35 Cheap Tricks Stylists Use To Make People Look 10x Better

“Style is about expressing your personal taste and creativity, not about how much money you spend.”

by Christina X. Wood
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You don’t have to drop a lot of money to look your best. “Style is about expressing your personal taste and creativity, not about how much money you spend,” says Kim Appelt, celebrity stylist and author of Style for Everybody. “With a little bit of creativity and some budget-friendly tips, you can look stylish and put-together without breaking the bank.”

Appelt isn’t the only high-end stylist who believes that creativity — and a little know-how — is a winning strategy for looking and feeling fab. I asked stylists to share their best picks and hacks for mastering style, and doing it without needing a huge cache of cash. And they spilled. Here are 35 cheap tricks stylists use to make people look 10 times better.


Transforming An Outfit With A Breezy Scarf

“Adding accessories like scarves, hats, and jewelry can instantly transform an outfit,” says Appelt. This lightweight scarf in cotton and linen is a perfect way to add some color and texture to an outfit without overheating in warm weather. It’s long enough to be versatile but the fabric is so light, it feels like it’s barely there.

  • Available colors: 5


Topping Things Off With A Cute Sun Hat

When it comes to accessorizing, Appeltt is a fan of a “natural visor” and this straw sun hat fits the bill. It gives your warm weather ensemble a tropical, natural-fiber vibe while shading your eyes and face from the sun — even if you have your hair up. The visor is adjustable for a perfect fit and to make tucking it under a ponytail or updo easy.

  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: 1


Going With A Colorful Bucket Hat For Style & Sun Protection

A bucket hat is another great option for modernizing any look, says Appelt. These comfy and easy-to-wear hats are trendy at the moment, which is great because they are such an easy way to keep the sun off your face. There are so many colors, all of them super affordable, that you could start a collection to bring color and charm to any outfit. And the cotton fabric breathes, washes, and easily stuffs in a bag.

  • Available colors: 44
  • Available sizes: 1


Enhancing A Look With Pretty Layered Necklaces

Appelt also likes a layered necklace as an outfit-transforming accessory. This option is delicate and pretty, delivering subtle bling. Choose the charm that reflects your style and how many chains you want to wear. The chains come with 2-inch extenders so you can play around with where you want them to land.

  • Available options: 28


Making A Simple Outfit Interesting With Layers

“Layering is a great way to make an outfit more interesting without spending a lot of money,” says Appelt. “Pair a plain t-shirt with a denim jacket, cardigan, or linen shirt for a chic look.”

This Perfect T-shirt makes this super easy by being so affordable, even though it is a 100% cotton tee in a substantial weight. It also comes in a plethora of colors and is pre-shrunk so it won’t change after you wash it.

  • Available colors: 20
  • Available sizes: Small — 5X-Large


Pairing Your Tee With A Denim Vest For Casual Cool

Once you discover vests, you may never go back. They have pockets, add a layer without being warm or constricting, and work with any sleeve length.

Appelt is a fan of the denim vest for its casual chic and this distressed denim vest is a great way to take this style trick for a spin. It gets bonus points for evoking a subtle retro-punk mood. It has an interior phone pocket, comes in bright colors, and gets lots of love from nearly 900 five-star reviewers.

  • Available colors: 12
  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large


Having A Classic Denim Jacket As A Versatile Wardrobe Staple

“Invest in basic pieces like a white t-shirt, black jeans, or a denim jacket,” suggests Appelt, “that you can mix and match with other items in your wardrobe.”

This denim jacket is a classic button-front style that’s also soft and comfortable. The mostly cotton denim has a bit of stretch so you can wear it snug and still move freely. “These pieces can last for years and will never go out of style,” she says.

  • Available colors: 12
  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 3X


Opting For An Airy Blouse As A Timeless Warm Weather Layer

When the weather is too balmy to layer a jacket over your tee, this timeless and chic beach blouse is the perfect replacement. It floats over your outfit and is slightly sheer, giving a relaxed but stylish look. You can tie the waist, button a few buttons, or leave it open and breezy.

  • Available colors: 15
  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large


Using A Graphic Tee As A Mix-&-Match Item

“Get more wear out of your clothing by mixing and matching pieces to create different outfits,” advises Appelt. “Try pairing a skirt with a graphic t-shirt or a blazer with jeans.”

