Wear sleek shiny shoes with a low heel in a neutral color. Steer clear of platforms, says the fashion writer. “Angelina Jolie wears black ballet flats and tan patent leather pumps all the time. It's not as if she needs to look more beautiful, but somehow the elegance and restraint of those shoes makes her look even more appallingly rich.”
If you wear vintage, make sure it fits perfectly. “My ‘rich girl' dress is the plainest thing in the world,” admits Johnson. “A vintage A-line dress to the knee in oatmeal linen. It looks as classic as an Oleg Cassini or as modern as Prada, and it costs me $30.”
Find a statement dress and wear it with “really modern shoes.” Graphic prints are Johnson's favorite. “If you wear an eye-popping dress, it conveys a high level of social and professional confidence.” Then add the shoes: “Teamed with a slightly outrageous shoe, you are downright arrogant.”
Add a personal touch. This can be anything, whether “soft, eccentric, or a little bit shocking to make you look more comfortable in your skin,” she says. “I have a beat-up old Missoni scarf that I wear with a very formal suit jacket. It makes me look less try-hard and adds a glamorous patina to formal tailoring.”
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.