Cheap to Chic: How to make your clothing look more expensive than it really is

Being a stay at home Mom means my family lives off of my husband’s salary. This means I don’t have the luxury of buying my dream wardrobe full of designer labels and costly price tags. Now there are certainly pieces I feel are worth investing a little more money in, like a great fitting jacket for example. Things that will not fall out of style and will be worn for many years. Yet, for the vast majority of my closet, investing in higher-end pieces just doesn’t make sense. Just because I can’t spend a lot of money on my wardrobe doesn’t mean I want to look frumpy or cheap. I figured I can’t be the only Mom on a budget so, I decided to share some of my go-to secrets in how I make my affordable, and sometimes down right cheap, clothing look more expensive than it really is. 

To illustrate these tips and tricks, I decided to show you what a cheap dress (less than $10) can look like styled poorly and styled well.

There are a few rules I generally follow in order to enhance the appearance of my cheaper articles of clothing. In this first picture, I’m breaking all the rules!  The dress is fresh from the dryer but is super wrinkly. Undergarments were chosen poorly and visible bra straps are distracting. My accessories are presenting conflicting messages. I have a glamorous bracelet and earrings, but my flip flops suggest a casual style. The long necklace draws focus to the fact that the eyelet lace is wrinkled and misshapen. The soft structured bag accentuates the softness of the dress, but not in a positive way. And lastly, my hair is a mess which just reiterates the whole idea that my outfit is messy. 

Now, let’s look at the contrasting photo. Right away you notice the dress doesn’t even look like the same dress in the previous photo. A little starch and a hot iron go a long way in making clothes look their best. This is the first rule: take care of your clothing. Cheaper articles of clothing tend to be made with cheaper fabric. This can mean that the item won’t hold up well to washing or drying. Wash only when necessary and wash according to the stated directions on the tag. When in doubt, gentle cycle and hang dry. After washing, iron that sucker. Again, read the care tag! It will tell you if your specific item can’t be ironed or needs a cool iron setting vs. a hot iron setting. 

Rule #2: choose the right undergarments for you clothing! White dresses, or sheer dresses warrant a slip. In addition to a slip a nude bra & undies set will eliminate the see-through appearance. Choose the right bra style for your article of clothing. Seeing a rouge bra straps detracts from the overall quality of your outfit presentation. If you want the best bang for your buck, make sure your wardrobe has a nude convertible bra. That baby will have you covered  no matter what you choose to wear.<pun intended>

Now, let’s talk accessories. Rule #3: choose cohesive accessories that work for you. Think about the overall aesthetics of the outfit you’d like to create. Are you going somewhere casual? Somewhere more formal? Or perhaps somewhere in-between? All your accessories should correspond to where you’re going and what you’re going to be doing. You wouldn’t wear a ball gown to go gardening would you? Well, maybe you would, but be consistent in choosing cohesive accessories!
For my second, well polished look, I chose well-constructed but understated items to help make my dress the star of the show. A simple set of earrings and matching bracelet. A well structured bag, and well kept, detailed wedges help boost the level of chicness. By choosing not to wear a necklace I leave the focus on the pretty eyelet detail of the dress along with the crisp boat neckline. 

1. Ironed, well kept & well fitting dress 2. Cohesive accessories 3. & 4. The correct undergarments for the outfit 5. Cohesive accessories

Lastly, let’s talk fit. When choosing something to wear, regardless of price, it should fit your body. Go ahead, be picky! Do not fall into the trap of only buying it because it’s a bargain. If it doesn’t fit you well, and you don’t feel great in it… it’s just not worth it – no matter how cheap it is.

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