Looking luxurious on a budget may seem impossible, but with some savvy shopping and styling tricks, you can create high-end looks for less. Here are tips and ideas for achieving a luxe aesthetic while being kind to your wallet.
Shop Smart to Save
The key to scoring designer pieces at discounted prices is knowing where to shop. Check out these strategies for luxe bargains:
Look for Sales at Department Stores
High-end department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s often have seasonal sales with deep discounts on luxury brands. Scan sale racks and bookmark items to grab when the price drops. Sign up for email alerts on upcoming sales.
Visit Off-Price Retailers
Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Saks Off Fifth sell designer brands at heavily reduced prices. Selection varies, so persistently check back to find hidden gems. Arrive early and frequently to beat other bargain hunters.
Shop Discount Designer Websites
Online luxury retailers like TheRealReal, Farfetch, and Rue La La offer designer fashions up to 90% off retail prices. Browse regularly for the best deals. Don’t forget to factor in additional shipping costs.
scout Local Consignment Boutiques
Small consignment shops often have high-end pieces at thrift store prices. Look in affluent neighborhoods for the best selections. Ask when new inventory arrives to get first dibs on luxury labels.
Search Classified Listings
Check sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for luxury items being sold directly by their owners. Act fast on coveted pieces – the best deals go quick! Arrange to inspect items before purchasing to authenticate.
Choose Classic Styles for Longevity
When shopping luxury on a budget, opt for classic, versatile pieces with longevity to maximize your investment. Build your wardrobe around these closets staples:
A quality designer handbag never goes out of style. Look for structured, neutral-hued styles from heritage brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès. A leather tote, flap, or satchel will pair nicely with any outfit.
Elegant Cashmere Sweaters
A cashmere sweater offers instant refinement. Stick to solid, neutral colors like black, navy, gray, or ivory that seamlessly transition from season to season. Choose crewneck, v-neck, or cardigan silhouettes.
Premium Denim Jeans
Designer jeans flatter every figure. Seek out straight leg, skinny, and bootcut styles from brands like 7 For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity. Dark rinses are universally chic and will stand the test of time.
Versatile Blazers and Blazer Dresses
A structured blazer or blazer dress lends an instant polish. Opt for neutral solids that will integrate into your existing wardrobe. Sharpen up any outfit by layering over dresses, trousers, or jeans.
Statement Coats and Jackets
An elegant coat or jacket transcends trends. Look for timeless silhouettes like peacoats, trenches, and moto jackets. Choose a bold color or fabric like red wool or quilted black leather.
Elevate Basics with Designer Accessories
You don’t have to break the bank on clothes alone. Spruce up budget basics with a few luxe accessories for instant glamour:
Opt for Quality Shoes
Quality leather shoes elevate everything. Spend more on classics like black pumps, nude flats, and tan riding boots. Well-made shoes last for years and develop character over time.
Pick an It Bag
A designer handbag adds an air of luxury to any outfit. Go for an iconic style like the Gucci Marmont, Louis Vuitton Speedy, or Chanel Boy Bag. Neutral colors work with everything.
Wrap Up in a Statement Coat
An eye-catching coat transforms even basic jeans and tees. Look for a bold pop of color or texture in wool, leather, or faux fur. Luxe details like oversized buttons and embellished collars up the elegance.
Don Specs from Premium Brands
Invest in one pair of designer sunglasses per season. Styles from Prada, Gucci, and Saint Laurent will make you look like a million bucks without the price tag.
Layer with Quality Scarves
A cashmere or silk scarf injects luxury into any outfit. Drape over coats and dresses or tie to handbags. Stick to solid colors and minimal patterns for versatility.
Adorn with Fine Jewelry
Look for jewelry crafted from 14k or 18k gold, sterling silver, and quality gemstones. Start with dainty staples like a thin gold choker, diamond studs, and signet ring.
Get Creative with High-Low Pairings
One of the easiest ways to look expensive on a budget is by pairing fast fashion with premier designer pieces. The mix of high and low creates visually balanced outfits without breaking the bank.
Mix Designer Bags with Basic Clothes
Carry a luxury handbag like the Lady Dior with basic jeans, tee, and sneakers for an off-duty model look. The juxtaposition makes the bag the focal point.
Layer Fine Jewelry over Casual Wear
Elevate a laid-back sweatshirt and joggers by topping with an ornate gold choker and studded cuff. The jewelry glams up the relaxed outfit.
Pair Statement Coats with Simple Dresses
A vibrant designer coat transforms a basic LBD or sheath dress into a head-turning ensemble. Let the coat make the outfit with clean lines underneath.
Coordinate Sneakers with Premium Denim
Designer jeans, a crisp tee, and luxury sneakers like Gucci or Golden Goose create a casual-chic vibe. The sneakers add flair without overpowering.
Dress Up Tees with Luxe Skirts
A polished silk skirt and embellished top create visual contrast. Tuck in your tee to highlight the skirt’s details. Add heels for evening events.
Fancy Up Sweats with a Designer Belt
Take athleisure up a notch by cinching sweatpants with a logo belt from Hermès, Gucci, or Versace. This styling trick instantly elevates a sporty look.
