It's a tale as old as time, but it rings true: You don't have to spend a lot on your outfit for it to look elevated and expensive. In fact, just to prove that this is a thing, I mined my Saved folder on Instagram for all of the outfits that appear, in my mind, to be the definition of luxe-looking. I even found that many of them repeated the same few wardrobe basics.
So while we all try to restock our basics from time to time, if you're looking to emulate this elevated vibe, it comes down to keeping these specific details in mind. For example, instead of simply typing "tank top" into your browser, try searching for "square-neck tank tops" because the neckline makes the basic tank appear more current. It's details like this that will add up to a current and elevated wardrobe.
With that, I've highlighted six of these elevated basics and explained why certain details make them stand out. Keep scrolling to discover them all.
1. Ribbed Knitwear
Ribbed knitwear, as opposed to any other kind of knitwear, will almost always look expensive. You could spend $10 to $100 on an item, and the ribbing will give off the same luxurious quality no matter the cost.
Shop the matching Flare Leg Pull-On Pants ($80)
2. Square-Neck Tanks and Bodysuits
Like we mentioned before, square-neck tank tops (and bodysuits, for that matter) are the simple upgrade that makes a lasting impact. Since the neckline is more current than a scoop or high neck, opting for a square-neck tank will have your outfit looking fresher.
3. Ecru and Stone Shades
When it comes to wardrobe basics, I don't know why, but off-white shades of stone and ecru always look more updated than the same exact versions in plain black or plain white. Maybe it's because these neutrals have an inherent luxuriousness about them, or maybe it's because they're slightly harder to find in your go-to tees and joggers. Regardless, they ensure an expensive-looking outfit.
4. Oversize, Neutral Blazers
Ah, good old blazers. We know we've hammered the idea of owning one into your minds, but let me add a few more thoughts on the matter. Blazers—specifically oversize and boxy cuts in neutral colors—don't have to be designer to look it. I pored over all my favorite blazer looks and kept coming back to these few details that make them all so stylish.
5. Bias-Cut Slip Skirts and Tanks
You might see a satin or silk piece on Instagram and assume it's quite pricey, but that's not always the case. Anything with "bias cut" in the style name will automatically come off as elevated, whether it be a classic slip skirt, a slip dress, or a satin cowl-neck top.
6. Classic Leather Belts
When was the last time you bought a belt? Let me guess—it was long enough ago that you don't remember. While it's not one of the most exciting purchases to make, a classic leather belt can do wonders for elevating your simplest outfits. Yes, even jeans and a tee stand to appear more expensive-looking, as evidenced by Débora Rosa's look above.
This story was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.
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