look classy on a budget

13 Ways to Look Classy On a Budget

In Outfit Ideas & Style Tips by marketninjas

Looking classy is what everyone tries to achieve.  It’s hard to define it but you always know it when you see it.  Certain words like elegant or refine may come to mind when you think of this sense of style.

Classy fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Grace Kelly, and Jackie O probably come to mind.  Their style is timeless and they never look outdated.  Even when they’re in jeans and flats, they always look so put together.

Of course, it’s easy for the rich and famous to achieve this look.  Chances are they have their own stylists who help them pick out what looks great on them.  Not to mention walk-in closets full of options so they never have to wear the same thing twice.

Although it may be easier for some to dress in such a classy way, it’s not impossible for the rest of us.  You’ll just have to get creative and be strategic about your purchases.  Shopping for discounted items or perusing thrift shops are secrets to finding vintage pieces that have the perfect classy vibe.

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to have a huge budget for clothes to look your best. You just have to put time and effort into taking care of your appearance.  Taking care of the items you already own so they are always clean and crisp can also make a world of difference.

Some of the tips we’ve come up with are achievable for anyone.  In this article, we’ll cover some secrets like:

  • Wear your hair up
  • Have a structured bag
  • Be smart with accessories
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear the right makeup (nails and lips)
  • Have plenty of black
  • Belt it up and add structure
  • Keep warm with a blazer

As you can see, none of these tips require you to run out and go on a shopping spree that will break the bank.  Instead, you can shop your own closet to see what you already have that could be styled differently.

Start an inspiration board with pictures from magazines or photos of your fashion inspiration and try to re-create one of their looks.  Learn how to do your hair and makeup in a way that compliments your best features and leaves you looking like yourself, only better.

You can even start making small changes like swapping out that bright neon nail polish for a more subtle nude or rose pink.  Things like that cost a fraction of going out and getting a new wardrobe or buying designer pieces.

Shopping secondhand is an ideal way to try out new styles to see if they work for you and your body.  Sometimes you have to take clothes home and wear them in your everyday life to know if they will work for you.

So before splurging on something, test drive some used pieces to get a better idea of what classy means to you and your sense of style.  After all, you want to look like you, just classier, not a carbon copy of someone else.

We all want to look classier when we’re out and about. There’s no proper definition for classy fashion, but it’s often interchangeable with adjectives like refined, elegant, and put together – you know, all the words one would use to describe Kate Middleton’s wardrobe. But dressing like a duchess comes with a hefty price tag. So, how does one look classy while staying within budget?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend your entire paycheck on a new wardrobe to look classy. With a little creativity, smart investments, and thrift shopping, you’ll be set for looking classy at every occasion.

Lucky for you, we’ve come up with a few genius hacks to look classy while staying within budget.

What’s The Secret To Looking Classy?

Sure, we can give you a few tips on how you can improve your look, but being classy isn’t about the clothes in your wardrobe, shoes in your collection, or jewelry in your drawer. In fact, looking classy requires that you put time and effort into your appearance.

1. Wear Your Hair Up

Rule number one to looking classy is to wear your hair up. Agreed, an up-do isn’t necessary for looking elegant, but it definitely helps. With long hair, there’s some trial and error as to whether you look classy, but sleek up-dos and tied hair can make you look refined.

Have you ever noticed that most celebrities opt for up-dos to look classy, even if they tend to look better with their hair down? Sporting an up-do has less do with looking ‘pretty’, but more to do with showing that you put a considerable amount of time into your appearance.

Nonetheless, you can select from a variety of up-dos and find something that flatters your face shape and accentuates your best features. Of course, there are a few ground rules as to the type of hairstyle you wear. It has to be minimal and subtle; if it requires few pins and clips, great, but if it does, choose subtle accessories that stay concealed.

Another rule is that there should be no flyaways. To make it so, opt for wax, gel, or hairspray.

2. Have a Structured Bag

We might have mentioned it before, but having a structured bag is essential to looking chic and elegant. The best part about structured bags is that it retains a defined shape regardless of how much stuff is in it.

Often, when we see women who look classy and poised, we take in their entire appearance instead of just their outfit. You may have noticed that they usually carry a structured purse, usually with short straps.

Now, even fast fashion brands are launching chic handbags in materials like faux leather and suede so it’s not necessary that you get a luxury branded handbag.

3. Be Smart with Accessories

You have to start being smart with your accessories if you want to look chic and not gaudy. In this case, it doesn’t really matter how many accessories you have, but how you wear them.

Statement Necklace

For fancier occasions, opt for a statement necklace if you’re wearing a minimalist outfit with little detailing. This can bring attention to your face and highlights all your best features.

Delicate (and Polished) Jewelry

On any other day, we’d suggest that you stick to smaller and delicate jewelry pieces. Most importantly, opt for jewelry that’s silver or rose gold colored so it doesn’t take look too bright. Make sure that the jewelry hasn’t faded and looks polished.

For a ‘less is more’ approach, layer one or two small necklaces with intricate gemstones. This shows that you don’t overdo it.

‘Diamond’ Earrings

Before you wonder if this is really a budget-friendly guide, relax. We don’t mean that you should splurge on real diamond earrings. In this area, we believe that dupes can achieve a similar effect.

Diamond earrings have an understated elegance that’s hard to miss. Sure, there might be a lot of trendy options on the market, but choosing something as classic as pearl or diamond earrings means choosing elegance over being trendy.

An Elegant Watch

This step is optional, but we highly recommend that you invest in a good watch. No dupes. In the long run, it’ll save you the time and effort of getting it repaired. By no means are we saying that you should get a gold wristwatch. After all, even a stunning timepiece with a leather strap can get the job done.

