Looking “put together” doesn’t have to be difficult
Here’s the thing: It’s impossible to always have it all together. Sure, you can try to look your best at the office and dress to kill on date night, but there’s no one (seriously, not anyone) whose hair is always coiffed and whose loungewear always matches. But despite that, you can still look amazing with lustrous hair, flawless makeup, and a pulled-together outfit. Really. It takes a little advance planning and strategic buying when you’re in the right frame of mind, but not much – and you’ll be so grateful on those less-than-stellar days that you took the time to do it.
Ahead, you’ll find the easiest ways to look polished and put together without spending a fortune, whether you’re going to work, brunch, or even just the supermarket. From finding your style uniform to developing a quick makeup routine, these tips will help you get out the door quickly and look your best doing it.
Develop a style uniform
One of the easiest ways to look put together every day is to have some go-to outfits that always look good. The best way to do that? Develop a style uniform. For example, your style uniform for the office might be straight-leg jeans from Levi’s, a blazer and a T-shirt, or a neutral-coloured dress, statement earrings and heels. On the flip side, your style uniform for running errands might be jeans and a turtleneck, or leggings and a tailored jacket. Whatever it is, your uniform is a stylish outfit you can fall back on with minimal effort. It should also be something you can adjust for a range of dress codes and seasons.
For other creative tips, check out these things personal stylists won’t tell you for free.
Find your colours
Of course, you should wear whichever colours you love and make you feel happiest. But if you’re building your style uniform around a particular palette, it’s a good idea to include the colours that flatter you best. For example, according to InStyle, people with cool skin tones look best in bright blue, emerald, deep purple, lavender, ruby and bright rose. Favourite neutrals for them are grey, navy and white. People with warm skin tones look best in orange, yellow, gold, warm green and olive. The best neutrals for them are taupe, creamy white and chocolate. And those with neutral skin tones look best in light peach, dusty pink, jade green and camo green. Favourite neutrals for them are creamy white, taupe and grey.
The one colour that tends to look great on everyone? Red – which is why we can’t recommend a dress in the fiery hue enough. Something simple and super easy to wear can make a big style statement, too.
Up your shoe game
A great shoe is like the period at the end of the sentence. If it’s done correctly, it’ll blend in with the rest of your outfit seamlessly. And if it’s not, well, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb. But having a great shoe game doesn’t mean you need a lot of shoes, and it certainly doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money on them. The key is to cover your bases with the basics: a white sneaker (just remember to toss them in the wash every few weeks), a black boot, professional loafers, sandals, knee-high boots, and a killer neutral heel. From there, you can have fun and add whichever shoes bring you joy. The best thing about shoes is that they can add a pop of colour and fun to an otherwise ordinary outfit.
Hack your wardrobe
On those mornings that you’re running late and can’t spend extra time on your appearance, it’s important to have a hack. To do this, think of the problems that slow you down the most. If you struggle with your hair, find an accessory that fixes things in a pinch. If you have trouble putting together outfits, buy a dress or jumpsuit you can throw on in a flash. If you have days where you just can’t tolerate your heels, find another shoe that looks just as chic but feels as cosy as your slippers. The goal is to identify your most common problems and come up with simple solutions.
Put your tailor on speed dial
The key to making sure each of your pieces looks as polished as possible is ensuring they fit properly. That’s where your tailor comes in. Before you take an item out on the town, have your tailor look it over to see if it needs a pinch here or a hem there. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can turn cheap-looking or frumpy items into pieces that make you look like a million bucks. That’s especially true if you find a high-quality item at a thrift store or vintage shop and wish it fit just a little bit better. If you’re in a pinch, try fixing the item with a bit of hem tape to get the job done quickly.
Make sure you have a match for every item
Sure, it’s fun to go shopping for the sake of going shopping and finding some truly great stuff. But if every trip to the mall turns into a massive clothing haul, then you might be doing more harm than good. In fact, having too many clothes could make it harder to put together outfits that match. And unfortunately, it could also mean that you wind up with a ton of clothes you never actually wear.
To avoid this issue, use this trick: Before you make a purchase, think about at least three things in your current closet that match the piece you’re about to buy. If you can’t think of any outfits you could make with it – without buying anything else – then leave it at the store. It’s the first step toward building a curated closet that’s full of pieces that can be made into outfits easily. Investing in quality basics will help ensure you can match more items, too. For example, a long-sleeved black turtleneck will help you transition more pieces in your wardrobe from autumn to winter.
