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 colour. 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.
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. And obviously, never wear an item of clothing with a stain, hole, or missing button.
Take it to the tailor
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).
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 colours
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.
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.
Tuck it in
A tucked-in shirt with a skirt or trousers always comes across as polished and classy. To give your outfit more of an edge, try a monochrome look in black, white, or navy.