My Trick for Looking Like I Earn Way More Than I Do

how to make an outfit look expensive

Photo:

@katcollings

I'll let you in on a little secret of mine: The first thing I notice about people is their shoes. Whether I'm getting to know someone on a first date or idly people watching on the street, the shoes on someone's feet can usually tell me everything I need to know about the person. Well, not everything, but it gives me a pretty good idea about them. Are they wearing sneakers? They probably value comfort. Are their white sneakers impossibly clean? Chances are that they're a meticulous person.

Since I'm pretty attuned to the footwear choices of others, here's how I use it my advantage. By making the right choice in shoes and bags, I've learned how to make myself appear as if I qualify in a higher tax bracket than I actually do. At just one year out of college and into my fully-employed adult life, it's not as if I have a massive budget to be shopping for luxury items all the time. Which is why I've discovered the trick to faking an expensive outfit: investing in a quality bag and shoes. Even if I'm wearing head-to-toe Zara, the luxury finishings will elevate my whole outfit to a Net-a-Porter-level price tag.

Every Who What Wear editor seems to favor the same high-low combinations as I do. Just below, see how my co-workers and I are using this trick to our advantage and shop the shoes and bags we love most.

Nicole's luxe fur-lined, crystal-embellished mules instantly elevate her otherwise casual outfit while a sleek crossbody bag ties the whole thing together.

Available in sizes 5 to 11.

expensive looking outfits

Photo:

@kristenmarienichols

Look familiar? Kristen's Who What Wear blazer actually costs $40, but when it's styled alongside classic accouterments like neutral block-heeled shoes and a quilted leather bag, it could pass as luxury itself.

Available in sizes 38 to 40.

affordable outfits

Photo:

@katcollings

Well-maintained white shoes are a foolproof way of looking quite rich. Kat coupled hers with an adorable mini bag and voilà, her high-street clothes just earned more value.

Available in sizes 38 to 40.

how to look rich

Photo:

@laurenegg

Lauren's colorful bag and patent mary-janes freshen up her jeans and a tee and give off the impression that she owns an entire closet full of equally expensive-looking items.

Available in sizes 36 to 39.

how to dress rich

Photo:

@ginaalilbit

Gina expertly coordinated the colors in her outfit with her shoes and bag.

Available in sizes 5 to 10.

Black leather accessories are my favorite way to elevate any outfit.

Available in sizes 35 to 41.

how to look richer than you are

Photo:

@allypayer

Another key detail to pay attention to is hardware—make sure it's consistent throughout your outfit.

Available in sizes 4 to 12.

outfits that only look expensive

Photo:

@mscanga

Don't forget about vintage! Shop for designer wares at a much lower price point and achieve the same effect as buying brand-new.

Available in size 8.

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