High Street to High End: Picking Colours & Fabrics | OOTD

Today’s post is about stretching that shoestring budget and styling yourself expensive because who doesn’t want to make their H&M look like Hermes? Okay, so that may be a tad ambitious haha, but there are definitely some ways that you can avoid the tell-tale signs of a bargain buy.

Read on to see my top tips on making your £50 outfit look like £500.

When it comes to styling yourself expensive, picking the right material is everything. My number one rule is to look for heavier fabrics be, it a t-shirt, trousers or an evening dress. Expensive pieces tend to be made of substantial fabrics that are often lined whereas high street brands will use lighter, unlined fabrics which brings down the the cost. Heavy materials fall more flatteringly on the body. They don’t ride up or crease as easily, they retain their shape as you move around and over time they withstand washing better than thin materials. Papery thin, see-through clothing is therefore an instant giveaway of a cheap buy.

I was at a ball recently when I woman walked by in a beautiful gown. From the front she looked phenominal but from the back the thin dress showed the outline of her thong and even some cellulite – she was about a size 8! If a cheap dress made even that lady look less than perfect, the rest of us have no chance. No matter how beautiful the dress, err on the side of caution and only buy thick, good quality fabrics.

Look for those little gems that are lined or, failing that, make sure to layer up so that you’re not caught short. I wear inexpensive camis under my thinner tops and a slip under my lightweight summer maxi dresses to make sure that I don’t suffer any mishaps. There’s nothing worse than getting dressed at home and thinking you’re A-okay, only to step out into sunlight and be that told your goods are on show!

This top was an inexpensive high street purchase whilst on holiday in Oman a few years ago. It really feels like it could be a designer pieces, I was shocked when I saw the price tag.

Knowing where to shop for quality fabrics that will wash well is also a huge bonus. If you buy a high street piece that lasts you longer than expected, make a note of the shop and the material so you know where to go next time. I’m obsessed with Zara’s faux leather leggings and buy a pair every two years. I wear them to death and they hold up really well. I’ll always look to Zara first for faux leather pieces now.

Black and white are colours that always look chic. Black because it’s so easy to match meaning you’ll always look ‘put together’. White simply because it’s less practical. Remember that scene from Maid in Manhattan where J-Lo tries on the off-white Dolce suit? Subconsciously we think that only rich people can afford to keep white clean – no public transport to be wary of! Don’t let that put you off though. If you’re not accident prone, a flash of white every now and then is beautifully striking and really fun to wear.

So sticking mostly to black, white and neutrals with matching accessories is a great way to make your outfits look high end. You’ll match well, making you look very polished. You can always add in pops of colour in your accessories or one key item like a jacket if you wish. I actually bought this top and this Primark trench jacket continents apart but the matching colour and my eye for a heavy fabric means that they look like a matching set – win!

I hope that this has given you some useful information for next time you go shopping on the high street. Of course these are just suggestions. As you know, I also wear bright colours all the time and love it but for those times when I’m shopping for something ultra chic on a budget this really helps! This is a series so in future High Street to End posts I’ll talk about cuts, design details and choosing the perfect accessories. Do you have any great tips of picking fabrics and colours that look expensive? Do share with us in the comments below! 

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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x