how to look polished

How to Look Polished When You’re Naturally Scruffy

How to look polished is one of those questions I feel like I’ve been asking my entire life.

The fact is, I’m not one of those people who always seem to look groomed, even when they’ve just tumbled out of bed. No, in fact, I’m one of those people who has to spend an hour getting ready every morning, just to look vaguely presentable. Since I became a mum, however, I just don’t have that much time to spend on my appearance any more, so I’ve had to quickly get myself up to speed on how to look polished without making a massive effort. Here’s what I’ve learned…

How to look polished: 10 easy tips:



Learn how to walk in heels

Yeah, yeah, I know you’re all shrieking in horror at the very IDEA of wearing high heels, but honestly, they’re the easiest way I know to instantly dress up an outfit. And, OK, when I’m out somewhere with Max, I’ll generally go for flats or sneakers instead, because even although he’s not mobile yet, heels don’t feel particularly practical for wrangling a small baby in. For those times when I only have myself to wrangle, though, you better believe it’ll be heels all the way. I will NOT go gentle into that good night. (Find out how to walk in high heels here!)

Find your perfect red lipstick

Even if I’m wearing no other makeup – and I’m frequently NOT – I always feel like red lips make up for it. They’re like the facial equivalent of those killer heels, actually: they kind of dress up the face, and make you look polished, even if that red lipstick is currently the only piece of makeup that’s been out of your makeup bag in DAYS. My go-to is MAC’s Ruby Woo – it’s a complete pain to apply, but nothing beats it for that old-skool glamour look.

Sunglasses hide a multitude of sins

I’ll let you into a secret: 9 out of 10 times, when you see me wearing sunglasses in photos (Which, yes, is ALL the time, basically…) it’s because my eyes are so light-sensitive that they start watering as soon as I leave the house, even on days which “normal” people wouldn’t consider particularly bright.

At least one out of ten times, though, I’m wearing sunglasses purely because I didn’t have time/was too lazy to put on mascara, OR I’m just having a Bad Face Day. Oh, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about – we’ve all been there, right?

(These photos were taken on the one day out of ten, just FYI. And yeah, I DID feel a bit silly in the shades when it wasn’t really sunny, but not as silly as I’d have felt posting a bunch of photos of myself blinking constantly, so…)

Wear neutrals

OK, if you have kids – or are just super-clumsy, like I am – the thought of wearing pale colours probably sounds like an excellent way NOT to look polished, right? Trust me, though: if you can keep them clean (And I get that it’s a big ‘if’…), outfits made up of neutral shades like white, beige, taupe and cream always tend to look expensive, somehow, and just more polished than other shades. If you really don’t trust yourself to keep them clean, though, I have another suggestion for you…

Go minimal / monochrome

Some of the most stylish people I know are also some of the simplest in terms of personal style. It’s easy to dismiss simple as boring, but the question here is how to look polished, not how to look trendy, and the fact is that simple, classic styles generally tend to look that little bit more polished than fussy styles and busy prints. It’s also much easier to get it right if you keep it simple: there’s a reason head-to-toe black never really goes out of style, after all, and that sounds too funeral for you, you don’t have to stick to black – colours like navy, grey or forest green can be just as effective, without being nearly as draining.

Create a capsule wardrobe

Sticking with the minimal theme, when you don’t have a lot of time to get dressed in the morning, a capsule wardrobe is the perfect answer to that. When your wardrobe is bursting at the seams with clothes in a range of styles and colours, it can be overwhelming, and hard to stay on top of, so paring it down to a small selection of well-chosen basics which will take you anywhere will save you time AND help you look more groomed. (Find out how to clear out your closet and how to build a wardrobe that works.)

Find your iron

Look, everyone hates ironing. Well, OK, almost everyone. If you really want to know how to look polished, though, one of the most important things you can do is find your iron, and learn how to use it. Creased clothes never look polished: and neither do dirty or badly-mended ones, either, so take a look here for some ideas on how to look after your clothes

Go for quality over quantity

I’m not claiming you have to spend a lot of money to look polished, or that cheap clothes can’t look good, but good grooming starts with good quality fabrics, so it’s important to seek them out, and be willing to invest in them, if necessary. Fast-fashion can be lots of fun, but when it comes to looking polished, quality will always beat quantity.


Fit is everything

With that said, however, even cheap clothes can look polished if they fit perfectly. That perfect fit can be hard to find, but it’s absolutely essential when it comes to looking polished: the most stylish outfit in the world will still look scruffy if it doesn’t fit properly.

Look after your skin, hair and nails

It’s not what anyone wants to hear, because this kind of thing does require a bit of effort, obviously, but it stands to reason that looking groomed requires a bit of, well, grooming, basically. The good news here, however, is that “the simple, the better” doesn’t just apply to clothes: it applies to everything. So, when I say look after your hair, I don’t mean you need elaborate hairdos and lots of products – I just mean you should keep it clean, stay on top of the split ends, and fidn a style that works for your face and your lifestyle: i.e. there’s no point in going for a style that requires a ton of maintenance if you know you won’t have the time for it. Similarly, neat, short nails with neutral polish will look much more polished – excuse the pun – than a set of chipped talons in a trendy colour.

Got any more advice for us on how to look polished?

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books by Amber Eve
  • I can’t agree more! That’s exactly what I do when I have little time to dress-up or something comes up last minute! I also like to add, in winter, a good hat or a statement scarf ^^.

    Sora |

    April 16, 2018
  • You look fabulous! You’re right, killer heels and red lippy make all the difference.
    I often can’t be bothered to wear makeup, but I’m religious with my eyelash extensions. It makes you look like you have a full face on when you haven’t. Paired with red lips, you’re good to go.
    I don’t have kids though, so the expense and time it takes to get them done each month might be unrealistic? I’m not sure? What do you think?
    Debs @

    April 16, 2018
  • Ali


    5 mins seems a long time to get dressed these days! I have to get ready while chasing toddler around flat! Enjoy the non mobile period……

    April 16, 2018
      • Alice


        It’s also much more fun! But yes, most mornings I am chasing toddler while half dressed.

        Apparently some children sleep beyond 6am though, you might be lucky and have one of those!

        April 16, 2018
  • Red lips are a great way to dress up the face, and they distract from the spit in an efficient way. Doesn´t work two days in a row though, once the spit starts smelling, not even Ruby Woo can save you.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    April 16, 2018
  • Myra Boyle


    Still looking fabulous

    April 16, 2018
  • Teresa


    My guess is, if you have style, then you’ll always look great! And you always look a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

    April 16, 2018
  • Fiona


    I also love a good pair of sunglasses. I get the watery eyes too – why IS that? My dad is the same. You look fabulous, the coat is lovely too.

    April 17, 2018
  • I love the coat so. Ugh love this blog I am so in love with it making me feel I need to do more on my blog I am a bag lover too 8 feel the6 can ma,e a statement to every outfit thank you

    April 17, 2018