Can’t keep up with the latest fad? Do those trendy bell sleeves make you look like a seal? Or look like Cruella DeVille chasing puppies on a bad hair day? Fear not, there are many simple, timeless tricks that make you look well put together and don’t put a dent in your wallet.

Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts.

As most of us don’t belong in a fashion glossy, we don’t wake up with perfectly-coiffed hair, glowing skin and sparkling eyes. In the real world, we wake up wanting to reach out and smash the alarm clock. Hence, the first look in the mirror is a grouch and that’s okay. We all wake up looking like women who have lived through the day, weeks, years and last night’s terrible dinner with the in-laws. But there’s a very simple fix-it to your hair troubles.

If it’s humid where you live, dry shampoo is your best friend. For drier weather, hydrating spritz should be the go-to option.  These volumising sprays add bounce to your hair; even if it’s the bed-head look you are sporting. You can find a method to all kinds of madness with your first-aid kit, à la “the bag of the day”.

A good bag makes you stand out, look professional and keeps you organised. Pick a staple: be it a burlap tote for a neohipster chic look or a leather carry-itall — a Parisian satchel or a corporate briefcase for a more professional, polished look. Organise by compartmentalising items you will need to breeze through the day.

Carry a mint, your favourite lipstick, a stick of kajal, bandaids and freshening wipes for the grime collected after an especially harrowing day.

Throw in an extra pair of earrings, your favourite perfume and a few cosmetics.

Know your body type: Those high pumps and that tulip shalwar may look good on others but not on you. If you wear something that’s not you and makes you feel uncomfortable, people can tell. Just be yourself. Don’t force yourself into a pair of jeans that don’t fit you anymore. Are you short? Avoid big prints that make you drown in your own outfit. Like the way your arms look? Nothing can better than a sleeveless top to show them off. The key to carrying yourself through the day with flair is being comfortable and wearing what suits your body type.

Don’t slag the slacks: Grab the slacks that go with everything. A pair of silken slacks makes you look effortlessly chic and goes well for your work day and for your night out. No need to head home to change! Say no to harem pants– the boho-chic look became bedraggled after 2012.

The plain white kurta: This wardrobe essential will last you through the day, from when you walk into work and are drowning in emails to your grocery shopping for the day. Pair it with your favourite pair of livein jeans and dress it up with dangling earrings and silk scarf. This will give the right amount of ethnic touch to your outfit whether it’s for a work meeting or a post-work coffee or dinner.

The shirt that works: Invest in a tailored shirt that makes you look poised. Not only will you look fashionable but professional in the office, it’s easy to dress down or up depending on the occasion. Have an important meeting with the boss? Wear it with pearl or diamond studs, a structured pair of pants, and pumps. Meeting up with friends after work? Pair it with statement earrings, a vibrant scarf and sandals.

Flat out choice: Flats are always fashionable and practical. A pair of leather khussas in a basic colour works round-theclock. Let your feet breathe with strappy pumps that show off your pretty pedicure and keep the ground steady as you rush to tick off your to-do list.

Heeled up: Work or play, heels during the day should keep the balance intact. The pointy ones with odd angles will kill your posture and exhaust your sole. Opt for wedges instead of pointy heels. Only Carrie Bradshaw and Co can get away with impractical heels. For the rest of us mortals, comfort trumps walking on stilts.

The essential accessory inventory: Plain prints and simple cuts can be changed up just with the simplest of accessories. It’s very easy to dress up or down if you have these essentials stashed in your closet.

That scarf: Add a colour swatch to complement a drag-medown, 5 pm look, or one that helps cover up a coffee stain with a wisp of silk, chiffon or cotton.

The dupatta knows best: Pick out a bright one to pair with your kurta. Grab one from of the many high-street brands, or to add a personal touch, by using one from your mother’s wardrobe.

Bring the bling: Accessorise with ethnic jewellery or with a unique piece to bring your outfit together and to stand out.