From top to bottom, here are my top tips:
Hair // I've never been someone who styles my hair everyday...I didn't even own a curling iron of my own until a few days ago! When in Italy I found a simple way to look more presentable when I knew I wanted to look good because I was going to be taking photos when we were out all day...but didn't want to spend an hour each morning getting ready. What I did was to gently curl my hair on a medium setting, holding each curl for about 15 seconds maximum and releasing it. I don't use the clamp, I twisted my hair around the stick of A's curling iron. It only takes about 3 or 4 curls to get around my entire head for a slight wave and voila! My hair goes from schlub-y to chic-ish and looks presentable enough for photos. (I love with this curling iron)
Earrings // I also realized this during my trip to Italy--a very simple way to send your outfit from work-in-progress to finished is to wear earrings! For some reason filling those little holes in your ears make all the difference. Try it, you'll see! This is a simple trick when traveling also because you can only bring one pair of stud earrings--I brought my diamond studs and wore them with every outfit. Pick a pair that goes with everything and leave the rest at home! (These faux diamond studs will fool everyone and make your bank account happy.)
Blush, Mascara, Lipstick // I envy the people who do a full makeup routine every morning and by full I mean foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, highlighter, bronzer, concealer...the list can truly go on. I've found that a really simple way to effortlessly highlight the beautiful features of your face without using an A-to-Z list of products is sticking to the basics: Mascara, Blush, Lipstick. Swipe several coats of mascara over your lashes (you can even use 2 different mascaras like me--I use this one and this one together for lengthier lashes), lightly powder your face with some pinky blush for a happy glow (I've fallen on this bandwagon but this is a new favorite too), and last but not least pucker up! Swipe some lipstick on (try for long-lasting color that's really pigmented), and you're done! I love this color, but am also a fan of using tinted chapsticks for an even more natural tint.
Belt // My biology teacher actually taught me this one...and until she pointed it out I never noticed how much of a difference a belt makes! Even if you don't need a belt to keep your pants in place, a stylish belt in a basic color that goes with a lot of different outfits should be a staple in everyone's wardrobe. Visible belt loops are a very small, an often subliminal, way of signifying messiness. Simple: fill the loops and look more put-together!
Shoes // An ode to the flip flop....I adore my flip flops. Adore them. As someone who loves being barefoot, flip flops are the closest I can get to being barefoot while in public in a socially-acceptable way. Flip flops, however, do not scream "I'm a put-together person!" Even if they're not the most comfortable option, wearing a pair of equally-comfy colorful flats or sacrificing a little comfort for style is always a way I make myself look a little less just-rolled-out-of-bed.
What are your favorite tips on making an outfit look more put-together, even if it's secretly just thrown on?