Appearance has always been important to me, not because I want to impress anyone else, but because I like to feel good about the way I look. In a town where an inordinate amount of emphasis is placed on appearance it feels like I am admitting something terrible. Am I talking about weekly botox appointments (have never tried it YET) or major plastic surgery? No! Do I get weekly manicures and blow dries and try to get to an exercise class at least 3 times a week? Yes!

Come to think of it, I get an awful lot of comments about my appearance. Most of the comments are complimentary, but I do receive a fair amount of teasing from my sister and my closest friends about my attire. Everyone close to me basically knows that I feel much more comfortable dressed in a suit than I do in sweats and I am known for my collection of coats which I wear without abandon just about every day of the week.

So my writing partner, Jennifer Brandt of Perfectly Disheveled, and I decided to break down a few of the manners misconceptions regarding appearance and offer a few tips on how to put yourself together on the fly.

*Moms, set your alarm so you have enough time to take care of yourself along with your family in the morning.

*In addition to laying out your children’s clothing, be prepared and lay out clothing (or makeup) for yourself the night before.

*Dress appropriately for the occasion. If you are going to the park, wear clothes that are not restricting and choose flats rather than heels. For a parent/teacher conference, a pair of slacks and a blouse make a nice statement. Dressing for the gym? Finish your look by adding a stylish casual jacket or sweater.

*Dedicate a quick minute or two for some careful grooming. Regardless of how rushed you are, wash your face, brush your teeth and hair, put on a bit of face cream, foundation, mascara and blush. You’ll be good to go!

*At the very least, maintain your poise and walk with good posture. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and move gracefully, heel toe, heel toe. This exudes confidence and strength.

*A smile makes up for everything. Even if you had minimal time to put yourself together, donning a smile endears you to everyone. (Just make sure you brushed those teeth!)

Let us know if these tips help or share with us a few of your own quick tricks. We would love to hear from you!