The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Always Looking Put Together

go ahead, hit snooze one more time
Source: @laurajadestone
Source: @laurajadestone

I did what I would assume the majority of the world did during the spring of 2020: I wore sweatpants. Lounging around in my rotation of leggings, hoodies, and T-shirts, I stopped putting effort into my outfits. My days of meticulously planning my outfit each day slowly faded away, and soon, I became a homebody gremlin. Little did I know that this lifestyle would soon become the norm, but after three consistent years of working from home, I was desperately in need of some wardrobe changes; despite how comfortable I might have been, the wear-what-feels-comfortable mentality was starting to get old.

I’m a full believer in “if you look good, you feel good,” and the past few years taught me that it’s even more true than I once believed. Since adjusting my wardrobe to fit my new normal—a work-from-home lifestyle—I’ve implemented a few principles that help to dress up anything I wear. If you’re also like me and looking for simple ways to feel your best every day, here are my style secrets that are my bread and butter for how to look put together with little to no effort.

1. Invest in elevated basics

When I decided to give my wardrobe a transformation, I knew that I wanted to have items that felt as simple (and as comfortable) as throwing on sweats. So I evaluated each piece in my wardrobe and replaced it with a better basic: old graphic tees were replaced with short-sleeve and long-sleeve button-ups, worn-out sweats were replaced with leggings that I could dress up, and sweatshirts from college were replaced with cardigans and quarter-zip sweaters. Now, when I go to get dressed, I turn to these elevated basics like I would my trusty sweats, and voilá: My outfit is acceptable for leaving the house in without having to put in any extra effort.

Source: Bella Gil
Cotton Jersey T-Shirt

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Cashmere Boatneck Sweater
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2. Add one “dressed up” piece to every outfit

If there’s one thing that packs the biggest punch when it comes to looking good with little effort, it’s this. When picking out what to wear, I try to make things a bit dressier by choosing one or two “dressed up” pieces to pair with the rest of my outfit. For example, if I decide on a pair of jeans and a quarter-zip sweater, I’ll pair them with heeled boots. If it’s hot out, I’ll swap out denim shorts with a linen mini skort but will pair them with sneakers to still keep things casual. If my entire outfit is comfortable—like my Saturday uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt—I’ll layer on accessories to brighten things up a bit.

3. Take advantage of outerwear

This obviously isn’t applicable during the warmer months, but during the fall and winter, you should absolutely take advantage of your outer layers. Jackets and coats are a great way to style an outfit, even if you’re keeping things casual with leggings and a crewneck. I heavily rely on my leather jacket and my long wool coat for dressing things up. Even if I’m wearing athleisure, either option instantly makes me feel like I have a complete, styled outfit on.

4. Don’t underestimate the power of jewelry

Jewelry helps to dress up any outfit, which is why I always layer it on—even if I’m just chilling on the couch all day reading on my Kindle. I recently curated my collection and created a jewelry capsule, which is exactly what it sounds like: A collection of high-quality pieces that I turn to again and again when I get dressed. My jewelry capsule consists of larger gold hoops, smaller gold huggies, a pendant necklace, a gold chain for stacking, my watch, and a strand of pearls. While I do have different pieces for dressier events or going out to dinner, when it comes to simply getting dressed for the workday, I mix and match these items based on what I’m wearing.

Jenny Bird
Puffy Hoop Earrings

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Jenny Bird
Chain Bracelet
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5. Incorporate a “French Tuck”

Ever since I heard the “French tuck” term coined on Queer Eye by Tan France, I’ve been using this styling trick on repeat. A French tuck is when you tuck a shirt in the front of your pants while leaving the rest untucked. (While wearing button-ups, you can also simply tuck half of the front in while leaving the rest untucked.) This instantly makes your outfit feel more styled and intentional. As a bonus, this also helps to show off belts, which I love wearing for making outfits feel a bit more elevated, too.

Source: Madeline Galassi

6. Curate a capsule wardrobe

While it might seem like having more in your closet would lead to better outfits, I find that having too many options to choose from while getting dressed overwhelms me. Having a capsule wardrobe has always made getting dressed easier for me. I love being able to mix and match pieces I already own while simultaneously eliminating the debilitating nature of choice—and saving my wallet from pointless shopping sprees in the meantime doesn’t hurt either.

Each season, I take out my storage bins and pick through items that will be part of my capsule wardrobe for the next three months. I’m always sure to choose pieces that feel elevated and interesting, so when I get dressed, I never have to worry about my complete outfit feeling too bland.

7. Find a “character uniform”

You know how your favorite cartoon characters are always wearing the same thing? This is known as a “character uniform,” and it can be a genius styling hack for those days when you have no idea what to wear.

For example, when I’m staring into my closet like it’s an endless black hole, I gravitate toward the following uniform: jeans, a button-up, and my clogs. After I add some jewelry and style my hair, I feel put together without having to put in any effort—or use too much brain power. To create your own, ask yourself which pieces in your wardrobe make you feel the most confident. A trusty pair of jeans? A silk dress? A striped button-down? Use them to create a uniform that you treat as your outfit on days you don’t know what to wear.