Have a two-minute hairdo
Master at least one hairstyle that takes five minutes or less. If you’ve got time to spare, go all-in on curls, plaits, or the latest trend you saw on Pinterest. If not, pull your hair into a bun at the nape of your neck or the crown of your head, or roll it into a scarf. A black jersey head wrap will match any outfit and can be used for a range of hairdos. Don’t underestimate the power of a low-maintenance haircut or hairstyle either. Tell your stylist about any concerns you might have about doing your hair each morning, and ask if they have any simple solutions.
While you’re at it, make sure you’re not making these 12 hairstyle mistakes that age your face.
Buy clothes that hold up
Iron? What iron? If this sounds like you, invest in clothing that does some of the work for you. Many brands offer non-iron dress shirts and T-shirts that will stay wrinkle-free even if they’ve been crammed into the bottom of your drawer (or smushed in a suitcase during a business trip). Additionally, cashmere, wool, polyester and lyocell are more wrinkle-resistant than fabrics like cotton, rayon and silk. Well-made clothing can also shave seconds off the time you spend on outfit prep.
Pay attention to your nails
Well-manicured nails show that you pay attention to detail. But this doesn’t have to mean hitting the salon every five days. A drop of cuticle oil and clear shellac goes a long way toward polishing your look. Or make your manicure stay put longer with a gel manicure, which can last up to 20 days.
Develop a quick makeup routine
Practise getting your everyday make-up look down to 15 minutes or less. For days that you hit the snooze button one too many times, have a condensed version you can complete even faster. Makeup artist Sonia Kashuk told InStyle that she recommends finding a go-to eye and lip combo in a pretty and modern colour that’s not overly trendy. A smoky brown eye and sheer lip is Kashuk’s make-up equivalent of a tailored blouse and slim pants. Slapping on a bright red lip is another way to make a statement. Just put on lipstick, concealer and mascara, and you’re ready to go. MAC’s Ruby Woo is known for looking good on just about every skin tone, but for further guidance, hit your local beauty counter to find the best make-up shades for you.
Take care of your things
Even the most expensive blazers and bags can look rundown if you don’t care for them properly. Follow your clothing’s care instructions and determine how each item should be stored. Silk, for example, might become wrinkled when folded, and jumpers can stretch out easily on hangers. Additionally, take the time to do a once-over of the outfit you plan to wear. Snip off any loose threads and wipe off any shoe scuffs before you head out the door. A budget-friendly lint remover and fuzz remover can come in especially handy when putting the finishing touches on your look.
The easiest way to look put together in autumn and winter is to throw on a chic blazer, coat or jacket. Unfortunately, these items can be expensive – especially if they’re well-made. That’s why you might want to start collecting a piece or two each season. Start with one of the basics: a belted trench, a black leather jacket, or a navy or camel blazer or pea coat. Don’t skip thrift stores while you’re shopping, either. You just might stumble upon a designer item on their racks.
Have a piece that makes you feel expensive
The monetary price of this item doesn’t really matter; it’s how it makes you feel that counts. For example, slip on a chunky watch to prep yourself for that big meeting, a pair of pearl earrings to feel like a million bucks at a cocktail party, or a luxurious perfume to pump yourself up for a night out. Wearing a piece that you’re proud of can change the rest of your demeanour and get you ready for your day.
Develop a skin-care routine
Gorgeous skin can help you look put together no matter how much time you spend on the rest of your beauty routine. You already know to never sleep in make-up and to eat a balanced diet of fruits and veggies to keep your skin looking fresh, but there’s always room for improvement. Add an eye cream (preferably one with peptides and antioxidants on its ingredient list) to your skin-care routine, and always rinse your face after using make-up remover. An overnight oil will allow you to wake up with glowy, makeup-ready skin.
Practise good posture
When you see a woman on the street whose style you envy, take note of what she’s wearing, but also take note of how she walks. It’s probably not only her outfit that looks put together; she is put together. Make an effort to consciously work on your own posture every day. When standing, keep your head directly over your shoulders. Square your hips and shoulders by engaging your core and pulling your shoulders down your back (focus more on your stomach muscles if you tend to have a swayback, and more on your back muscles if you tend to hunch over). At your desk, sit with both feet flat on the floor, with your knees even with your hips; you might need a footrest to help you with that.
Perfecting your posture also happens to be one of the everyday habits that can make you look younger.
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