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.
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.