There have been entire books written on the subject of looking cute while under stress and/or in a rush.
Frankly, I’m too busy to read an entire book on the topic. Aren’t you?
So here are a few quick ideas to get you from “I have no style” to cute — in just a few minutes.
1. Add a third piece—a jacket, cardigan, or vest. No question that this is the best and fastest way to upgrade whatever you’re wearing. It is also the one that gets people to thinking it is too complicated to be stylish. Not so! Just make sure that every season you have one or two (or more) go-to 3rd-layer pieces you love wearing.
2. Fiddle with buttons, sleeves, belts, hems, etc. Ever notice how a bloggers or models in catalogues sometimes do things with their clothes that seem, well, a little weird? It may seem silly but it is those details that can make the difference in someone’s style. So: Push up the jacket sleeves, roll up the shirtsleeves, pull the necklace over the collar, roll up the hem, tie the belt end under.
3. Add a big piece of jewelry. By “big” I do not mean a piece of your grandmother’s jewelry or the strand of beads you got on vacation 10 years ago. These are fine and wonderful and I am not at all suggesting you get rid of them. But they won’t give you the style you want. Just as everything else in your closet needs an upgrade every so often, so does your jewelry. Get yourself to Anthropologie and get a fabulous new statement necklace (for less than $75, I might add). Voila! Instant style!
4. Take 30 minutes. Spend 30 minutes—that’s it!—planning three to five outfits for the occasions that bedevil you the most. That could be a big meeting at work, a TV presentation, or cheering a kid’s game from the sidelines — wherever the occasions are when you feel the biggest gap between how you think you look and how you want to look. Make the outfits, try them on, and record them. You’ll reap your investment the next time you have to dash out of the house in a rush.
5. Go to the makeup counter. A little foundation, concealer, mascara, and lipstick will do most women a world of good. I recommend going every six months to see what the new trends are and what appeals to you. (Here in DC, I love the Chanel counter at Bloomingdale’s in Friendship Heights, where all the makeup artists are nice, down-to-earth, and talented. [Sadly, I am not on the Chanel payroll, I just truly like the people and the product.])
There are other approaches to instant style, but for now, give one or more of these a try. I promise you’ll see the results right away. If you need help, let me know. We can work in person or remotely to give you a style boost!
(Ketura Persellin is a stylist, image consultant, writer, and public speaker in Washington, DC, and area suburbs.)