We normally associate branded watches with a hefty price tag but you might be able to score an affordable watch at some brands, such as Michael Kors. A pretty watch can level up your outfit and make you look classier.

4. Wear Sunglasses

It can feel embarrassing when your outfit is on point but you’re caught with the sun in your eyes. Bright lights and sun can affect your vision and consequently, your composure. To keep that from happening, you should wear sunglasses during the day.

When it comes to sunglasses, there aren’t any rules, except that you should choose what’s best for your face shape. Branded sunnies can look great but if your budget doesn’t allow it, you can always head over to fast fashion stores that sell affordable versions of luxury brand sunglasses.

Another reason why you should get sunglasses is that they help you look around without letting other people notice. You look poised and refined because you can see all around you, but no one knows what you’re observing.

5. Wear the Right Makeup (nails and lips)

Makeup is versatile; you can be subtle or dramatic, colorful or nude-toned. If you want to look classy, you’ll have to tone down your makeup. There are a few essentials to make sure of, even if you’re going for a ‘no makeup’ look.

Have a Perfect Base

One, you need to have the perfect base i.e. foundation. Apply a minimal layer with a wet sponge for even application. But before that, prime your skin by washing, toning and moisturizing it. Not to mention, adding some primer can help airbrush those pores.

Stick to your shade and don’t go out of your way to hide imperfections. Remember, you’re trying to look refined, not artificial.

Lip Color

Adding a pop of color on the lips is the best way to amplify your look in an instant. In most cases, a red lip is enough, but a nude shade can also look chic. Then again, you can always opt for something light, like a coral or pink tone.

Although red is best, we prefer to leave this up to you, since not everyone feels bold enough to sport red lipstick.

Filed and Nude Nails

We love brightly colored and shiny acrylic nails as much as the next person, but only if you’re going for a fun, party-loving vibe. In this case, put more work into manicuring, filing, and looking after your nails.

Remember, looking classy is all about the small details. Chipped or improperly shaped nails can look messy, so cut them carefully and file them for a good shape. Get cuticle oil to prevent unsightly cuticles and use plenty of moisturizer so your hands look supple.

When it comes to the color, you can wear no color, a base coat, or a nude shade.

6. Have Plenty of Black

No matter how many trends come out to redefine classy fashion, black will always remain a staple for any wardrobe. The color has a unique ability to accentuate all types of skin tones and suit every body shape.

Since it looks good on everyone, having more clothes and shoes on the darker side of the color palette can help. We don’t mean that other colors don’t have a  classy factor, but if you’re ever in doubt, just know that black is the way to go.

Nonetheless, make sure to get the right clothing items in black. We’ll explain this in further points.

7. Belt it Up and Add Structure

If your dress or coat doesn’t give off a classy vibe, one way to do it is to add a belt. This will look a lot better because your clothes have a structured appearance that gives a clean silhouette. The same applies to other clothes as well.

For instance, make sure that you wear dresses that are more stiff and less flow-y. This means fabrics like cotton or neoprene rather than chiffon. Even for pants, choose tailored trousers, tapered pants, and wide-legged pants made from stiff fabrics. In skirts, we suggest midi skirts that have a good fit around the waist, such as pencil skirts.

8. Keep Warm with a Blazer

If you’re feeling chilly, there’s no better way to look classy and cozy than to wear a blazer. These are versatile and come in an array of colors, so you can rock one on almost any occasion. Not to mention, they add more structure to your outfit and look good paired with almost anything.

Add a blazer to a dress, blouse, or even a T-shirt and feel the difference. You’ll instantly feel more powerful and better dressed.

Sure, there are other designs when it comes to structured coats, but blazers nowadays are made from different fabrics, including a mixture of synthetic fabric. This makes it ideal for all seasons. If you’re heading out during the summer months but feel like it will chilly in the evening, a lightweight blazer will keep you warm but not overheated.

9. Keep Things Neutral

By this, we mean to buy more clothing items and shoes in neutral colors. This includes beige, camel, brown, and nude colors. These look classy, elegant, and high-maintenance. In addition, darker colors like navy blue are a good option.

10. Smell Good

One of the basics for looking and feeling classy is to have a  signature scent. It needs to be mild, refreshing, and subtle so it doesn’t overpower everything else about your outfit. Not all the best scents have to be expensive. In fact, you can do a good job with a body mist that has a floral fragrance.

The key point to remember is that you should smell delightful because it can leave a lasting impression on people who are around you. Imagine wearing your best outfit, the perfect shoes, and carrying your favorite bag – now if you add a pleasant fragrance to the mix, it’ll instantly make you more attractive.

11. Wear Pointed Heels or Flats

Have you ever thought about why certain pairs of shoes that celebrities wear can instantly make their outfits look classier? When it comes to the different types of shoes you can wear to look chic, there is some trial and error involved, except for one type: pointed heels or flats.

These have an elegant shape that adds a show-stopping element to any outfit. True, they may not be the most comfortable pair, but even flats look a hundred times more classy than regular rounded flats. Invest in a few pairs of pointed heels and flats in colors like black, nude, and red. These will certainly come in handy when you’re in a bind and need a quick, classy fix.

12. Make Sure Your Clothes Fit Well

Whether you’re trying to look more chic, classy, or just want your outfit to appear as expensive, a crucial aspect is that your clothes should fit well i.e. have a tailored fit. When buying new clothes, get them in the size you currently are, rather than the size you were, will be, or hope to achieve. Trust us, ill-fitting clothes look frumpy and too casual.

13. Shop Smart

We always recommend that you check clearance racks and thrift stores for a good steal and essentials that enhance your wardrobe. However, if you are looking to invest in high-quality items, start slow and get one thing at a time. Splurging all at once can limit your options.

We suggest that you look through a variety of stores before making a purchase. This is so you get the best price and get a firm understanding of your options.