As easy, elegant outfits grip the fashion zeitgeist, looking polished has never been so cool – see brands like The Row and Khaite, who champion a minimal luxury that’s not austere, for inspiration. How does one dress expensively in real life and – whisper it! – on a budget? We asked these Scandi fashion insiders to weigh in …
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Frida Billegren, designer of & Other Stories’ high-end Savoir range, a limited collection that focuses on the hallmarks of good design, always turns to certain pieces to feel polished. “A beautiful wool or wool blend suit, which can be styled separately or together is the perfect polished piece. Also, jackets in wool or soft leather – I simply can’t live without my long leather trench and maxi-length wool coat. For skirts, I love a mini styled with tights, or a full on maxi, all the way to the floor. Straight and cool is the silhouette,” she says. Denim, naturally, is a big part of the look. “High-waisted styles with big volume on the leg are key – nothing too tight.” As for shoes, she has one bit of advice. “Look at the design and the comfort, first and foremost. I adore a pump, and a must have is a pointy kitten mule, in leather or satin. It instantly adds a touch of sophistication and glamour to any outfit,” she says.
With quiet luxury abounding and Instagram and TikTok shining a light on ‘old money’ looks, is it possible to achieve this look on the high street? Billegren says yes. “Always read the fabric composition of any garments you plan to invest in. Look for good quality fabrics without too many blends. Also, try to select natural fibres as much as possible. A lot of brands on the high street have upped their game and are investing in this. The garment might cost a bit more but it’s definitely worth it,” she says. “The biggest mistake I often see is not prioritising a good level of quality when investing in your wardrobe. Careful and considered planning of wardrobe classics can last years and years, fast decisions can back-fire. It’s a very hard task, I know! But when you do it, I promise you will feel polished and look high-end no matter what you wear.”
Fashion loves to wax lyrical about minimalism. Brands like The Row and Khaite, who champion a lived in look that’s clean but not austere, have never been cooler. Meanwhile, the now famous quote from Gabrielle Chanel, who instructed us to always remove one item before leaving the house, often rings in our ear as we get dressed. But how does dressing in a refined way translate to real life? For Amalie and Cecilie Moosgaard, founders of Copenhagen-based jewellery brand Lié Studio, the key to looking expensive is being unafraid to make simple choices. “Staying true to oneself, avoiding overdoing it, and not being afraid of being too simple is what makes a great look,” they say. The sisters work from a uniform of denim jeans, a structured black blazer, black boots or ballerinas, white T-shirts, and great wool knits. However, it can’t all be too standardised. It’s always about a twist, too. “Adding a nice earring to a simple white T-shirt is an incredibly elegant way to add that little extra to an otherwise very classic outfit.” This is echoed by Billegren. “You need jewellery for topping off a great basic look,” she says. “This season I’m all about statement earrings and rings, in both silver and gold. A classic mother of pearl piece is always beautiful.” Recreate the look with our edit of pieces, both high end and high street, below.
Grey straight blazer with padded shoulders, €59.95, at Zara.
Black Sky boots, Anine Bing, €300, at Seagreen.
Oat Kimono style coat, Claudie Pierlot, €645, at Brown Thomas.
Brown leather cross body bag with woven strap, €79.95, at Massimo Dutti.
Blue high-waisted wide-leg jeans, €79, at & Other Stories.
Gold Anita drop earrings, €310; www.lie-studio.com.