This graphic tee captures so many moods with a variety of graphics that range from happy to dia de los Muertos to rock and roll. Try tying it for a fitted look with a swingy skirt or wearing it loose over leggings.

  • Available colors: 21
  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large


Pairing A Cute Skirt With Your Graphic Tee

Try getting out of your standard bottoms and into this swing skirt, even if you pair it with a graphic tee or simple tank. The elastic waist makes for easy and comfortable wearing and the light fabric is perfect on a warm day.

“This skirt is perfect for dressing up a t-shirt!” said one reviewer. “The waistband is so stretchy and comfy and the lining is great.”

  • Available colors: 7
  • Available sizes: X-Large Plus — 5X


Personalizing Your Clothes With Easy DIY Accents

“Get creative and personalize your clothing by adding patches, embroidery, or studs,” says Appelt. Make those basic pieces — the denim jacket, vest, or black jeans — yours by adorning them with this collection of 6o embroidered patches. They have an adhesive on the back that melts when you iron them on so they are easy to apply. Pro tip: Use them to cover a stain, hole, or another blemish to extend the life of your clothes while you personalize.

  • Available styles: 33


Getting Creative With Studs To Edge-Up Staple Pieces

Another way to make off-the-rack clothes look bespoke is to install these pyramid studs. Like rivets, they are held on with metal prongs that punch through the fabric so they are durable and give your denim jacket or jeans — or even a simple black dress or a pair of canvas sneakers — an edgy, neo-punk vibe that is very much in style. They come with an awl to make applying them easy.

  • Available sizes: 3


Adding Color To Basic Looks With A Flashy Headscarf

“A colorful headscarf is a versatile accessory that can be worn in many different ways,” says Nina Vargas stylist, celebrity business strategist, and fashion, beauty, and wellness expert. “[It] can be tied around your neck, worn as a headband, or even tied onto your purse for a pop of color.”

Try this satin hair scarf with artful graphics printed in beautiful — muted or bright — colors for this trick. It’s soft and silky, and large enough to wear as a top. Reviewers describe it as “beautiful,” “well made” and “fabulous.”

  • Available patterns: 37


Adding Pop To Your Fit With Flash Statement Earrings

“A great way to add some personality to any outfit is with a pair of statement earrings,” says Vargas. But you don’t have to drop your entire paycheck on this look. Just pick up this pack of 32 pairs of super affordable tassel earrings. There are so many colors and shapes you'll be able to zhuzh up any look with ease. Plus, they promise to be hypoallergenic and colorfast.

“[It’s] the perfect way to add a pop of color and movement to your look,” Vargas says.

  • Available styles: 3


Reaching For Colorful Sunnies As A Style Staple

“Sunglasses are a must-have accessory,” says Vargas, “and ... affordable ones from Amazon come in a variety of fun colors to match any outfit.” Start with these chunky ‘90s sunglasses in your favorite color and see how much fun you can have with this accessory while also protecting your eyes from bright sun and irritating wind. The brand says they filter glare and block 99.9% of harmful UVA and UVB spectrum rays.

  • Available colors: 12


Going For Glamour With A Bold Lip

“A bold lip color is an easy way to add some glamour to your look,” says Vargas. “This affordable matte lipstick from Maybelline comes in a variety of shades and stays put for hours.”

This formula is made to stay on for up to 16 hours and reviewers say that’s no exaggeration. “Talk about staying power,” said one reviewer. “This matte liquid lipstick will literally stay on til the next day if you don’t remove it lol!”

  • Available colors: 34


Adding A Little Something Special With Cute Hair Accessories

“Hair accessories are a fun way to add some personality to your look,” says Vargas. And this pack of 28 hair clips will set you up for lots of fun. There are colorful alligator clips, hairpins, and barrettes in a range of colors. The styles go from simple to pearly white to classic to gemstone to classic resin.


Carrying Your Stuff In A Fun Printed Tote

You don’t have to invest big in a bag, according to Vargas. “A printed tote bag is a stylish way to carry all your essentials,” she says.

And this large plush tote will carry more than the basics. The fabric is soft and fluffy like your favorite throw blanket, the strap fits right over your shoulder to tuck under your arms, and there are loads of cute prints and patterns that brighten up any look.

