Affordable Luxury: Budget Ways to Look Chic

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned looking put together helps add a layer of sophistication and puts some respeck on your name.  Every person deserves to look like a million bucks, even on the tightest budget.  The trick is finding what works for you, KISS (keep it simple stupid) and always own it..

In my jewelry collection blog post I shared that I struggle between two aesthetics, Harajuku ninja and sleek sophistication with the sleek side winning.

Over the past few years I’ve gathered various tips and tricks that have me looking as if I’m making 100k a year, even though I’m not!

In this post I’ll be sharing some of my fav tips to getting a luxe look on a limited budget.  Even if you love a super girly style or you are actually a Harajuku ninja yourself (dozo yoroshiku!), you can apply a tip or two to your aesthetic.  There’s nothing wrong with adding an element of “quality” to your look, no matter what that look happens to be.

Use these tips as a guideline and create the final look that works for you.


Keep it simple

All my clothes have similar shapes, structure and lines.  I know variety is the spice of life but similarity is the spice of my luxe look.  When buying clothes keeping things simple means it will look better for longer (especially if you’re buying from places like Boohoo or H&M) and it will be even more affordable  You’re paying extra for a ruffle or a flounce – well, maybe you but not me.

Simple shapes that work for me:

  • Midi dresses/skirts – I love the shape they give me and how they cut on my calf
  • Button down shirts – This is one of those effortless styles that works dressed up or down
  • Tailored pants – because they’re more fitted they really flatter my body and they look luxe
  • Plain shoes – plain is best, they either elongate my legs or allow the rest of my outfit to shine


Limited palette

A limited palette has become my signature look; my claim to fame is my midi dress collection in an array of neutral tones.   Neutrals are a super easy way to cheat yourself onto team luxe.  They act as a foundation for your wardrobe and work with any skin tone or style.  If you’re interested in minimal inspiration you should check out my Pinterest board!

TOP TIP:   I know a minimal wardrobe is not for everyone; but it is a great option for those who are looking to go the simple route to achieve their luxe look.  You can add an element of luxury without dressing in black head to toe.   Add a designer bag (bought on sale of course) to vintage, eclectic outfit or select accessories that are bright but not poorly made – you can still have your character while looking luxe.  Keep reading for more tips!!



Shop on sale

This might be a no brainer, but when I used to shop it was always on sale or only from outlet stores (and even then it was still only on sale).  My top tips when it comes to shopping on sale/outlets are:

  • The item must be at least 40% off (30% if it’s a really good discount); I don’t believe in breaking bank for a 10% savings.
  • If an item costs over £/$30, I must wear that item that same amount of times.  For example, my Fossil watch cost $60 and I have worn it way over 60 times.
  • I will only buy things I need and not because it’s on sale no matter how good the discount is.

This is a great opportunity to include expensive/designer pieces into your closet.  It’s how I snagged my Kate Spade and Coach purses at ridiculous prices and how I have a great pair of quality designer heels that never let me down.


Become friends with your iron

Having crisp, ironed clothing instantly elevates your look.  A few years ago you would catch me in these streets with a wrinkled shirt that I put on looking a hot mess.  Now I try to always pass an iron over my clothes; I can’t be out here looking that level of messy. Granted, I try to buy materials that don’t wrinkle but if something does need to be ironed best believe it’s getting the heat.

TOP TIP:  Level up and invest in a steamer.  I used to use a steamer when I worked on photoshoots and they’re honestly the best thing ever.  I have my eye on a simple one if I ever reach super boss level.


Avoid trends

Those flounces and ruffles I mentioned earlier?  Not only am I not interested in paying extra for them but they can totally date an outfit.  Those pants that are trending right now with mega flamenco girl flounces will be out of style soon and in a few years you’ll be wondering why…why…?????

Instead try to find your signature style – there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a trend or two but incorporate it into your style.  When the world is going flamenco pants, which way are you going?


Pop of color

If you’re a neutral babe like me this will def be up your alley.  I love injecting a pop of color into my outfits.  It’s usually in the form of a bright red lip but in the past I’ve been known to wear a bright pin, funky nail color, or statement jewelry.   Adding a touch of color, especially against a neutral look is an easy way to break things up a bit.


Quality appearing accessories

We’re going for affordable luxe so it makes sense to include inexpensive accessories into your wardrobe.  The trick is to make sure it doesn’t look cheap.   If the wind blows will my necklace fall apart?

No matter what your style, try to choose accessories that will elevate the whole look.  I personally have a limited jewelry collection but my fav piece is a cheapo Claire’s necklace.  I love how it can be dressed up or down and it doesn’t look like it’s going to fall off my neck.

Make sure the piece works with your outfit and not against it.


Do you have to have a simple style to look luxurious?  No.

