How to Improve Your Look in Under 5 Minutes

There are a lot of sayings about time that remind us how little we have of it: time is of the essence, pressed for time, time flies, running out of time, short on time, etc. Unless you're Taylor Swift, who apparently has an hour to spare on post-workout primping, it's unlikely that you have the leisure of getting ready at your own pace.

Perhaps a solution is to cut back on those 40-hour work weeks? Maybe then we'd all have a little more time to be more like Taylor.

But alas, this is not our reality, which is why it's important to have a few time-saving style tricks up your sleeves. For some guidance, I spoke to Allie Lochiatto, the 27-year-old Boston native who runs the personal style blog Allie Wears. Always polished and put together, Lochiatto — who's received shout-outs from The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Teen Vogue — shared with us her secrets for stress-free styling when you only have a few minutes to spare.

1. You Can Rarely Go Wrong With Black

There's a reason why LBDs are a thing, and it's because black looks good on everyone. Whether you're wearing a black dress, a black romper, black pants, etc., the color is somehow always slimming. "Whenever I 'can't find anything to wear,' I dress in all black," says Lochiatto. "Not only is it simple and chic, but I feel very French."

A breezy black shift dress, like this one, is about as easy as it gets and a necessary wardrobe staple for days when you're in a rush but need to look polished. Pair it with a some bright heels and a bold bracelet.

Jack by BB Dakota Shift Dress, $45, Amazon

Perelli Platform Pumps, $88, Amazon

Rhinestone Bracelet, $14, Amazon

2. Go For A Little Lip Action

Look alive with a couple swipes of lip color. I don't suggest wearing your deepest shade of red when the rest of your face is makeup-free, but something subtle will do the trick. "A bright lip instantly illuminates my face and deflects attention from other areas," says Lochiatto.

This lip tint will add a bit of natural-looking color to your lips. Plus, it's super hydrating and contains SPF, so it'll keep your pout full and protected. Keeping your lips healthy will improve your day-to-day looks.

Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Sugar Tulip Tinted, $23, Amazon

3. Accessories Add Dimension

One way to look like you put some thought into your outfit is to add an accessory or two. "Throw on a fun printed scarf," suggests Lochiatto. "It's an easy accessory that adds some dimension." If scarves aren't your thing, then stack a few bangles on your wrist or try a bold statement necklace.

A scarf is cozy and adds volume to any look. Try looking for one with an interesting pattern, like this one, to pair with solid ensembles.

Sketched Scarf, $18, Amazon

Flower Statement Necklace, $9, Amazon

4. Be Brow-Aware

Full brows are fierce and totally on-trend right now (thanks, Cara Delevingne). "Shape and pencil in your eyebrows," says Lochiatto. "Groomed eyebrows make such a difference and make the eyes seem alive and bright." If done properly, you'll fool people into thinking you woke up like this.

I swear by Benefit's Gimme Brow. It's incredibly easy to use, natural looking, and smudge-proof. Seriously, get your hands on a bottle of this stuff today.

Benefit Gimme Brow, $18, Amazon

5. Greasy Hair Is a No-Go

Nothing says, "I didn't have time to shower this morning" like greasy hair, but there are days when forgoing a shampoo might be worth it (i.e. you want to make your beautiful blow-out last an extra day or, like me, you believe that washing your hair every day will make strands lose their shine). For this, there is dry shampoo. Lochiatto suggests applying in directly onto your roots and rubbing it into your scalp. The formula works to absorb oil buildup and will even add some extra volume.

I once received this dry shampoo in my monthly Birchbox, and it is hands down the best product that I've been sent so far. I'm obsessed with anything lavender scented, so I was automatically sold, but I love how, unlike most dry shampoos, it doesn't come in an aerosol can. Plus, it's made with ingredients you've actually heard of, like organic corn starch, rice powder, and white clay.

Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder, $30, Amazon

Birchbox Yearly Subscription, $110, Birchbox

6. Keep Your Hair High On Your Head

And for days when your hair just isn't at its best, there's no shame in piling it on top of your head. Better to have a polished updo than a tangled mess of hair in your face. "I like to throw my hair into a high top bun," says Lochiatto. "I instantly looked pulled together, and it makes me feel taller and slimmer."

Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Even with minimal makeup, J-Law looks #flawless in a ballerina bun.

Beaute Galleria Bun Makers, $11, Amazon

(Image: Getty Images)

7. When All Else Fails, Grab Those Glasses

Much like a scarf or a statement necklace, a pair of chic sunglasses (not the kind with the neon temples that you got for free during Greek Week) can improve a look drastically. "Sunglasses are a girl's best friend," says Lochiatto. "They cover a face that is sans makeup and can make an outfit look classic."

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Salma Hayek proves that a good pair of shades can dress up simple workout attire and a basic ponytail.

Ray-Ban 'Erika' Sunglasses, $80, Amazon

(Image: Getty Images)

8. They Say The Best Things In Life Are Free

And when all else fails, fake it 'til you make it! "A smile is your best accessory!" says Lochiatto. "For pictures, I push my tongue against the roof of my mouth when smiling — it automatically makes your smile look natural."

Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Lea Michele's smile was her best (and really only) accessory at the Hollywood Style Awards in 2010. (Image: Getty Images)