Let’s face it, few women can look polished all the time. Maybe you can, but I sure as heck can’t. While there are some days where a stranger might drop a few coins in my coffee cup assuming I’m homeless, for the most part, I try to at least appear as if I have it together.

How to Look Polished When You’re Not

With a few tricks, even on your most slovenly day, you can make it appear like you spent more time on your look than you did. Check out these outfit ideas and easy suggestions.

Trick #1- Add some quick makeup

You don’t need a full face to look pulled together, but some concealer, a little mascara, and done brows are easy. One tool my mother swears by is the Boom cosmetic sticks by Cindy Joseph. The sticks designed for women over 40 come in identical white tubes that fit in the palm of your hand. Boomstick Color is a sheer berry for cheeks, brow bone, eyes, lips, forehead, neck and decollete and works for all skin tones. Boomstick Glimmer is a sheer iridescent champagne for the sides of the eye, eyelids, cheekbones, shoulders and decollete; Boomstick Glo works as an olive oil and beeswax moisturizer for lips, cuticles, around the eyes, and anywhere else you can use quick moisturizing touch-ups. You can use Boom cosmetic sticks for everyday use but can be particularly useful on days you want to look polished and don’t have time.

Trick #2- Throw on a hat

One thing I love about fall and winter is I can throw on a hat when my hair is dirty and wear it all day without rousing suspicions about how unwashed my hair is. It’s an easy trick to consider on the days you want to look polished when you’re not.

In this very easy look, I added this camel beret to a basic jeans, t-shirt and cardigan outfit. The jeans are by Citizens of Humanity, the t-shirt is by Bp., and the cardigan by J. Crew. I finished the outfit with grey slip-on sneakers from Vionic and a burgundy bag from Rag & Bone.

Trick #3- Add fun shoes

Another one of my tricks is to finish an easy and effortless look with a fun pair of shoes. For example, a t-shirt and jeans can look fun with a colorful or glittery pair of flats or a basic dress can look less blah by adding a fun pair of pumps.

In the outfit above, this chestnut sweater, basic pair of black pants and nondescript black bag looks more polished with these leopard loafers from Steve Madden.

Trick #4- Throw on a scarf


Next, when you’re outfit is feeling a little unpolished try winding a scarf around your neck. I have a video on the easiest way to do it in under five seconds here. If you’re not a scarf person, a statement necklace or even a simple pendant or station necklace can do the same thing. It’s essentially about quick and easy polish.

Also, this doesn’t just work in the type of outfit above, when wearing a dress, a tip like this can work with the easiest of outfits, but it’s also good for days when you have to look polished at work but just can’t pull it together. I styled this easy Eileen Fisher dress with navy tights and booties, a dusty pink bag, and a printed scarf from Nordstrom.

Trick #5- Throw on a Blazer


A blazer can work because it is easy while also adding some tailored structure to an otherwise casual outfit. Blazers aren’t just for a professional environment, they can look great with jeans, can be thrown over a relaxed dress, and can even be worn with easy pants. If you don’t like the way you look in blazers, a more structured cardigan or knitted blazer can have the same effect.

I styled this mauve herringbone blazer with a plum-colored Breton, dark denim jeans from Kut from the Kloth, high top burgundy sneakers from Ecco and backpack from Frye.

Tip #6- Create inspiring color combinations


Lastly, play with color to make the mundane look inspiring. The color distracts from how basic and relaxed everything really is. In a post last week, I elaborated further on this in a post on how to use color fun color combinations to make unaccessorized outfits look interesting. The same strategy works when wanting to look polished when you aren’t.

I styled this burgundy top with a mustard-colored cardigan and olive joggers from Thread & Supply. I finished the look with navy sneakers and a printed tote from Alice + Olivia.

Being unpolished and looking unpolished are two different things. The next time you are ready to run out the door looking like you just rolled out of bed, try these easy strategies to look pulled together.