How to Look Put Together

A woman in white gloves fixing her hair

In my high school, the regional slang word tossed my way was “scurvy.” From biology to history, it passed through the lips of my peers. It was the word of choice for an unkempt individual. “Scurvy.”  Considering my state of perpetual starvation, they could have been referring to my vitamin C deficiency, but that was probably a lost irony.

I certainly felt “scurvy.” My mother decided to move us onto an acreage with no running water or electricity, but plenty of farm animals and inbred cats. I was perpetually covered in animal hair, five weeks between showers, and reeking of second-hand smoke and first-hand perspiration. I was so greasy I could have been cold-pressed into a fine and abundant source of cooking oil.

Strangely, post-high school I still felt “scurvy.” I had an income and a pet- and smoke-free home and daily showers, yet I still was… unkempt. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. There was just something, not tightly kept together, and while I have long come to terms with my satan-given looks, I would always be disappointed when I glimpsed in the mirror. My shit was not “on fleek” as I had always yearned for it to be.

I had a thirtieth birthday recently. I went to a masquerade ball, danced, drank champagne and had a grand old time. My friends had taken some candid pictures of me that turned up on facebook the next day. There I was, staring up at myself from the timeline feed, finger waves perfectly coiffed, skin matte yet dewy, not an eyelash astray. I looked completely put together and it filled me with a sort of joy that didn’t feel superficial at all.

I am a strong proponent of “no right way to be, look, or dress.” I still must admit: it felt good. It felt important. Because it has always been important to me: the ability to pull myself together and present myself the way I wanted to be seen. So I wanted to share what I have learned on my journey from scurvy teenager to seamless adult. These are the tips I have on how to look put together.


1. Identify your eye shape

Identifying your eye shape is the best diagnostic tool for figuring out what the fuck is going wrong with your makeup. I have hooded eyes and my mascara would always smudge onto the top of my “hood” and I was flummoxed. Every time I google searched “mascara ending up on top,” I got useless advice like, “Look down when you apply it.” Now a quick search of “makeup for hooded eyes” has me equipped with my eyeshadow primer and waterproof mascara, or using my false eyelash technique for hooded eyes. So whatever case of runs, ripples, or raccoon eyes you have, identifying your eye shape is the fast track to solving your problem.

You can find all my faves here.

2. Clean your shoes

Yeah, I know. Who knew you could get a warm washcloth and clean your flats? For years I never considered smudgy shoes to be an issue. I just always figured “they are shoes, they get dirty.” But your shoes are an important part of your presentation, if you want to look put together, start a-wipin’.

Glass Slipper Shoes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

3. Sweater shaver

It is safe to say that the sweater shaver contributes a minimum of $300 a month to my income. No, I haven’t had a stroke. My online Poshmark store is full of beautiful items, brought completely back to life by this little $12 device. Those “pills” that happen on your sweaters, skirts, and dresses can easily be buzzed, making your favorite cardigan look brand spanking new.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Sweater GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. Skimmies

It’s hard to feel put together when you are massively uncomfortable. I know that people love their Spanx, but in true Bridget Jones style, mine always unravel from the top like an unruly condom and I find myself a sweaty, strangled, unhappy mess within a couple of hours of wearing them.

Skimmies, on the other hand, are a gift from the Jocky Gods.

Dress GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Skimmies are slippy form-fitting shorts that are super lightweight and breathable. They provide a teeny tiny bit of support and prevent your chubeth from rubbeth..ing. They make skirts and dresses a million times more comfortable and come in 21 colors. Oh, and they are like eight bucks. You are welcome.

5. Clothing steamer

Seriously, who has time to iron their clothes? I feel like clothing irons are magical time sucks. There is no reason it should take an eternity to arrange your top, plug your iron in, wait for it to heat up, then carefully press out all the little wrinkles and then wait for your garment to cool… oh, wait, yeah, that does take for fucking ever.