Shop Secondhand and Vintage
To score luxury pieces at unbeatable price points, buy pre-owned and vintage. Take these steps to shop resale like a pro:
Learn How to Spot Authentic Designer Items
Research brand signatures like logos, tags, hardware, and stitching. Ask sellers detailed questions. Review items closely upon arrival. Know your return rights.
Follow Top Consignment Shops on Social Media
Many luxury resellers promote new arrivals and sales on Instagram and Facebook. Turn on notifications so you never miss when coveted inventory drops.
Avoid Trendy Styles with Short Shelf Lives
Stick to investment classics that will stay relevant, like little black bags and dresses, leather jackets, and loafers. Leave trendy pieces to full-price buyers.
Be Open to Pre-Owned
Gently used luxury goods offer substantial savings over new with minimal signs of wear. A few scuffs on leather or denim only add character!
Consider Vintage for One-of-a-Kind Finds
Vintage designer pieces have incredible stories and craftsmanship. Look for items from heritage fashion houses. Small flaws come with the territory.
Join Loyalty Programs
Top consignors like TheRealReal and Fashionphile offer free shipping, early access to sales, and member discounts that add up quickly.
Time Sales Strategically
Many resellers host annual or seasonal sales, usually 20-30% off. Subscribe to newsletters and check social media to prepare your wish lists in advance.
Develop Relationships with Small Business Owners
The proprietors of local vintage and consignment boutiques can keep an eye out for pieces they know you’ll love. Check in regularly.
Set monthly spending allowances for secondhand shopping trips. Having a firm limit prevents impulse purchases that strain your finances. Shop with a generous return policy.
Maintain Your Wardrobe Investment
Caring for luxe fashion investments helps them stand the test of time and retain value on future resale:
Follow Care Instructions
Hand wash fine cashmere, silks, and knits. Dry clean structured bags and coats. Use gentle cycles, cold water, and mesh bags for delicates.
Store Properly Between Wears
Keep clothing and bags stuffed and structured on shelves or in dust bags. Hang knits and delicates. Store shoes with fillers and away from direct heat or light.
Steam or Press Instead of Dry Cleaning
Frequent dry cleaning wears down fabrics. Touch up pieces at home with a clothing steamer or iron on an as-needed basis.
Treat Stains ASAP
Attend to stains immediately to avoid setting. Dab gently with a clean cloth and diluted detergent. Know which pieces require professional cleaning versus at-home spot treating.
Repair or Reinforce Wear
Don’t retire items at the first sign of damage. Make minor repairs at home or seek out a leatherworker, tailor, or cobbler to fix torn seams, lost buttons, and scuffed materials.
Waterproof and Weatherproof
Spray and refresh outerwear and shoes with protective products like creams, waxes, and sprays. These add moisture and prevent cracking. Re-treat seasonally.
Get Annual Check-Ups
Take designer handbags and shoes to the brand’s cobbler annually for inspection and cleaning. This keeps leather supple and hardware from tarnishing due to oils and residue buildup.
Maximize a Minimalist Wardrobe
With careful curation, you can create a wide range of looks from a highly edited designer wardrobe:
Build Outfits Around Core Basics
Invest in versatile basics in neutral colors like white button downs, little black dresses, and tan trench coats. Dress these pillars up or down.
Choose Statement Pieces Wisely
Splurge on bold designer items that make major fashion statements, like an iconic handbag, vibrant coat, or trendy shoes. Keep other pieces simple.
Create fresh outfits by layering the same designer pieces in new ways – blazers over dresses, cardigans under blazers, ponchos over tops. Play with textures and proportions.
Avoid Duplicate Styles
Resist buying multiple variations of the same item in different colors or patterns. Add diversity through pairings, rather than more stuff.
Multitask Investment Pieces
Make big purchases earn their cost. A designer coat can pull together both casual daytime and dressy evening looks. Leather pants work for the office or a night out.
Try Renting for Occasions
Use rental services for statement pieces to wear a few times, like ballgowns, flashy jewelry, or designer accessories. This avoids wasting your luxury clothing budget on one-hit items.
Take Good Care
Careful laundering and storage preserves luxe pieces so you enjoy them for years versus seasons. Invest in quality hangers, garment bags, shoe trees, and detergent.
Style Luxuriously Every Day
Elevate daily looks through styling tricks that exude expensive taste without designer price tags:
Iron and Press Religiously
Wrinkled garments look cheap, no matter the label. Smooth everything from blouses to pants. Starch collars and cuffs for crispness. Hang or fold immediately after laundering.
Shine, Buff, and Polish Shoes
Scruffy footwear drags down any outfit. Keep leather moisturized and regularly buffed. Use shoe trees and replace heels when worn.
Stow Unsightly Branded Packaging
Ditch the loud LV shopping bags. Transfer everyday designer items into neutral high-end pouches. Hide obvious logos. Luxury is quiet.
Seek a Tailor’s Touch
Most clothing requires minor alterations for an impeccable fit. Invest in custom tailoring – even on fast fashion. Well-fitting clothes photograph luxuriously.