  • Available colors: 16


Opting For Comfy Sneakers In Hot Colors

Vargas suggests you quickly update your look by changing out those white canvas sneakers for a more colorful pair. “Sneakers are a comfortable and practical shoe choice,” she says, “but they don't have to be boring.”

Take your pick from a rainbow of color and pattern options in this canvas low top that got nearly 25,000 five-star reviews from people who loved the look and the price.

  • Available colors: 26
  • Available sizes: 5 — 11


Making Your Phone A Stylish Accessory

Don’t forget about maximizing your phone, either. “Your phone case is an accessory that you carry with you all the time,” says Vargas, “so why not make it stylish?”

This floral iPhone case will pretty up your ensemble and you will enjoy looking at it, too. It will also help protect your phone with impact and shock-absorbing materials that have cushioned corners to help it stay clean and survive accidental drops.

  • Available styles: 3


Choosing Nipple Covers Instead Of Dealing With A Bra

Make sure your underwear drawer has some nipple covers or stick-on bras, says Julia Nauer, stylist and owner of Sort & Style Co. “As the weather warms up, this is the secret to being able to wear any type of tricky top or dress without having to go braless or worry about your bra straps showing,” she tells Bustle.

These are made of flexible silicone and cover your nips so you don’t show through clothing. The adhesive holds tight but peels right off. Just wash them and keep using them all summer.

  • Available colors: 5
  • Available sizes: 2


Winning The Bra Game With An Adhesive Bra That Offers Support

This adhesive bra will also let you wear a bra without flashing straps in strapless or strappy tops and dresses — and these offer a bit of push-up support. The sticky, skin-friendly silicone adhesive interior clings to you firmly but is easy to remove. This is a pack of two — one black and one beige — so you have one that works with whatever color you‘re wearing.

  • Available sizes: A — D


Utilizing A Clothing Steamer Because Wrinkles Are Not Stylish

If you don’t already have one, it’s time to invest in a clothes steamer to keep your clothes looking terrific without the hassle of an iron and ironing board. “Wrinkles make an outfit look less expensive,” says Nauer. “Find a good travel steamer that’s easy to pack so you can be wrinkle-free even on the go.”

This portable steamer has a big, detachable water tank so you can steam for 15 minutes without refilling. It heats up fast. And, it comes with a lint brush, soft brush, and creaser so you can address whatever your garment needs.

  • Available colors: 3


This Hair Tie Hack For Making A Blazer Hip

“Want to make your blazer feel less stuffy?” asks Nauer. “Use hair ties around your arms to hold your blazer sleeves in place to get the perfect scrunched-up sleeve look without rolling.” They don’t have to be flashy but they do have to be stretchy and strong for this — these elastics are just the thing. A pack of 17 of them is just $4. That’s a cheap and very clever trick!

  • Available colors: 3


Getting Those Teeth Sparkly White With At-Home Strips

“Teeth whitening strips are an excellent option for those looking to brighten their smile on a budget,” says Tracy Cheng, personal stylist and founder of Girl Shares Tips. “[Strips] are easy to use and can be purchased ... for a fraction of the cost of professional teeth whitening treatments.”

These teeth whitening strips are formulated to be milder than traditional fare — perfect for those with sensitive teeth — while being just as effective. This kit includes 42 strips so you can do 21 treatments sans harsh bleaches that can damage tooth structure.


Getting That Glow From The Inside By Staying Hydrated

“Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining a healthy body and glowing skin,” says Cheng. “Using a water bottle with a time marker can help remind you to sip on your H2O regularly.” If you have trouble remembering, try this 64-ounce, clear water bottle with two lids — one with a straw — that can act as a sipping cup. Words of encouragement accompany the time markers that show you how much you have consumed and how much you still need to down.

  • Available colors: 9


Stepping Into A Foot Mask So You Can Wear Sandals With Confidence

“Using a foot-peel mask is a cost-effective way of achieving healthier-looking feet without spending too much money or time on expensive treatments,” Cheng tells Bustle. “Incorporating this step into your regular self-care routine may provide long-lasting results that will leave you feeling confident about showing off those beautiful toes!”

This two-pack of botanical masks uses fruit acids and extracts, infused into booties, to slough off the dead skin cells and reveal the baby-soft hiding under there. The entire process takes about two weeks — after you wear them for an hour — and the results are, according to many of the nearly 50,000 five-star reviewers, “astonishing.”


