Ever caught yourself glaring in envy at the effortlessly pristine woman who breezes into the office, probably early, in a cloud of perfume and confidence? Tutted at her obnoxiously preened back as the click-clack of her high heels disappears down the corridor and into your promotion (probably)?
Meanwhile, you return your gaze to the tights you laddered on the bus, brush the stale croissant crumbs from your lap and wonder, wistfully, what you’re doing wrong.
Well, nothing, apart from comparing yourself to the impossible; Miss Pristine has either been up since five or is about to spill yoghurt on herself because perfection doesn’t exist.
But if you did want to make some small changes to your morning routine, the commute is far less likely to chip away at your confidence. Or your patience for that matter…
This is not to say that looking and feeling great at 9am demands a 6am alarm; it definitively doesn’t. It means that balancing a refined appearance with the latest possible alarm takes decision and organisation. Select your outfit the night before, hang it in the bathroom while you shower to drop out any creases and double check your tights for ladders; then roll out of bed and into fabulous.
Your signature fifties eyeliner and pillar-box red lips are a great look but don’t kid yourself; if you don’t allow the time to execute your artistry with the precision it deserves, it’s a run to the bus and another day begun in a flap. Either simplify and practice the look until it’s the work of moments or- curses. Get up earlier.
Do you forgo food in favour of the snooze button, grabbing a pastry and a caffeine-hit on your way to the office? Fatty treats, although entirely excusable on occasion, are counter-productive in that there’s little or no nutritional value. Your wallet won’t be too thrilled either. Whether it’s making time for egg and soldiers or preparing a tasty fruit pot the night before, flirting with brown bread or a blueberry once in a while will yield results.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a bus from your doorstep to your desk then there’s walking to be done. But that doesn’t mean it has to be done in shabby style; whether your style sits firmly in the corner of preppy or you dare to punk up your look, invest in flat shoes which make you feel good and walk tall.
Dress for the weather.
Fine, the UK weather is baffling and fickle at the best of times but what are handbags for? Umbrellas, bobble hats and, hell, pack-a-macs if we’re in the rainy season (which is always); far better to look fabulous underneath the outerwear and be cosy on the inside than to flaunt your fashions on the bus, only to step into a puddle the moment you get off.
If your style leans towards the simple-but-elegant, add glamour with functional but bold accessories. A bright scarf, signature necklace or fashion tights can lift the simple to the sublime with minimal effort. I’m also a huge fan of the bottomless handbag, stocked for all eventualities.
And, if all else fails and whatever your state of dress, try to use the time to relax. Read a book, crack a puzzle or listen to your favourite album on repeat; make the most of the commute.
And if that fails, stash a pair of Prada glasses in your bottomless handbag and sweep into work, faking it all the way. After all, that’s what Miss Pristine is doing.
Do you have any top tips for avoiding a brow so furrowed it could have been ploughed by the War horse? Share your secrets to looking fabulous with us!
Claire Hovey is a versatile writer with interests in many areas; from fashion and beauty to health and politics. She writes for Valley Optics.