Fashion Insiders Agree: This Staple Is the Key to Expensive-Looking Outfits

People have many different opinions when it comes to style, but here’s one of the universal truths: Everyone wants their outfits to look expensive. Shopping for frugal items is one thing, but actually looking like you’re wearing something cheap is another, which is why you may have noticed that I talk about deceptively inexpensive basics ad nauseam. Going for minimalist separates is a tried-and-true approach to achieving this goal, but I found another one, courtesy of my feed—faux leather.

Of course, it’s a given that genuine leather can instantly level up any outfit, but its faux sibling has come a long way since its stiff, plasticky-looking days. The real thing can be pricey, but with so many high-quality faux-leather and vegan-leather options (I love Nanushka) that feel just as soft and luxurious, who needs it anyway? This is why leather alternatives have become a stylish shortcut to achieving an air of luxury, even for people on a budget.

From wide-leg leather trousers to saturated leather jackets, the luxurious fabric is on the limbs of every cool person worth their salt these days, and it’s a hack I’m taking up myself. Whether you go for real or faux, the trend makes every outfit look expensive, adding a lush and premium touch. Scroll below to see how the style set is wearing the staple as well as several leather pieces that will leave you feeling like you’ve increased your net worth.

Orange leather trousers give this vibrant top the oomph it demands.

Even when I’m wearing tattered stretchy trousers, I know adding a leather blazer will make it look intentional.

Now, you know what to wear with all of those second-skin tops—a pair of loose leather trousers.

This combination of creamy neutrals and leather accents clearly is a winner.

Leather miniskirts truly don’t get enough shine, and when paired with a solid roll-neck, they make for a fail-safe outfit.

If you don’t own a pair of statement patent-leather trousers, here’s your siren call. Attention-grabbing strides like these don’t need much, either (another plus!).

Trousers and a top are one thing, but trousers with a top and a cool, cropped leather jacket are another.

Just another reminder that colourful faux-leather trousers are really it. I love the addition of chunky boots to give the look some edge.

If you already have a bursting collection of leather blazers (like I do), the next phase of this obsession is to go the colourful route. A shiny leather topper makes this relatively simple ensemble something to really ogle over.

Oversize cardigans are a styling hack on their own, but why not double the expensive-looking effect with a pair of faux-leather pants?

Chunky-chain jewelry and biker jackets—does a better pairing exist?

Next Up: These 11 Elite Winter Outfit Ideas Simply Can’t Be Beaten