A sturdy handbag
As long as you’ve budgeted for it responsibly, a quality handbag is worth the investment. Look for one with a classic design (try a structured top-handle bag for the office and a cross-body bag for the weekend) in a neutral color. Once you’ve got your dream bag, keep it shiny by using Windex on patent leather and unscented body lotion on all other leather. To keep structured bags in top shape, re-stuff them before storing.
Add a fresh fragrance
No outfit is complete without a luxe fragrance to match. Find a scent you love and apply it to your skin (never your clothing or hair) at major pulse points, advises perfume and fragrance expert Sue Phillips. “Heat rises, so it’s important to apply perfume to points on the lower half of your body in addition to places like your wrists, elbows, and the nape of the neck,” says Phillips. For a scent that lasts, spritz your ankles, behind your knees, and between your thighs. To avoid mixing too many fragrances, treat your skin with an unscented moisturizer or almond oil before applying perfume.
Wear weighty accessories
Inexpensive jewelry is the ultimate impulse buy, and when chosen and styled thoughtfully, it can elevate any outfit. Opt for clear crystals over plastic gemstones, and choose darker metals over excessively shiny ones, advises WhoWhatWear. Additionally, choose metals that have some weight to them instead of ones that look and feel flimsy. For a classic look, add a metal or leather watch. Don’t be afraid to rock something with an ethnic or vintage vibe. Jewelry is the ultimate statement and conversation piece. Try these tips for cleaning jewelry at home.
Collect classic coats
No matter what you’ve got on underneath, a fabulous jacket makes an instant outfit. Focus on finding quality closet staples that will last you forever. A belted trench, black leather jacket, raw denim, and a navy, camel, or black pea coat will never go out of style. Collect them all and you’ll never find yourself with nothing to wear. On the other hand, here's what you should finally toss from your closet.
Pay attention to detail
If you spot a loose thread, give it a snip. Need to get rid of pills on a sweater? Use a disposable razor to shave them away. Got a pulled thread? Gently stretch the fabric back into shape and use a sewing needle to push the snag through to the inside of the sweater. (Click here for more tips to make your favorite knits last longer). And obviously, never wear an item of clothing with a stain, hole, or missing button. To choose pieces that will stand the test of time, don’t miss these hidden signs of quality clothes.
Take it to the tailor
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
A quick nip and tuck can make a $30 dress look custom made. You’ll want to make sure your new piece has the correct hem (the ankle or an inch below for jeans and trousers and right above the knee for most pencil skirts) and sleeve length (just below your wrist). Here's how good tailoring and other tips can make you look 10 pounds thinner.
Use a steamer
A steamer is easier to manage and faster to use than an iron. To keep your clothes wrinkle free, fold or hang them as soon as they come out of the dryer, and give them a steam the night before wearing. Don’t waste time and water on the hot shower/steamy bathroom method—it’s fairly ineffective.
Avoid earthy colors
Mossy earth tones can look drab and dated. For a more luxurious look fill your closet with vibrant jewel tones and pastels. As for patterns and prints, leopard spots are a classic. Most others will make you look dated.
Go for minimal makeup and neutral nails
When it comes to makeup, you’ll never go wrong with a dab of concealer, rosy cheeks, mascara, and a berry lip. For expensive-looking hair, try a sleek blowout. And don’t forget your nails—no polish is better than chipped polish. Here's what your nail color reveals about you.
Match your shoes to your bag
Because your shoes are constantly hitting the pavement, it may not be worth it to splurge on pairs you wear every day, but it is important to keep shoes in good shape. It's safe to spot treat most shoes with dish detergent and warm water. For scuffs on patent leather, try a dab of petroleum jelly. To look extra polished, match your shoes to your handbag.