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Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and the world of fitness.
The foundation of any great wardrobe is simple, quality pieces. Items like button-down white shirts, cardigans, and ballerina flats are great investments because they never go out of style. While simple dressing can make you look chic and polished, sometimes you want to shimmer.
It is tempting to run out and buy every season’s hottest trend, but for most of us, that is not practical. But never fear! With some know-how, you can elevate your wardrobe essentials into high-fashion looks.
Here are six ways to make simple outfits look expensive and extravagant.
Get to a Tailor
How often do you buy pants that fit your hips but are big at your waist? How frustrating is it to find dress shirts that button the right way? Clothes are mass-produced, but bodies are not. And a tailor knows what nips and tucks are most flattering for your frame. These little changes can make off-the-rack clothes look straight off the runway without the designer price tag. Even if you can’t get a tailor, you can make alterations at home to make your own couture.
While nothing could be less glamorous than ironing, nothing says “quiet luxury” like a crisply pressed shirt and pants. Wrinkles can ruin the most expensive look, but ironing creates clean lines so clothes drape better on your body. And you know how you hate to adjust your shirt when you stand up? Ironing helps that, too, by reducing shrinkage. If you don’t have the time or inclination to iron, steaming is a great alternative. Steaming helps reduce wrinkles and kills bacteria that cause odors.
Style Your Clothes
Style is not what you wear but how you wear it. And making minor adjustments to clothing can elevate everyday looks. Thinking about how to wear your core wardrobe items differently helps you expand your wardrobe with style. A simple black v-neck sweater worn backward with a gold chain necklace draped down your back is an easy way to go from ordinary to extravagant.
Now, clothing origami may not be everyone’s thing, but you can still play with colors. While a chic outfit tends to rely on simple neutral pieces, mixing hues can give your outfit a designer feel. Add a red coat to a monochromatic look for bold luxury. Play with complementary colors, like a blue sweater with an orange belt, for a designer look, or layer soft tones of the same color for an ethereal vibe. Color is one of the easiest ways to make you stand out.
Don’t be afraid to mix seasons. Adding a structured jacket to a slinky dress or simple t-shirt adds elegance. A cashmere sweater brings a bit of cutting-edge glamor to an airy summer skirt, and adding a well-fitting turtleneck and a pair of high-waisted shorts looks retro and rich with little effort.
Add Sparkle and Shine
People tend to save fine jewelry for special occasions, but beautiful heirloom quality pieces can dazzle the most basic of basics. Women’s stackable rings and simple diamond studs add flair to athleisure wear. A strand of freshwater pearls makes a button-down shirt elite, and a pair of diamond skinny hoops can even add polish to a blouse and a pair of jeans.
For those of you who enjoy a little extravagance, don’t be afraid to wear jewelry in unexpected ways. Stack necklaces of different metals, jewels, and lengths to make a t-shirt event-worthy. Dazzling brooches make simple collared shirts into style statements. Or, add bracelets or a watch to add interest to your outfit. And if you are feeling like a superstar, gold bottom grillz can make a little black dress top the charts.
Fabulous jewelry can also stretch your wardrobe by allowing you to wear an outfit in multiple ways. So, break out the good stuff. You will be glad you did!
Upgrade Your Hair and Makeup
We all know how glorious a messy bun can be. But, to look expensive, you have to be a little more intentional with your hair. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars a month, but finding a haircut that works with your texture and lifestyle can significantly impact your wardrobe.
A blown-out bob paired with a boat neck long-sleeved shirt looks old Hollywood without the fuss. Beachy waves and a trench coat look effortlessly chic, and a polished ponytail always looks elegant. If you want to make a statement, don’t discount up-dos, extensions, wigs, clips, and barrettes. You can use your hair as the ultimate accessory.
Make-up is a deeply personal decision. Wear what you want, but just make sure you wear it beautifully. Choose the right colors and formulas, make sure everything is blended, and pay attention to the health of your skin. However, you don’t have to wear a subdued, natural look. Makeup is an inexpensive way to experiment with the latest trends and go a little overboard if it suits you. A red lip can be as much of a statement as a red dress.
Don’t Forget About Shoes
A 2012 study by the University of Kansas found that people accurately judge your personality by your shoes. The cliche, “putting your best foot forward,” is actually rooted in science. Shoes that are well cared for and worn in unexpected ways are a powerful statement, and they can make simple dressing spectacular. Don’t be afraid to pair jeans with an evening shoe. Quality black loafers can pull together a casual dress, and platform heels can make a pair of shorts and a tank top club-ready.
You can create an expensive and extravagant wardrobe from simple basics. With care, thought, and the right accessories, your wardrobe can take you from the grocery store to the hottest new club. Don’t be afraid to try new things and wear your best every day.
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