I'll Let You In on a Secret—These 6 Things Appear Pricier Than They Really Are

I'll let you in on a fashion-insider secret. Looking expensive doesn't have to come down to spending like it. In fact, more often than not, faking a luxurious-looking outfit has little correlation with how much money was actually spent on each piece to pull it together. You can wear head-to-toe designer and not look particularly elevated just as easily as you can wear head-to-toe affordable brands and still achieve that rich-looking vibe. Yep, it all comes down to the details. And let me ask you this: Who wouldn't want to make their dollar work smarter instead of harder? 

As I've mentioned before, elevated and expensive-looking fashion staples are my jam, so I'm going to share a few things to look out for when you're shopping if you want people to assume your budget is double or triple what it actually is. Think of these as your fashion cheat codes. Which fabrics, colorways, and details do I recommend looking out for? I've nailed down six, to be specific, and conveniently, our very own Who What Wear Collection is chock-full of them. So in addition to highlighting why I find each of them to be so effective, I'll be pointing you in the direction of the exact pieces I would recommend shopping from the line to maximize your purchasing power. 

1. Plissé Pleating

expensive-looking staples: plissé pleating



Plissé is the one fabric that lets me fake an expensive-looking outfit no matter what. I find that the textured look of anything plissé instantly makes my outfits look double the price. On top of that, the micro pleating is inherently comfy. 

2. Neutral Tailoring

expensive-looking staples: beige tailoring



Open up a tab on your browser at literally any retailer and you're sure to find dozens of hits for suiting. Tailoring is everywhere right now, so I like to narrow in on neutral tones like beige, camel, tan, and olive. I find that these tones play up the sophisticated feel of a suit and give off a timeless quality.

3. Thick Ribbing

Ribbed knitwear, as opposed to any other kind of knitwear, will almost always look expensive. No matter what you spend on a ribbed piece, the texture will have the same luxurious quality. And ribbing makes any top—be it a standard pullover, a little cropped top, or a ribbed skirt—appear more elevated than the non-textured versions next to it.

4. Satin Separates

expensive-looking staples: satin separates



It almost goes without saying that satin pieces will zhuzh things up. Because the fabric lays so nicely on and moves with you, it basically styles itself. Fun fact: Satin is one of the most photogenic fabrics out there, just in case you like your outfit photos to look expensive too.

5. Smocking Details

"The perfect happy medium between casual and dressy" is how one of my fellow editors described our smocked dress, and that pretty much sums it up. Smocking is a detail I always gravitate toward because it's chameleon-like in its versatility and uniquely comfortable. In other words, it will have you looking really good without even trying, and you'll get so much wear out of it. 

6. Leather Look-Alikes

The only thing better than leather separates? Leather look-alikes that cost a fraction of real leather. Not to be biased, but having felt our vegan-leather pieces, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference quality-wise. The material is buttery soft and just weighty to trick you into thinking it's the real thing.