How to look expensive with the right clothes, fabric and colors

Tips on how to achieve a luxurious and high-end appearance through clothing choices, fabric selection, and color combinations.

Some people always look classy and expensive, even when I know that they are not loaded or spending that much. As my aim all the time was just to manage-not-to-look-cheap, I admired them from afar and ignored them. But maybe I should take note – what do they do that makes them stand out? How do they look sophisticated and elegant without necessarily spending a fortune on clothing?.

silk shirt leather accessories

How much does looking expensive really cost?

Looking the best is expensive. As Coco Chanel said, “The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.” So thinking about looking like a million bucks on a budget seems good on paper, but it is slightly difficult. Getting higher quality goods for affordable prices is an art in itself. To buy higher quality clothing for less, you should have tremendous patience and willpower to wait for sales to catch on these at the right time.

There are some hacks, ofcourse. Here are some ways to look expensive without breaking the bank

Minimalistic aesthetics

A minimalist and understated aesthetic is the hallmark of a sophisticated-looking rich person – that is the caveat today. In everything mentioned below, this understated, classic style is the one underlying fact. Choose classic styles that transcend seasonal trends. Everything else follows.

You need to have elegant, minimalist, and well-tailored garments in your wardrobe. Buy high-quality, well-tailored, and classic pieces rather than flashy or ostentatious clothes. Everything else comes second.

To know how the wealthy dress, you should study the aesthetics called stealth-aesthetics. It refers to a style where you use luxury and high-end fashion items that are designed with subtlety and understated elegance in mind (without flashy logos or ostentatious designs). You should find these items which doesnot cost a bomb.

Meticulous tailoring


“Dress shabbily, and they remember the dress; dress impeccably, and they remember the woman,” said Coco Chanel again.

A perfect fit and impeccable finish is the first thing you need to look rich. If you can afford to, go for Japanese tailoring, which is known for its attention to detail, precision, and craftsmanship. If you cannot, go for tailored clothes that feature meticulous and detailed techniques such as hand stitching and unique pattern cutting (which is what Japanese tailoring all about).

Wearing clothes that are too tight or that are way too loose is a strict no-no.

Next up are color and fabric quality.

Expensive looking fabrics

You should not skimp on fabrics if you want to look expensive. Higher quality fabrics look good, and they also will last longer. But not always. Some expensive-looking fabrics may not look good, or vice versa. And some expensive-looking fabric may not be expensive.

expensive looking fabrics

Expensive-looking fabrics, in my opinion, are pure mulberry silk (like Habotai), Cashmere and merino wool, Textured knits made of cotton, understated jacquard fabric, tweed, good quality Velvet, leather, and scuba knit.

Cashmere and woolen knitted products

Premium quality textiles always spell “expensive”. Some may not be, really, but most premium fabrics are expensive, for eg. cashmere sweaters of Johnstons of Elgin. The Scottish luxury brand has a drool-worthy collection of rich things made of Cashmere and wool.

Fine wool, Cashmere, and merino are super premium fabrics with a luxurious look in addition to their functionalities like softness and comfort.

If these fibers are made into English knits  (using superior knitting technology), you do not have to look elsewhere to look good. English knit products feature intricate patterns and textures and high-quality craftsmanship. The finished product looks rich and refined.

expensive looks -grey colored textured knit vest


We all know how soft and luxurious silk is. Get yourself a silk t-shirt or top to ace the rich look. If you have many options, first select high-quality mulberry silk, and you cannot go wrong. The best thing about silk over wool is that it is an all-season fabric.


Leather can look tacky if you do not choose it well (as is the case with any fabrics mentioned here).

You can get yourself good quality black leather boots and a leather jacket – all staples for a rich man’s wardrobe – and wear it everywhere. A cognac-colored leather accessory is the ultimate in luxury. Suede, as well as faux suede, has an understated rich appeal.

Fabrics you need to avoid are thin jersey knits (which develop holes sooner than later), Cheap polyester (which will start to pill), thin cotton (which looks cheap and wrinkles), cheap acrylic knits (which pills), synthetic satin (which develop snags and looks a mess after wash), brightly patterned fabrics in all kinds of colors, too much bling, washed out faded looking fabrics, plasticky looking faux leather and nylon.

cheap looking fabrics


Is there something called perfect colors? When it comes to looking rich, there appears to be. And this is something that we can all do without breaking the bank.

Just choose these colors and you are rich. At least in looks.

colors for looking expensive -cream, beige, camel

Beige or camel and similar shades

Beige and camel are neutral colors with warm undertones – very elegant on their own and doubly so with white and cream. Camel has a golden undertone that spells luxury and elegance.

Combine these colors with black or white for a rich look. For eg a camel-colored sweater or top with a pair of black  jeans

Maroon or burgundy

These 2 are deep and rich red shades that have an understated effect. They also have a very expensive vibe with the right fabrics and color combinations. I would combine maroon with black. The color goes very well with neutrals like black, white, and gray.

Navy blue

Navy blue is an ever-favorite sophisticated color that spells responsibility and elegance. But you have to combine it with good color combinations for it to work. My favorite combination is Navy blue and white. Navy and cream also have a separate fan base.

expensive colors

Light pastel colors of pink and all neutral colors including grey, white and black are all considered sophisticated and expensive looking colors.

expensive looking colors


Get a good statement purse. These are usually made of premium materials and can give you an air of sophistication. A Fendi sunglass or similar good quality sunglass can top the look.

As for shoes, do you know that even if you are dressed in rags but your shoes look good, people are going to think you are rich, and vice versa? That is, even if you are dressed to the nine but your shoes have scuff marks and look worn, you are obviously considered….

If you can afford it, get yourself French shoes as it is synonymous with quality. French shoemakers make their shoes with meticulous attention to detail. This ensures a perfect fit and exquisite finish. Brands like Weston shoes, Roger Vivier, and Isabel Marant make French shoes with which you can be effortlessly elegant and stylish – but you have to shell out a lot of cash for these.

So the next option is to look out for shoes made of premium leather, and suede, or made of other materials that are not prone to scuff marks and other wear and tear.

Maintain your clothes

After you buy all these, if you go careless, all your effort will go in vain. You will have to make some effort to maintain your garments.

  • Do not go out without removing all the wrinkles and creases from all of your clothes.
  • Mild Starching can give your clothes a polished look.
  • Some clothes should be dry cleaned. You can read the care label for this. Anyways dryclean all delicate or structured clothes. Read the post on dryclean care symbols to know more.
  • If you have silk, chiffon clothes, wash by hand. Use soft baby shampoo.
  • Use a lint brush or lint shaver to get all the lint and dirt (including hair). Those small balls on jackets should definitely be taken out.
  • Store your clothes the right way. Do not hang sweaters and knits to avoid them stretching out of shape.
  • Cut out any loose threads, sew back all loose buttons, and repair small tears when you see them – as soon as you see them.
  • Other factors that can affect the way your clothes look immaculate are overwashing and sunlight. And smell (Your clothes should smell nice and fresh)

But with everything said about classic style and the best colors, the clothes should not detract from your personality or who you are. If you like the colorful bright colored, patterned fashion, like the Kaleidoscope Boho style with all patterns and prints, go ahead. Yves Saint Laurent sums this up –  “Over the years, I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who’s wearing it.” You and your preferences matter the most.

Intersting reading

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

2 thoughts on “How to look expensive with the right clothes, fabric and colors”

  1. I enjoy reading your post. I have a passion for fashion and fabrics and I love sewing, embroidery too. I learn so much from your post. Thank you very much.
    Niva Roy

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