How to Build an Expensive Looking Closet on a Budget

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Stick to Classics vs Trends

The majority of the chic looks you’ll see are made up of simple, classic pieces. Building a foundation with mostly classic styles and silhouettes will help your closet stay elegant year after year without needing to buy a whole new wardrobe each season. It’s definitely fun to experiment with trends, just don’t make them the bulk of your clothing.

Focus on Neutral Pieces

Styling with neutrals really elevates your look. I have accent colors that I throw in on occasion, but the majority of the time I’m wearing black, white or gray (or some shade therein). Neutrals are timeless and seasonless. You can style them year round and they look great in layers. They’re also much more subtle and give a classier vibe which gives you that elevated look you like.

Be a Material Girl

Fabric material, that is. Styling higher end looking fabrics can easily give you an elevated look for less. Think satin or silky materials, chiffon, linen, leather, faux fur and velvet. Done the right way, these can all give a much fancier vibe to any outfit.

Know Where to Invest vs Save

Building your closet up is a never ending process. You’ll constantly be adding things in and (hopefully) taking things out that you no longer love and wear. It’s best to know what pieces to invest in and what pieces to save on. Things you love and wear the most over and over again are the ones to invest in. Think outerwear, jackets, blazers, shoes and a good pair of pants. Things to save on would be tops and dresses that you will likely wear less often and likely not year after year. You can also rent for special occasion needs instead of buying something new every time.

Related: My Rehearsal Dinner Dress Rental

Shop Second Hand

My favorite shopping tip of all time. I’d say close to 30% of my closet is made up of second hand pieces. I mostly shop on eBay and Poshmark, but if you want to find some real luxury scores for less, try TheRealReal. My biggest tips for shopping second hand are to read the return policy and know your measurements. Sticking to brands that you know how they fit will help a ton, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! 9 out of 10 things I get second hand either still have the tags on them or have been worn less than 5 times. I’ve gotten so many great (would be) expensive pieces this way. You’re missing out if you’re not shopping second hand!

Related: I have 2 dedicated posts to help you shop second hand! See my tips for shopping on eBay here and my tips for shopping on Poshmark here.

Get Things Tailored

Whether you get it new or second hand, getting your favorite pieces tailored will go a LONG way in making your closet look more expensive. And honestly it’s really not very expensive at all, about $30 or less per piece on average depending what you need done. If you’re on a tight budget, get 1-2 pieces done each paycheck. Focus on the things that get the most wear like blazers, jeans, nice shirts, etc. I promise, it’s so worth it to spend a few extra dollars to make sure something fits you properly. You’ll look like a million bucks!

Stay in the Know on Sales

Sign up to get emails from your favorite brands/stores so you know when the sales are happening. Some places also let you sign up to receive texts now and give special sale discounts randomly! You can also follow your favorite bloggers to be notified of when things go on sale. The best site I’ve found for new luxury items at great discounts is They have sales all the time!


When it comes to accessories, I personally believe less is more. A great outfit can be ruined by going overboard with jewelry. And the worst part is that cheap jewelry usually LOOKS cheap and can bring everything down with it. I love the look of classic hoop earrings or studs and dainty necklaces. Sunglasses are also an easy way to look more put together. I love this designer inspired pair!

When choosing jewelry to buy, look for pieces that have a nice color and don’t look gaudy. You want these pieces to last. And if you’re going to do a statement earring, wear a very simple necklace or none at all and vice versa. Belts and shoes are also a great way to accessorize your look without doing much at all.

Wear Great Shoes

While I do consider shoes an accessory, I think they deserve their own point. Great shoes can really make or break an outfit. Since shoes get so much wear, I recommend this be one of the things you invest in. You don’t have to have designer shoes to look great, either! Stick to the classics. Close toe pointed toe pumps or flats are a great go-to.

You can also try things like these Chanel inspired dupes (I love & wear these all the time!) or other designer inspired pieces. Heels are also great for your posture which can help you stand taller (physically and mentally!). I have this pair in 4 colors and wear them ALL. THE. TIME. They’re not too high but look amazing with everything. They’re also great quality and will last!

Self-Care & Grooming

Looking good on the outside starts on the inside. Take care of yourself so you can look and feel your best. Styling your hair and putting on a little make up will work wonders! Make skincare a priority and create a routine that works for you. Painting your nails is another way to look and feel more put-together. If you don’t want to spent the money to get them done, invest in a kit to do them yourself at home! I also count teeth whitening and tanning in this category if that’s something you’re into.

Be Confident & Smile!

The biggest tip to looking good is being confident in your own skin and showing off that beautiful smile. Maintaining good posture instead of slouching is also part of your confidence. You’ll feel better and more sure about yourself when you stand up straight, I assure you!

Any tips to share? Leave them in the comments!

meet dani

a life + style blog dedicated to helping you love everything in your closet and create chic, simple & affordable looks with a capsule wardrobe.

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