Soothing Your Skin With A Cooling Gel Mask

If you are looking for a budget-friendly way to encourage glowing skin, Cheng recommends using a cold face mask. This simple beauty hack, she says, has lots of benefits, including reducing inflammation and puffiness. “Whether you had a sleepless night or just need to de-stress after a long day,” she tells Bustle, “an ice mask can work wonders in reducing any unwanted swelling. Additionally, it can also help shrink the appearance of pores and tighten skin.”

This full-face version is filled with gel beads so it can be kept in the freezer for a soothing cool treatment or popped in the microwave and used as a heat pack. There’s a breathable backing so it’s comfy to wear and it comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

  • Available options & colors: 5


Choosing A Skin-Care Cream That’s Super Versatile

Perfect skin is not really an accessory you can buy. But you can take care of the skin you have with this two-pack of Vitamin E skin cream that’s loaded with rich emollients, collagen, aloe vera, and elastin.

“This is one of my favorite products in my skincare toolkit because it is so versatile,” says Tami Claytor, stylist and owner of Always Appropriate Image & Etiquette Consulting. “In the winter, I like applying it to keep my hands and face hydrated. It’s also a summertime must for the heels of my feet.”


This Eyeshadow Primer For Blessedly Crease-Free Looks

Claytor is also a fan of this eyeshadow primer from Urban Decay. Apply the invisible formula as a base, under shadows and liners, to create an even surface that helps boost colors and hold things in place.

“It keeps my eyeshadow from forming creases on my eyelids,” Claytor tells Bustle. “Also, it’s long-lasting. I’ve literally experienced 12 hours of efficacy.”


Using A Unique Sandalwood Soap That Cleanses Without Drying

This Chinese sandalwood soap — an excellent, nondrying cleanser, according to Claytor — is another long-time favorite of hers. “My mother and I first came across this facial soap in 1986 while on summer vacation in Asia and have used it ever since,” she says. Her mother used it daily to care for the excellent, clear skin she always enjoyed.

Many reviewers tell a similar story, saying they discovered it by accident, have used it for decades, and will use nothing else. Maybe the secret is its simplicity: It has essential oils, sandalwood extract, and vitamins, and promises to be gentle and nourishing.


Mattifying With This Mineral Powder That’s Also A Sunscreen

Claytor loves this 100% mineral powder that’s perfect for tossing in your purse for quick touchups. “Its powder formulation comes in a compact, retractable tube,” she says, “which allows me to put it in my makeup bag and reapply it throughout the day as needed.” You might want a second for the vanity, though because, “it’s also a great setting powder over liquid makeup,” she shares.

Not only does it help tone down shine, but it is an SPF15 sunscreen that uses zinc oxide (not chemicals) so it is less likely to irritate skin. It comes in translucent or tints and the tube locks so it won’t spill powder in your bag after you brush it on.


Boosting Hair Volume With A Strengthening & Thickening Spray

Yvey Valcin, master stylist and founder of Yvey Salon, shared his best-kept secret for creating the best look possible for clients: Tap the unique power of their hair by maximizing or minimizing volume to best suit each person.

“Each of our faces [has] a unique bone structure,” he explains. “So the hair can be used to create a look that will amplify your bone structure best, whether by using the hair to cover or expose certain areas of the face. I love using Queen For a Day by Bedhead to create a style that brings out the best version of my clients.”

This volumizing spray is light, not sticky, and leaves your hair looking natural. Still, it has serious hold due to the palm kernel glycerides that help make your hair feel thicker.


Making Moisture Your First Hair Styling Move

Digging deeper into his bag of tricks, Valcin shares his “never fail roadmap to perfectly styling your hair every single time.” After you shampoo and condition your hair, he says, “Make a moisturizing cream your base product, second add a texture or volume mousse (if needed), and third, finish it with a holding spray to give the style the flare you would want.”

For the base product, Valcin loves this budget-friendly cream with argan and moringa oils. It’s light so it absorbs quickly into your hair to moisturize. This is said to rejuvenate damaged hair and help give terrific shine and movement.


Boosting Your Roots For Natural-Looking Volume

For texture and volume, Valkin likes this affordable Big Root mousse that adds big volume and a medium level of hold to hair. Just apply it to wet hair at the roots and it will last until you wash your hair again — even if you skip a day. If you heat dry your hair, it offers thermal protection as you do.