Let's start with the obvious—most celebrity outfits look expensive because, well, they are. After all, the worlds of celebrity and fashion are so closely intertwined that our favourite A-listers are acting as models for designers on a daily basis, whether they're on the red carpet on Instagramming their at-home looks.
That being said, there's a been a swing of the fashion pendulum over the past year or so away from ostentatious labels and flash-in-the-pan trends and towards a clean, sleek minimalism that is rooted in classic pieces. That's great news for those of us who aren't doing our regular shopping in the designer section, as high street favourites like Mango and COS are pros at emulating this refined, paired-back look at a fraction of the cost. But it also means that if you are prepared to invest in something high end, you can rest assured that your money is truly best spent on timeless pieces that will instantly elevate so many looks—now, and for years to come. That's some seriously good cost-per-wear Girl Math.
Whatever your budget, I've honed in on what I believe is the fashion formulas that you can use to create A-list worthy, expensive-looking outfits. From elevated tailoring to floor-sweeping coats, these are the pieces you need to create an impressively refined wardrobe.
1. HEAD-TO-TOE NEUTRALS
Style Notes: Nothing is more elevated than an all-neutrals look. It exudes a specific kind of confidence that says, "I'm so pulled together, I know I won't get a single stain on this." Follow Rosie's lead and opt for refined cream knits paired with suede beige shoes to get the look.
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The Cos Atelier line has some of the most beautifully tailored pieces on the high street, and this skirt is no exception. I'd love the mix of neutral tones you'd get by pairing this with the chalk jumper.
I think this asymmetric jumper would get Gwyneth Paltrow's seal of approval.
These are the A-list-approved heels that have walked down many a red carpet.
2. ELEVATED, RELAXED TAILORING
Style Notes: Adwoa Aboah proves that classic tailoring in gorgeous fabrics is all you need to create an impressive look, for day or night.
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A classic white shirt is a wardrobe must-have, and this ticks every box. You can even use their monogramming service to give it an extra elevated touch.
I'd highly recommend getting the matching Cos Atelier blazer to recreate this sleek tailored look.
A beautifully draped, well-cut silk shirt can elevate so many outfits.
Trust Massimo Dutti to create a great pair of tailored trousers at a reasonable price.
I love the colour and draping of these tailored trousers.
For something a touch bolder, consider this oversized shirt from the brand's collaboration with Collagerie, the style platform co-founded by former British Vogue editor Lucinda Chambers.
3. CLASSIC FOOTWEAR
Style Notes: Loafers, ballet pumps, tall boots—the A-list agree that when it comes to shoes, the classics are key to creating an effortlessly elevated look.
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These would look great with dresses and skirts, day to night.
These classic knee-high boots also come in chocolate brown and tan.
5. UNDERSTATED JEWELLERY
Style Notes: Yes, there is a time and place for bold, statement jewellery, but it seems that when celebs are after that uber-polished look, they opt for simple, understated pieces.
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A gold chain can act as the base for so many layered jewellery looks.
5. MAXI COATS
Style Notes: There's something about long coats that just makes every A-list outfit look that bit more refined. These versatile coats can work for every occasion, adding a polished finish to a simple jeans and jumper combo or perfectly complementing an evening outfit.
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A contemporary, cool coat for day, and a refined silhouette for night.
This contemporary take on the camel coat has been all over my Instagram feed.
A double-breasted wool coat is such a classic that it's well worth investing in.
The oversized fit means you'll have plenty of room for your chunky knitwear.
Jess Kelham-Hohler is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist. She has been a contributor for Who What Wear UK since 2023. Currently based in London following six years in Washington D.C. and New York, she was previously the Digital Editor for Soho House & Co, an international group of private members’ clubs for creatives. She has interviewed a range of artists, creators and more, including Alighieri founder Rosh Mahtani, photographer Misan Harriman and fashion editor Lindsay Peoples Wagner. Today, she writes primarily about fashion, travel and culture for various publications, and has worked as a copywriter and content strategist for brands such as Belstaff, Olivela and Equinox.
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