When Balenciaga came out with its Arena Extra-Large Shopper Tote Bag (or the ‘IKEA bag’, as the Internet dubbed it), we had some choice words. (You may have had some too, and TBH we don’t blame you.)
Then just last month, the very same brand released another novelty item that looked like something you’d carry your purchases from Balenciaga in – only it was an actual bag costing $1,500. (Seriously, even the Straits Times had something to say. We’re not blaming you.)
Rather than try to fight it, however, we figured Balenciaga might be onto something – but instead of charging an arm and a leg for what passes as an everyday product, we thought we’d find inexpensive products that look like a million bucks.
Here, we present bargain hunters out there with our favourite finds: affordable items that scream luxe. But, you know, with class.
Flared skirt, H&M, $99.90
If there’s one article of clothing we all need for work, it’s a piece that’s just attention-grabbing enough without being too loud. In other words: a piece that shows everyone you have definitely got it all together. And this skirt does just that.
It’s rendered in a lovely dusty pink shade that isn’t too bold, but adds just the right amount of colour to an otherwise dreary office ensemble. Plus, it’s a nice and easy way to turn a basic work outfit into something with a little extra ‘oomph’.
Betty bow holdall bag, Topshop, $76.90
As much as we love our mini bags (check out our list of mini bags we have our eye on), they may not be the most practical – especially if you’re not a light packer.
So what does one do for long hours at the office? Make your purse look like a thousand bucks because we all know whatever documents are in that bag are most definitely worth that much.
Long sleeve wrap tuck blouse, Topshop, $66.90
No, it’s not Chinese New Year and yes, this is more or less an angbao red. But hey, we figured what better way to chase off the early morning blues than with a bright colour, right?
It’s also loose-fitting which means extra comfort at work: no need to worry about that big lunch showing or embarrassing sweat stains; it’s all about looking elegant throughout the day.
Plus, when you’re looking that great, there’s nothing wrong with a little extra attention!
Zip Around Purse, River Island, $34.48 from ASOS
You could use this as an everyday wallet, but we figured this is more of a special piece you reach for when you’re out shopping with your girlfriends.
Everything about this purse is elegant – the silhouette, the colours and the cleverly placed embellishments. Looking at it has to be what love at first sight feels like, right?
Frill sleeve wrap mini dress, Topshop, $79.90
Now you might be thinking that this dress would be perfect for a nice dinner out with your beau. Or that it would be a great option to have for mornings where you’re just too lazy to plan your work outfit.
And you’re right. With the right accessories, you can dress this dress up or down. Multifunctional, flattering and under $100 – we are giving ourselves a pat on the back for stumbling upon this find.
However, picture this: Long queues for the changing room and you’ve only got one pair of jeans that you really want to try on. What’s a girl to do?
Easy. Try them on under the dress that’s airy enough for that to be done easily. It’s not the most glamorous thing to do but hey, if it saves us time, we’ll do what it takes.
Parka with back sequins print, Zara, $59.90
For those of you who prefer a casual oversized look on your off-duty days, we’ve got just the thing for you.
It’s an edgy piece that’ll lend you an air of comfort as you traverse the malls of Singapore on a mission for the best deals and greatest looks. It’s definitely not a subtle piece, but it doesn’t quite veer into trashy or worse, obiang territory.
Plus, can you imagine how comfortable the parka would be on a rainy day?
Monochrome triangle bikini set, Prettylittlething, $48, from ASOS
Whether you’re just popping down to lounge besides your condominium pool or have a posh weekend planned at Koh Samui, we all need a great swimsuit on hand.
There are three very important criteria that makes a swimsuit great: One, it has to make you feel confident and empowered. Otherwise, what’s the point? Two, it has to be functional. It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan on swimming; it still needs to serve its function. And three, it needs to look great.
Looking at this coordinated outfit (it’s made with stretchy fabric so you’re good to swim)… safe to say, we think we’ve nailed it.
