I thought this question would be a good one to lead into a post about simple things you can do to make looking polished easy peasy (or doable, at least).
Don't get me wrong---there are times where I leave the house sans-makeup (morning workouts, Starbucks runs, etc) or if I know I'll be cleaning the house all day or doing something else labor-intensive like painting---then, I don't even bother. But most of the time, I do make the effort because for me, it's worth it to feel good about myself.
Here are my tips on how to look put together/polished---and more importantly, how to create a routine that is doable for you and that you enjoy---it will motivate you want to spend time "getting ready."
Make your closet a functional space---seriously---you need to clean your closet like an episode of Hoarders. That denim mini skirt you wore in college (you know which one I'm talking about!) donate it! That too-short dress you'll never wear again---give it to your friend's younger sister.
Listen, I get it, we are all attached to our stuff---but believe it or not---getting rid of it will set you free! How can you possibly put outfits together when you have all this stuff all up in your space. Think of it as valuable real estate---does an item really deserve to take up space in your closet if you never wear it? Or if it reminds you that you'll never be that size again (ie: refer to the denim mini skirt from college).
Kendi from Kendi Everyday has a great closet purge post so I'll send you over there to read it (it's a several part series---a total must-read!)
After you've purged, organize your closet. I like to put similar items together and group them by color from light to dark---so all of my sleeveless tops go in a row---from white to black. That way, when I pick the skirt I'm wearing I can immediately check out all the tops I have that may work with it and I also can find a specific color very easily.
I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of drawers. I don't think they allow you to see what you have. I put socks, workout clothes, bathing suits and underwear in my dresser, but everything else is hung or folded in my closet. Allow yourself to really see the "big picture" of your wardrobe.
Look to blogs for inspiration---don't know what you like? Can't figure out what to wear? Don't know how to pair items together? Look no further than fashion bloggers. There are so many stylish gals out there who can lead you in the right direction. I keep an entire folder on my computer of outfits I love that other bloggers have worn. There are too many to name, but some of my favorites include The Chloe Conspiracy, The Blonde Salad, Anna Saccone, Running on Happiness, Kendi Everyday, 9 to 5 Chic, The Daybook, Saltwater Dreams, Saucy Glossie, Nicole's Guide to Style, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Mariannan, Atlantic-Pacific and A Co. Est. 1984 (and many many many more).
When I see a beautifully styled outfit on a blog---it inspires me to try a new trend, add to my closet or to try and create a similar look with pieces I own. There is nothing shameful about trying to replicate a look someone else has styled---it's the biggest form of flattery! I think a lot of bloggers give their readers the opportunity to test out looks they never thought they'd have the confidence to pull off.
The same goes with my hair---I have a washing and styling routine. On days I wash my hair, I blow it out and set it in Velcro rollers. The next 2 days, I'll curl it. Then, I wash it again and it starts all over. Establish a routine and set yourself free from figuring out how you want your makeup and hair to look. This doesn't mean you can't ever stray from your routine---of course you can---but sticking to your routine 90% of the time will save you the frustration.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself---we all have days where we want to throw on black dress pants and a cardigan and that's 100% fine. You don't have to look like you stepped out of a J.Crew catalog 5 days a week. I too save my best outfits for days I know I have meetings or a special event. Getting dressed is supposed to be a somewhat fun and creative process---putting pressure on yourself to be stylish 24/7 makes the process lose its fun. On days where I'm feeling tired or don't have the desire to be creative, I go to my classic pieces that always make me feel good. This includes items that don't need a lot of styling or accessories (like the striped Forever21 dress I wore recently or my black, full-skirted Club Monaco dress).
Be aware of the pieces you have in your closet that always make you feel good and go to them when you aren't in the mood to layer and mix and match items. I also tend to wear a lot of black when I'm not feeling particularly inspired. Black is classic and when items fit well, you can't go wrong.
Think about how your efforts will make YOU feel---this goes back to my original point about confidence. I know this sounds completely cheesy, but when I have a great hair day or I've spent the time to paint my nails or apply self tanner---the little things---I feel good about myself. Don't think about how tedious these rituals seem or feel that you HAVE TO do them. You'll never enjoy a makeup routine or hair styling regimen that you have to force yourself through everyday. It's like doing a workout you hate because you think you have to. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You have to create a routine that works for your lifestyle and that makes you feel good. If you feel like spending 15 minutes on your makeup is a waste of time---practice a routine you can do in five. When I spend the time, it makes me feel good and in turn, I feel I have a better day because of it. Remind yourself how your efforts make you feel---after all, you'd never continue a hobby or participate in a workout class you felt gave you nothing back, right?
I hope this post was helpful and I would love to read your comments about your routines and how they make you feel! Post below if you have additional tips on how to simplify the process of being "put together."