While I've finally been able to add some investment staples into my day-to-day wardrobe, I've noticed that recently, my coworkers, friends, and sometimes strangers on the subway have been interested in some of the more affordable pieces I've been sporting. In fact, they're often shocked when I let them know the item they're staring at is from H&M or Zara. While don't splurge on large hauls from affordable retailers, I like to shop carefully to find picks that not only meet my budget but also look extremely elevated. I'm a firm believer that you can find luxe-looking staples on a budget, and with the right care and styling, they can stay in your closet for the long haul.
Below, I've relayed the eight specific pieces that I get asked about and convinced others to buy. If that's not enough for you, I also did some internet sleuthing and found a plethora of products that look five times the price that they actually are. I am a fashion editor, after all, so you can consider me an expert at finding the gems among the masses. Keep scrolling to have a look for yourself.
Doesn't the product image for these pants give you extreme The Row vibes? When people ask about these pants, they expect me to tell them they were over $300. When I respond with the actual amount, they're shocked and immediately open their phone to add the pair to their cart.
Trust me, I can't believe this chic accessory is $15 either. It's unique compared to your average belts and elevates any look instantly.
Leather jackets that look good can end up costing a hefty amount of money—some even ranging in the thousand-dollar range. This option I picked up at Nordstrom not only has a pretty price tag, but it looks expensive. It can be easy for faux leather to look cheap, but this one passes my test.
This is another purchase that gets the "I can't believe those are from Zara!" comments. The platform and clog style may be a trend, but the overall design of the shoe is still sleek and timeless. I've been wearing these nonstop, and I know you will too.
If you're looking for a unique but forward bag that won't break the bank, you've met your match. Not only is the shape of this bag perfect, but it also looks great on anyone. Two of my coworkers also wore this bag during fashion week and had only good things to say about it.
Like I said before, faux leather can end up being very cheap-looking. That's not the case with my Zara leather purchases, though. The pieces I have—whether it's a blazer or pants—always hold up and match well with the brand's more expensive rivals.
I always passed on H&M's cardigan selection, but after trying out a few for a try-on story, I clearly had the wrong idea before. Look for cardigans that are made of fabrics like wool or silk because they'll hold up better than you think. My H&M cardigans have quickly become my favorite.
Shop More Pieces That Look More Expensive Than They Actually Are
This cardigan is currently on its way to me, and I can't stop feeling excited.
Wedge heels have made their way back onto the fashion scene, and Zara's doing the trend the right way.
The linen material makes it a perfect pair of pants for the summer.
Pair this pearl-adorned vest with the pants above, and you've got yourself a sleek, office-ready outfit.
I've been on the hunt for coordinating gold and silver rings but can't afford to spend $400 on rings right now. This set is exactly what I've been looking for and falls within my budget.
The ultimate sandals. The design of these is just divine, especially the ruching on the side.
The square toes make it so much more better than your average cheap ballet flats.
If you need proof as to how great these pants are, just know I own them in three colors.
I've tried plenty of designer and affordable blazers, but nothing beats my trusty Zara one.
Mango has been upgrading its accessories lately. I simply cannot get over how luxurious this looks.
As a short girl, It's always been difficult for me to find trousers that are flattering on me. Luckily, Zara always has the solution to that problem.