We’ve all been there. Life is crazy, work is crazy and everything in between feels like a nonstop rollercoaster of getting things done.  With two young kids, my business and the recent launch of The Shoppes, to say things are hectic in my household is an understatement. Getting out the door in the mornings on time with everyone fed, clothed and happy can feel like a near Olympian feat. Can you relate?

As the founder of Ready Pretty, we always tell our clients that preparation is half the battle – things like laying out your outfit the night before can make a huge difference in feeling ready for the day ahead. But sometimes, you’ve simply run out of time and need to create the illusion of looking polished, pulled together and on top of your game.

Ready on to see a few of my favorite tips for instantly looking put together  when time is not on your side.

Add a Layer

This one might be my favorite. When in doubt, add a blazer or jacket. On any given day, you’ll see me on some form of layer, no matter the weather. The added structure is a simple way to make an outfit look finished. I recommend adding a few great blazer neutrals in a great fit, some textured jackets like leather or suede and a great trench. Be sure to have a few great layers on hand when you’re running out the door in a pinch.

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Flat Out

A pointed flat can do wonders for a pair of basic trousers. Look for texture, prints, or embellishments as a way to freshen up a look that’s appropriate for the office. And the point helps to elongate a leg creating a taller, leaner silhouette. Instant polish!

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Play with Prints

You’ve got good basics, now add a pop of print to polish the look. Basic black dress? Add a fun floral blazer over top. Easy neutral tee?Look to a fun printed skirt or trousers for a fresh burst of style. Playing with patterns and prints makes it seem like you not only have a style perspective but also creates a more put together vibe. But don’t get me wrong, we love a good monochrome look too!

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A good earring, necklace even a solid bracelet or watch can make all the difference in the appearance of looking like you took a bit more time than what the reality actually was. Take the time to build out a few solid go-to pieces that you can easily add when you need it. I love wearing a dainty necklace on repeat – it’s become a part of my signature style – and no matter if I’m wearing a t-shirt or more fancy blouse helps me to feel a bit more put together every day.

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Straighten Up

A few years ago I invested in a hand steamer and it’s changed the game for me. Get out clothing wrinkles in a flash (ideally the night before) to ensure clothing (and ultimately you) look fresh in the morning. You’d be surprised to see how getting out few fabrics bumps can make all the difference.

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Joy Mangano Garment Steamer, $13.00 

A Hair Upgrade

Instead of defaulting to the messy bun, I recommend mastering a quick and easy hairstyle that you can perfect in no time. I love doing a crown halo braid styled into a low bun – it’s so easy, takes two minutes and again makes me feel like I’ve got things together. Find a style that works for you that you can do on the go – be it in a cab, in the bathroom before a big meeting, wherever!

Outside of those few things, I always recommend finding and sticking to a routine that works best for you. My mornings before work are pretty regimented, in order to get the five of us (husband, two kids and dog!) fed, dressed and out the door on time. So take the time to plan things out, and when in a jam, try one of these go-to tips for looking polished in a flash.

Good luck and here’s to looking more polished in a flash!