Look Expensive On A Budget – Styling Tips!

I know the goal is to look luxe and expensive! But we don’t all have the budget to spend thousands on designer pieces, right!?  I love to mix high and low pieces in my own wardrobe…so I always try to offer a mix of suggestions to you! If you’re looking for styling tips to look more expensive, you’re in the right place! For shopping tips that will help you look expensive by finding the best deals and saving money, make sure you read this post.

Tory Burch Lee Radziwell Bag in black croc embossed leather with brown on fashion blogger over 40 Erin Busbee of busbee Style, bags you should own

#1 | Wardrobe Basics

Making sure you have wardrobe basics is VERY important when sticking to a budget. You need the foundation pieces to build outfits and get dressed every day! So stay focused by sticking to a list and only buying the things you really need. You can get your wardrobe basics checklists (for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter) by subscribing to the newsletter here!
Note: Focusing on your classic basics, doesn’t mean you can’t wear trends. But classic pieces are the way to go. Tailored, clean-lined, minimal detailed pieces never go out of style. I’d say the most important and chic pieces to focus on first are dark jeans, a white button-down, pointed toe pumps, high-quality undergarments, a turtleneck, blazer, and camel or black coat.

Thoughtful Gifts, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing a black puff sleeve cashmere sweater by AQUA, gray wash Agolde jeans, black Sorel boots, and a diamond star necklace by Marc & Marcella from Bloomingdale's in Telluride, Colorado

#2 | One Unique Detail

If you have your classic basics covered and want another way to stand out but still look expensive, sophisticated, and chic…look for basics that have one unique detail. It could be a tee shirt with a cool neckline, a trench with edge moto details, or a white button-down with special cuffs. Whatever it is, a piece with one unique detail is super easy to incorporate into your wardrobe and it doesn’t have to break the bank!

Perfect Camel Coat, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing a Ralph Lauren camel wool wrap coat over a brown brochu walker layered sweater, spanc faux leather leggings, and shutz black croc embossed leggings in Telluride, Colorado

#3 | Rich, Dark Colors

If you’re buying something that’s lower quality, it’s better to buy dark, rich colors. If the fabric is less expensive, it’s less obvious with dark colors and MUCH more obvious with light colors. And when I say “rich” colors I don’t mean expensive colors. I mean beautiful, deep, rich colors. For fall, some examples are cognac brown, deep green, dark burgundy, camel, navy, and black. For spring, some great colors are white, beige, and pale pink. But when in doubt (no matter the season), always go with neutrals and avoid crazy colors like bright pink, neon yellow, etc. This is applicable to handbags and shoes too!

Beret, how to style a beret, how to look french, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style, fashion blogger over 40, walking in NYC with her black beret and all black look including Mother striped jeans, vince camuto patent booties and aqua cashmere choker sweaterHow to wear all white and still look slim, winter white, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style in NYC wearing white wide leg trousers by Milly and a fuzzy white sweater with Celine belt bag and who what wear white target mules

#4 | Monochromatic Looks

If you can wear a monochromatic look in one of the colors I mentioned above, you’ll look incredibly chic! But the two most classic and expensive looking monochrome looks are all black and all-white!
Black: Chic, sophisticated, fool-proof combination. It’s easier to buy inexpensive fabrics that look expensive in a dark color like black. It’s a blank canvas to add accessories and endless
White: Equally as chic and even more expensive looking. The only issue is that white fabrics show a lot more lumps and bumps and you can tell that fabric is lower quality more easily.

Button Downs For Summer, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of wearing the white cotton Rails Ellis shirt with Moussy Vintage tapered jeans and Golden Goose platform sneakers and white rag & bone hat from Nordstrom in Telluride, Colorado

#5 | Fabrics

Fabric choices can make or break an outfit! Lower quality fabrics in light colors can look less expensive. Thicker fabrics will also look more expensive and be more forgiving! When in doubt, look at tags and go natural…Natural fabrics will look more expensive and fit and drape on the body better. Natural fabrics include linen, cotton, suede, leather, silk, etc. Fake or synthetic fabrics that tend to look less expensive include polyester, rayon, and nylon.

