Stylists Swear By These Polished Basics That Look Expensive But Are Less Than $40 on Amazon

Take it from the pros.

Stylists Swear By These Polished Basics That Look Expensive But Are Less Than $40 on Amazon
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For a long time, I was what I call an “occasion shopper” who had 20 cocktail and Thanksgiving dresses and virtually nothing to wear every other day of the year. That’s when I learned the value of polished basics you can wear constantly. These building blocks can be dressed up for the aforementioned occasions, but they’re also easy to dress down for comfortable, everyday wear.

And who knows more about wardrobe essentials than the people who use and recommend them on a daily basis? For this article, Bustle got in touch with several styling professionals who were happy to share their tips and recommendations. These are the cheap, chic basics stylists swear by — and you can get them all for less than $40 on Amazon.


This Black Slip Skirt That You Can Dress Up Or Down

When building a “timeless polished wardrobe,” personal stylist Leah Wise recommends this black slip skirt. Why? It’s easy to “keep casual with sneakers and a jean jacket or you can put a blazer over with heels and it looks professional,” Wies wrote. It’s made from a blend of silk and polyester, so it’s chic but stretchy.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 8


A Sweater That Pairs Well With A Skirt (As Well As Jeans)

According to Wise, pairing your slip skirt with a sweater is “another great way to give it a different look." This oversized sweater is a great option because it’s cozy, but elegant enough for dressier bottoms due to its cable-knit pattern and puff sleeves. It’s also thin enough that you can tuck it into the waistband to give it a little more shape.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 10


A Black Slip Dress That’s Polished But Low-Maintenence

If a slip dress is more your speed, Wise also recommends this piece for similar reasons: You can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. This one is made from a rayon-viscose fabric that looks like silk, but it’s wrinkle-resistant for easy maintenance. It also has adjustable straps for a personalized fit and a cowl neckline for a polished finish.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 4


Or This Satin Dress That’s Comfortable Enough To Sleep In

If you’re looking for something a little more casual, this sleeveless satin dress can be worn just about anywhere — including to bed. “The big flowy feel of it makes sleeping in it a breeze,” one reviewer wrote, while another said, “It doubles as loungewear, a swimsuit cover-up, or even a casual dress.”

  • Available sizes: Small — 3X-Large
  • Available styles: 15


This Oversized White Button-Down For A Crisp, Put-Together Look

“An oversized white button-down is also a great staple for a more polished look,” Wise wrote. This recommended option (which is made from a blend of cotton and polyester so it’s breathable, but wrinkle-resistant) “just gives that crisp put-together look. And you can pair it with the slip skirt,” according to Wise.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 24


This 2-Piece Outfit You Can Wear Year-Round

Julie Durocher, professional stylist and chief designer for Jovani, points to comfy outfit sets from Amazon. This particular two-piece knit outfit “is one of the better sets you can get on Amazon,” Durocher wrote. “It’s breezy, but can also be worn in the fall with some knee-high boots and a long coat, which makes it a great set to have all year round."

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 9


Or This Sweater Set That’s Comfy But Stylish

That said, Amazon has plenty of other two-piece outfits to choose from — Durocher just recommends that you pick one that’s “timeless,” “comfortable,” and “very easy to style.” This sweater set walks the line between loungewear and a casual outfit due to the combination of soft knitted fabric and a stylish silhouette, which includes wide legs and dropped shoulders.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 26


These Mules That Are Elevated Yet Easy To Style

“Everyone needs a pair of horsebit shoes,” wrote Yenia Hernández Fonseca, stylist and contributor to Margo Paige. “They give your outfit that elevated touch without trying too hard.” They’re also “so easy to style and come in all sorts of colors, materials, and prints to match your personality."

