The key to looking rich is to buy strategically.

How to Look Rich When You're Not

by Pamela Simmons

Just because you're not rich, doesn't mean you can't look like a million bucks. Shopping smart, investing in quality pieces that will last you for years and taking good care of your hair, skin and nails can all leave you looking classy, polished and much more wealthy.

1. Buy Timeless Items

While that "It" bag or trendy dress may seem tempting, these pieces go in and out of style so quickly that you won't get the most of your monetary investment. Instead of purchasing trends, go for timeless, well-made pieces that can stay in your wardrobe for years. The key to pulling this off is going for quality over quantity. Save your pennies and purchase a few nicer things instead of racking up bills on many trendier items. Get yourself a good crisp white blouse, a cashmere sweater, a classic, logo-free handbag, a high-quality pair of pumps and an equally well-made pair of boots. If you have a little extra cash saved up, one pricier, classic well-made name-brand watch adds to the "chic" quotient.

2. Mix High and Low

Flesh out your wardrobe by mixing your investment pieces in with the lower-priced items. Even the truly wealthy mix high and low-priced pieces, so you'll fit right in. You'll be amazed how expensive a $30 blouse looks when worn with under a cashmere cardigan or paired with a designer handbag.

3. Bargain Shop

Since you're not rich, stop buying things at full price. Instead, wait for discounts and sample sales and check out vintage stores often. You can find an abundance of fantastic finds at discount stores, all with hefty original price tags that have been greatly discounted, often in excellent condition. Buy smart and avoid pieces that are covered in labels -- the wealthy set keeps their look subtle and doesn't flaunt money spent by sporting logos.

4. Pay Attention to Grooming

A polished overall appearance makes a world of difference. Keep your nails neat and clean. You can do this by visiting the nail salon often or by purchasing a few nail maintenance tools -- clippers, file, buffer -- and cleaning up your nails at home. Invest in quality hair products that leave your tresses clean and bouncy; keep your skin up -- look for deals on facials to save a few bucks -- and don't overdo it on the makeup; less is always more.

5. Opt for Imitation Jewels

Spending lots of money on diamonds may not be in your financial plan, but you can give the impression that you have; purchase a few pieces of jewelry with cubic zirconia -- just keep your pieces understated, which makes them more believable. A simple pair of studs or a delicate pendant is all you need.

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