How to Look Expensive on a Budget

Designer fashion: it’s what all of us fashionistas obsess over in endless issues of Vogue, hoping one day to be strutting the streets in brands like Gucci, Hermes, Bottega Veneta, and more. But, those lofty dreams are often met by the reality that, for many of us (myself included), actually buying and wearing these pricey goods isn’t really feasible for a number of reasons, with the number one being their astronomical price. (And also the fact that I can’t be trusted to wear nice things on a daily basis without spilling, scuffing, scratching, or somehow damaging it due to my overall clumsiness.)

While I do definitely indulge in designer duds once in a while, I’ve actually been finding it much more satisfying to shop for these pieces secondhand from online designer consignment shops like The RealReal. I feel like the selection is much more diverse, and I just love the thrill of the hunt for a unique piece from seasons past that not everyone is wearing. Plus, I’ve also found incredible pieces at a great price that are in brand new, tags-attached, boxes-and-dust bags-included condition!

But, just in case you’re looking for an easier option that doesn’t involve spending tons of time combing through one-off listings on websites, I’ve done a little digging and uncovered some fool’s gold: designer dupes with a high-end feel for a ton less money. (Bonus- a lot of these items are available at places you might already shop at quite often!) Read on for my list of designer items and their budget-friendly doppelgängers!

1 | The Woven Bag

A cult-classic made popular by brands like Bottega Veneta, this is one of those bags any fashionista should have in their closet. The woven look instantly feels ultra-luxe, and the great news is that there are plenty of options for dupes! Here’s the one I snagged for a mere $28!

Shop here!

2 | The Headscarf

Who doesn’t love a good Gucci moment? One of the brand’s signature styles is their patterned headscarves. But, editorial style doesn’t have to mean high-dollar! Here’s how you can achieve the look for less!

Shop here!

3 | Oversized Sunglasses

Speaking of Gucci hallmarks, we can’t forget the brand’s penchant for oversized, granny-style sunglasses! Somehow, big sunnies will always seem ultra-chic to me and luckily their popularity has stuck around throughout the years, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding ones on a budget! Here’s my pick… (Hint- it’s available at Target!)

Shop here!

4 | Monochrome Colors

Hermes (like many other high-end designers) loves a good monochrome look. Imitate the style for yourself by matching your hues from head to toe, with one or two pops of contrast in your accessories. Bonus points for mixing patterns- combining offbeat prints gives any outfit that luxurious touch! My jeans and top are both from Rent the Runway, so there’s extra budget-saving potential if you go for one of their plans! Use my discount code RTRFAM56E3094 for 40% off 2 months of their 8 and 16 item membership plans!

5 | Bold Jewelry

Eyeglass chains, metallic necklaces and chain belts, bold bracelets, oversize brooches. I have to go back to Gucci for this one; the brand loves its accessories! To capture the look for yourself, start out with sticking to a singular color scheme or element (for example, gold + chains) then add them in a few spots: adorn collars with a brooch, stack some bracelets, cinch your waist with a chain belt, or clip on an eyeglass chain!

Looking swanky doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag! All it takes is a little digging, and you can achieve a designer-inspired look for way less!

Xx Tabi

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