How to Make Your Cheap Clothes and Accessories Look Expensive

Buttons, Scarves And Belts Can All Be Used To Creatively Accent Any Outfit ~

Pretty metallic buttons and those with a leather look to them can dress up an outfit in an inexpensive way.
Pretty metallic buttons and those with a leather look to them can dress up an outfit in an inexpensive way. | Source
Shank buttons make an outfit look more expensive, and pearl-look buttons can do the same.
Shank buttons make an outfit look more expensive, and pearl-look buttons can do the same. | Source
Pretty fashion scarves dress up any outfit and can give it a more expensive look. Designer scarves can be found for a fraction of their original price when you shop clearance sections of stores or in vintage clothing shops.
Pretty fashion scarves dress up any outfit and can give it a more expensive look. Designer scarves can be found for a fraction of their original price when you shop clearance sections of stores or in vintage clothing shops. | Source
Try adding a pretty fashion belt to plainly styled clothing to create a more expensive designer look.
Try adding a pretty fashion belt to plainly styled clothing to create a more expensive designer look. | Source

There's A Reason Cheap Clothes Are Cheap, But They Can Still Look Expensive ~

There are reasons that cheap clothes look like they are cheap. They are often made from inferior materials and are usually not sewn as well as more expensive clothes are. Usually, they don't fit quite like the expensive clothes either. They tend to have more of a boxy "this size fits most" (people who wear this size) kind of fit. Sometimes you find you have to be careful when caring for cheap clothes, since fading can happen when they are washed as well as seams coming apart.

One good rule of thumb is that clothing made from synthetic fabrics will often look cheaper than clothes made from more luxurious fabrics like cottons, silks and linens. If a blouse is made from a polyester type material, you will often notice that the seams are bulkier and the edges may not have as finished of an appearance as edges on other fabrics. When you are saving money on clothes by choosing cheaper clothes, it's better, if you can, to go with the more expensive looking fabrics.

As far as some fashions go, however, even cheap clothes can be made to look like more expensive ones simply by adding additional elements to them. Try adding a super cute jacket to a cheap blouse, or a blazer you've picked up that was expensive, but since you were a smart shopper, you picked it up at a discounted price. Some stores in the United States are fantastic places to find designer fashions at deep discounts. Some of these include Burlington Coat Factory, T.J. Maxx and Ross "Dress For Less" stores.

Pairing a cheaper blouse with one of these elements can make it look as if the total look you've created is well "put together" and can make you look like a savvy shopper, as well as a "snappy dresser". Another way to dress up a cheap blouse is by replacing buttons on the blouse. If you notice that the blouse has very basic and generic buttons on it, try sewing new stylish buttons on it to create a fresh, new and updated look.

Many times, a fancy shank style button can update a look in a creative and expensive looking way. Buttons covered in material have this effect and metallic buttons can have that effect as well. Other buttons to try using include pearl-look buttons or buttons in creative shapes. Anything that can make the blouse more attractive to the eyes is a good bet.

One way to make a discounted and basically styled dress look more expensive is by adding a pretty and stylish fashion belt to it. It can be a wide plain colored belt or one with stylish designs on it. It can even be one of the latest trendy looks, which today is western belts with rhinestones on them. Pair this with a cute pair of cowboy boots, and you have an expensive look at a fraction of the cost. This is the look we see a lot of in the western United States. We see it in Nevada where I live and in other western states.

Another accessory that can make any outfit look like a million bucks (OK, so maybe not quite that much, but it can improve the look) is a pretty fashion scarf. Many times, beautiful scarves can be found at discounted prices, especially when the seasons are changing.

In fact, some department stores even feature well-known designer scarves at a fraction of designer prices. One of the most recent examples of this was at Target when they were getting rid of the clothing and accessories by one designer to make room to display those of another designer. Many stores seem to do this at least twice a year. By shopping for great bargains, you will always have an assortment of pretty scarves to choose from to dress up any plain looking outfit.

If fit is an issue, and if you are handy and know how to sew, often times a couple of darts sewn in a garment can make a world of difference. This can work on a top, or even on some skirt styles, like a pencil skirt. Once the item looks as if it is tailor-fitted, it will most likely look more expensive.

I'm not handy at all with a sewing machine, my few pithy attempts at sewing took place in home economics courses in high school where a patient woman would attempt to teach us youngsters how to sew. Oh, the stories I'm sure she could tell! I bet some of them would be hilarious. I can only hope she doesn't remember anything I made! Some of our fledgling attempts were pretty humorous.

I do remember one dress in particular I made, and I never wore it, not once. The end result just did NOT look the same as the picture on the front of the pattern envelope. That seemed to be a pretty common occurrence in this class! It was definitely a case of what you see is NOT what you get!

How To Make Accessories Look Expensive ~

One easy way to make any scarf look dressier and more expensive is by using scarf clips, which are a form of jewelry, to hold the scarf in place. There are so many ways a scarf clip can be used, and they can be used with almost any shape or style of scarf as well. Sometimes you can find helpful videos on the Internet that will teach you the correct way to use a scarf clip. They really are very versatile and pretty accessories!

When you are wearing something like a plain black outfit use a scarf, with or without a scarf clip, to dress it up. This allows you to create just a little bit of a different look each time you wear that favorite "go-to" little black dress or black top. When you wear different fashion scarves with it each time, you won't have as much of the feeling that you're wearing that same dress... again.

