Do you ever look at those perfectly coiffed and made-up women you see on the morning commute and wonder how on EARTH they do it?
How do THEY find the time to apply a full face of makeup and create an elaborate hairdo every morning when YOU’RE still stumbling around wiping the sleep out of your eyes and wondering if there’s enough coffee in the world to wake you up? How come their clothes are never creased and their accessories are always perfectly chosen? What’s their secret, and how do you get in on it? Or, to put it more realistically: what’s their secret and how do you hack it? You’d much rather spend extra time in bed than get up at daybreak to perfect your appearance, after all, so what you really want to know is how to look good fast – but still look like you took your sweet time over it.
Here are some ways to do it…
How to Look Good Fast: the lazy girl’s guide to effortless style
The first thing you need to know about the pursuit of effortless style is that there is no easy way to achieve it. Because there really IS no such thing as “effortless” style – for most of us, at least. Oh, there’ll always be those lucky creatures who can roll out of bed, throw on the first thing thing they find on the bedroom floor and STILL look fantastic, but those people are few and far between, and if you’re not one of them, you’re going to have to lay some groundwork first.
The bad news, then is that if you want to look good fast, and be effortlessly stylish… you’re going to have to put in some effort. The good news, however, is that you’ll only have to put in that effort once (or very occasionally), and pretty soon you’ll have a streamlined, failsafe routine which will allow you to look good fast. Most of the time. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Be ruthless with your wardrobe
You might have noticed that a lot of our advice articles begin with the idea that you should clear out your closet (not in the Eminem sense, we hasten to add. There’s a very good reason for that, though: we’re big fans of the closet clearout, not because it keeps you in control of your clothes, and lets you see what you have, but because it can be really hard to look good fast when you’re drowning in a mountain of clothes and have to embark upon a house-wide search every morning just to find something suitable to wear. (And then, when you DO find it, you inevitably have to iron it, or remove some kind of stain from it, because its been lying balled up in the corner of the wardrobe for days, and it looks it.) Have a clear out, and be ruthless with it: make sure everything your left with is something you look and feel great in, so you’ll never have to waste precious minutes wondering if something suits you, because you know everything you own DOES.
Try to keep your clothes accessible
We’re not suggesting you turn your bedroom into a walk-in closet (although if it helps…), or hang your clothes on the walls like paintings: we can’t all have the closet space of Mariah Carey, after all. If it’s at all possible, though, try to make sure everything you wear is in easy reach, and is somewhere you can see it. Clothes that are stuck at the back of a drawer, or layered under half-a-dozen other items on a hanger will be hard to find, and easy to forget about. They’ll also be more likely to be creased beyond belief when you finally pull them out, meaning you have to spend precious sleep time on ironing. Our best tip is to try to hang, rather than fold, as many of your clothes as possible, even if it means fitting an extra rail in your wardrobe or investing in a freestanding dress-rail. Hanging clothes are easier to organise, easier to see, and they tend to keep their shape better, meaning all you have to do is put them on: easy.
Repeat points 1 and 2 with your makeup, and any other products that are part of your daily routine
Bulging makeup bag? Bathroom cabinet groaning under the weight of all those products? Take the time to clear it all out: as with your closet, keep only those items you need, and keep them somewhere accessible, so you don’t have to spend time rummaging through every item you own every morning. If you really can’t bear to part with the products you only use occasionally, keep them separate from the ones you use every day by packing a second makeup/toilet bag with ONLY those products that are in constant rotation: you’ll still have the rest for when you have time to experiment, but when it comes to looking good fast, at least you’ll know exactly what to reach for.
Develop a uniform
We’ve written before about our love of signature styles and fashion “uniforms”, and while they’re definitely not for everyone, there’s no denying that developing a “uniform” of sorts will dramatically streamline your routine. Your uniform doesn’t have to mean owning seven identical shirts and seven identical skirts, and wearing exactly the same thing every single day, but rather working out which styles and colours work best for you, and work best with each other, and creating a “capsule” wardrobe based around those items. As with the makeup example, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ditch everything that doesn’t fall within the guidelines of the “uniform”. It does help, however, to have a handful of go-to outfits which you know will look good on you, and to always have them at hand, whether that means keeping them in their own corner of the wardrobe, or taking them out of it altogether.
Perfect an easy-to-do hairstyle
Those elaborate hair-dos other women always seem to have aren’t always as complicated as they look. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time washing and styling your hair every morning, find an up-do that suits you, and learn how to do it in a hurry (if you’re stuck, ask your stylist for a quick lesson, or check out hair tutorials on You Tube). It might take a few attempts to get it right, but pretty soon you’ll be able to do it in your sleep – and won’t THAT save you a whole lot of time!
Buy some dry shampoo
No time for a shampoo and blow-dry? Dry shampoo rubs right into the roots and gets rid of grease in seconds. It’s cheap, too.
Get your eyelashes dyed and brows shaped
For those of you who don’t have time for even the pared-down makeup routine suggested above, there are plenty of other ways to look polished without any effort. If you have pale lashes, get them dyed (or learn how to do it yourself). If they’re very thin or short, you could also consider having them permed, or having individual false lashes applied, thus eliminating the need for mascara for a little while at least. Your browns, meanwhile, can completely change the look of your face, and if they’re overgrown and out of control, they will make your entire look less polished: if you don’t trust yourself to shape them yourself, have them done professionally (you can have them tinted too, at the same time) and then forget all about them for a few weeks.
Carry a bold lipstick which you can apply on the go
We’ve talked about this one before, but bold lips create the impression that you’ve made an effort, even when you haven’t. Choose a colour that works with your complexion, and a formula that’s easy to apply in a hurry: no high maintenance lipsticks which require careful outlining and application!
Finally, preparation is everything
You’ve heard this one before, but if you need to look good fast, it really helps if you get prepared first, either by choosing your outfit the night before, or setting aside an hour or so every week to go through your closet, try things on, put together outfits and make any small repairs that are needed. It might sound like a bit of a drag now, but trust us: you’ll be glad you did it tomorrow morning.