The Secrets of Perfectly Polished Women

They’re the kind of women that always make you look twice. They are effortlessly immaculate and relaxed, everything about them seems somehow… tidy. Poised.

These glam dames make you feel like you are a clumsy, hulking shambles of a person. You’ll find yourself checking your shoes for toilet paper when they are near. You’re baffled. They somehow have capacity to make you feel like you’ve been living in a cardboard box or just arisen from a nap in a chook pen.

Well these birds are a special breed. Perfectly Polished Women.

These wonderful photographs of ridiculous women are courtesy of The Sartorialist.

It isn’t that they are simply beautiful, which they may appear at first glance. And they are not necessarily wearing designer clothes. But they definitely know how to put themselves together and they have the ‘it’ factor.

Well I’m going to tell you their top five secrets. Ready? Good!

1. Lipstick and eyebrows

It doesn’t matter whether you are into gloss or matt lipstick or what colour you choose. Just wear it. Wear it confidently and reapply it if it comes off. And let your eyebrows grow a bit, they should look natural but not unruly. Here’s some advice about how to wrangle your brows.

2. Controlled hair

You don’t have to have a million dollar haircut or a daily salon blowdry, just make sure your hair is tidy. Use a product to flatten flyaways, smooth down the frizz or define a curl. Wear it back in a bun or ponytail if it suits you. A deep, perfectly defined part (use one of those combs with the skinny teeth to get a really good part) adds an element of sophisticated style every time. The wonderful and talented Christina from Hair Romance can help you if you have trouble taming your tresses.

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Check out Christina’s fabulous Weekend Style Braided Ponytail tutorial.


3. Follow the rules

A great way to look polished is to follow basic styling rules:

  • invest in timeless, classic basics such as good quality t-shirts, black trousers, a little black dress, a blazer
  • avoid anything too fashiony if you are not confident
  • ensure your clothes fit well, have them tailored if need be
  • if anything is old, manky, ripped, frayed or tatty, fix it or get rid of it
  • match your accessories – if you have gold buttons or gold earrings, wear a gold watch.
  • own one nice big daytime handbag you can hang over your elbow
  • go for quality, not quantity
  • clean your shoes.

4. Break the rules

Oh yeah, sorry about the confusion but I know you can handle it!

Image courtesy of Wonderland Magazine 

You don’t have to be some kind of great arbiter of cool, a-la Chloe Sevigny. But a bit of style savvy goes a long way to perfecting the polished look. Go wild, try new stuff. Experiment with different outfits or accessories and you may find something that makes you feel brilliant and gives you some serious ‘WOW’ factor.

If you want to violate the whole matchy-matchy thing,  definitely go for contrast but do it with intent. For example: if you are wearing all black, try a pair of bright green heels.  If you have a hot pink shirt, wear the exact shade of lippie or otherwise wear bright orange or red. If you have a red leather bag, either match your shoes EXACTLY or otherwise go for nude. If you are wearing a black shirt and white pants, break it up with tan shoes. Do a bit of pattern clashing. The opportunities to break the rules are endless.

4. Simple is best

I remember reading something in a magazine years ago that stuck with me. I think Maggie Tabberer said it? Before you leave the house you should spin around in front of the mirror. If anything really stands out, take it off. I quite often do this. The idea is to not overdo it. For example: choose either a statement necklace or statement earrings, never both.

5. Confidence

Stand up straight. Smile. Wear massive sunglasses. Walk the walk. Feel your inner goddess shining out and lighting up the world (too much?). This is the icing on the cake and this is what all Perfectly Polished Women have in common. They have their shit together and they know it.

Being a Perfectly Polished Woman may not be everyone’s goal in life. I’d rather like to be one. I do try, but my insane “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest'” hair usually lets me down.

I’d love to hear what you think about Perfectly Polished Women!
Are you one? What are your tips and hints for keeping it perfect?

Written By

Gillian is a marketing savant and brand strategist with over 20 years of experience in above and below the line marketing, digital strategy and creative direction. She is an exceptional people person who loves to collaborate with clients every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome. Gillian is also a successful makeup-artist and make-up obsessive who loves to share her tricks of the trade and help women to look good and feel great.


  • Love this! I never feel perfectly polished! Thanks for sharing these tips. I will give some of them a go – especially wearing lipstick. I think it makes a huge difference but I don’t do it often enough x

    • Thanks Christina, and no problems at all you are the hair whisperer! You were one of the people I thought about when I was thinking polished! You always look gorgeous x

  • I don’t think I want to look perfectly polished (and it’s unlikely anyway!) – especially as the set-up seems to be us and them, and a sense of envy, not feeling up to par or whatever. I say no to that!!
    I’m for people expressing themselves – and I appreciate a great ensemble or fab lippie – but enough with perfection!

    • Thanks Annette, I actually hadn’t thought of it that way! I couldn’t agree more that we should express ourselves and be ourselves, and that the standards we set should be about ourselves and nothing (or no-one) else. As an ex-perfectionist, who has worked hard to not be one, perhaps I should think about my wording a bit more! Thanks for your feedback xx

  • Oh Gillian, I’m so far in the opposite category to the polished women that even when I look polished I will do something like I did the other day-I wore a kimono with fringing over a black dress-I felt good. I went to the loo and when I came out I realised (thankfully before anyone saw me) that the fringing had caught up my dress and it was hitched up at the back above my knickers. Typical me! Thanks for the tips-I might start going for simplicity and a bit less fringing 🙂

    • Hahahahahaha! We’ve all done that at some point Michelle (although usually it’s after a few champers). Baby steps, I reckon – I’m all about making a bit more of an effort this year. Hanging with Gillian makes me look like I just rolled out of bed!

  • Love this! Fits in with my challenge for this year – #dressup2015 – I will never be the perfect polished person as I am far too quirky & left of centre for that, but I am enjoying putting a little more effort into my appearance and it is paying off as I feel better and more confident! I now actually love choosing my outfit for the day and hunting down fabulous vintage clothes. Oh, and don’t forget the red lippy!

  • This is great, I struggled with feeling like a complete doofus around ‘put-together’ people for a while. I tried to wear lipstick for but just kept eating it off and looking hideous.
    Lately I have just embraced my mismatched style and general clumsiness. My natural inclination is for slightly quirky clothes and it seems to work for me. Now I just wear paw paw ointment on my lips and remember to use mascara occasionally.
    It is nice to remember that there is a fair bit of effort that goes into looking effortless 🙂

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