Make Cheap Clothes Look Expensive

You'd love to pop for an expensive wardrobe, but your wallet has other ideas. Never fear, you don't have to spend a fortune to create an expensive-looking wardrobe. Just making a few changes to your clothes, such as switching out the buttons, can make a huge difference. Also, looking for good quality items when you're buying clothes, even cheap ones, can really up your look. Once you've done that, all you need to do is throw out clothes when they start looking worn and pull together a great outfit before heading out the door.


Making Changes to the Clothes

  1. Have it tailored. Tailoring an outfit can help it fit much better, which in turn makes it look more expensive. Plus, tailoring an inexpensive outfit is much cheaper than springing for expensive brand names. Basically, you want to get the outfit nipped and tucked so it hugs your body instead of just hanging there.[1]
    • If you don't want to have all your clothes tailored, just spring for the items you wear the most, such as your jacket.
    • Many dry cleaners also do alterations.
    • You can also try doing some alterations yourself, such as hemming a pair of pants.
  2. Change out the buttons. Simple plastic buttons can make your clothing look cheap. Buttons out of other materials, such as bone, metal, and mother-of-pearl, can make your clothes look more expensive. You can switch them out yourself by cutting off the old ones and sewing on new ones, or get an alteration place to do it fairly cheaply.[2]
  3. Switch out the zippers. Cheap-looking zippers can also bring down the look of an outfit. Zippers are little more difficult to change out than buttons, so you may want to have a tailor do it.[3]

Choosing Better Cheap Clothes

  1. Pick better-looking fabrics. Fabrics that are shiny scream synthetic and often come across as cheap. Look for fabrics like cotton, linen, or fake suede, as they can be inexpensive. They wear much better than other cheap fabrics such as rayon or acrylic.[4]
    • Polyester can look fine in some cases. Hold it up to the light to see if it looks shiny, and run your hands over it to see how it feels against your skin.
  2. Choose all black or all white. Wearing all black or all white can help create a streamlined, high-quality effect. Therefore, if you invest in black and white pieces you can mix-and-match, your wardrobe will look more expensive overall. However, make sure you don't wear mismatched blacks (one more faded than the other), as that can look cheap.[1]
    • Neutrals, such as tan, brown, and gray, can also look more expensive.[5]
  3. Keep it simple. When it comes to "extras" on the cheap end of clothes, such as embellishments, it's best to skip them. They can start to look cheap very fast. On the other hand, simple clothes with clean lines automatically elevate your outfit.[2]
    • For example, instead of buying a fringed turquoise shirt with gold-like accents, opt for a sleek v-neck shirt with no embellishments that you can accessorize.
  4. Make sure your clothes fit. Making sure clothing fits may seem obvious, but it can be hard to follow through in the dressing room. That is, you may fall in love with a piece, but if it's not in your size or doesn't fit quite right, you may still be tempted to buy it. Don't. Clothes that don't fit well always look cheaper.[6]

Paying Attention to Wear and Tear

  1. Get rid of any clothes with stains. If you can't get a stain out of your shirt, such as grease or red wine, see if a dry cleaner can. If that fails, it's time to ditch the item. Stained clothes will never look expensive, so it's best to get rid of them when you can't wear them anymore.[2]
  2. Repair any problems. If a button pops off, sew it back on. If you see a loose thread, cut it off. It a hem starts to come undone, sew it back together (with thread in a matching color). All the little details are important, and if you don't fix them, they can cheapen your look.[2]
  3. Shine those shoes. Scuffed-up shoes can drag an outfit down. Make sure your shoes look polished, and it will help create a more expensive look overall. If your shoes are beyond polishing, it may be time to toss them.[5]
  4. Avoid clothes that look worn when you buy them. Distressed clothes can be very expensive, but sometimes, distressed clothes on the cheap end of the spectrum tend to look just look worn instead of fashion-forward. The main exception to this rule is jeans that have just been ripped (not distressed), which can still look good at a cheaper price.[2]
    • Similarly, try to wash your clothes as little as possible to prevent them from looking worn. Try spot-cleaning when possible.
  5. Remove pills and lint. Pills can make clothes look instantly worn out. Use a pill remover to take care of that problem. Similarly, lint and pet hair can also bring down a look, so use a lint roller on your clothes as needed.[3]

Putting Outfits Together

  1. Iron your clothes. Anytime you've got an event (or even school or work), get out the clothes you want to wear the night before. If you notice any obvious wrinkles, it's time to pull out the iron. Wrinkles can make anything look cheaper, so just ironing your clothes can make them seem like better quality.[1]
    • A steamer can also do the job without you having to pull out an ironing board.
  2. Minimize the bumps. Bumps from your underwear can affect the clean lines of a sleek outfit. Opt for underwear that doesn't show, and you may even consider donning a slip to help smooth out the edges if you're wearing a dress.[2]
  3. Accessorize. Accessories can elevate any outfit, making it seem richer than it is. Gold accents, especially, can make an outfit look more expensive. Try adding some gold dangly earrings or even a gold clutch to your outfit to up its quality level.[1]
    • You can also add a pretty scarf to help elevate an outfit.[7]
  4. Match colors. You may not want to go out dressed head-to-toe in green, but matching your shirt to your hat, bag, or shoes, for instance, can help pull an outfit together. The effect is the whole thing looks more expensive.[5]
  5. Tuck your shirt in with a belt. Hanging hemlines can give your outfit a messy quality. If you take the time to tuck your shirt or sweater in, it can make your whole look seem more polished and put-together.[1]

Sources and Citations