannot afford nor be able to find a tailor nearby. Return those items or try my heels trick (only work on long pants!).
Could you see how long these pants are on me? I got them from Mango, and they were ridiculously long considering they were skinny legged pants. Those were made for people who have 35 in inseam, and I obviously am not a 35. Ever since I moved to Seattle, I lost all access to a sewing machine, so obviously, I could not hem my pants or fix my clothes like before anymore. I don’t often seek any alteration services since I know how to alter my clothes either. I’m weird I know! So what I did when planning my outfit to shoot for the blog was to try on different pairs of heel heights that I had at home. Keeping in mind that these pants fit very tight around the ankles, I decided to wear my beloved Joe’s Jeans pointy-toed heels. I will talk more about wearing pointy-toed heel trick in the next tip. The whole point is to make sure there is not a lot of fabric gathering at the ankles which can look very unflattering. For jeans, I would totally roll them up a few hems, but these pants were a bit more tricky. So the heel trick totally works in my favor here as the pants’ gathering did not look that bad on. Just don’t try the taping trick or hand sew your pants, they will look worse!
If you have a pair of more relaxed flare pants, you can literally wear any types of shoes underneath as long as they have the correct height that they are about half an inch above the ground. Keep this trick in mind with maxi dresses as well!
3. Steam your clothes!
Wearing clothes with wrinkles on is my biggest fashion no-go! I just cannot stand some fashion bloggers or Youtubers who does haul or showing off their amazing outfits but their clothes are wrinkly! It shows that the person does not pay attention to the details, and details matter!
If you don’t own an iron and you are in a hurry, just don’t wear that particular wrinkly piece of clothing out. Well, unless you don’t mind it, really! I find 90% of the time, I either wake up late and try to rush out of the house to beat work or meeting hours, so ironing my clothes is not really a sustainable option for me. I used to own a steamer that was similar but of course a lot cheaper than what my aunt had at her shop. Sadly, I could not transport it to Seattle when I moved, so I left it in Minnesota for my cousins to use. I bought myself a smaller portable steamer, and surprisingly, steaming clothes has never been that enjoyable. It heats up in literally 30 seconds, and a fill steams about two to three dress shirts. I usually just steam my clothes and my boyfriend’s clothes in the bathroom by the sink after a big laundry batch or have a water bottle next to whenever I do it elsewhere. It is so fun and convenient! Just be careful not to burn yourself since the holes where the steam comes out from are quite big and can burn you. Again, steamer won’t press nor iron your clothes like how professional drycleaners or irons do, so also keep that in mind!
4. Wear solid neutral colored clothes: black, white, gray, blush, and nude.
I genuinely think you should stay away from printed, plaid, patterned, and colorful clothes if you are trying to look more effortless and ‘expensive.’ If you are trying to refresh your style and wardrobe, rebuild your closet with the basics of the basics. Go for solid neutral colors mentioned above. Good fitting jeans are absolute musts, and all you need are a pair of black denim, a pair of darker wash denim and a pair of light wash denim. White jeans are cute for the warmer weather for sure! Invest in a few dress shirts and blouses. I love silk shirts! Equipment is my favorite silk shirt brand, and Everlane has a lot of affordable dressy shirts that I love as well. Denim jackets, trenches, a few sweaters of different fits and fabrics, a little black dress, a pair of black boots, some comfortable heels and flats, sneakers, etc. are some of the absolute must-haves. As long as they are in solid and neutral colors that you can mix and match, they are considered as basics.
T-shirts! T-shirts, white T-shirts, especially, are the topic that I am very passionate about. I want to eventually have a clothing line starting with a good T-shirt. One day, something likeHanesxKarla! Well, there is something about that plain white T-shirt that is so easy to wear and style in so many different ways. It is cheap and so versatile. Invest in a few of all of the colors of the rainbow, then you get a very good base outfit when paired with a pair of jeans. I love mine a crew neck with a slightly looser fit.
Below are some of my T-shirt favorites that I own:
5. Opt for black leather pointy-toed shoes!
If you have to choose, go for the pointy heels if you want to achieve the ‘expensive’ look! I literally have only a few black pointy heels that I wear all the time. I got the Vince pair (left photo below) at Nordstrom Rack for $40 and the Joe’s Jeans ones (right photo below) at the Opitz outlet located in St. Louis Park in Minnesota years ago. Notice that they are both black and leather?! Trust me, when in doubt, wear black. And choose leather since it lasts and ages very well! Of course, if you’re not a fan of real genuine leather, there are tons of faux leather options out there! Make sure that the heels are not too high since you want to be able to walk comfortably in them. I wear these two out days and nights since they instantly add a touch of class to any outfits I wear.
6. Wear simple minimal jewelry
Remember that unless you can afford those fancy gemstones and are not afraid of colors, then avoid wearing too much and too colorful accessories. There are a lot of minimal jewelry companies out there offer silver, gold vermeil, gold plated, and real gold with different price points depending on what you’re looking for and your budget. Cheaper jewelry will tarnish and won’t last you very long I can surely tell you that. I am over that phase in life when I kept buying cheap decorative jewelry that now is sitting in my drawer and all tangled up.
