3 Colour Combinations That Don't Look Expensive and 8 That Definitely Do

It's safe to say that everyone may have different ideas of what makes an outfit look "cheap" or "expensive." But one thing we do know is that an item's price point does not always dictate the way it will be perceived. It's easy to fall into the trap of "more is more," assuming that adding designer pieces into your outfit equation is enough to guarantee a premium aesthetic. Often, it's the simplest things that can make your ensembles look more elevated, and today, I'm going to talk about one of the easiest sartorial tricks in the book: colour combinations.

Wearing different and unexpected colours with one another can instantly update your look, and I like to try out fresh combinations on a semi-regular basis to ensure I'm not limiting myself to specific pieces. This is something I indulged in a spot of recently, throwing open my wardrobe doors so I could see my clothing collection in its entirety and then pulling out garments and pairing them with pieces I hadn't previously thought of.

Sure, some of the formulations I tried didn't work and definitely didn’t look as chic as I would have liked. There’s just something about black and fuchsia that falls short for me (no judgment if you love the combination). I wasn’t taken with purple and yellow either, and I always avoid green and red (unless looking like an extra from The Grinch is my goal). But this, my friends, is all part of the journey. What I did notice, however, was how some colours seemed to look especially expensive when worn with other shades. Take orange, for example; it might feel like a very 2022 colour, but when I styled my tangerine linen shirt with a pair of sandy-coloured tailored trousers I'd forgotten I owned, the shirt looked timeless and way more expensive than it was. This got me thinking: Are there more expensive-looking colour combinations I've neglected?

I took my search to Instagram, where I found that many of the influencers I follow have also been experimenting with impressive colour combinations of late. After falling into something of a fashion rabbit hole, hours later, I emerged having found expensive-looking colour combinations I couldn't wait to try, and I have a feeling you're going to like them, too. From classic pairings that will forever stand the test of time to the chicest ways to incorporate this season's trending tones, scroll on to see the expensive-looking colour combinations influencers are obsessed with right now.

1. BROWN + GOLD

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Brown and Gold

Photo:

@emnitta

Style Notes: For years, brown was largely considered to be outdated in fashion circles, but after it began to reappear in the collections of high-end designers, it’s become elevated once more and looks particularly polished when worn with gold accents. 

The perfect heel height for weddings. 

There’s also a pair of shorts that match this shirt. 

2. BLUE + YELLOW

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Blue and Yellow

Photo:

@naaomiross

Style Notes: On paper, wearing blue and yellow together sounds like it would run the risk of looking garish, but when you add powdery, soft blue tones into the equation, the combination is sure-fire chic. 

Between the colour and the cut, I’d have easily thought these were designer. 

Imagine wearing (and twirling in) this dress. 

3. SAGE + BEIGE

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Sage and Beige

Photo:

@basma_k

Style Notes: The only thing more pleasing than the unintentional rhyming of the words sage and beige is how they look when worn together. Classy with a capital C. 

The perfect throw-on for summer months. 

Channel beige tones by way of raffia accessories, just like Basma did. 

Reformation always creates pieces in versatile sage colourways. 

Try pairing this with the above blazer. 

4. BLACK + WHITE

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Black and White

Photo:

@modedamour

Style Notes: Of all the colour combinations out there, it’s hard to find one more timeless than black and white. This season, the runways were flooded with monochrome looks, but updated with white as the predominant color in the white-to-black ratio. Handily, this is perfect for summer, when white looks so fresh. 

Knot this around your waist for a handy extra layer you can throw on when temperatures drop. 

A handful of our editors already own this expensive-looking handbag. 

White wide-leg trousers are an integral part of every expensive-looking summer wardrobe. 

Only Toteme could make me this obsessed with a belt. 

5. RUST + KHAKI

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Tan and Khaki

Photo:

@femmeblk

Style Notes: Earthy hues always wear beautifully together, and the combination of rust and moss green is no exception. You need only look at the outfit above for information that this pairing looks so expensive. 

Such an easy top to pair with jeans and shorts… 

Khaki accessories are hard to come by—these espadrilles are perfect. 

6. PINK + RED

Style Notes: Though fashion types formerly avoided pairing red and pink, now it’s considered one of the most directional colour combinations out there and never misses the mark. 

Aje dresses are dominating this summer. 

I own a pair of Russell & Bromley platforms and can attest they are comfortable. Stick to your usual size. 

This will layer effortlessly over everything from tube dresses to printed bikinis. 

Red trousers might seem daunting, but worn with powdery shades of pink and cream, they look so chic. 

7. NAVY + CREAM

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Navy and Cream

Photo:

@monikh

Style Notes: Cream and ecru tones have the power to make every outfit look significantly more expensive, but paired with navy, even for casual looks, this is a combination that always looks so high-end. 

I can already picture how I’d style this for summer. 

I hear such good things about these specific jeans from Monki. 

You’ll wear a navy handbag just as much as you would a black handbag. 

I’m always on the lookout for chic flat shoes. 

8. ORANGE + STONE

Expensive-Looking Colour Combinations: Orange and Stone

Photo:

@monikh

Style Notes: If there is one color that has defined 2022, it's absolutely orange. Still, I firmly believe it has untapped staying power, especially when stone separates are involved. 

The elasticated waistband ensures a perfect fit—no gaping over here. 

COS’s best-selling dress silhouette is back in 2022’s hottest hue. 

Everywhere I look, people are wearing Bostons.

Related Stories