How To Make Cheap Clothing Look Expensive

by Lauren Romano
DIY Landscaping for Less photo

Can’t or won’t spend a fortune on clothing? Get ready to update your wardrobe on the cheap while still looking like a million bucks.

Many of us aren’t running out to spend thousands of dollars on an article of clothing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want our outfits to look like a million bucks.

The good news is that the inexpensive clothing and accessories that lack a high-end designer label and hang from the clearance rack could end up looking like you dropped some serious cash on them, and all that’s required of you is a good eye, some effort, and maybe making a minor change or two here and there.

Ready to upgrade your wardrobe? The following tips can help you get started when you want to improve the look of cheap clothing.

Replace buttons and zippers.

Replacing the cheap-looking buttons or the flimsy zipper could make a big difference in making inexpensive clothing look like it costs much more.

However, if you’re not skilled in changing out the aforementioned, have a tailor do it for you for a minimal cost. The buttons and zippers shouldn’t just look better, but they should also stay in place without coming loose.

Choose the right underwear.

Wearing poorly-fitting underwear or underwear that doesn’t allow for a streamlined appearance is one way to take an otherwise great look down a few notches.

For example, you shouldn’t be able to see panty lines whether you’re wearing a $20 dress or one that’s $5,000. What you’re wearing underneath makes just as big a difference as what you’re wearing outwardly.

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Get rid of wrinkles.

When clothes are wrinkled (regardless of their price), they’re going to look cheap. Even if you’re planning on wearing a $10 shirt with a $15 skirt, there should be not a wrinkle in sight.

Sure, you can iron some of your clothes or throw them in the dryer, but getting an inexpensive garment steamer can save you a lot of time and hassle, and an at-home dry cleaning kit can save you on dry cleaning costs.

Keep a disposable razor and lint roller handy.

What exactly does a disposable razor and lint roller have to do with improving the look of cheap clothing?

When you have pilling, fur, hair, and various other stray pieces all over your clothes, it’s certainly not going to do much to elevate your look. A disposable razor can help remove pilling, while a lint roller, which you should also carry around with you throughout the day, can help remove everything else.

Get clothing properly tailored.

It doesn’t matter how much you paid for clothing if it doesn’t fit you properly.

Some feel that it’s a waste to get cheap clothes tailored, but it’s one of the best ways to make those inexpensive pieces look like you paid a lot more for them.

Considering everyone is different, a single article of clothing will not fit everyone the same way or look the same on everybody. However, when you get clothing tailored, you’re transforming those pieces into ones that are meant specifically for you and your frame.

Put on expensive jewelry.

Jewelry isn’t just an accessory. Instead, jewelry should be considered an investment.

While there is lovely inexpensive jewelry, there are pieces that you can just tell are expensive and incredibly high quality. Even a couple of these pieces could completely transform a cheap outfit into one that looks like you got it from a luxury designer.

Opt for classic jewelry that never goes out of style and can go with quite a few outfits. Jewelry will hold up for years to come when made well, even long enough to be passed down to future generations if possible.

Pair them with expensive clothing.

Certain expensive clothing pieces can give the illusion that every article you’re wearing costs a small fortune, and they can last for years as long as you treat them well.

To always ensure you can use these pieces to elevate cheap clothing, don’t buy ones that are “in the moment” and trendy. Buy classic staples like a well-made pair of jeans and a gorgeous trench coat that you can get a lot of use out of, that will look fabulous on you, and that you can easily pair with inexpensive clothing.

Always consider what you’re buying.

Lastly, here is one of the most important tips to adhere to if you want to improve the look of cheap clothing.

You need to really look at what you’re buying in the first place. There’s a big difference between affordable fashion that’s worth the purchase and pieces that are so poorly made that it looks cheap and as though it’s going to fall apart after one use. Look at the seams, tug at the straps, and evaluate the item thoroughly on the inside and out to determine if it deserves a place in your closet.

Reviewed April 2023

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