Fashion Insiders Agree: This Staple Is Really the Key to Looking Expensive

Many people have many different opinions when it comes to style, but here's one of the most universal truths: Everyone wants to look expensive. Shopping for $10 tops is one thing, but actually looking like it is another, which is why you may have noticed that I talk about deceptively inexpensive basics ad nauseam. Going for minimalist separates is a tried-and-true approach to achieving this goal, but I found another one, courtesy of my feed—faux leather.

Of course, it's a given that genuine leather can instantly level up any outfit, but its faux sibling has come a long way since its stiff, plasticky-looking days. The real thing can be pricey, but with so many high-quality faux-leather and vegan-leather options (I love Nanushka) that feel just as soft and luxurious, who needs it anyway? This is why leather alternatives have become a stylish shortcut to achieving an air of luxury, even when on a budget.

From billowy leather pants to saturated leather jackets, the luxurious fabric is on the limbs of every cool person worth their salt these days, and it's a hack I'm taking up for myself. Whether you go for real or faux, the trend makes every outfit look decadent, adding a lush and luxurious touch. Scroll below to see how the style set is wearing the staple as well as several leather pieces that will leave you feeling like you've increased your net worth.



Orange leather pants give this vibrant top the oomph it demands.

Even when I'm wearing tattered stretchy pants, I know adding a leather blazer will make it look intentional.



Now, you know what to wear with all of those second-skin tops—a pair of loose leather trousers.

This combination of creamy neutrals and leather accents clearly is a winner.

Leather miniskirts truly don't get enough shine, and when paired with a solid turtleneck, they make for a fail-safe outfit.



If you don't own a pair of statement patent-leather pants, here's your siren call. Attention-grabbing pants like these don't need much either (another plus!).

Trousers and a top are one thing, but trousers with a top and a cool, cropped leather jacket are another.



Just another reminder that colorful faux-leather pants are really it. I love the addition of chunky boots to give the look some edge.



If you already have a bursting collection of leather blazers (like me), the next phase of this addiction is to go the colorful route. A shiny leather topper makes this relatively simple ensemble something to really ogle over.



Oversize cardigans are a styling hack on their own, but why not double the expensive-looking effect with a pair of faux-leather pants?



Chunky-chain jewelry and biker jackets—does a better pairing exist?