One way to dress up basic accessories like purses is through buying and attaching "bling" that you can often find at craft stores. A very plain and basic purse can be transformed into a look-alike of an expensive designer one by using this method. Even a plain t-shirt can be dressed up and become really stylish by adding some of the beautiful rhinestone and other fashion bling jewel stones you can find in the craft store.

Often times, you will even find instruction and idea books in the craft store right near the rhinestones, faux jewels and other "bling". These books can really be helpful to give you some creative inspiration and new ideas. The idea is to go with what you like best, and make your own purse or other accessories into creations that express your individual style. If you enjoy trying to make them look similar to the look of a designer you admire, go for it!

It Pays To Shop for Things That Look "Designer" But Aren't!

A watch that reminded me of a Brighton style, for much less than the cost of Brighton.
A watch that reminded me of a Brighton style, for much less than the cost of Brighton. | Source

Shop Wisely For Accessories That Look Expensive ~

Speaking of designers, if you know there are certain designers whose look you REALLY love, chances are you might find similar items in stores that are much cheaper. Once recent success I had with this is a watch that I found. I LOVE the look of "Brighton," a well known design style. I love everything they make, including jewelry, handbags, wallets and other accessories. I found a watch recently and looked at it and thought "this reminds me of a "Brighton" style!

The really good part about buying this watch was that I picked it up for under $15 on clearance, only a fraction of what real "Brighton" watch would cost. Now the thing about this is that the watch may eventually stop working. I hope that doesn't happen. If it does, I hope that I can simply change a battery and still have a great looking watch for a while longer.

Becoming familiar with design styles that you love and then shopping for things that look similar can be a way to feel as if you are wearing designer when you aren't. In today's economic atmosphere, this can be a really good thing. You get that little lift knowing that you're wearing something really pretty, and only you know what the item really cost!

Try some of these helpful tips and see how you really can make cheap clothes and accessories look expensive. But most of all, have fun accessorizing and creating new looks.

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Comments 16 comments

shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

Kathy - Your genius for creativity really comes through with this hub. These are some inexpensive suggestions that really do add finesse and syle to an inexpensive garment.

I stumbled across the buttons by complete accident. I had lost a button on a favorite jacket and decided to replace them all. To my pleasure, it gave a refined look to the jacket.

Wonderful helpful hub that many will use during this struggling economy as well. Voting up.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, Beckie! I appreciate that so much! :) I was hoping people would "get" how to do this through my writing. :) Thank you for that great vote, too. :)


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 3 years ago from USA

My dad frequently goes to auctions to find those rare items he can't seem to live without. At the last one we went to, I came across a box of jewelry that had many mismatched pieces and charms off the necklaces. I purchased the box for the price of a brand new pair of earrings and took it home to sort it out. The extra pieces that I couldn't pair up, I set off to the side to create my own jewelry. By the end of the process, I ended up with a large jewelry box of 50 different items. Some of these I have thought about selling, but most of them I will use to refresh my wardrobe. Great hub here will very helpful ideas. I will be sure to bookmark it to remind myself of other things to do to give my look a facelift. Thanks!


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

You're welcome, tlpoague! So glad you found this helpful!

Sounds like you got a great deal at the auction. Finding things at auction is such a fantastic idea, too! :) Thank you for sharing your experience and for reading, I appreciate that! :)


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas

Great Hub with suggestions that are actually useable/possible to do. Believe it or not, some years ago I bought a full length mink coat at an auction for practically nothing. It had a beautiful cut and was a classic style -- but it had the ugliest buttons on it I'd ever seen. I bought new buttons (expensive) and what they did for the coat was unbelievable -- it looked like a totally different garment -- so I can personally testify to your button suggestion! Again, loved this Hub. Best/Sis


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, Angela! :) Isn't it fun finding great items at huge discounts? I love it! Thanks for sharing your experience! :)


sarahshuihan profile image

sarahshuihan 3 years ago from USA

Great hub! I find that if you have well fitting clothes with some classic accessories can really dress up anything 'cheap'. I also think it is in how you wear something. I always get compliments on this jacket and dress combo I wear, and I got both of those at a discount store.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

My motto is: Cheap doesn't have to look cheap. This is a very good instructional hub for people who think like I do. Thank you very much. Voted Up, Useful and Interesting!


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, Sarah! I think you're right about well fitting clothes, they always look so much better, and that creates a great look by itself. Thanks so much for your great comment! :)


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Good motto, MsDora! :) Thanks so much for your comment and for the great votes as well, I appreciate that! :)


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

I love to wear scarves to fancy up an outfit, and a great piece of jewelry, even if costume, can really make a difference. Good hub topic for sure. Voted up.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, Crystal! :) Glad you like this one, thank you for reading and for your comment. I appreciate that! :)


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

Wow, great and grand ideas! Now I have something to wear like I have a million bucks. Interesting accessories! Voted up, useful and shared. :)


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, vibesites! Glad you found this helpful. Thanks so much for commenting. :)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I can see this information being used to update a pretty holiday dress or ensemble. The craft stores are filled with great add-ons, jewels, bling and sparkles to make any item look chic. Good post.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, Dianna! I think you're right, the holidays are a fantastic time to use craft store add-ons to brighten up a wardrobe! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :)

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