3 Colour Combinations That Don’t Look Expensive and 8 That Definitely Do

It’s safe to say that no one gets dressed with the intention of looking cheap, but making your outfits look expensive—particularly when the pieces in question might come from more affordable sources—is another matter entirely. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “more is more”, assuming that adding designer pieces into your outfit equation is enough to guarantee a premium aesthetic. Often, it’s the simplest things that can make your ensembles look more elevated, and today, I’m going to talk about one of the easiest sartorial tricks in the book—colour combinations.

Not only is wearing different and unexpected colours with one another a way of updating your look, but trying out fresh new combinations is something I like to do on a semi-regular basis to ensure I’m not becoming too reliant by limiting myself to specific pieces. This is something I indulged in a spot of recently; throwing open my wardrobe doors so I could see my clothing collection in its entirety, then pulling out garments and pairing them with pieces I hadn’t previously thought of.

Sure, some of the formulations I tried didn’t work and definitely didn’t look as chic as I would have liked; there’s just something about black and fuchsia that falls short. I wasn’t taken with purple and yellow either, and I always avoid green and red (unless looking like an extra from The Grinch is the goal). But this, my friends, is all part of the journey. What I did notice, however, was how some colours seemed to look especially expensive when worn with other shades. Take orange, for example; it might feel like a very 2022 colour, but when I styled my tangerine linen shirt with a pair of sandy-coloured tailored trousers I’d admittedly forgotten I owned, the shirt looked timeless—and way more expensive than it was. This got me thinking: Are there more expensive-looking colour combinations I’ve neglected?

I took my search to Instagram, where I found that many of the influencers I follow have also been experimenting with impressive colour combinations of late. After falling into something of a fashion rabbit hole, hours later, I emerged having found expensive-looking colour combinations I couldn’t wait to try—and I have a feeling you’re going to like them, too. From classic pairings that will forever stand the test of time to the chicest ways to incorporate this season’s trending tones, scroll on to see the expensive-looking colour combinations influencers are obsessed with right now.

Style Notes: For years, brown was largely considered to be outdated in fashion circles, but after it begun to reappear in the collections of high-end designers, it’s become elevated once more; and looks particularly polished when worn with gold accents. 

You can’t go wrong with a Faithfull frock. 

The perfect heel-height for weddings. 

There’s also a pair of shorts that match this shirt. 

So fabulous!

Style Notes: On paper, wearing blue and yellow together sounds like it would run the risk of looking garish, but when powdery, soft blue tones are added into the equation, the combination is sure-fire chic. 

Between the colour and the cut, I’d have easily thought these were designer. 

Such a fun print. 

Bottega Veneta strikes again. 

Imagine wearing (and twirling in) this dress. 

Style Notes: The only thing more pleasing than the unintentional rhyming of the words “sage and beige” is how they look when worn together. Classy with a capital C. 

The perfect throw-on for summer months. 

Channel beige tones by way of raffia accessories, just like Basma. 

Reformation always creates pieces in versatile sage colourways. 

Try pairing this with the above blazer. 

Style Notes: Of all the colour combinations out there, it’s hard to find one more timeless than black and white. This season, the runways were flooded with monochrome looks; the update being having a more predominant white to black ratio. Handily, this is perfect for summer where white looks so fresh. 

Knot this around your waist for a handy extra layer you can throw on when temperatures drop. 

A handful of our editors already own this expensive-looking handbag. 

White wide-leg trousers are an integral part of every expensive-looking summer wardrobe. 

Only Toteme could make me this obsessed with a belt. 

Style Notes: Earthy hues always wear beautifully together, and the combination of rust and moss green is of no exception. You need only look at the outfit above for information that this pairing looks so expensive. 

Such an easy top to pair with jeans and shorts… 

…or, of course, khaki trousers. 

The handbag I personally have my eye on. 

Khaki accessories are hard to come by—these espadrilles are perfect. 

Style Notes: Though the pairing of red and pink pieces was formerly avoided by fashion types, now, it’s considered one of the most directional colour combinations out there, and never misses the mark. 

Aje dresses are dominating this summer. 

I own a pair of Russell & Bromley platforms and can attest to their comfortability. Stick to your usual size. 

This will layer effortlessly over everything, from tube dresses to printed bikinis. 

Red trousers might seem daunting, but worn with powdery shades of pink and cream, they look so chic. 

Style Notes: Cream and ecru tones have the power to make every outfit look significantly more expensive but, worn with navy, even for casual looks, this is a combination that always looks so high end. 

I can already picture how I’d style this for summer. 

I hear such good things about this specific jean from Monki. 

You’ll wear a navy handbag just as much as you would a black handbag. 

I’m always on the lookout for chic flat shoes. 

Style Notes: If 2022 were to be defined by one colour, it would absolutely be orange. Still, I firmly believe it has untapped staying power, especially when stone separates are involved. 

This is joy in a top!

The elasticated waistband ensures a perfect fit—no gaping over here. 

COS’s best-selling dress silhouette is back in 2022’s hottest hue. 

Everywhere I look, people are wearing Bostons. 

Next Up: The 9 New-In Pieces I’m Adding to My Wish List This Week