My number one priority when putting together an outfit is to look polished and pulled together. Even if I’m wearing workout clothes, I probably have my hair done and some accessories on. It’s just my thing! There are so many small ways to make a simple outfit look like you spent much more time on it, even if you got ready in 15 minutes! These are my top five. I tend to practice each of these every single day, plus some, but they’re simple enough that anyone can achieve them. I really feel that looking put together can make a huge difference to your confidence level, and especially in how you interact in the workplace. If you look and act like you have your shit together, people are going to treat you with more respect. Try it and let me know if you agree.
One // Well-groomed nails
Crusty cuticles and ragged nails that are all different shapes show that you don’t take care of yourself. You use your hands for everything; they’re always out on show, and they’re one of the first things that other people may see when they meet you. Because I’m a nail polish addict, my nails are always polished with a color, and I genuinely think that this tiny detail makes me appear to be so put together no matter what else I’m wearing.
You do not need to get a manicure or paint your nails to achieve the same result. All you need is a pair of nail clippers, a buffing cube, and a set of cuticle nippers. Make sure to remove any dead, crusty cuticles from around your nails (don’t get carried away or you’ll cut yourself!), clip them to a uniform length (I like them very short), and file and buff them to a nice, clean shine. This will take you five minutes once a week, and it completely changes your appearance. In my experience, I don’t really notice when someone has nicely groomed nails, but I always notice when they’re not groomed. It’s the same thing as the Coco Chanel quote, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; Dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Words to live by, people!
P.s. If you’re wearing chipped nail polish and you don’t have time to repaint, just remove it!
Nothing says, “I’m punctual!” quite like a classic wristwatch. Even if you use your phone as your clock, a watch is still a must-have accessory. It’s the perfect finishing piece to any outfit, no matter how casual or how dressed up. Of course, additional accessories are always welcome, but the watch is the bare bones of your look. If you have one second to throw on an accessory before running out the door, choose a watch. I also think rings make a lovely statement, as well as a small, everyday necklace and perhaps some bracelets for pizazz. Don’t forget about scarves and statement necklaces!
Three // Dry hair
This is such a big pet peeve of mine. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to present yourself to the world, and everyone has different opinions about what is acceptable in different settings. For me, though, arriving at an office place or any work environment with wet hair looks extremely unprofessional. Wet hair says, “I barely woke up in time to jump in the shower, throw on some clothes, and get here.” You don’t want your boss to think you do everything at the last minute! Take ten minutes to at least half dry your hair before leaving the house; there is nothing chic about fresh-out-of-the-shower soaking wet hair dripping down your back.
I like to shower first thing when I wake up, and then let my hair air dry while I get dressed, put on makeup, eat breakfast, etc. Drying and curling my hair is the last step in my routine before I leave the house so that by the time I get the dryer out, my hair is damp rather than sopping wet and the drying process is much faster.
I also avoid washing my hair every single day, as it’s drying for your hair, and not doing so is such a big time saver! I wear a full-on granny shower cap with pride (It’s bright pink with polka dots and a big ol’ bow) to keep the humidity of the shower off of my dry hair. Sometimes I don’t even have to re-curl my hair on the second day; I just run my fingers through it and I’m good to go (I’ve also been known to throw my hair up in a sleek bun to hide the fact that it hasn’t been washed for three or even four days). Seriously, invest in a shower cap. It’s life changing.
Four // Mascara
This is the single most important item in my makeup bag (Actually, in my makeup drawers. I have a lot of makeup.). Nothing else has the same power to make you look as awake and lively as a quick coat of mascara. (I’m still obsessed with the combo I talked about here; it’s so good that I refuse to try anything new.) If you don’t like makeup, then this is completely optional. If you don’t wear makeup because you don’t have time for it in the morning, try just throwing on some mascara! It’s a one minute step that will change the way your whole face looks. No more sleepy, puffy, tired eyes. (A good concealer helps, too, if you want to go even further.) If you really want to brighten your face, throw on some red lipstick too; it’s the best confidence booster ever.
Five // Cuffs
Whether your sleeves or your pant legs are just a bit too long, the cuff will without a doubt make you look more tailored and polished. Any floppy shirt sleeve that extends past my wrist bone gets a quick little turn-up. This is also a great way to expose your pretty timepiece!
When it comes to pants, anything skinnier than a boot cut should be folded to just above the ankle bone. This exposes the thinnest part of your legs, making you look taller. You also don’t get any wrinkles in the bottom of your pants from where they rest on your shoes, which gives a smoother and more tailored overall look to your outfit.
I personally think that a slightly thicker cuff (1-2 inches) is usually more flattering than a very skinny cuff (I learned this from sitting on the floor rolling my best friend’s jeans for her so many times. She always looks taller and more slender with a thicker cuff on her skinny jeans.).
Do you have any tricks for looking more polished and put-together? Share them in the comments!