This Mistake Was Making All My Outfits Look Cheap

The first two years that I lived in New York, I only bought secondhand clothes. Granted, they were nice enough, but I was living life on a budget. If having to shop so strategically taught me anything, though, it’s the fact that wearing expensive clothes and looking like I wore expensive clothes were two very different things. The key lay all in my accessories.

Whether I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt or was heading somewhere with a black-tie dress code, I learned through my own trial and error that the way I accessorized could make my ensembles look cheap or could actually make them look more luxe than they really were.

Now as someone who can be a bit of lazy dresser (er, can we call it “laid-back”?), it isn’t in my nature to go all-out with accessories. I might throw on a pair of earrings and a cute bag, but it’s only through conscious effort that I’ve figured out the ways that I can make even my most budget finds feel anything but. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the pieces I use to up my look, along with links to styles I like so you can put my trick to use too! Some accessory options are budget-friendly, others are a bit of a splurge, but that’s only because if you can afford to treat yourself to something like a designer belt you’ll wear over and over again, it will pay for itself.

This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Up next, nine trends that have now become fashion-girl basics.