Vintage GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Unfortunately, most people just skip this step entirely and leave the house a bit wrinkled. Girl, get yourself a handheld clothing steamer. There is no hauling around ironing boards involved, just hang your item, give it a 30-second steam and voila: wrinkle free!


My lovelies! What are your style secrets? What was the mean name for untidy teens in your high school? Let me know in the comments below!

75 thoughts on “How to Look Put Together

  1. Ive found myself as I get older laying more attention to what helps me look more put together. The shoe thing had me laughing because cleaning my shoes last their first week of life always seemed foreign to me. Now I shudder to think of the years I walked around looking grimy. I’m trying my damnest to keep my nails looking nice. We have a poor history. Not covered in cat fur and cooking grease poor, but poor nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea, it’s easy to be “behind the curve” when you have no money, I used to drag a no.2 pencil through my mascara to double as eyeliner lol. Girl, I look back on some photos and cringe at my ducking shoes

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      1. Bwahaha, that poorness will bring out resourcefulness! Your eyes werr just as lucky to make it out of the hood as you were. 😥 😀 I look back and see no mascara and no lashes. I look just like that Kermit with no lashes meme without it. I didn’t even know I had a problem…

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  2. My biggest struggle has always been that I don’t really have a “style” … Most of my life I wore hand me down clothing from my older cousins so shopping semi-regularly for clothes that fit me and my personality is something I don’t quite understand! I’m turning 26 this year so it’s definitely something I have in the forefront of my mind now. There’s something about looking “put together” that gives you confidence and let’s the world know “I got this”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Tiara, you are beautiful on the inside and out, if you weren’t willing to share your secrets, I might hate you a little. 😛 I hope all is going well in your life, and I’m glad to see you back in the blogging world, you really are an inspiration.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve never heard of skimmies or sweater shavers… Im a tshirt and jean kind of girl and when I want to dress it up I wear a pair of statement earrings -which I love… I love earrings… thanks for the tips…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nice tips! I do want to do more eye makeup but mine are always hidden behind glasses and contacts dry/tire my eyes out so I can’t wear them often. It’s my number one excuse for just dressing lazily because none of my pretty clothes look good with glasses imo. LE SIGH.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tips from a fellow 4-eyes: Get mascara that plumps instead of lengthens (the feeling of your eyelashes against your glasses is THE fucking WORST), and invest in your eyeliner skills… Keep it simple, and use a nice shimmery highlighter on the center of your eyelid (I like a nice light dusting of a yellow gold because of the gold undertones in my skin, but what color you use is up to you. But JUST apply it to the center of the lid below the crease and blends it out).

      Having glasses definitely shouldn’t keep you from wearing makeup, you just have to adjust your makeup game to suit! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Tiara this was a great post, I mean that is just a give in as you always do great posts! I religiously wear makeup because it hides everything I don’t want anyone to see! I think my biggest problem is that I always feel too ugly and fat. It doesn’t matter how many times my husband says I am crazy for thinking that way, that is just how I view myself. Probaby being told I am crazy for how I think doesn’t help the low self-esteem, but I try anyway. But truly wonderful post that really keeps things real!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just moved into a small apartment (first time all on my own, no roommates!) and my mother has been trying to get me to buy an ironing board and iron. They’re just gonna take up so much space, so I’ve convinced her to give me the steamer she’s got hidden somewhere in the attic. Right now, I’m just using the steam from my showers (because if your shower isn’t approximately the temperature of Mount Doom when you turn it on, you’re showering wrong). It helps, but it will get a hundred times better once I get that steamer.

