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The Secrets of Pulled-Together Women

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You know who they are: Those women you work, socialize and shop with who always look chic, pulled-together and stylish no matter what they're doing or where they are. Think that kind of great style eludes you? Not anymore: We asked those same real-life stylist as to spill their secrets on looking great. Here are their tips:

"If you want to look instantly put together and 10 pounds slimmer, go for a monochromatic look. Black always works, but pink, orange and coral, even blues and greens look great, too. And add an accessory like an antique pin, a scarf worn as a belt, or a few long strands of pearls or stones." --Barbara, a writer in New Jersey

"Really nice shoes and a bag always make you look good. I window-shop to check out the cut and style of the $60 tees and other expensive tops at places like Scoop and Barney's. Then I find similar ones at cheaper stores and wear them with the pieces I spend my money on: designer jeans that fit really well, really nice heels and a great bag." --Jody, an editor in New York

<LI>"It's important to know your body type so you know what styles will look good (or horrible!) on you. I wear clothes that accent what is beautiful and lovely about my body -- everyone has something to emphasize. And when all else fails, wear diamonds!" --Cherie, a marking executive in Nebraska

<LI>"One of my signature items is a fabulous pair of shoes. They make the outfit. I usually look for dramatic ones that make an impact. Plus, I'm tall, so wearing a smashing pair of high-heeled boots always makes people notice." --Rachelle, a software developer in Washington

<LI>"My staple outfit: trusty black pants, a patterned top, pointy boots, lipstick and a cardigan if it's cold. It's easy and fast! For weekends or more casual events, I just substitute jeans." --Vikki, a finance manager in New York

<LI>"Indulge every once in a while on an expensive piece -- a purse, shoes, a blazer -- that you know will go a long way. When you love what you're wearing, you look confident and instantly stylish." --Adelaida, an executive assistant in New Jersey

<LI>"First, it's crucial to have a great haircut. Your clothes won't matter if your hair isn't stylish. I also love to have a perfect dress for the season, one that is always appropriate and able to be casual or dressy with the right earrings and shoes. Dresses are great because you don't have to worry about putting too many pieces together." --Marian, a special educator in Boston

<LI>"I wear my Hermes twilly -- a long, thin scarf -- around my neck, around my wrist, or in my hair (a key way to make a ponytail look professional). It costs about $100 but is well worth it. It's a simple way to make a black suit or a black sweater and pants look a little more dressy. I wore it just about every day when I was pregnant and not feeling too cute." --Shannan, an administrator in Virginia

<LI>"Hair pulled back in a loose ponytail with long, dangling earrings. It always looks great, can camouflage unwashed hair, and draws the attention to the earrings and away from a not-made-up face on days when I'm rushed or tired." --Sara, a mother of one in New York

"I go for color. I know which shades make me feel great and make my eyes and skin look alive -- for me, that's periwinkle blue and soft, baby pink. So whenever I'm in need of an instant pick-me-up, I turn to pieces in those colors, such as a cardigan, sweater or scarf worn at the neck." --Virginia, an operating room administrator

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