I Want to Look Elegant on a Budget—These 3 Brands Make That Possible

Claire Rose Cliteur attends the Altuzarra fashion show during New York Fashion Week

(Image credit: Gotham/GC Images/Getty Images)

There's a reason why the word elegance in the context of fashion is often associated with high-priced designer items. The easiest way to appear graceful and refined at all times is to shop from the brands that offer the highest possible quality. Their materials are more luxurious, and the silhouettes fit and fall in the most effortless, sophisticated way. There's only one problem: Some of us are on a budget, and yes, I'm referring to myself. We can't all spend thousands of dollars building a wardrobe that makes getting dressed chic and easy, but that doesn't mean that we can't still achieve aesthetic elegance.

Trust me—I've been studying this look for a while now. Sure, a ton of expensive Prada, The Row, Alaïa, and Saint Laurent pieces will probably do the trick, but they aren't the only way to consistently ooze elegance. In my opinion, all you really need to do is head over to Zara, Massimo Dutti, and COS and select pieces from each of the three brands that exude grace without coming close to the same financial burden a designer haul would. To make the process that much simpler, I went ahead and did the work for you. Scroll down to shop 28 high-class finds from Zara, COS, and Massimo Dutti.

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.