Cheap Ways to Make an Outfit Look Expensive

model-sequin-tank-top_300The biggest fashion trends need not drain your budget—in fact, subtle touches like zippers, small sequins, and beading with a matte finish usually pass for good quality even when made inexpensively.

“A button covered in fabric looks more couture,” says Phillip Bloch, a Los Angeles–based stylist and the author of The Shopping Diet. Another embellishment that looks fancy, not tacky: “Fabric manipulation—pleating, ruching, draping—is a designer touch that can be done well with synthetics,” says designer Rachel Roy.

As far as budget flourishes to say away from, skip fake gems, as they tend to look particularly cheap if they’re made out of plastic. Same goes for shiny buttons, large sequins, and lots of logos.

Looking for the basics? See ten staples for every woman’s wardrobe.


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