    This is a great post, as always.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh, my… “cooties” was the term for the unkempt. Horrible how children tease when they know nothing of the living conditions of others. Being clean and ‘matched’ doesn’t require rocket science. It does take a minute though. I have hit the big 5-0. One thing I always remembered my mom saying was “look” (dress) like you have half a brain and she always said, “as long as I have a box of color in my closet, I’ll never go gray!” So I try to dress using my brain and have found my perfect color to wipe out the grays -prematurely caused- by an illness. I also started wearing less make-up, finding it aged me. Now, I take pictures where I can say I finally look healthy… fatter but healthy, and I still have half a brain! (And a box of color in my closet!) Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh man oh man, I’ve never, once in my 27 years of life, thought about any of this! LOL. I start an exciting new job very soon, and I want to look put together. I’ve been bum-y my entire life with very little, if any, concept for style! Huh, *looks at shoe rack* I’m starting to build a wardrobe too, and could probably use some guidance. WHY DO I EVEN BUY. I like simple. and effortless! I want to be put together without the work. I mean, who doesn’t right? Huh, I should buy mascara…

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I love it. You know- the EYE thing is so damn true. I’m a huge fan of the cat-eye liquid liner look- it’s just like, my thing you know? I’ve become an expert and getting my own liner look down but along comes this make-up artist CUNT who looks at me and tells me “oh. I can’t do a a cat-eye line on those lids… your skin drops in that top corner and-” WHAT BITCH? Gimme that liner let me show you how it’s done. But I do tend to have a tiny droop in my eyes and that’s why I love to WHOA them. They’re my best feature. Plus-
    Anything to take attention away from my fivehead. Ugh. Is there NOT any cosmetic surgery yet for a fivehead?! These side bangs are getting so OLD lol anyways! MISS YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My best tip is to choose clothing in colours that suit your complexion, especially near your face. If a colour makes you look blotchy or faded, kick it to the curb! On the other hand, if it makes you look fresh and vital, take it home and give it star billing in your wardrobe. Saves bothering about makeup 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I used to get teased in high school because I either looked like a street punk or a kindergarten teacher. My hair is a disaster and a half so anything I throw on makes me look like a crackhead who raided a Goodwill in a fancy area. Le sigh. I envy those girls that look the same and effortless no matter what they wear or do.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a confession (scrapes back chair and nervously stands); I JUDGE PEOPLE BY THEIR FOOTWEAR. There I’ve said it. Dirty shoes, unless unavoidable due to the hike/unseen dog shit/muddy puddle are a big fat nope. It’s probably the biggest single ‘make my look/break my look’ thing that people can do, wear clean shoes. And age appropriate shoes too. Don’t mean to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but nothing kills a smartly-dressed grown man’s look faster than noticing he got a 13 year old’s pumps on his feet. This is all coming out of the mouth of a woman who permanently looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards, so I really need to take this advice on board 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Especially if they’re otherwise dressed smart! My biggest rant is comedians on stage, sharp suit or shirt. And a pair of Converse!? I got nothing against the Converse but I’ve paid £30 to see you, the least you could do is put some grown-up shoes on. You look like you lost your skateboard! (I need to go give myself a talking to and take a look in the mirror 😉 ).

        Liked by 3 people

      2. This! Oh my goodness, the frequency of which I see nicely tailored suits coupled with what looks like scuffed school shoes is unbelievable. This isn’t highschool Paul, put on your adult shoes with your adult outfit, and adult please.

        Liked by 3 people

  14. I LIVE for my handheld steamer – nothing makes my cheap Primark clothing look nicer, smoother, and softer. Also, cleaning and maintaining my footwear is a must, with scuffs and scratches completely unacceptable. I know how to get marks and stains out of every shoe fabric you could dream of.
    Also, I think the biggest secret, for me, to looking “put together” is healthy skin and neat brows. As long as my skin is healthy (and I used to have acne, I shit you not) and my John Howard brows are neatly combed, I look and feel all over this adulting BS.
    xx
    (p.s. glad you’re back missus xx)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Have a good tailor on speed dial. Seriously, hardly anyone fits properly into most clothes. I am too short for every pair of pants and jeans, either I have to buy 3 inch heels or get things hemmed. If you are not stick thin it doesn’t mean buying clothes that hang off you like a tent. Things need to fit. Also, if you are trying to cut down the amount you buy( capsule wardrobe) then buy great quality classic pieces that don’t go out of style.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Better yet, be thrifty and learn how to do it yourself; it’s a super simple skill to learn and takes less than 20 minutes (maybe an hour for more complicated tailoring) to do when you buy new clothes- even if you go the hand stitching route.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. People make sewing out to be so much harder than it a tually is… Bit really? All it takes is a few bare basic bits of beginners 101 knowledge and you can not only already sew a full garment for yourself, but hem an existing one; you’d really be surprised how incredibly basic the techniques are that are required to do basic things like hemming… If you did basic sewing when you were younger, you likely alredy have the majority of the skills necessary.

