Categories: Fashion & Beauty

How To Dress Fancy Like You’re Rich When You’re Totally Broke

You don’t have to be rolling in it to dress fancy. At heart, fashion is a democratic forum in which flair, creativity and attitude rule. You can look as if you have your own private jet on standby, no matter what your budget. I’m here to tell you how!

Dark Shades

Let’s start basic. In life, some things are a given. Dogs are the greatest. Women and men should have equal rights. Chocolate is delicious. Sunglasses make people look fancy/important.

There’s something about tinted shades that coolly communicates luxury. Synonymous with Hollywood glamour, worn by the (genuinely) rich and famous, sunglasses give the wearer an air of untouchable mystique.

Chic yet fairly-priced pairs are now ubiquitous on the high street, so you won’t lose half your life savings when they inevitably snap/crack/fall off a cliff.

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Colour Block

Limiting your colour palette is a thrifty way to simulate fanciness. A colour blocked look can triple the (perceived) value of your attire. Let’s deconstruct why that is!

When an outfit is comprised of a few, well-chosen pieces in no more than three shades, it sends out an assertive message: the wearer is so fancy/on point, they don’t need to shout too loudly about it. Let’s call it the Reverse Peacock.

Weird Darwinian undercurrents aside, in Budget City this is all welcome intel. Now, go forth and colour block.

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Choose Your Basics

To dress fancy is not necessarily to dress extravagantly – see Steve Jobs. In fact, a minimalist set of high-quality basics is not only attainable, it’s also style-savvy.

Basics are the foundation upon which a wardrobe is built, so they’re worth careful consideration. Seek out pieces in natural, durable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Avoid anything polyester, the Frankenstein’s Monster of the fashion world. It’s unlikely to wear well with time, kinda like a shotgun Vegas wedding, or dodgy pub carpets.

For dependable basics, go H&M, Urban Outfitters and Uniqlo. You’re just a low-key billionaire, flying under the radar in your tri-blend cotton vest, right?

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Rich People’s Trash, AKA Your Treasure

You’re super-rich: you dress fancy every day. It comes as naturally to you as swimming in your heated infinity pool. You order Chanel with the same casual disdain you would a burger. You’ve got a heap of designer goodies stashed in your closet, and it’s getting a bit much. You’re feeling a bit claustro, y’know? It’s all too much. Clear out!

Bingo. These rich people are the reason broke people like us enter charity shops or log into eBay/Etsy with the smallest glimmer of hope.

There are magnificent treasures buried in the second-hand kingdom, waiting to be yours. All you need is tenacity, an eagle eye and strong arms. Your reward? Exquisite pieces, previously stratospherically out of your price range, now in a postal van zooming towards your loving embrace.

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Couture Catfishing

I regularly check fashion news, waiting for the huge story to break: Zara, River Island and various defendants are sued for millions by plaintiffs Pucci, Gucci et al. Why? You don’t need expertise in copyright law to see major creative licence at play in our favourite high street stores.

Good news for ruthless/out of work legal teams, but also good news for us!

If shots of NY Fashion Week move you to joyful tears, yet you lack the bottomless budget its offerings demand, have faith. Certain high street brands sell uncannily familiar pieces and prints, at a fraction of couture prices. Keep your eyes peeled.

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See Also

Democratic Denim

Denim is the great leveller. The most breath-taking pair of jeans in existence hang across an unsuspecting rural farmer’s bureau; he’s had them for years, washed them at 60°C, spattered them in paint and torn holes for days. If only he knew…

We pay a small fortune to own tattered rags and never question the logic. Humans! Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

Whether it’s on eBay, the high street or inside your dad’s wardrobe, denim is denim. Yes, the cut matters, but cute and affordable jeans are now commonplace. You don’t need a Silicon Valley salary to procure, craft and customise beyond your wildest dreams.

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Birthday Shoes

Why do you think Carrie Bradshaw had such an insatiable shoe habit? Probably myriad and layered psychological reasons, but even so, she had a point. Expensive shoes are simply a cut above the bargain bin.

I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a pair of Jimmy Choos like Carrie. We both know what will happen: the card machine will emit that hostile beep, the one designed by Harvard sound engineers to humiliate people.

Nevertheless, shoes tend to suffer more wear than clothes (mainly because they’re on your feet) and cheap pairs quickly look, well, cheap. Be strategic. Ask for fancy shoes on gift-worthy occasions such as your birthday. Point loved ones towards sites such as Yoox – it sells luxury brands at prices so good you’ll cry even more than you did looking at those NY fashion week pics.

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How do you work that fancy look? Pearls? Jaunty hats? Let us know in the comments below!

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