If there is one question that I am always asked as a fashion editor, it's "how do I put together an outfit that looks expensive?". the truth is, you don't have to spend a lot on your look for it to look elevated, and there's a whole host of tricks you can employ to turn an ensemble from good to great. It could be a clever colour palette, a styling hack or a clever investment piece, in the last 10 years I've taken note of a number of ways to achieve a luxe look. And, since I know you'll be wondering how to create this effect with minimal effort and on a reasonable budget, I thought I'd compile some of the best expensive-looking outfit tips out there into one handy guide.
So, looking to emulate Sylvie Mus' elevated vibe? Wanting to channel The Row's understated look without breaking the bank? I've rounded up nine looks to be your guiding force this summer, autumn and beyond. This year, there are a few outfit formulas that should be on your radar, and trust me when I say, they couldn't be any easier to re-create. Inevitably, with expensive-looking outfits, the simpler the look, the better, so expect low-maintenance, high-impact looks that are as aspirational as they are attainable coming up.
Keep scrolling to see and shop nine elevated ensembles and take notes on what makes them stand out from the crowd. You can thank me later.
1. KEEP IT CAMEL
Style Notes: Sorry vanilla girls, camel is still dominating our social feeds, and it's likely due to the neutral hue's ability to look especially elevated. From biscuit tan to sandy beiges, my favourite way to wear the palette is layering a few key basics like a camel coat or caramel knit with grounding black, cocoa browns, greys and denim, and worn together the result is all deniably luxe. Throw in some creams and burgundy leather accessories and you're onto a winner.
2. SUPERSIZE YOUR CARRYALL
Style Notes: Extra-large bags first took over the A/W 2022 runways, and fashion's early adopters are still endorsing the oversized carryalls. Trendiness aside, though, there's something about a large leather shopper that always feels luxurious—it could be that it's the sensible antidote to the Y2K mini bag, but it's probably because the price point tends to start higher than it does for tiny top-handles.
3. LOAD UP ON LEATHER
Style Notes: Yes, you read that correctly. From autumn to spring, leather (and its vegan alternatives) just scream "money." It's pretty much a given that genuine leather has a rich-looking effect, but leather lookalikes are also getting so good that they've become my favourite way to achieve this look on a budget. The transitional season is the perfect time to experiment with layers, and as soon as the temperatures really rise, trade in your leather ready-to-wear for polished accessories.
Style Notes: It might sound counterintuitive since sharp tailoring is typically associated with an elevated look, but when done right, a relaxed and roomy silhouette can do the same in an especially fresh way for 2023. Think The Row's XXL shirts, Bottega Veneta's slouchy trousers, and Jil Sander's fluid dresses and maxi hemlines. Take tips from TyLynn's look and play with proportions without the need for sharp pleats.
5. THE BOXIER THE BETTER
Style Notes: Whether you spend £30 or £300 on one, a big, boxy blazer will single-handedly elevate anything you wear it with. Seriously, with blue jeans or open over a minidress, it's the one piece that does all the legwork for you.
6. LAYERS OF LINEN
Style Notes: I'll never tire of linen, particularly its uncanny ability to bring a warm-weather look together. I look for neutral tones, slouchy fits, and easy-to-piece-together pieces that are just *chef's kiss* and can work just as well as we head into winter with clever layering as they can in the middle of summer.
7. INCORPORATE FINE-KNITS
Style Notes: Cashmere, cable knits and fine knits are going through a chic rebranding (and you can thank Katie Holmes and Khaite for the invention of the bra-digan). "Grandma" knits have officially gone from dated to elevated thanks to a number of cool new versions on the market that are breathing new life into the classic texture. Make the most of a layering cardi in the transitional seasons.
8. MAKE IT MONOCHROME
Style Notes: Monochromatic outfits are probably the quickest and easiest thing put together, and while the exact colour you wear doesn't always matter, neutrals tend to convey this elevated vibe the best. I like styling crisp basics, like a button-down shirt and tailored jeans, with a simple, slicked-back hairstyle. It's clean and simple, but very chic.
9. THROW ON A LONG COAT
Style Notes: The Olsen sisters are on to something with their floor-length coats. Outerwear doesn't just finish off your outfits—sometimes, it is the outfit, period, and I adore long, ankle-grazing coats for that reason. In winter, a wool coat cloaks you in one chic silhouette, and in the sunnier, transitional months, it's the perfect accompaniment to breezy dresses.