5 Cheap Basics That'll Actually Make Your Outfit More Stylish

You know how sometimes it's the most simple outfits that end up looking the chicest, and you can never quite put your finger on what makes them look so elevated? Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret—it's all about the basics. That's right, the difference between a mediocre-looking outfit and one that makes you do a double-take usually comes down to the basic pieces that make up said outfit. 

Whether it's the perfect white T-shirt that fits like a glove or the expensive-looking leather belt that cinches your waist and adds interest to your look, sometimes it's the seemingly "boring" items that take your outfit to the next level. That's why investing in good basics as the foundation of your wardrobe is key. And luckily, you actually don't actually have to spend a ton of money to get luxurious-looking basics these days thanks to high-street retailers like Mango and quality yet affordable brands like Madewell.

To prove my point, below I've outlined the five cheap basics that will actually make your outfit more stylish. These pieces can either be the jumping-off point of your outfit planning or the final touch to finish off your look perfectly. 


They may not seem revolutionary, but a quality T-shirt is the building block of countless great outfits. As long as the fit of the tee is right, the simple cotton material looks expensive and upgrades the rest of your outfit instantly. You can always find elevated-looking T-shirts at retailers like Mango and Zara for affordable prices. Layer it under a blazer, sweater, or leather jacket and your outfit is done. 

There's a reason Madewell tees have a cult following. 


Another genius building block to have in your arsenal is a sleek bodysuit. You don't have to spend a lot of money to find a clean, form-fitting bodysuit that pairs perfectly with high-waisted jeans, trousers, and skirts. The best part of a bodysuit is you can get a tucked-in look without having to worry about actually tucking anything in.

This one is even Rosie HW-approved. 


There's nothing that elevates an outfit faster than cinching a leather belt around your waist. Even a simple jeans and T-shirt can be made to look aspirational with the simple addition of an expensive-looking belt. It adds an instant touch of texture while also highlighting your waist.

A clean black leather belt belongs in everyone's closet.

This mock-croc texture is guaranteed to get you compliments. 


The perfect topper to any outfit is a cascading layer of gold chains. Regardless of the neckline, a collection of gold necklaces adds instant polish to your outfit. Pro tip: Mixing sizes and textures keeps your neck party interesting and lends dimension to your look.

This chain looks ten times more expensive than it is. 

This necklace does the layering for you. 


A simple cardigan sweater can be worn on its own for a stylish top or wrapped around your shoulders as an interesting accessory to elevate your outfit. And since cardigans are trending hard right now, you can find chic options at ultra-affordable prices in a range of styles—from cropped to oversize to textured.

The ribbed detailing makes this sweater stand out. 

Wear this on its own or tied around your shoulders.