You don’t have to spend a million dollars to look like it. These easy (and free!) upgrades will make any ensemble look luxe.

By Rebecca Daly
Updated May 20, 2016
Barbara Donninelli
Barbara Donninelli


Call it the Midas touch—simple, structural gold-toned jewelry just has that special something. Wearing minimalist head-to-toe black, or boyfriend jeans and a white tee? Add your favorite statement bracelet, earrings, or ring for instant elevation.


Even the most expensive items will lose their luster if they’re wrinkled and creased. To perfect the polished look, press crisp cottons with an iron and use a steamer on silkier fabrics.

Richard Boll/Getty Images


Yes, this seems like an obvious one. But we often don’t realize how much wear and tear everyday items, like handbags and shoes, actually get—and that daily abuse can make accessories look old and dirty way before their time. Keep these items looking brand new by wiping them down with a damp cloth, snipping any loose threads, and seeing a cobbler if you need to buff out any scuffs or scratches.

Kenji Aoki


Why is it that some women manage to look polished in a pair of jeans, and others just… don’t? Like the icing on a cake, beauty and grooming are the final touches that make all the difference. If your makeup is done, your nails are manicured (or even just clean and filed), and not a hair is out of place, the attention to detail suggests that you took equal care with your outfit.

Jessica Antola


Tucking in a top or sweater creates a clean, complete silhouette in one quick step. Bonus points if you can master the effortless chic appeal of the “half tuck.” Add these other key tweaks to your styling skills as well: Properly cuffing jeans, neatly rolling sleeves, and expertly tying a scarf.

Sascha Pflaeging


Inexpensive embellishments, like hardwear, studs, and beading, tend to look exactly that—inexpensive. Sleek, classic pieces that are free of any add-ons, like logos or bling, tend to come across as much more high-end, even if they’re not.

Floto + Warner


Pairing different textures, like silk or a soft knit with suede or leather (real or faux) adds instantaneous visual interest to your look, without adding any bells or whistles.