7. Wear neutral makeup!
When it comes to makeup, it is all up to your personal preference. Natural makeup to makeup lovers can include a tons pf products to achieve the ‘natural’ look. I love makeup although I do think good makeup has to start with good skin. Healthy clear skin means that you are eating, sleeping, and taking good care of your body. It shows! As mentioned before, I don’t wear a lot of makeup on the weekdays. For work, I like to wear a thin layer of BB-cream, some eye-shadow, and blush, read more here where I talked about my every day makeup products. Brows are my absolute cannot-leave-the-house-without! For weekends, I wear full face of makeup and fake lashes on outfit shooting days. My makeup routine is pretty simple and standard as I don’ think I would ever go out of my way to try colorful and fun makeup looks, ever. But in terms of trying to achieve the ‘expensive’ look, stick with natural shades of nudes, pinks, and classic reds. Read more below!
8. Try red lipstick!
Red is a classic color. In contrary to many beliefs that it is hard to pull off red, in fact, there is a red for everyone. Go for warm orange toned reds if you have a warm undertone and darker tanner skin tone. Cooler and paler skin tone suits blue toned reds. MAC cosmetics has a wide range of red lipsticks with different formulations and finishes to choose from, here. Plus they are around $18.50 per lipstick, a very comfortable price for any beginners. They used to be only $15 per lipstick though! My most favorite go-to red is Russian Red, a slightly more orange toned red with a matte finish. I always carry this one on the weekend, just in case I need to change up my looks, especially on days that I shoot outfit for the blog. Ruby Woo is another MAC best selling one that suits absolutely any skin tones. If you love a longer lasting lipstick type, go for Toofaced liquid Melted Matte Liquified lipstick! Lady Balls is my absolute favorite! It looks pink in photo, but it is a true deep bright red shade, very stunning and long lasting!
9. Invest in a structured leather bag.
If you have been reading my blog for awhile now, you have for sure noticed that I don’t change out my bag often. I literally have a Proenza Schouler mini Elliot bag that I bought about 4 or 5 years ago that I still wear it out nowadays. I bought it for 40% off its original price from the Proenza Schouler website. I remembered paying about $650 for it. But considering the fact that I have been taking it out and everywhere to me day and night for the past years, I am sure I’ve gotten all my money worth it. It is a designer brand but not a lot of people know it since there is no visible logo, so it goes with everything. Last year, I made another investment purchase of a small clutch bag from Gucci form all of the money that I saved up from the previous year. And this year, I was gifted the Kozha Numbers mini safe bag with strap by my boyfriend for my birthday, and this bag has beaten all of my designer bag purchases in terms of its value. It’s retailed for about $340 and has the designer quality! And this also goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a designer bag to look expensive. Designer brands just tend to have better craftsmanship and quality that lasts for a long time. Regardless, I love all of my bags so much. They are pretty much all bags that I rotate and wear all the time depending on the outfits and where I go to and what I do that day. I want to invest in another brown or darker nude bag from my current favorite brand Loewe, but their prices are still up there for me.
so keep in mind that as long as the bag is structured with minimal decorative elements, well-made, and is made from good materials (preferably genuine leather), a bag can last you for a lifetime and will never go out of style. For some people, they like to invest in designer shoes on the other hand. I don’t mind paying a few hundred dollars for a pair of good boots of high heels as long as I know they have classic designs and are well-made. However, I am so clumsy and would kick and bump my shoes into things, so it’s rare that I spend more than $200 for a pair of shoes.
10. Have a signature scent!
I would love to own a full-sized bottle of SANTAL 33 in a very near future. There is a Le Labo Fragrance store in Capitol Hill, Seattle, that does 20% off a refill as long as I purchase it there. They do their fragrance mixing in the store which has a little room that they call it their lab. A medium bottle costs about $170 if I remember it correctly. I paid $6 for a tiny sample, and I have been spraying it all over my body and clothes every day ever since. My boyfriend actually loved it when I sprayed it on him and made him try it out that one day. I got compliments from coworkers a lot of the time as well. So maybe it is worth it to get a full-size bottle. Well, I still think it is expensive. Ugh!! It beats my previous daily Glossier YOU scent, to be honest, as YOU doesn’t last on me as long as I’d love a fragrance to last.
Wow! Congrats on making it until the end of this lengthy post. This post took me way longer than expected, but I got it up just in time for your spring shopping wardrobe clear-out and new-ins. So keep these tips in mind! In all honesty, looking expensive is not the most important thing in life. However, don’t we all enjoy looking put together and having luxury items, and I know we don’t always have a ton of money to spend on those. I hope you really enjoy these above tips and if you have any additional tips to help others who read my blog as well, that would be so amazing. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!