Tess Tuesday: Looking Cute in a Hurry

When I wrote about The Eternal Battle: Cute vs. Comfy and the daily struggle that accompanies it, I got a lot of feedback about the difficulty of getting ready in a hurry. Very few of us have the will to wake up two hours early to straighten our hair, construct a flawless outfit, and make sure we don’t dash out the door without our iPhone. It’s tempting to throw on sweats and schlep through your daily activities. And sure, they’re comfortable, but they belong on the couch. When you look better, you feel better and it completely changes the way you go about the day. Here are some insider’s tricks for pulling your look together in seconds and feeling great for hours.

The Headband: Tempted to twist your wet hair into a bun and check that off your list? Part it on the side, twist it into a lower bun, and wear a headband. All of a sudden, you’ve got yourself a hairstyle.

The Accessories: A set of bangles, a strand of pearls, or a cocktail ring will polish a work outfit and dress up even the plainest white t-shirt.

The Cardigan: If it’s chilly, it’s true, a big hoodie would be comfy and keep you warm. But a cardigan will show your shape, pull your look together, and keep you just as warm. Again, even over a plain white tee, it adds something. In an ideal world, you’d have one in every color, but an easy alternative is having a black one and one in your favorite accent color. (Mine is yellow.)

The Structured Boot: It’s tall and it’s elegant. Wear these over skinny jeans, tights, or your leggings and a plain tee (and cardigan.) They add sophistication and style to any outfit, and you only need one pair. They define staple.

The Soft Jean: Often women don’t want to wear jeans because they’re uncomfortable, cut into their side, etc. Try a soft, dark pair with some stretch or a pair of jeggings. You’ll be more willing to put them on if they’re comfortable and the Lycra will keep them from looking stretched out and sloppy. Jeans are infinitely more stylish than sweats (even if they’re juicy velours.)

The Makeup: No time for applying a full face? Me neither. Take 30 seconds to apply a bit of blush, a swipe of mascara, and a dab of lip gloss. All of a sudden, you’ll look 10 times brighter.

The Flats: Don’t stuff your foot into a smelly gym sneaker unless you’re actually planning on working out. A simple ballet flat matches everything and adds a touch of femininity. Black patent is my dear old standby, while metallic or a leopard print is a great accent.

The Coat: I know it’s cold outside. And if you live in one of those cities whose weather requires the floor-length down parka, you’re out of luck. As for the rest of you, fleeces are sloppy, ski jackets are not glamorous, and nobody likes a girl who wears a way-too-tiny jacket while shivering and sniffling her way through the day. A coat will keep you warm and you’ll look pretty while you walk. A trench, a pea coat, anything with a bit of structure and you’re great to go. Pair it with a matching scarf (maybe a hat and gloves) and you’ve got your outdoor look.


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