I’ve never been a polished girl (tomboy to the core) but I've always admired them. You know, those heavenly creatures who manages to look pristine no matter what the situation – after the gym, at the end of a night out, just casually doing the groceries and all while looking so casual and effortless.
I tend to be the woman who fully knows the top should be ironed but convinces herself that it's good enough. As a matter of fact for a time, I didn't even own an iron - I couldn't be bothered (feel free to judge).
One day I had a wake up call. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I walked by and was horrified. I admired these well polished women but I was a straight hot mess! I was sporting chipped nails that were all different lengths, and my hair...a matted mess of an afro bun on top of my head. Add that I watched my honey carefully care for his clothes and his appearance daily, always ensuring he was fresh pressed and dressed before he left the house and honestly I was embarrassed with myself.
I wasn't happy and knew something had to change. Let the uplevelling begin!
I'm a huge believer in "look good, feel good", meaning when I put the effort in to look my best, I feel AHmazing, powerful and unstoppable! And if I was really honest with myself, I actually clean up pretty easily, meaning it wasn't much effort or expense - I just didn't do it, at least not consistently. And when I did, it was more so that I just looked good, but I wouldn't say polished and by mid-day I was back to looking disheveled and like a science project gone wrong. How the heck do these women do it and look so effortless doing it?!
So I began observing these polished women, and managed to acquire some of their secrets. Their immaculate, well-presented demeanour is all down to paying attention to the small but important details that finish off a look, and setting a little scheduled time aside to keep these things in check. And it doesn't require a designer wardrobe!
PLANNING & PREPARATION
Planning and preparation is key. Creating a routine to stay on top of maintenance helps to make staying polished effortless.
For example, I use every Sunday morning I do my hair, salt scrub, nails, a home facial and steaming. This is my ritual beauty day.
Schedule your reoccurring activities like your nails, hair, facial, waxing etc. Put them in your calendar in advance and book the ones that require appointments. At the end of each appointment, book your next one right away. Staying on top of them in a systemic way and yo''l forever look chic as heck!
I found this 90 day beauty calendar infographic very helpful.
Plan your outfits the night before
The best way to always look polished is to plan your outfit and pack your purse the night before. Mornings will feel much easier when you don't have to worry about what to wear or leaving important items behind.
Carry a stay-chic kit
- Bandaids (for rubbing shoes)
- Tide To Go Pen
- Oil-blotting sheets
- Mints (gum causes gas - not cute)
- Safety pins
- and other essentials
Pack them in a cute small pouch which makes it easy to transfer it when you switch purses.
POSTURE & POISE
She looks so confident, doesn't she? Slouching conveys an air of insecurity and timidity. No matter what you have on (or how you feel), standing tall will always project confidence and a poised, polished appearance.
CLEAN SIMPLE HAIRSTYLE
Whether an up-do a loose pony tail or a simple bob, keep it simple, and make sure your hair is clean. Sade is a great example of this with her clean slicked back ponytail. It's so simple but looks so chic and polished.
Your style is individual so I can't tell you what to wear but I will suggest going with a simple colour palette that is easily interchangeable. The well polished woman usually has a very clean and simple look but in that simplicity is elegance then add one item that pops to jazz it up. Stick to one statement piece and keep everything else simple.
Tone down logos. Loud and large designer logos can really be obnoxious - worse yet of it's an obvious designer knock off. The truth is you DO NOT have to buy designer to look clean and chic. If you ask many of these women where they got certain pieces, Zara tends to come up a lot and they then elevate it with the accessories. Purchase the best quality that YOU can afford and treat it very well.
I want to pause here to ask if you notice the ongoing theme is "simple"? Far too often we assume that we need t do so much and then just end up looking busy and like we've tried too hard. The Stush lady who is clean, pressed, chic and poised keeps everything SIMPLE.
Simplicity if the keynote of all true elegance - Coco Chanel
Elegance is refusal - Coco Chanel
Elegance is less and less is more - Stush Lifestyle
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FIT & PRESSED
Fit and quality go a long way it having a polished look. Generally more expensive designer items are made better and there for fit better but it's possible to achieve great fit with affordable items.
Again, buy the best you can afford. Look for how the item fits, loose threads etc. If necessary, take the item to the tailor to have the fit refined.
TIP: A great way to uplevel an inexpensive item is to replace the regular plastic buttons with beautiful buttons. Elevate!
Have structure in your outfit. Structure in clothing/accessories gives the indication of quality. A simple blazer can help give structure in your outfit’s silhouette, but it's all about balance - Balance structure with flow. For example, if you're wearing a loose sweater, you can pair it with leggings or structured skinny pants/jeans.
And finally, NEVER leave the house without ensuring your clothes are lint free and pressed. I learnt this from my husband but out of shear pride I refused to ask him for details (How was he better at this than me?!) so I asked around in some forums I was in and found many polished women tended to iron right after washing, once per week and at that time they would also do any de-linting and polish their shoes.
THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES
“Accessories are what makes or marks a woman" - Coco Chanel
Accessorizing is a great way to add character and fun to your outfit but over do it and you could look like a science project gone wrong. remember the theme - simple.
But by all means, accessorize, because regardless of how great your clothes look, without accessories, they will lack personality. From your watch, to a necklace and even the detail on your outfit. It is important to understand when you have to go big on them, and where you can go completely subtle. Sometimes, a simple pair of sunglasses can suffice.
"Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” - Coco Chanel
Your accessories should elevate the outfit as an extension of the overall look and your personality.
Ultimately, it's all in the grooming. Looking well pulled together comes from having a clean simple hair, making sure your clothes are properly pressed and look clean and new. Essentially, if you look after yourself and your clothes, even in the most basic of outfits, you'll look beautifully polished.
The confidence that you see oozing from these women is actually a result. When you step out of your home and you know you look great, smell great, your clothes are pressed and fit well - you will feel great.
Remember my philosophy - "look good, feel good". I hope this helps in your journey.
Post below with any questions or comments you have and don’t forget to tag #stushlifestyle on Instagram with your #stushlook to be featured on our page.