I won't lie—I can probably count on one hand the number of New Year's resolutions I've stuck with heading into summer. Back in January, I made all of the typical ones like being more active and meditating more, but some of my resolutions were also a little unconventional—one of them being curating my wardrobe to only include pieces that look expensive.
While immediately scooping up every designer staple is one way to do it, the operative word here is "look." Think of it as an optical illusion: The goal is to look jaw-droppingly luxurious on a more affordable budget. And it's entirely possible. As I've learned as a fashion editor, you just need to know what to look for. Things like weighty fabrics and muted colors always have a way of looking more elevated without much effort, as well as subtle details that feel special. Lately, much of my expensive-looking affordable pieces have come from one source: our very own Who What Wear Collection. Honestly, it's just that good.
Below, I've assembled the seven staples that are helping me achieve my "trust fund aesthetic" this summer. Keep scrolling to see them all.
Lila Pleated Wide-Leg Trousers
I didn't need The Row to tell me that tailored trousers are a worthy closet staple, but it damn sure convinced me to buy them in multiples. I used to think they were only really practical for office environments, but relaxed trousers have so many sartorial applications from casual brunches to weekend outings. The pleated detail on this pair is striking and feels a notch up from a lot of the others on the market.
Drew Cutout Twist Midi Dress
Opulence doesn't have to be sequin and gaudy buttons. This dress here is the definition of quiet luxury (aka the type that whispers "I love the finer things in life"). A best-seller last season, the Drew dress has returned this summer with a streamlined LBD spin. From the midriff cutouts to the easy midi length, it doesn't need much in the way of styling.
Emerson Button-Down Plissé Shirt
Looking expensive is as easy as throwing on some plissé. The textured material just comes across as so elevated that it's impossible to go wrong.
Haley Corset Bodysuit
Sticking with timeless staples can achieve the luxe look, but I can't resist playing around with trends. The corset trend has been raging on since last summer and doesn't seem to be slowing down. A trend with legs like this feels worth it to invest in, and I'm doing so with this corset bodysuit. Details like a curved neckline and seamed bodice really seal the deal for me.
Jessie Crinkle Midi Skirt
If you told me this skirt was $500, I would honestly believe you, and as an obsessive shopper, that's saying a lot. Not only is the silhouette simply gorgeous, but in the light, the gauze material will feel like a godsend once the full brunt of summer rears its head.
Audrey Layered Blazer
As a purveyor of blazers, I have an expanding collection of them sitting in my closet right now. They're like an instant dose of sophistication—even if that outfit only includes a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. I can't get enough of this cool layered effect; it's something I'd usually expect from a piece five times the price.
Rosanna Knit Polo Dress
Synonymous with country clubs and Hamptons pool parties, polos seem like an obvious addition if the goal is to look expensive. The problem is sometimes they swing too preppy (if that's even a thing) for my taste, so it hasn't been a staple I've worn over the years. There's a relaxed and modern vibe with this polo dress that I can't take my eyes off of. It's polished but not too buttoned-up and modern yet not too trendy.
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