7 Style Tricks To Fool People Into Thinking You’ve Made An Effort

Lazy style tips? Yup, that's what we're talking about! If you want to look stylish and pulled together without actually really trying, click through for my 7 best tips!

Like most people, I like to present a facade of self-maintenance. I usually try to appear reasonably kempt and put together when I’m out running errands, buying fake chicken at Target, or pounding away on my keyboard in a coffee shop.
(but I’m also lazy).
So sometimes? I do this thing where I put on my workout clothes, scrape my dirty hair back into a ponytail and then go to Target.
Then when I run into That Girl From College she’ll assume that I look vaguely sweaty and messy because I just finished working out. JOKE’S ON YOU, GIRL FROM COLLEGE. I’ve been sourcing cat videos and drinking coffee all morning! (feel free to steal this trick).

If you, like me, want to trick people into thinking you’ve made an effort – but you’re not willing to actually change out of your leggings – this post is for you. Trying even just one of these tricks will make you look slightly less unkempt! And if you try two? Well, watch out now. The customers at Target are going to think there’s royalty among them.

7 Lazy Style Tricks

1. Slick on some bright lipstick

Yes, I know you’ve read this tip everywhere, ever. That’s because it works! It wakes up your complexion and adds color to your face.

As I’ve mentioned about a million times, I’m obsessed with Revlon Lip Butter – particularly Candy Apple because it’s bright and makes me look like I tried!

2. Hide inside a giant scarf

Got a cold/hangover/hickey/allergies? Or just feeling anti-social? For me, wearing a big infinity scarf is the emotional equivalent to bringing a security blanket everywhere I go.

I can turtle down into it if the parking lot is blowy and cold or if I don’t want to interact with, well, anyone. And you can still wear scarves, even in the summer!

3. Put on a knit dress

One of the greatest tricks that womanhood has ever pulled is convincing society that dresses are ‘fancy’. They’re not that different from pajamas! Or onesies! And if you wear a cute, stretchy, knit dress in a print?

Everyone will think you’re super stylish when really you just pulled something over your head and walked out the door. This one looks cute and comfy.

4. Dry shampoo your hair/wash your bangs in the sink

What? YOU KNOW WE ALL DO THIS. I’ve been known to go four days between shampoos so dry shampoo has saved my hair on many occasions. Just spray the oily bits, backcomb it, wash your bangs and you’re good to go! This one costs $4 and has 2,000+ four star reviews!

5. Hair up + big earrings

Put your hair in a messy bun, tuck something dangly and pretty into your ears and allofasudden you look like you tried. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can add a fancy headband and people will probably confuse you with JLo. (I’ll be wearing these earrings for the next few months).

6. 10 seconds worth of concealer

I absolutely can’t be bothered to apply a full face of makeup to go buy vegan pepperoni at the co-op. But! I can spend 10 seconds smearing concealer around my nose, in the inner corners of my eye sockets, and on that one zit. I love this $4.50 highlighter + concealer wand.

7. Add a belt

Leggings and a man’s dress shirt? Add a belt and now it’s officially an Outfit. Knit dress and flip flops? Add a belt and you’re a fashionista. Adding a belt to anything defines your waist and adds an accessory – one of the keys to looking like you tried.

If you’re feeling really sneaky, get an elastic belt (this one is cute). Then you’ll look pulled together but you’ll still be able to eat that whole Chipotle burrito for lunch.

But I want to hear from you! How do you make it look like you, ya know, tried

P.S. How to make cheap clothes look nice (or at least not cheap) 

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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  1. lindsaymarie

    yes, yes, yes. i'm also a fan of throwing a blazer on top of pretty much anything, especially in professional situations. jeggings + tshirt = shlubby. jeggings + tshirt + blazer = oh my god is that sheryl sandberg?

  2. Amy Elizabeth

    Yes to all of this! I always wondered who women's magazines are targeting when they write 'Day to Night' outfit ideas – they always involve so many changes and so much effort. Instead I am all about the lipstick and the blazer. Oh, and a fancy watch. I have a chunky rose gold watch and whenever I wear it I feel a little bit more stylish and pulled together. Easy peasy.

