10 Expensive-Looking Staples Every Wardrobe Could Benefit From

I admit it; I have expensive taste, and I’m also quite (read: very) picky. I always have been. When I was a teenager, knowledge of labels generally wasn’t as prevalent as now. (We have the internet and social media to thank for that.) But even then, I found myself gravitating towards pieces of substance and brands of note over the quick and easy wardrobe updates that would tempt my friends. I dressed older than my years, which, at the time, sometimes meant I felt the opposite of “trendy”. Looking back, however, at photographs of my best friend’s 16th birthday party, to which I wore wide-leg tailored trousers and a silky camisole, I’m just grateful that such photographs don’t make me cringe today.

Now, a fully-fledged adult, I’m still picky and have the same expensive taste. My budget, however? Well, it doesn’t always allow me to indulge in the latter. As such, I’ve become something of a dab hand at spotting expensive-looking pieces at any price point, as well as unearthing the pieces that are worth a more significant investment. Generally speaking, these are classic wardrobe staples—pieces that will forever be stylishly appropriate. Below, I’ve listed 10 such items, with shopping from our favourite high-street and premium brands to match. 

From the dress that will carry you through a host of occasions to the denim update that will make your outfits look more premium, scroll on to see the expensive-looking fashion staples your wardrobe will always benefit from. 

Style Notes: Of all the dress trends out there, none look quite so expensive as those featuring satin fabrications. Be it for weddings or just elevated weekend attire, there’s no summer occasion a satin dress can’t handle. 

I envisage pairing this with black chunky sandals. 

The perfect bias cut.

Style Notes: Lighter-coloured jeans always make a comeback in the warmer months. As is often the case, it’s the little things that can make your outfits more premium—instead of opting for pure white jeans, I suggest looking for off-white or ecru pairs, as they tend to look more expensive. 

They look so premium!

These jeans come well reviewed. 

Style Notes: If your goal is to look rich and unbothered, a printed square scarf will certainly get you there. Worn in your hair or around your neck or tied to the strap of your bag, this is a common detail I see in the most expensive-looking outfits. 

Such a gorgeous colour palette. 

This scarf is high on my autumn wish list. 

Style Notes: Leather jackets are classic, this we know, but if you’re in the market for something that looks a little more elevated, seek out the boxy styles that are currently dominating the fashion scene. With less of an emphasis on the metal hardware and more of a focus on the sleek silhouette, these look more spendy in my eyes. 

Blazers count too and this jacket will make you look effortlessly cool.

It’s back in stock!

Style Notes: Perhaps the most in-demand item on our list, striped knitwear is proving incredibly popular with fashion people right now. There’s just something so inherently luxe about a Breton stripe. 

This has sold out more times than I can count. 

A delightfully Parisian-inspired knit.

Style Notes: Rotate your black tailoring with pieces in a softer but no-less-sleek navy hue. 

This blazer will give everything you wear with it extra polish but especially a pair of low-rise jeans or a slip dress. 

The relaxed fit of these trousers looks spot-on.

Style Notes: When I want to look like I’ve put considerable amounts of effort into my look but, in reality, have neither the time nor the patience to do so, I simply add pearl jewellery. Et voilà—your outfit looks expensive. 

The pearl earring, reimagined. 

I don’t wear bracelets often—I don’t like the clacking noise they make against my keyboard as I type—but I’m willing to make an exception for this beauty. 

Style Notes: Though I do have a soft spot for basket bags, this year, I’m looking to invest in a chic canvas tote, as I generally find they look more elevated than my beloved basket weaves. 

This is my ideal canvas tote. 

I can’t fault this Polène option. It’s undeniably sleek.

Style Notes: Though they were prevalent last summer, the relaxed shirt returned for 2023, with so many influencers already wearing theirs. Effortless and endlessly versatile, it’s key pieces like this that make whatever you’re wearing look timeless and, thus, more expensive. 

A blue shirt always looks polished. 

Arket’s shirts are a fashion set favourite. 

Style Notes: Loafers are a classic wardrobe staple that will never go out of style. Thanks to brands like The Row and Gucci, who put them on the map, they’re considered to be a very premium footwear choice (even if you buy yours on the high street). 

Sleek, polished and so much more expensive-looking than their £50 price tag.

Fashion people love & Other Stories’ simple pair.

Next Up: They’re Here the Most Stylish Cashmere Jumpers for Every Budget

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Opening image: @symphonyofsilk/