Having a simple style does make it easier to pass for team luxury, but it’s not necessary.  You can still wear prints, mix materials, play with texture and shapes while looking like a style icon.  The key to keep in mind is how can I make this look more glam and expensive than it really is?

Cause I want anyone to tell me I can’t finesse my way into a room full of £300 outfits wearing my £6 midi Boohoo dress…

Tell me below, which one of these affordable luxe tips is your fav?

Glad you liked this post!  The fun doesn’t have to stop, here’s some of my favs to explore:

Did you know I also have a small blogger + biz owner tips website?  Here are a few ways you can connect with me over at The Coco Creativ:

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  • Sophaarambles
    September 14, 2018

    It is so true, it is so important to find your own style and to know what suits you! There are so many trends I would love to get involved in (leopard print!) but I do not believe in the longevity of the pieces so I won’t invest! Overall I like to keep my style pretty simple so I completely understand where you are coming from with this post. It isn’t all about luxury pieces, it is about knowing your style.

    • Olli
      September 26, 2018

      I’m so with you when it comees to trends. I personally think something like leopard print never really goes out of style but I just hate, hate, hate walking down the street and wearing the exact same thing as everyone else and then knowing that trend is going to be trash in a few weeks, oh that bothers me. I’m all about the longevity of clothing and I think that’s why I gravitate to more minimalistic styles because they stand strong no matter what the season dictates.

  • Michelle Gil
    September 14, 2018

    One of my signature looks is wearing dark monochrome while having bright makeup. Now there are so many trends that I don’t keep bothered to follow them up (is it because I’m currently busy with uni?) one of my tricks on affording designers is thrifting I personally use depop where I can get it quite a reasonable price.

    Loving this post!


    • Olli
      September 26, 2018

      Your signature look sounds sooooo yummy! I totally agree with thrifting as a way to get affordable designer items, I used to do that a lot in my 20s. I think next year when I have a bit more money to spend I’d like to get into that again. I used to love wearing designer items back in the day and I think having something unique really adds that POP to your outfit.

  • Char
    September 16, 2018

    Absolutely loved this post, keeping things minimal is definitely the way forward. Getting sucked into trends (I blame Instagram) makes me wonder if you ever develop your personal style!? But I agree, quality over quantity!

    Char xo |

    • Olli
      September 26, 2018

      Yeah I blame social media a bit for the rise in accumlating stuff. And I was reading online where some people feel luxury brands are starting to become a bit like fast fashion brands and are def pushing this idea of obtain, obtain, rather than maintain. And I agree, does one truly know what their personal style is anymore?

  • Natasha
    September 19, 2018

    This was an awesome post! I am inspired to try to be more fashionable too! I feel I have way too much random clothes rather than good quality pieces that make nice outfits! Thanks for this!

    • Olli
      September 26, 2018

      Hey Natasha, I think a lot of closests suffer from that dilemma. At one point an entire side of my closet was filled with clothes that still had tags on and were over a year old. While some of those were quality clothes, I realized I was focusing on accumlating rather than investing in pieces that amplified my wardrobe. I’m so glad I focus on enhancing my style instead of just accumulating things.

  • Mstee
    September 27, 2018

    I find that the quality appearing accessories do the trick for me. I take my simple looks and dress them up with a fancy looking choker or necklace and some bracelets. The little coach purse is so cute.

    • Olli
      September 27, 2018

      Thank you! My brother gifted this purse to me, he has the most amazing taste and style and he finds the best bargains. I agree, quality appearing accesories can take an outfit over the top. I can’t do super cheap looking accessories at all!

  • Sarah Black
    September 27, 2018

    Loved this post! You made some amazing points! Thanks for sharing!
    Xo |

  • Laura B
    September 30, 2018

    I think it’s great advice to go the minimalist route for dressing luxe. I definitely struggle with fashion , mostly because of the cost so figuring out a way to do it minimally gives me renewed inspiration!

    • Olli
      October 7, 2018

      The more simple the style the less it costs. You really are paying for the extra fabric, the hardware, the extra thread. I’m not saying it has to be void of any decoration at all, but keeping it calm, cool and collected usually helps the pockets!

  • Jen Williams
    October 4, 2018

    Great tips! Finding what works for your body type is so helpful – but hard to do as it can be time consuming, and it can make you feel limited based on what’s in style at the time. I’ve found that trouser style dress pants with a wide leg works well for my body type (carrying my weight in my butt, thighs and hips). And, a-line dresses are my go-to dress style for both work and special occasions. It’s been hard finding things that fit well in stores that are aimed to the lastest fashions (leggings, crop tops, skinny legged everything…). We need more women clothing options that are functional – they fit well, wear well, and have pockets.

    • Olli
      October 7, 2018

      Yes, wide leg pants are a gem for ladies who carry their weight in their hips and booty. I know people say wear whatever and eff the concept of flattering but I have to have clothes that are suites to my body shape. I personally believe in the concept of flattering clothing.

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