The lazy girl's guide to looking effortlessly stylish (for less than ₹5,000)
The kind of zero-risk investments we prefer
Over the course of human history, civilisation has faced many moments of reckoning with itself. Among these, I count the arrival of the street style blog. Suddenly, there was documented evidence that, among us, lived humans capable of stepping out for ordinary tasks like sabji shopping and dental appointments looking perfectly put-together, effortlessly stylish, if you will.
Adding further insult to injury, this dark art wasn’t relegated to those with Sabyasachi on speed dial. Nor did they rely on stylists to cobble looks together. It seems these alchemists had decoded the formula to looking effortlessly stylish, even when dressed in a T-shirt and jeans. A formula perfected by repetition until the margin of error would impress even the crustiest dabbawala.
We’ve decoded the building blocks of this alchemy for you to adopt. Impeccably tailored clothing that refuses to capitulate to the whims of the weather gods. Jewellery that you wear like second skin. The barest hints of makeup that can be slapped on in the back of a moving rickshaw without looking like Joaquin Phoenix’s understudy.
If you’ve always desired to look effortlessly stylish without sacrificing an hour of sleep or the health of your savings account, settle in and take notes. All recommendations on our list are under ₹5,000 and — even if you don’t like the specific item chosen — can form the base of your experiments with style.
How to look effortlessly stylish in 9 easy steps
1. Stackable statement rings for dramatic hand gestures
As anyone who’s ever had to wash dishes, repot a money plant or scrub their child’s crayon homage to Frida Kahlo off the walls will tell you, a manicure’s life span is shorter than a fruit fly’s.
A better investment would be a statement ring, versatile enough to wear with everything you own.
A signature piece that friends will gush over saying, ‘that’s so you’, completely oblivious to the fact that you’ve destroyed your cuticles while binging the newest true crime documentary.
2. Hoop earrings because they really do suit everyone
Show us a face that is incongruent with hoop earrings and we’ll admit that aliens walk among us. Sade wears them, Jennifer Lopez loves them and Alia Bhatt experiments with them in every size.
Level up on your standard issue circular hoops with this oval box version that, drumroll please, just so happen to be water resistant.
3. Printed wrap dress that will rise to (almost) every occasion
We actually test drove this exact dress in an episode of Tweak Team Tries (click here if you don’t believe us), and let’s just say two were bought on the spot.
The waist can adjust to accommodate a temporary pizza baby or an actual human baby, while the bell sleeves glide over any arm fat issues you might be harbouring. Did we mention you don’t really need to iron it?
4. Column denim skirt to show off those glute #gains
The ’90s is the decade that just keeps giving, and its latest act of benevolence is the return of the denim maxi skirt. Finally, you can hide the fact that you chose an extra 20 minutes of sleep on Monday morning over deforesting your legs (no shade, we’d do the same).
The effortlessly stylish dark wash suits most body types and skin tones, eliminating any guesswork from the get-go.
5. Trans-seasonal sandals that will become your new cult favourite
There are two types of people in this world: those who understand the allure of Birkenstocks and those who are wrong.
When you consider how the monsoon has its way with most of the shoes on your shelf, you’ll stop debating the usefulness of a waterproof, lightweight pair of slip-ons that’s anatomically designed to support your foot bed.
Khaki is the new neutral, though you do have options in black, anthracite and navy blue if you really must cling to tradition.
6. A silk shirt to prove your adulting credentials
Dear reader, we are torn. On the one hand, every grown-up needs a silk shirt for those days when you want to channel the adult your mother wishes you were. On the other, silk is expensive, and we stubbornly set ourselves a ₹5,000 budget.
Somehow, M&S heard our prayers to become effortlessly stylish and delivered a slick candy-floss concoction in line with the Barbie fever that’s been going around.
The care instructions also claim this can be machine washed so you don’t have to worry about forgetting this one at the laundrywalla.
Shop this M&S shirt here, ₹3,599 (on discount)
7. Classy sunglasses to hide headaches and hangovers
Admittedly, buying sunglasses without trying them on — even for the lazy girl trying to be effortlessly stylish — is a roll of the dice.
But this exaggerated wayfarer shape is the thanda nimbu pani of sunglasses, it pairs well with everything. The tortoiseshell print and gold trimmings show them you know how to look the part.
8. The lip tint that’s universally flattering
On rare days, you wake up with enough time to redo your eyeliner until both wings match perfectly. Most days, you’re texting your Uber driver ‘Be right there’ even though you’ve just stepped out of the shower. Those are the days you reach for Clinique’s Black Honey.
This miracle lip balm-meets-tint looks different on every skin tone, but in the best way. We could explain the science to you, but our Uber is here.
9. Tinted sunscreen because we’re serious about SPF
A sunscreen for your skin but better. The mineral formulation’s zinc oxide sits on top of your skin, acting like an invisible force field deflecting harmful UVA and UVB rays.
The added tint mitigates any potential for white streaks while providing minimum coverage for marks or hyperpigmentation. When trying to be effortlessly stylish, we love ourselves a multitasker.