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      2. I can hem and basic repairs, but hemming jeans I draw the line at. My tailor altered the dress for my daughter’s wedding complicated because of my shape, not expensive and professionally done.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Why draw the line at hemming? If you can measure, fold fabric over, and do a basic hand stitch, that’s all you need and it doesn’t take long… Complicated alterations, though, I definitely suggest / agree with getting professionally done if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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  16. My best advice has always been to make sure you don’t stink (i/e shower and use deodorant- and wear a LIGHT / single spritz of perfume / cologne if you fell like it), your hair’s brushed, your nails are clean and at least filed, your clothes fit you RIGHT (aren’t too big / too small) and are wrinkle free, and your makeup isn’t smudged.

    Looking put together, to me, is an issue of respect. It says “I care about my fellow humans enough to put my best foot forward daily (by not looking like Tarzan). Plus, when we feel put together and feel good about ourselves, it does good things for us…. And I feel like these essentials work regardless of how much of “that beauty shit” you do or don’t want to do- or how “into” appearances you are or aren’t; you could literally have been up partying all night, have a massive hangover, and be operating on 12 cups of coffee and 1 hour of sleep, and absolutely no one would be the wiser just by taking 5 – 10 minutes to check every item off this checklist in whatever way you feel like. And it’s amazing how much it refreshes you on its own and builds up your confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m big on having nicely tailored eyebrows. Probably because for years, my brows were coarse and unruly and the only way to tame them was to shave/pluck/thread them every two weeks. I’ve found that a nicely manicured brow enhances your face and makes an old hairdo look fresh.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wait, does that steam thing actually work?! I have never had a problem with my mascara, and I look terrible in skimmies (click here for pic), but my summer shorts do get all wrinkly in the dryer and I like to iron ’em out after. Wait, let me rephrase that. I HATE to iron them out after, but I do anyway.

    I’ve often thought “what if there were a magic wand that I could wave at all these wrinkles and watch them disappear?” 🤔

    And I don’t mean the wrinkle wands they sale on those infomercials late at night to make me look younger. I have twelve of those already and I’m NOT falling for that again.

    But this steam device, this clothing wand, this … well, it’s genius.

    I’m putting it in my cart right now. You better be right about this!

    And I’ll let you know if it works around the eyes, too. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  19. SWEATER SHAVER!! I swear by that little sombitch! I remember we had one when I was a very small child and I used to delight in buzzing all the pills off every piece of fabric in our home. Then it was lost and they seemed to go out of fashion for a while, so I didn’t see them in stores. It was at a Daiso in San Francisco that I found a little pink one–almost identical to the one I “played with” as a kid–for a FREAKING DOLLAR. AND IT WORKS AMAZINGLY. I have probably brought back to life more than $100 worth of clothes that otherwise looked haggard as hell, all for the investment of four quarters.

    And it’s still as fun to use as when I was three.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve gotten into the habit of dressing like I’m going to meet someone important when I leave the house. It’s silly, but when I imagine that I’ll run into Keanu Reeves today, I’m more willing to take the time to put myself together.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’m a little over a month away from 28, and I’m just starting to figure out how not to look like a trash heap. I’m so jealous of those girls who have had it down pat since like 6th grade!

    Liked by 1 person

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