10 Easy Ways to Fight the Frump
This post was popular when it first ran so I thought I would republish today with a few minor updates.
As women age, it’s easy to fall into the frump rut. We tend to think of everyone else first, and we’re often left with little time to think about keeping up with current trends or putting new outfits together. If you’re home all day as I am, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that nobody cares what we wear, so what’s the point of keeping up appearances?
If you’re feeling out of touch and want to up your style game but aren’t sure where to begin, I hope this simple list of 10 ways to fight the frump will help… or at least give you a place to start.
10 Easy Ways to Fight the Frump
#1. Wear clothes that fit.
This may sound obvious, but so many women don’t wear clothes that fit — either they’re trying to fit into clothes that are too small, or they’re trying to hide behind oversized pieces, or they simply don’t know how to properly fit their body.
I believe the best thing you can do for yourself (style-wise) is make sure your clothes fit properly. Even if you’re planning to lose weight, dress for the way your body is today. If you can’t find clothes that fit well off the rack, make friends with a good tailor. It’s well worth the investment.
If you feel totally inept at picking styles that flatter your body or just want to hone your style, I highly recommend taking an Adore Your Wardrobe course. It helped me sooo much.
#2. Get a bra fitting.
An ill-fitting bra creates a myriad of fashion faux-pas. If the band is too tight, you’ll create unsightly bulges in your back area. If it’s too loose, the band will slide up, and your girls will droop, which adds visual weight and loses sight of your waist. If your cup size is too small, you will end up with the quadroboob effect, but if it’s too big, you’ll look saggy.
If you haven’t had one in a few years, a proper bra fitting should be the first step towards fighting the frump and making sure you aren’t aging yourself unnecessarily.
#3. Find a few relevant blogs to follow.
Haha! Okay, this may sound self-serving, but I do think it is helpful to find a few blogs by women close to your age who have a style you desire (that is also attainable and a good fit for your budget and lifestyle) to help inspire your style. Start a Pinterest board for looks you’d like to copy, and pin to it whenever you see an outfit that resonates with you. Over time, you can copy those looks or adapt them to create new outfits from your own closet.
Trust me, I’m no style maven. I get all my ideas from Pinterest and other blogs. Sure, over time I’ve honed my skills, and sometimes I get inspiration from seeing things come together in my own closet, but style doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve have to work at it, and I’ve slowly gotten better at knowing what works and what doesn’t. You can do it too!
#4. Update your makeup. (And then use it!)
If you haven’t had a makeover in a few years, I suggest going to Sephora or your favorite department store makeup counter and getting an updated daytime makeup look. Make sure you specify a “daytime” look. It needs to be doable, so don’t buy 50 products if you only need 5. Figure out what you’re willing to do on a daily basis, and then purchase those products, and make time to use them each day. Putting on some basic makeup will go a long way towards improving your outlook on life, I promise!
Also, as we age, it’s best to lighten up our makeup. Harsh, dark makeup can age us, so keep that in mind. As we get older, we usually want to go softer and more subtle with our makeup.
#5. Pencil in Your Brows.
This kind of goes along with #4 but I thought it deserved it’s own mention. Sparse brows is a sign of aging, so using a pencil to subtly pencil them in will look more natural and frame your face. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are tons of YouTube videos on the topic, or you can visit your favorite makeup counter and ask for a quick tutorial. I swear by this brow pencil, and I feel like I’ve tried them all.
#6. Accessorize. (But don’t overdo it.)
Even if you live a very casual lifestyle, adding a few accessories to your basic jeans and sweater can go a long way towards upping your style game and making you look (and feel) put together. Even when I wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt, I add a few accessories — even if it’s just diamond studs and a few Alex and Ani bangles. That said, don’t overdo it. I’ve always been the girl to take off a piece if in doubt. Less is more, especially as we age.
#7. Ditch the bulky shoes.
There are no two ways about it. Heavy, bulky shoes are frumpy. Now, listen, I’m all for comfort, and I’ve struggled with my fair share of foot injuries over the past few years, so I get it. The struggle is real, but it IS possible to find supportive shoes that don’t add to the frump factor. There are SO many styles and brands available nowadays that make comfort shoes that aren’t terribly frumpy, so you CAN have your cake and eat it too. It just takes some time and effort to find them.
I wrote this post a few months back on stylish comfort sandals for spring and summer. Some of the styles I recommended may be discontinued, but the brands I mention in this post should help you on your hunt!
#8. Update your glasses.
The style of your glasses can date you. If you’ve had the same style of glasses for 5 years or more, it’s probably time to consider a new style. Again, I encourage you to peruse Pinterest and other fashion blogs for ideas on what is in fashion, and then go to your eye doctor with some ideas. They should be able to guide you to something that is fashionable and also flattering to your unique features.
#9. Get a new haircut.
If you’ve had the same haircut for 10 years, it’s probably time to think about an update. This does not have to be drastic. In fact, I don’t recommend drastic, but a simple adjustment to your color or your style can take years off. If you don’t have a hairdresser you love and trust, ask around. If you have a friend whose hair always looks amazing, ask her who her hairdresser is.
Right now, the harsh angled bobs are on their way out, and a softer, layered look is coming back in. I’ve even hears rumors of the shag making a reappearance, but I’m waiting that one out. Ha! Ultimately, a hairstyle that flatters your face and personal style is better than one that is trendy for the sake of being trendy, but it’s still a good idea to pay attention to current trends when you consider your next hairstyle.
You may even want to consider allowing it to grow out a bit. Women tend to go shorter with their hair styles as they age, but short hair can be harsh. Letting your hair grow out an inch or two so it’s softer and frames your face can be a nice way to update your style.
#10. Only buy clothes you love that work for YOUR body and lifestyle. (And make friends with a tailor.)
How many of us settle for clothes that are “good enough” just because we are in a rush or we don’t want to keep looking to find something better? I know I do it all the time. It takes time and energy to find clothes that fit well and look great on us, but when we settle time and time again, we end up with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I’d rather have fewer things that fit great and make me feel good than a closet full of clothes that make me feel dissatisfied and frumpy.
Remember What Not to Wear? I loved that show. I learned a lot from Stacy and Clinton about proper fit and proportion, but that is also the first place that I learned that I didn’t have to settle. It’s been an uphill battle until this day, and I’m still not perfect at it, but there are sooooo many times that I’m tempted to purchase something, and I hear Stacy’s voice in my head saying, “You can do better.”
The other thing they always said to their protégés was, “It’s not you; it’s the clothes.”
It’s easy to get discouraged after trying on clothes that don’t fit quite right, and we start to feel like it’s our fault, but it’s not. The current trends tend to dictate what is in the stores, and if those trends don’t work for us, finding proper fitting clothes can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Plus some of us just have harder body types to fit than others, so don’t rule out tailoring. That can make a huge difference in how your clothes fit and feel.
When your clothes fit you right, you will look and feel fabulous. If we’re patient and willing to persevere, we’ll get there.
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