How to look ‘expensive’ when you’re on a budget

 

If you’ve heard the word ‘expensive’ thrown about on shows like Project Runway and Australia’s Next Top Model, it’d probably be coming from the mouth of Alex Perry. The designer of arguably Australia’s most glamorous gowns (seen here on little ‘ol me!), Perry is often found encouraging women to look more “expensive’, and deriding those who don’t.

But how can one look expensive when your extra cash is being spent on school shoes, swimming lessons, and those rides at the shop that cost $2 to rotate your child around and around for 3 ½ minutes accompanied by loud tinny music (money well spent for nearly 4 minutes of peace, and those little milky grins)?

We posed this question to Josh Flinn, fashion commentator on Channel Nine Mornings, mentor to the models on Australia’s Next Top Model, and publicist to designer Alex Perry. Here’s what Josh had to say:

“You don’t need money to look expensive. Looking expensive is about 3 things:”

  1. Fit
  2. Fabric
  3. The way you wear your outfit.

 

“For instance, add a thin belt to an LBD.”

 

“Add great sunnies to a plain white shirt and jeans.”

For more ideas on how to wear the classic white shirt see 7 ways to wear your white work shirt now you’re CEO of a household.

 

 

“Look at Elle MacPherson. She doesn’t always wear expensive clothes, but she really knows how to put a great look  together. She does have expensive hair though. Those extensions! That blow dry!!”

 

Fox in Flats: So Josh, what should we spend our cash on?

Josh Flinn: “Shoes. They make such a difference to your outfit. Plus a good, classic pair of trousers. They will outlive you.”

 

FiF: What can or should we skimp on?

JF: “White t-shirts and moisturisers – Cetaphil does the same job as the really expensive stuff.”

 

FiF: Complete the sentence: Tracksuit are….

JF: “For home. Unless you’re J.Lo and your name’s encrusted across your bottom, or you’re a track-star and you’re getting paid to wear them, tracksuits should remain at home.”

“Adidas pays the biggest stars $20 mill. to wear their tracksuits in public. No-one pays Jenny from Doonside to wear a tracksuit.

And remember, velour can be a fickle mistress.”

 

FiF: Right, thanks Joshie! (said with a wave over my shoulder as I race home to burn my grey velour Country Road trackie once and for all.)

 

For more great tips from Josh, see what he says we can ALL learn from models, and click here to find out the two surprising things he’s seen stashed in makeup artist’s kits!

 

What do you splash out on? What do you save on? And do YOU wear a tracksuit in public?

baby hanger1 Things we can learn from models: Next Top Model mentor Josh Flinn reveals

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  • E.

    Splurges are meant for shoes, bags, belts and shades. They really are one-time investments that last forever. The way I see it, spending once for something good is better than spending several times for something that ditches you on your “look pretty” day.

    I save up on tops and dresses. I shop for them only during sales. Call me cheap, but I bet I have more stuff for every season than someone can put together from shopping when they are “in”. Dresses and blouses never go out of style. It’s just a matter of what you team it up with. Skirts, shorts, jeans and trousers depend on the perfect fit. You don’t come by the right piece often. So, I get them when I see them. And no, I detest tracksuits. Wherever they may be. You’ll never find me in them. 

    • Anonymous

      “spending once for something good is better than spending several times for something that ditches you on your “look pretty” day.” I LOVE this, and am going to use as my mantra forever. Great tips here E. Thanks! x

  • Emj

    Tracksuits shouldn’t even be seen at home – they shouldn’t be seen EVER so far as I can see 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I used to wear a grey velour tracksuit at home (and even sometimes down the street to get the milk). then I realised that every time I put it on, while it was very comfortable, I felt awful. Have thrown it out and feel relieved! 

  • Fabulous post! I am (supposed to be) on a very strict budget this year as we save for our wedding, I am all about looking amazing for less at the moment 🙂

    I don’t even own a pair of track pants! However if I am feeling lazy, I am known to put on tights, a singlet and running shoes and pretend like I am stopping off at the supermarket prior to a gym session, lol.

    I think splurges should be jeans, a good blazer and one good handbag. The rest can be cheaper stuff (t shirts, scarves etc) to pair with the expensive stuff.