Psst. If you’re unsure about what bikini works best on your body type, then check out our comprehensive busy girl’s guide.
Elastic waist dress, Mango, $59.90
There’s nothing worse than heading to the beach in a killer outfit, then having to do the awkward ‘dance’ that’s just a cover-up of your struggle in removing your top without a wardrobe malfunction.
So that’s why this dress fulfills two important functions. It allows you to get beach-ready without the risk of accidentally pulling off your bikini; and it’ll make you look like you belong on an exclusive invite-only beach.
Stripe ruffle & bow straw bag, South Beach, $53.88, from ASOS
Remember how we were talking about the latest bag that all your favourite fashionistas have been spotted rocking? Well, we’re putting a not-so-humble spin on it. Sort of.
The price, of course, remains very humble but the bag is all about casual luxe vibes. You’ll not only join the ranks of the stylish stars but you’ll also be keeping it casual enough for the beach.
Mint tropical floral placed cupped bandeau midi dress, $94.82, from ASOS
We don’t have to explain this dress at all, right? Just looking at the design makes our hearts ache.
And yes, we feared for our wallets before checking up on its price: dresses this pretty don’t usually come cheap. Thankfully for us (and you), it’s under $100, boasts a gorgeous cut and comes in a mix of exquisite colours to boot.
Adding this dress to our cart wasn’t a tough decision at all. (Although we’ll admit that having to wait for it to arrive via international shipping was pretty tough.)
Cage sphere clutch bag, $53.88, from ASOS
Alright, so this is a little unconventional but we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s a cute accessory that might be a conversation starter on a first date, or would help reaffirm your status as a brave fashionista.
Just be sure to keep the contents of your bag totes (heh) adorable – just like these pocket-sized beauty products that’ll keep you looking on point.
Barely there heeled sandals, $60.34, from ASOS
We understand how difficult it can be to shop for heels, given how the prices somehow seem directly proportional to the height of said heel.
So for those of you who love how your legs look in sky-high heels, we’ve got just the thing for you. These patent ankle-strapped heels are the right shade of sexy and the added detail of the bow just makes it that much more desirable.
Premium floral mesh bardot skater dress, New Look, $96.95, from ASOS
It doesn’t matter if you’re a homebody: we all have the odd event or two to attend that require some dressing up. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have sufficient time to shop for it.
If you’re not, though, then well, we’re here to help. Presenting this stunning bardot dress. Where do we even begin to describe it? The off-shoulder design keeps the look flirty and the skater style cinches your waist in for a flattering figure. The mesh brings a unique element to the dress (we’re here to stand out in style, after all) and the embroidered floral design prevents the outfit from looking too plain.
And, of course, the universal shade that will look good on just about most skin tones will also prevent you from standing out too much. You never want to outshine the bride, remember?
Peplum pencil dress, $44.90, from Zalora
Ah, peplum. Remember when that was all everyone would ever wear? While the erstwhile trend isn’t quite as rampant as it was a few years ago, we still see iterations of it on the streets, which goes to show that this style of dress just might stand the test of time.
The sleek cut of this particular piece is perfect for when you’re looking to exude elegance. Not only will the dress emphasise your curves, the peplum also helps add the illusion of curvier hips and, by extension, a smaller waist.
Plus it’s under $50. I mean, need we say more?
Floral embroidered clutch bag, Topshop, $56.90
Can we get ever have too many bags? Well, yes, but it’s a problem we’re happy to be afflicted with.
The floral motif has enjoyed a resurgence in the past few years and while we’re all for it, we’ll admit that it can be tricky to nail the trend: you sometimes run the risk of looking too gaudy or garish, especially if the design looks ‘cheap’.
That might explain why we’re obsessing over this purse from Topshop. The design is simply beautiful: we can’t quite place if it’s the colour combination of the vibrant flowers on a muted nude base; or the clean silhouette of the bag that (ever-so-gently) oozes luxe, but this is one accessory we most certainly want hanging off our shoulder.
Or in our closet. Either way, we want it. Now.