I blame Kim Kardashian. Since her marriage to the self proclaimed god of everything and her subsequent fashion makeover to an uptown girl, I’ve gone off sophisticated style I used to love that much. Or maybe it’s not Kim, maybe just my style was heading a different direction for a while. But personal style can be a circle and so I found myself going back to the clothes I used to love so much.

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Some… years ago I was a student. I’m not telling you how long ago on account that I told The French I am 29. That was…years ago. I’m still 29. I will be 28 next year. But back to the point- once upon a time I was a student. Whilst the subject I studied (law) held a faint promise of future rewards, there was a small matter of “now” to consider. The moment I was invited for my first job interview as a paralegal in a city firm, it dawned on me that to get this job I needed to look sophisticated and expensive. I figured that I couldn’t buy a black suit- I couldn’t afford a designer brand and I didn’t want to buy a cheap one. I worried that a shiny fabric would give me away. So off I went to Zara to look for a suitable attire. I found “the one” in a cream tweed suit. It was perfect- a little Chanel like, I wore it with cream linen shirt and cream pointed courts. Since it was August, I was sporting a golden glow… needless to say I felt like million dollars. Whether it was down to my suit or my newfound confidence, I got the job.

For over a decade my number one objective was to look sophisticated. Working for a city law firm, I wanted to look the part. But how to achieve it on budget? I looked around high street and I knew that I needed a strategy. There were gems to be found but it was also easy to drawn under a sea of cheap looking stuff (which sometimes wasn’t that cheap at all). Did I achieve what I wanted? I loved being complemented on clothes (and which girl doesn’t) but the complements that really stuck in my head were “You look reassuringly expensive” (a client) and “Everything you wear looks so expensive” (a secretary). It stuck because it signified to me that I was on a right track, especially that what I was wearing had often cost less that £20.

On the other hand, a very sophisticate and expensive look, not to mention piling on labels can make us look a decade older. But sometimes every one of us wants to have this general air of luxury of an uptown girl. Here are my tricks for achieving that. They are not groundbreakig but they do work!

@ Chose colour palette, which revolves around nude, blush camel, caramel, taupe, shades of greys, khaki green, moss green, white, cream, sand, champagne, oyster, oatmeal, navy. These colours tend to look more expensive even if they are not.

@ Get them fitted. I wrote a post before on getting a tailor and really, I can’t imagine not having one! If you buy a jacket, check the sleeves- more expensive brands will have slim and well cut sleeves. Get them taken up under the armpits and check for fit at the back. Also- how about having a silk t-shirt made? You won’t need a lot of silk and a cut would be easy to copy by any tailor.

@ Wherever possible go for cashmere- it doesn’t need to be expensive. Grey is always a great option. For a great cut look to menswear- I love Uniqlo men’s department.

@ Simplicity is the key. I remember having a wool t-shirt in oatmeal, which I wore with a cream pencil skirt. Everyone complemented me on it but little did they know I bought the t-shirt in Zara for less than £20 and the skirt was picked up for a fiver in a second hand store.

@ Iron! Seriously, I’m always amazed at the amount of wrinkled clothes I see on the streets (and sometimes on the fashion blogs, too). Sure, the clothes will wrinkle but there is a difference between creases acquired in the morning on the way to work and wearing clothes, which haven’t seen an iron in a few days. Creases have a potential to make even expensive clothes look cheap.

@ Nude nails look expensive- it doesn’t matter if you are wearing Samoan Sand by Opi or drugstore bottle picked up for a few quid. As if the nails knew…

@ Groomed hair in good condition-always!

Visiting Rue Fauborg St Honore and Place Vendôme in Paris (honestly, I couldn’t keep away, I kept returning time and again) I was keen to see what the Parisians were wearing in that part of town. Do you want to know? Read the above 🙂 There were muted soft colours (but black, too), linen shirts (it was hot), simple jewellery i.e strings of pearls. I liked it- the outfits were mostly very chic, very sophisticated.

Inspired by the Parisians, I shot this look in Place Vendôme around 6am. You should have seen me trotting up and down the place with my father in tow (he was the photographer), going “No, no, take it again”. The police officers came out of their van and stood nearby, clearly thinking it was a hilarious spectacle. But it was worth it- Place Vendôme in the rising sun was simply breathtaking.

And you- do you have tips on how to look like an uptown girl on budget? Share them with us!

I’m wearing:

Top- Michael Kors (old collection)

Skirt- Joseph (old collection)

Heels- Prima Moda

Bag- Gucci Bamboo

Sunglasses- Dior


    • admin
      Wednesday August 12th, 2015 / 10:06 AM

      Thank you Rochelle! 🙂 Ana

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