    X

    • Anonymous

      Good tips about the splurges here Melinda – and you are right, a great blazer if a fantastic investment. I’ve got a black one that I bought probably 8 years ago, and it STILL looks great and adds polish to everything. Fab tips x

  • *wonders how she found her way to a fashion site*
    I splurge on sequins and glittered lycra for circus costumes.  Everyday clothes I buy from the op shop or sew.

    • Anonymous

      OMG all kinds of FABULOUS! Love me some shiny stuff! x

  • As usual, I am going to say “I totally agree Melinda!!”…
     
    I’m saving for a wedding as well. Plus we are also renovating our house which includes an extension.
     
    Needless to say, there is not a lot of money floating around for me to spend on myself.

    I think when it comes to a lot of items, you can go cheap – you just need to know where to shop.

    – I go to Target for a lot of basics (undies, socks, singlet tops).
    – Sussans do fantastic tights that are really affordable.
    – Lovisa do amazing accessories that are chic and cheap.
    – The Asos sale section is always worth a look (I have been buying a lot of workwear from there).

    And on the other side of the coin (haha), I have a Cue blazer that I bought 7 years ago that I still wear. Blazers are the ultimate in chic-ing up an outfit.

    …now I really want to go shopping!!

    • Anonymous

      Great tips there Sonia. And I totally agree about investing in a great blazer. I’ve still got one from about 10 yrs ago that is still the bomb. xA

  • I have to confess to love tracky-ing up to vege out on the sofa, but my policy is that they never, ever leave the house! I was managing school soccer last winter and I bought Lorna Jane flash dance pants to wear helping at training. (I don’t’ do jeans and sneakers and I didn’t want to trash my converses playing soccer and wearing gym gear seemed like I was taking the whole thing a bit too seriously!) I like to shop the sales, and get my basics from Kmart,Target or Cotton On.  Probably means I’m always a season behind, but I try to choose unusual tops or dresses that suit me rather than being too of the moment.

    • Anonymous

      Oh I love the sound of the ‘flash dance’ pants. Especially if the’d make me look even remotely like Jennifer Beales…

  • Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    These are all great points.  I don’t even own a pair of tracksuit pants.  I do love shoes and shoes can make or break an outfit.  Rachel 

    • Anonymous

      Gotta love the Josh-meister!

  • Loved this post. I’ve always been an at home tracksuit pant wearer. x

    • Anonymous

      Lol I wish I could say I’ve never gone out in public in them (hanging head…). But then, it’s why I started Fox in Flats…needed a tracky-dack intervention…

  • jackwafabwa

    I splash out on accessories and shoes. A statement piece easily distracts attention from my Big W/Target best. 

    I’ve just done a wardrobe declutter and farewelled 7 garbage bags of clothes, but my “Roberta Williams” velour trackie remains, and I will wear it proudly!!! Maybe even occasionally to the local shops – gasp! I just wish I had those gold sequin ugg boots to team it with 😉

    • FoxInFlats

      That’s good advice there about accessories. And you don’t need to pay top $ for them either! X

  • Rachel

    Trackies are when it’s that time of the month, it’s a supply run to the supermarket and a must chocolate supply! You always run into the last person you want to see in your daggy trackies! Who looks totally groomed and in fashionable clothes with hair n make up done! Almost a monthly right of passage!

    • Cathy

      Usually someone you haven’t seen since primary school or THE most glamorous ‘car park mafia mum’ from
      school …..

      • FoxInFlats

        Yes!

  • temptation

    Tracksuit?? I don’t even have one… At home I usually wear loose jeans or leggins and a tee or a comfortable simple dress

    • FoxInFlats

      Sounds nice and comfy.

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  • Gemma Elle

    This post is fantastic, thank you! I’m in the process of losing weight and don’t really want to spend a fortune on “in between” clothes, but don’t want to spend the months rotating daggy, cheap-looking clothes either. Will keep Josh’s advice in mind as I shop!

    • FoxInFlats

      He’s the man. xA

  • She Who Says GO!

    My rule: I splurge IF it’s a well-made ‘classic’ that fits and accentuates me well. Still, I’m very good at being thrifty even on the high end stuff – I’m not sure if it’s because I’m patient or lucky or both! Trendy stuff, including accessories, usually come from sales and clearance racks. It’s also helpful if your style tends to lean towards the vintage.