  • Available sizes: 6 — 10
  • Available styles: 21


Or These Pointed Slip-Ons That Are Built For Comfort

Hernández Fonseca also recommends these pointed-toe mules, which skip the buckle in lieu of a chic basketweave texture. They also have a padded footbed, a thick sole, and a moisture-wicking liner for comfort and durability.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available styles: 24


This Maxi Dress That’s “So Versatile”

Anna Ruiz, fashion and wardrobe stylist based in Miami, recommends this ruched-front maxi dress because it’s “so versatile” and will “last a long time.” It can also be “dressed up with different accessories” and “worn for different seasons (pair it with high heel boots or flats – all of it will work).”


This Stylish Alternative To Your Everyday Jeans

Ruiz also recommends this high-waist denim skirt, which has a stylish front slit and comes in a wide selection of washes. “It’s a great alternative for everyday jeans” and “you can wear it with boots, sneakers, and sandals,” Ruiz wrote.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 14


This High-Quality Handbag At A Wonderful Price

“They can be hard to find, but if you look hard enough you’ll come across a great handbag at a wonderful price,” wrote stylist and wardrobe consultant Margaret Stone. “This one is under $35 and looks like a really expensive bag. The deep plum color calls in fall, and the texture makes it look high quality."

  • Available styles: 32


This Belted Sweater Dress That’s Effortlessly Polished

“I also love a good knit/sweater dress,” wrote Stone. “Nothing says effortlessly polished like a dress that belts in the center, and “this dress is great for both work and to grab dinner after work." While the long sleeves and midi length offer plenty of coverage, the drape, V-neck, and side slits add a little drama.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 9


An Affordable 14K Gold Necklace To Dress Up Your Look

According to Stone, one of the easiest ways to style your sweater dress is with “some great jewelry.” Pavoi is an Amazon-favorite brand due to its gold-plated jewelry for a great price, and this station necklace is no exception. CZ stones are interspersed throughout the choker-length chain, and according to reviewers, “it looks like the real deal.”

  • Available styles: 3


Or A Chunky Baroque Pearl Necklace That Makes Every Outfit Look More Expensive

To go with more of a statement piece, this gold chain link necklace adds something unexpected to any outfit. The baroque-shaped pearl hangs from a chunky gold chain and the toggle clasp is front and center, becoming part of the design. “Purchased this necklace for a recent trip,” wrote one reviewer who said it “really made every outfit look better.”

  • Available styles: 6


This Oversized Turtleneck Sweater That’s So Chic

Brittany Dottolo, owner of Avec Joie Marketing & Media and @brittanydotz on Instagram and TikTok, recommends this oversized sweater. Its turtleneck, dropped shoulders, and striped pattern all give it an especially chic appearance when paired with leggings, jeans, and even slacks, but reviewers describe the texture as “so soft and cozy.

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 8


Or This Mock Neck Top That’s Dressy Enough For Work

Dottolo also suggests this mock neck top. While it’s cut similarly to a T-shirt, its elbow-length rolled sleeves and cowl neckline make it elevated enough for work or a nice dinner out. The fabric is also thick and stretchy, according to reviewers.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 16


Some Ankle Boots That Go With Any Outfit

“Some great ankle boots” are another versatile accessory, especially when styling a sweater dress, according to Stone. These booties have a chunky stacked heel, a pointed toe, and a stylish V-shaped cut-out, so they go with any outfit. The cotton lining and latex-cushioned insole also make them “very comfortable,” one reviewer wrote.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available styles: 9


This Ribbed Tank That’s More Polished That What You Already Own

Stone recommends pairing this ribbed tank top with “a chunky necklace for a fun night out, or go more minimalist with a small gold chain and a pair of great skinny jeans for errands on a Saturday.” Either way, it’s soft and stretchy, but much more elevated than your standard tank due to its ribbed texture, higher neckline, and chic color options.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 8


Or This Bodysuit That Has The Same Effect But Stays Tucked In

This best-selling sleeveless bodysuit has the same effect as a tank with its halter-style neckline and racerback straps — but because it clasps between the legs, it never comes untucked. The fabric is also buttery-soft, stretchy, and fits like a second skin, according to reviewers, making it super easy to style.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 24


These Skinny Jeans With Stellar Ratings

Still searching for a great pair of skinny jeans? These Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label modern skinny jeans have an overall 4.4-star rating from almost 50,000 reviewers because they’re stretchy yet structured, comfortable but stylish, and come in a range of sizes (including short, regular, and long inseams) to help you find your ideal fit.