  3. cparkin

    So true! I confess to the washing your bangs (or fringe as we say in the UK) in order to get another day out of my hair. I also make sure that my nails are always painted in clear nail varnish. If I have time then I might paint them during the evening in a different colour but clear nail varnish means that it always looks as if you've made an effort and if it chips during the day it's not such a big deal as you can't really tell!

    • Hannah J

      I'd clip my fringe back or to the side. I'd also dry shampoo just my fringe which sometimes didn't work and made it stand up on end lol.

  4. Hannah J

    I often chuck a scarf over a t-shirt or the jumper i'm currently living it – makes it look a little more like I've made an effort!

  5. margosita

    "One of the greatest tricks that womanhood has ever pulled is convincing society that dresses are 'fancy'. They're not that different from pajamas!"

    Haha, this is so true! And it's basically the reason I am slowly trying to convert my entire wardrobe to dresses and leggings.

  6. Stephanie

    This is my ABSOLUTELY favourite post. I no longer feel like such a lazy slobby shlub…I'm an undercover fashion boss! I also second the 'put a blazer' on it comment from Lindsaymarie – It's my number one go to.

    However, I'm going to print out this list and put it on my bulletin board.. I'm stepping up my lazy style from now on!

  7. Sarah

    You should try the Suave dry shampoo. It is cheaper than all the rest and definitely my favorite (and I've tried soooo many!)

  8. Vanessa

    For the curly girls (like me!) who have ditched the shampoo, I just spritz my hair with a mix of salt water and coconut oil. Or some folks swear by baking soda/water/lavender oil. Great way to have second day curls. And if you also have hair that's too short to put up (me again) a large fabric headband or clips can quiet down your bed head.

  9. Kate Lindsay

    Do you have a source for that grey sweater???? I LOVE IT….

  10. Towely

    Also require a source for that grey sweater.

  11. Mickey

    I don't wear earrings, but I found that a chunky bangle or a bunch of silver bracelets have the same effect. Also, a silk scarf tied on your purse strings. How's that for a trick? 🙂

  12. Mary

    I'm almost always wearing a dress at home, because it's like wearing PJs except I don't have to wear pants! Double Bonus! Plus, I can just throw on flip flops or flats and a cardigan, and I'm ready to go pretty much anywhere

  13. Melyssa @ The Nectar Collective

    haha these are awesome and totally practical tips! It's amazing how the little things make all the difference. And I absolutely love the graphic for this post! haha

  14. Jamie

    I'm guilty of doing all these practical tips lately, so lazy. I really love doing the dress with a messy bun because people think that you have tried really hard for the day even though you didn't!


  15. Janelle @ Two Cups Of Happy

    I love this style of post from you especially with recommendations. I have ten tabs open right now to check out your links to fashion-y things! I have tried the headband trick and it really works. I pinned my bangs back after never wearing them up at work and a few people complimented me on my hair/eyebrows. Subtle changes can make a big difference.

  16. Cynthia

    This is perfect. You know the way to our hearts. Regarding #3, dresses are such a win because it looks pulled together and you only wear ONE PIECE OF CLOTHING. Brilliant! Never thought of ear up + big earrings, good idea.

  17. Anonymous

    GREAT POST THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Anonymous

    Hi Sarah, I enjoyed these suggestions. I've found the "wear a large top bun and dangly earrings" works really well at making me look put together with little effort.

    I saw you mentioned a new ebook, "How to be your own style icon." How can current newsletter subscribers get the book? ~ Lauren

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Just email me and I'll send it to you! 🙂

  19. Katie K

    Yes to all of this! If I received a dollar every time someone asked me "Why are you all dressed up?" when I had just thrown on a dress that morning, I would be a rich, rich woman (imagine all the dresses I could buy!) I'll have to try the bright lipstick thing–it makes sense!

  20. aweekfromthursday

    So many truths! Actually, I should print this out and put it next to my bathroom mirror. I should also invest in some big earrings.

  21. ashley

    That photo on the top right might have hit a little too close to home. 🙂

  22. veemoze

    I love this! I am definitely guilty of throwing on a knit dress or tossing a headband in my hair on my otherwise frumpier days. Sometimes if I wear my pearls with an outfit, I feel infinitely classier. I've started experimenting with lipstick too! Great post.

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