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Look Rich on a Budget: 9 Pieces to Shop Now

Learning how to look rich on a budget is a primary goal of any Budget Fashionista. But whether you keep your fashion budget tidy because you’d rather spend your money on other things or out of principle, being stylish on a dime requires commitment and focus.

It’s easy to whip out some plastic to fund a gorg designer handbag or a trench coat that screams luxury, right? It’s much harder to hunt through consignment shops and TJ Maxx to find pieces that look as indulgent for a lower price.

Close view of neck and chin of woman wearing expensive jewelry with text overlay.
Source: Canva.

Here’s a secret I’ll share. Some garments and accessories look richer than others. And focusing your shopping on those pieces can give you that expensive vibe you’re craving without blowing your budget.

Even better, the right pieces still look rich when paired with super-cheap basics — like $10 t-shirts from Target. It’s a double whammy for the budget fashion lifestyle. Invest in a few expensive looking but low-cost garments and then fill out your wardrobe with very affordable basics.

Intrigued? Read on for the nine essential pieces you need to look rich on a budget.

1. Faux suede shirt 

Faux leather pieces are a step in the right direction, but faux suede really dials up your style game. Try a button-down shirt in a neutral color that you can wear as a top or as a light jacket.

Outfit ideas for this piece include:

  • Untucked faux suede shirt over a cami with jeans and ankle boots
  • Faux suede shirt instead of a cardigan over a sweater dress
  • Tuck the shirt into trousers and add a neck scarf

You can find chic faux suede button-downs from Levis and Gap ranging in price from $50 to $70.

2. Lab-grown diamond jewelry

A diamond tennis bracelet is about as rich-looking as it gets. Unfortunately, that high-impact piece of jewelry will set you back at least $4,000 — a price tag that’s well outside a normal person’s budget.

The budget fashion option here is lab-grown diamond jewelry. And if you feel inclined to get judgy about man-made diamonds, know this: High-end designers do make lab-grown diamond jewelry and lab-grown diamond tennis bracelets specifically. You can shop them at stores like Best Brilliance and Neiman Marcus.

Depending on the option you choose, a lab-grown diamond bracelet will cost $500 or more. It’s still a big purchase, but far less than you’d spend on natural diamonds.

You can wear a delicate diamond tennis bracelet nearly anywhere. It’ll look stunning with a black cocktail dress, of course. You can also team it with your faux suede shirt and jeans to add allure to your casual day look.

3. Silk scarf

Woman wearing silk scarf as headwrap and sunglasses.
Source: Canva.

A silk neck scarf is a high-impact accessory that’ll set you back a mere $20. Shop Amazon for pieces with intricate and rich-looking patterns. Most of the options in the $20 price are small, square scarves that look chic knotted at the neck. You can also tie one into your hair or on the handle of your bag.

If you prefer a larger scarf, look for satin pieces with a matte finish. These will pass for real silk but still carry an affordable price tag.

4. Monochrome separates

Monochrome outfits have class, even if buy the separate pieces at Old Navy. Choose one light neutral color you love and build pieces around it. Don’t overthink this, either. Your pieces can be as simple as a pair of cream-colored jeans and a lightweight cream blouse.

Add in one accessory that’s a slightly darker tone and you’re as classy as can be. In this outfit example, that darker accessory could be a belt. Your silk neck scarf would also be a lovely choice.

Lean into neutral tones for your monochrome separates. This way, you can wear those garments as part of other outfits. After all, more wears means more value.

5. Houndstooth blazer

A houndstooth trench coat is an essential piece for high-end fashionistas. But this piece, like a diamond tennis bracelet, can set you back a pretty penny. As an example, Burberry has one that retails for $3,550.

Get the same rich look for less by investing in a houndstooth blazer. A designer piece will still cost you several hundred bucks, but you can shop sales and off-brands to lower your investment. Look for a well-structured blazer that can double as a light jacket with a price tag of less than $100.

Wear it as you would any blazer. It looks amazing as a topper for casual outfits or career wear. For nights out, pair it with silky or soft textures to add some femininity.

6. Oxford shirt

The Oxford shirt has an enduring preppy feel that screams old money. Use that to your advantage. An Oxford shirt paired with tidy crop pants and a simple necklace — maybe a lab-grown diamond pendant — plus mules and an updo is a winning combo when you’re trying to look wealthy.

Even better, Oxford shirts are easy to find and affordable to buy. Amazon has many choices for $40 or less. Opt for tops that are slightly stiff in texture to get the right look.

7. Classy belt

A simple, but well-designed belt could be the hero in your rich-looking wardrobe. Keep the design straightforward here — you want a belt that brings everything together without stealing the show.

A belt that looks well-made accomplishes that easily. So, no loose threads, no cutouts, and minimal embellishments which can end up looking ratty over time.

A subdued but abstract buckle is a nice touch, too. Bits and other equestrian-inspired designs are particularly on point. You can find good options on Amazon for $30 or less.

8. Flatiron for sleek hairstyles

Don’t overlook your hairstyle when you’re going for that rich look. A sleek bun or low ponytail always works.

Depending on your hair’s natural texture, you may need the help of a good flatiron to tame the frizzies. I know I do. No amount of blow-drying can get my hair to lie flat without fly-aways. But a few swipes of a flatiron plus a couple drops of argan oil, and I’m golden.

9. Gel polish kit

Woman's hand with dark-colored gel manicure.
Source: Canva.

Shiny, meticulously cared for nails are a hallmark of the wealthy crowd. Get that same look without the time and expense of regular manicures by investing in a DIY gel nail kit.

There are many options on Amazon that include a UV light and a range of polish colors. The going rate is $30 to $50. This can be the detail that takes your rich style to the next level.

Be fabulous for less

Get the rich look you want without breaking the bank by investing in high-impact pieces. Lean into indulgent fabrics and eye-catching accessories. Add in a sleek hairstyle and flawless nails and your friends might start wondering whether you got the influx of cash. Let them wonder. It’ll be our secret.

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