  • Available sizes: 2 — 28 Long
  • Available styles: 8


A Best-Selling Workout Top That Doubles As A Bra

“Hands down out of all the things clothing-related you can find on Amazon, workout wear is one of the best,” wrote Stone. This best-selling longline top, for example, can be worn as a tank or a bra granted it’s got removable padding and lightweight compression fabric.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large
  • Available styles: 25


Or This Affordable Crop Top That Rivals Lululemon

“Overall the quality of [Amazon’s workout clothing pieces] are really good,” Stone continued, since “they are on trend and rival some of the more expensive in-store brands like Lululemon, but for a fraction of the price." This workout crop top, for example, has been compared to Lululemon due to its high-quality fabric and built-in bra with an elastic band and removable pads. While it’s breathable and sweat-wicking enough for workouts, plenty of reviewers think it’s cute enough to incorporate into their daily wardrobe.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 24


These Leggings That Are “The Best” Reviewers Have “Ever Bought”

Despite their reasonable price tag, these high-waisted leggings have earned an overall 4.5-star rating from reviewers because they’re stretchy yet opaque and compressing yet comfortable. They also have roomy pockets for your phone and other essentials and come in three different inseams. “These are the best leggings I’ve ever bought and I won’t buy any other ones now,” one reviewer wrote.

  • Available sizes: X-Smal — 3X-Large
  • Available styles: 12


Some Must-Have Building Blocks For Any Wardrobe

“Amazon is a great place to find those foundation pieces that become the building blocks of your wardrobe,” Hernández Fonseca wrote — especially T-shirts from Amazon Essentials. These basic crewneck shirts are made from a blend of cotton, modal, and spandex, so they’re soft and stretchy. They also come in plenty of multipack options (for a great price) so you can choose the colors that best suit your wardrobe.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 40


These Pull-On Jeggings That Offer The Best Of Both Worlds

Hernández Fonseca also recommends the affordable Amazon Essentials brand specifically when you’re looking for other “everyday essentials,” including pants. These pull-on jeggings offer the best of both worlds, granted they could pass for jeans due to their semi-structured 64.5% cotton construction — but the ample stretch and clasp-free waistband make them “so incredibly comfortable,” wrote one reviewer who bought them in four colors.

  • Available sizes: 0 Short — 20 Long


A Drapey Dress That You Can Dress Up Or Down

Amazon Essentials also makes comfortable, versatile dresses like this faux-wrap dress. Since it’s made from 95% viscose, it’s super soft and breathable, so you can pair it with sandals or sneakers during the day — but its neckline and voluminous sleeves also make it easy to dress up if needed. They also come in a few printed options.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 6X
  • Available styles: 16


This Classic V-Neck Sweater That Looks Way More Expensive Than It Is

This Amazon Essentials sweater is another affordable basic that “looks much more expensive than what you pay for it,” one reviewer wrote — and dozens of others agree. It’s a “timeless wardrobe staple” because of its close but comfortable fit and V-shaped neckline, plus it comes in your choice of solid colors, stripes, or animal print.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 6X
  • Available styles: 33


A Comfy & Luxurious Pajama Set For A Great Price

Finally, when shopping for quality basics, don’t forget your loungewear. This two-piece pajama set uses cotton and modal to create a texture that’s “so soft and luxurious,” one reviewer wrote. The functional buttons, notched collar, and contrast piping also make them look much more elegant than your average PJs.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 6X
  • Available styles: 9


These Trendy Chunky Gold Hoops For Less Than $15

According to Hernández Fonseca, Amazon is also a great place to shop for stylish but reasonably priced accessories. These lightweight chunky hoop earrings, for example, pair equally as well with everyday outfits as they do with dressier ones. They’re plated in 14K gold with sterling silver posts that hinge open for convenience.