Remove Wrinkles with Steam
Portable fabric steamers quickly smooth wrinkles, refresh garments between wears, and eliminate odors. They’re easier than ironing – perfect for travel.
Treat Stains Gently
Skip harsh stain treatments that degrade delicate fabrics. Dab stains immediately with cool water and a drop of mild detergent. Seek out professional specialty cleaners as needed.
Add Statement Costume Jewelry
Accent neutral outfits with bold earrings, cuffs, and cocktail rings. Gold, rhinestone, and enamel pieces pop. Mix metals fearlessly.
Accessorize from Head to Toe
Pull together refined looks with hats, scarves, designer sunglasses, and luxe beauty products like perfume, lipstick, and skincare. Don’t forget the handbag!
Level Up Your Beauty Routine
With a few inexpensive upgrades, your daily beauty regimen gains sophistication and luxury appeal:
Invest in High-End Skin and Hair Products
Splurge on indulgent cleansers, moisturizers, masks, shampoos, and conditioners from prestige lines. Think La Mer, Olaplex, Kerastase. Enjoy at-home spa treatments.
Maintain Consistent Manicures and Pedicures
Weekly polish touch-ups keep fingers and toes photo-ready. Skip trends for timeless hues – mostly neutrals and reds. Consider gel polish for longer wear sans chips.
Seek Out Quality Makeup Over Quantity
Curate a selected color palette of cosmetics in luxurious formulas and packaging. Keep it minimal – the essentials create a polished face.
Schedule Professional Teeth Whitening
A brilliant smile conveys success faster than the clothes on your back. See your dentist for custom trays and professional whiteners – skip drugstore gimmicks.
Splurge on an Iconic Scent
An elegant perfume embodies glamour. Invest in a signature scent from renowned nose like Chanel, Tom Ford, Le Labo. Apply sparingly.
Take Daily Multivitamins
Beauty starts from within. High-quality supplements deliver nutrients for great skin, nails, and hair. Treat this as non-negotiable self-care.
Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration keeps the complexion supple and glowing. Invest in a fashionable reusable water bottle. Set reminders to sip frequently throughout the day.
Pamper Yourself Weekly
Create an at-home ritual – face mask, bath soak, leg scrub, cuticle treatment. Light candles and put on relaxing music. You’ll photograph and feel like a million bucks.
Live the Luxe Lifestyle For Less
Your designer wardrobe is just one piece of the luxury lifestyle puzzle. Embrace opulence in all areas with these high-end upgrades:
Invest in High Thread Count Bedding
Nothing feels more decadent than slipping between luxurious bed sheets with an obscenely high thread count. Splurge on materials like percale, linen, silk, or Egyptian cotton.
Use Expensive Candles and Diffusers
Set a sophisticated mood with room scents from luxury houses like Diptyque, Jo Malone, and Le Labo. Pick a signature home scent. Extinguish wicks to reuse vessels.
Seek Out Quality Over Quantity Decor
One incredible piece makes more impact than a room full of baubles. Save for investment art, furniture, and timeless vintage finds that appreciate.
Choose Coffee Table Books Wisely
Select stylish coffee table books that represent your personal brand – fashion, architecture, photography, design. Arrange creatively rather than filling space.
Serve Wine Properly
Invest in proper stemware suited for the varietals you prefer. Use decanters and serve at correct temperature. Details make evenings at home special.
School Yourself in High Culture
Read up on topics like wine regions, architecture, interior design, and art history. Knowledge and intellectual pursuits are the true hallmarks of luxury living.
Treat Yourself to Fine Dining
An incredible meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant is a spectacular luxury that doesn’t require ownership. Savor these experiences fully when your budget allows.
Surround Yourself with Beauty
Curate your environment with beautiful objects. Fresh flowers, coffee table vignettes, video artwork, sculptural accents – enrich your nest as budget allows.
Make Luxe Travel Possible
With savvy planning, you can enjoy luxury experiences on a real world budget:
Travel Shoulder Season
Avoid peak tourist seasons when hotels and airfare are most expensive. Embrace rainy and colder months – deals abound at high-end properties with fewer crowds.
Join Hotel Loyalty Programs
Sign up for every luxury hotel’s rewards program, even if you only stay once a year. Book direct. Status often includes free breakfast, upgrades, credits, and VIP treatment.
Fly at Off Times
Tickets on Tuesday afternoons and red-eyes are often much cheaper than prime flights. Upgrade to business class with miles. Sleep through redeyes.
Rent Designer Vacation Homes
Local luxury rental properties offer five star amenities like chef’s kitchens, pools, and concierge service at a fraction of hotel rates. Feel at home while pampered.
Get Airport Lounge Access
Purchase an annual Priority Pass. Have a luxe experience while awaiting flights with free food, drinks, wifi, and quiet spaces to refresh and recharge.
Sign Up for Travel Deal Emails
Luxury travel providers like Virtuoso agencies and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts regularly distribute exclusive offers and value-adds. Sales sell out instantly.
Master Points and Miles
Learn airline and hotel loyalty programs in depth. redemptions, elite status fast tracks, transfer partners –