For Carlo and I there is only one secret on how to look expensive, and it follows the idea that less is more.
Some may argue that the Baroque style with its grandeur is a synonym of looking expensive, and while what is right is a question of personal taste, it is also true that the cultural background plays an important role on deciding how to look expensive. To give you an example, Carlo and I come from Italy where both the opulence of stylists like Dolce and Gabbana and Cavalli, and the simple lines of Armani are examples of a luxury lifestyle.
Carlo and I have chosen to embrace the idea that “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” both in life and in photography, and here is why.
The elements of looking expensive
Make sure your hair looks ok, and that means no flyways, no frizziness and no undone roots.
Your hair needs to be either messy (but a controlled kind of messiness as my good friend and great hair stylist Caterina Maiolini will say), or sleek. Anything in between will give you a dishevelled look that is far from looking expensive.
There is a lot of accent on eyebrows lately, especially after Cara De La Vigne has become the face of everything that can be sold in the world. She is the owner of some amazing eyebrows that all the make up artist love.
So why are eyebrows so important? They frame your eyes adding to your unique facial expressions. Taking care of your eyebrows is paramount in how to look expensive. Eyebrows that are too thin will make you look weird. The wrong shape will also make you look even more weird.
Nowadays having bushy eyebrows is ok, however, having hairs growing madly out of shape are a no no in any fashion era. On the other hand, beware of those perfectly geometrical and penciled designed dark eyebrows. To me, they look terribly fake and they fall in the category “cheap look”.
3. Make up
Very few faces can take a lot of make up. That said, I am convinced that having tons of make up on your face rarely add to your beauty.
I am a huge fan of smokey eyes when done properly, however, I always prefer 3 simple tools: mascara, blusher and a bit of eyeliner. That is it. Looking fresh is what every woman of every age should aspire to. You can be sexy with just that, believe me. All the rest is only about confidence.
The key on how to look expensive regarding lips is hydration.
It does not matter if you love a strong red lipstick or a nude look, if your lips look dry, you will look somehow untidy and even unhealthy.
Please please please avoid dark tones of lipstick unless you are a model selling a particular lipstick for a beauty photo shoot. Most of the times it looks dreadful on almost anyone.
This is such an underestimated detail that instead is of extreme importance.
Dark or red nail varnish need to be perfect. If chipped, do something about it.
If you are a busy bee, French manicure along with pastel nail varnishes is my all time favourite. It is always in fashion, it goes well with every outfit, in any occasion, in any season and it is not that obvious if chipped. It looks simple and expensive in your day to day life as well as in your evening occasions. For photoshoots it looks perfect as well.
The length of the nails is another factor that can make or break how expensive you will look. Nails that are too long can look… almost pornish, especially if the nail varnish is red or ornate with fashionable beads or patterns.
If in doubt, keep your nails natural looking and on the short side.
Simplicity is always the best option in any occasion. Clean, simple lines and solid colours are the evergreen of elegance for work, leisure or evening out.
Different patterns mixed together as well as different colours (3 or more) are a no no.
Aim for a top maximum of 3 solid colours together, being 2 of them being basic black and white or neutrals. To give you an example, imagine to look at a shop window full of different colours and patterns. It will feel confusing and overwhelming because what you are looking at is extremely busy, and as a consequence it is not possible to focus on anything in particular.
Think of the typical “White company” catalog now. Everything looks pure and expensive, right? The reason is because the main colour is a basic, neutral one. If you add just another colour, that will stand out without clashing with any of the surroundings. This basic rule is what makes an expensive looking style.
The right fitting, no creases, and no fluff on clothing are also an important element of an expensive look.
Again, less is more. A busy space feels like chaos for your mind. A minimalistic approach on your jewellery will give you the look of being expensive.
Shoes are a bit of an exception because if everything else is simple and balanced, shoes can be that random and crazy element that can add interest without being overwhelming or cheap looking.
Carlo and I believe in simplicity because it agrees with our sense of aesthetic, and we do not find – with some very few exceptions – flashy colours or busy patterns attractive neither in photography nor in real life.
As a guideline, I refer to old style pictures of 1950 that for me represents the core of elegance that will never go out of fashion.
And for both Carlo and I, the secret on how to look expensive, is less is more.
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