Suede moto jacket by BlankNYC on fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style paired with Express white blouse and distressed jeans with beige Vince Camuto booties and Chloe sunglasses in Telluride, Colorado

#6 | Texture

Adding some gorgeous texture is another way to look more expensive. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look! Some of my favorite textures to incorporate into a look are suede, faux fur, leather/faux leather, croc-embossed, and python-embossed.

black and white oufit idea for winter season by erin busbee of, fashion blogger in texas

#7 | Accessories

Accessories are another thing that can completely change the way an outfit looks. Things like jewelry, belts, scarves, and sunglasses are simple (and affordable) ways to add expensive-looking pieces to your wardrobe.


There are two simple routes you can take when wearing jewelry…1) Wear dainty jewelry that’s simple, classic, and will never go out of style. 2) Wear ONE bold gold or silver jewelry and leave everything else). You could also go with the tried and true pearl necklace! Some of my favorite affordable jewelry brands and Gorjana, Argento Vivo, and Express.
For the basic jewelry ever women should own, check out this post.


One of the simplest tips…wear sunglasses! All you have to do is throw on a pair of chic sunglasses as you walk out the door to look super luxe! You can find designer sunglasses from $300-$600. But look at your favorites and then find dupes! I love B.P., Le Specs, and QUAY.


I’ve done multiple posts and videos on how to style a skinny scarf, a rectangle scarf, and a blanket scarf! This is another accessory you can throw on and instantly look more expensive!


Even designer belts won’t break the bank if you find one you want and can buy it at one of the consignment or outlet stores that I mentioned in this post. It’s a chic and luxe accessory that also helps defines your waist…win-win! Some of my favorites are the Valentino belt and the Salvatore Ferragamo belt but there are tons of options out there that are less expensive. I’d definitely look for one that’s reversible!

Designer Handbags For Fall, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of carrying the Celine belt bag wearing jeans and a sweater in Telluride, CO

#8 | Handbags

With handbags, the most classic, luxe, sophisticated options are structured, have minimal hardware, and are a neutral color. It doesn’t have to be a designer bag but if you want to go that route, look at consignment stores.

Affordable White Blazer, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing a white double breasted blazer, mom jeans, black puff shoulder bodysuit, and python sandals from Express in west Texas

#9 | Mix Casual & Dressy

If you want to look expensive AND super cool, mix casual and dressy pieces. This means you don’t have to wear a full dressed up suit to look expensive. Or a dress, heels, and coat. If you want to, that’s totally fine and super chic! But if you mix it up, you can look super stylish. For example, instead of wearing a cami, tailored pants, blazer, and heels…wearing a cami, jeans, a blazer, and heels (or even sneakers). You still look expensive, but now you look even more stylish!

Reward Style Conference 2019, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of wearing a white sequin Rachel Zoe pants and blazer in Dallas, Texas

#10 | Confidence & Taking Care Of Yourself

Jumping away from style tips a little and into beauty…When your makeup and hair are done, you look more expensive and pulled together. Now I don’t mean you should go overboard with the makeup. I like a really natural beauty look that’s dewy and bright. I’ve talked about beauty mistakes women over 40 make that you might want to watch. The same goes for your hair. Just doing it will make you look better. I just did two hair videos (here and here) that are full of hair mistakes women over 40 are making and some simple hairstyles to try out!

Bonus Tips

  • Change Buttons – If you buy a blazer or a coat that has dated buttons, swap them out for something more luxe.
  • Tailoring – Trust me, spending the extra money on tailoring a garment so that it actually fits, flatters, and looks more expensive!
  • Take Care of Clothes – Even if you’re on a budget, taking care of your clothes is easy and important! This means making sure they’re steamed (this is my favorite steamer), ironed, dry cleaned, hand-washed, and fuzz-free!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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5 thoughts on “Look Expensive On A Budget – Styling Tips!

  1. Hey Erin … hope your having a great day … somehow i missed the Fall/Winder Wardrobe checklist can you let me know where to find it on your site … thanks Renee

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