Style Ideas. What the Heck Does Dressing High-Low Mean? Second City Style Fashion Blog

June 11, 2007 • Fashion

Is it just me or is the term "High-Low" being tossed around a lot lately? What the heck does it mean? Quite simply High-Low dressing means mixing inexpensive with expensive items and pulling it off with aplomb. It characterizes the subtlety and fluidity found in a well-executed personal design mix.The trick is to make the cheapo stuff look expensive, not the other way around.

With gas prices soaring, the Euro slapping the US dollar around and the insane price of poor quality clothes, high-low dressing is essential. Not many of us can afford to dress in couture or designer labels from head-to-toe. Skimp on the basics and splurge on shoes, bags and suits.

Here are two examples of the concept:


High: (although on sale) Derek Lam Asymmetrical Anorak Jacket $1,014 at eLUXURY

Low: La Redoute Straight-cut Chinos $39.99 at La Redoute


Low: Tribeca ‘Grand Central’ Silver Sandal $54.95 at Nordstrom

High: Versace Black Logo Jacquard Large Shoulder Bag $1,264 at Bluefly

Low: Josie Dress $29.80 at Forever 21

High: Tory Burch Serena Cap Toe Ballet Flat $225 at Shopbop

High: Chloe Medium Paddington Satchel $1,765 at Neiman Marcus

High: Tom Ford Whitney Sunglasses $320 at eLUXURY

– Lauren Dimet   

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

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9 Responses to Style Ideas. What the Heck Does Dressing High-Low Mean? Second City Style Fashion Blog

  1. The great thing about this method is that you ONLY notice the people who pull it off with aplomb. There is something delicious about a Zara dress, Express earrings and a Chloe bag. Anymore, the bag is what we notice, and as long as the dress has good shape it’s anything goes these days.
    On the rare occasion that I did notice someone who didn’t pull it off well, it was only because I was either sitting on a plane for too long, waiting in line at the airport and directly behind someone checking out at a store. The high/low combo would have gone unnoticed otherwise. It comes off as drab or (worse yet) ugly.
    Truth be told, if you’ve got a great sense of style you can rock H&M from head to toe and make it look fabulous.
    But doesn’t it just ‘feel’ better to have at least one fab item on? 😉

  2. Lauren-SCS says:

    Amen sister! Well said. I have to have one good item on at all times or I feel…dumpy. It’s all about pulling the look together and pulling it off!

  3. celeritas says:

    I heard that if you only have the money for one high item it should be your handbag, because that’s what people will notice. What do you think?
    Regarding that, I just bough a new Toshiba laptop with a shimmery blue-black lid. I want to buy a new bag to go with it, as I only have an ugly black vinyl courier at the moment. If I want something that I can wear with everything, what color should I buy?

  4. Joanne says:

    “Truth be told, if you’ve got a great sense of style you can rock H&M from head to toe and make it look fabulous.
    But doesn’t it just ‘feel’ better to have at least one fab item on?”
    I agree with this statement completely – I’ve gotten compliments dressed head-to-toe in things from Ross… but the “fab” item (usually a bag) boosts my confidence up a tidge more. 🙂

  5. Lauren-SCS says:

    I would agree the one killer item should be your bag and/or shoes.
    For the laptop bag I would go for cherry red! The color actually matches with a lot. I would say white, but it would get filthy. If you want one that will carry you into fall and through the winter go for patent in black. However, I have no idea if anyone makes one.

  6. Celeritas says:

    I’ll have to save for a new bag, I still have a real cheapie black one.
    With the laptop bag, I was thinking cherry red and maybe croc skin. I like wearing turquoise though and I think it would clash. As its winter here, being New Zealand in the Southern hemisphere, should I go with the black to suit the season’s colors?

  7. Lauren-SCS says:

    For a good bag that is real and less than retail check out (my new obsession). They are by no means cheap, but they have all the latest bag styles with slight discounts. (I HATE fakes).
    For the laptop bag, I would not drop too much coin. So for colors for the laptop bag, I love the idea of cherry red and croc skin. For colors that will carry you into fall, try pewter, matted silver, gunmetal, copper & deep purple. These colors are huge for fall/winter ’08 and the metalics you can carry now too.
    Make a statement and have fun with the laptop bag, avoid black. However, if you are saving up for a good handbag…there I might do black (but mixed textures like leather and patent, etc.).

  8. julie says:

    i live high/low and peopel are always so shocke to discover that forever 21 and hennes & mauritz (what i sometimes call h&m to sound fancy) are the stores I go to most! the key is to be discriminating in the “low” end. And for the “high”–shoot for items you can wear a lot and reinvent. My latest “high” purchases were tory burch flats and an hh bag. things you cant replace w/ the “low” end.
    also find the “high” items at “low”er prices at bluefly, loehmann’s, century 21, outlets.

  9. Lauren-SCS says:

    You are so right! I LOVE that you call H&M by it’s ‘proper’ name. I will have to do that!

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