Fashion Tips

How to Shop Cheap and Look Expensive

At least once a week someone asks me who I am wearing. They are always shocked to find out it is from a fast fashion store. Can I tell you when they never ask? When I am actually wearing a designer piece that I either purchased at a sample sale or rented on Rent the Runway Unlimited. It’s ironic, but it really only proves my point.

You don’t need to shop expensive to look expensive. You can take that $25 dollar dress and make it look like it fresh off a Paris Fashion Week runway with the right formula. Here’s mine.


Alexa Alfonso

It used to be all about name brands. Wearing affordable clothes came with a stigma. While my upbringing allowed me to wear name brands, I have always gravitated towards affordable. So the confidence I display when I say my red booties are from Target is absolutely genuine. Here’s how I see it: I have such a good eye that I was able to find this ridiculously chic pair of booties that others may have overlooked or never even seen.

Those other girls can go to the department store and pay five times the price, I’ll happily rock my Targèt whilst I shop with the money I didn’t waste on booties that are the same quality, but have a “better” name.

Looking expensive is an attitude. I strut in my Target booties like they are pair of Louboutins.

Smart Picks

Alexa Alfonso

I look at three things: fabrication, print (if applicable), and silhouette. If something looks cheap before you even leave the store just say no. It’s okay if it’s not silk as as long as it isn’t cheap looking satin. Go for prints that are reminiscent of designer prints that have a luxe feel. Most importantly, stick to structured silhouettes. Some of my best blazers and dresses are from Zara and H&M. Structure always looks expensive because it shows an attention to detail.

Pull it together with accessories

Alexa Alfonso

Cinch your waist with a belt. Add a pair of heels. Wear those statement earrings. I always say this, because it’s true, accessories make the outfit. This goes back to my previous point about attention to detail. Accessories show that extra bit of care.

Pro tip: Match your accessories (belt, shoes, bag or matching metals).

Stay polished

Alexa Alfonso

I dedicated an entire post to this so I will keep it brief. A polished appearance can make anything look like a million bucks. Even a jeans and a tee shirt.

Watch Trends

Alexa Alfonso

When you are hitting a trend at the right moment (when not everyone has hopped on) that automatically elevates your look. It doesn’t matter if your look is $100 or $1000 if you have the ability to lead the charge when it comes to fashion must haves.

Sprinkle in some high end pieces

Alexa Alfonso

This is the most important part. You have to shop high to low. Invest in a few key pieces that are at a higher tier than the majority of your wardrobe. A nice bag, a good pair of shoes, and fabulous belt goes a long way.

This isn’t necessarily about faking it until you make it. I think this is a mindset you should keep long after you have made it. Why? The clothes don’t make the girl, the girl makes the clothes. Remember that!




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