Fashion stylists know the industry hacks that make any outfit pop. That’s why I turned to a few experts to find out what they rely on to make outfits look good on a budget. I spoke with stylists across the spectrum, including Christie Ressel, a personal stylist in Toronto, and private stylist Nicole Russo of Let’s Get You in New York City. I also heard from Melanie Lippman, a stylist based in the Hamptons, and Lindsay Zgonina, a costume designer and stylist whose credits include outfitting actors on Nashville and The Walking Dead.
These stylists weighed in on everything from ways to look put together fast to what makes the biggest impact on your overall style — plus, what they’d buy if they only had $50 to spend. You’ll find their recommendations below, but expect to find jackets and accessories for their ability to finish an outfit, along with statement jewelry, tops, even, as Russo recommends, a “swipe of dramatic makeup.”
One repeating theme that all the stylists echoed was to choose pieces that you absolutely love instead of, as what Russo describes as, settling for “good enough.” Russo advises, “When I teach my clients to invest in what they love, they feel more satisfied and stylish, even if they have less.”
What is most telling is that every single stylist interviewed seemed to agree that the way you feel matters more than whether something is influencer-approved. As Zgonina points out, “It’s less about specific pieces and more about how a person is wearing them. If someone is comfortable and confident in their look, they can pull off anything.”
Ahead you’ll find 34 stylist-approved pieces to elevate your look without breaking the bank. From chunky gold jewelry to classic wardrobe staples, these are the pieces to up-level your look — and to keep it wallet-friendly, all of the items below are under $50.