  • Available styles: 3


This $20 Crossbody That Reviewers Own In Several Colors

“I have this bag in SIX colors!” wrote one reviewer. “I ordered one to see if the quality was decent. I ended up ordering it in every color that my wardrobe needed!” Needless to say, Amazon customers can’t believe the quality of this crossbody purse, which is made from vegan leather, is big enough to hold all of the essentials, and comes with an adjustable strap.

  • Available styles: 15


Some Chic Tortoiseshell Hair Clips That Are Surprisingly High-Quality

These hair clips are another affordable basic not to sleep on. According to reviewers, they’re slip-resistant, shockingly great quality, and result in tons of compliments due to their tortoiseshell design and sleek shape.

  • Available styles: 2


These Stylish, Protective Sunglasses That Cost Less Than $15

Sunglasses are so easy to break or lose, which is why a cheap pair of sunglasses that still look great are so handy. Even though these cost less than $15, their round lenses are trendy and versatile and their plastic frame is lightweight, relatively durable, and comfortable to wear. They’re also polarized with a UV-protective coating.

  • Available styles: 8


This Watch That Looks So Expensive But Isn’t

More than 13,000 reviewers have awarded this Anne Klein watch a 4.5-star overall rating. It “looks so expensive” thanks to its gold-tone link band, mineral crystal lens, and Roman numerals. It even withstands splashes and quick immersions in water — and yet it’s so affordable.

  • Available styles: 22


A Modern Vintage Essential That Won’t Break The Bank

Dottolo suggests “checking out the ‘modern vintage clothing’ category” on Amazon, which is a “great starting point for finding classic pieces with a modern twist that won't break the bank.” This classic oversized cardigan, for example, can be styled in a multitude of different ways, is made from a soft, cozy knitted material, and comes in plenty of easy-to-match color options.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 24


These Palazzo Pants That Never Go Out Of Fashion

Clothing pieces in the modern vintage category “tend to stay in fashion for longer," wrote Dottolo, and that’s definitely the case with these palazzo pants, which are back in style again for the umpteenth time. This pair features belt loops, functional pockets, flowy polyester fabric, and a high waist with elastic in the back for a comfortable, custom-like fit.

  • Available sizes: X-Small Short — 2X
  • Available styles: 32


This Sweater Vest That’s Both Cozy & Polished

This sweater vest combines a vintage cable-knit pattern with a modern oversized silhouette, making it a comfy classic that you can style for a range of occasions. Some reviewers even sized up to turn it into a dress, but however you wear it, it’s cozy and polished at the same time.

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 28


A Ruched, Ruffled Swimsuit For A Great Price

According to Wise, a lot of swimsuit brands “charge $100 just for the top and another $100 for the bottoms,” making you feel like you have to wear the same suit over and over again to get your money’s worth. “Amazon has lots of cute sets that are under $35 making them much more affordable,” like this ruffled one-piece that’s earned an overall 4.6-star overall rating after more than 30,000 reviewers weighed in due to its padded support, lace-up back, and ruched design.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available styles: 27


Or This High-Waisted Bikini Set With Coverage & Support

“I like to change out my bathing suits all the time,” Wise wrote, and Amazon’s selection of cute and affordable options makes that possible. This two-piece swimsuit is another popular pick because it offers more coverage and support than the average bikini thanks to its high waist, removable pads, and adjustable straps — but the tie knot still makes it “so cute,” according to reviewers.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available styles: 16


This Stylist-Recommended Jewelry Organizer That’s A “Game-Changer”

“Don’t forget to get this set to organize your accessories,” wrote Ruiz who called it “a game changer!" It’s a stackable jewelry organizer that consists of four velvet-lined inserts. The inner dividers vary so you can hang your necklaces, file your rings, and separate your earrings and bracelets, but they’re also removable so you can adjust the compartments to your preferences.

  • Available styles: 8