Another look at the frumpys

I loved reading everyones thoughts and reactions to my Fight the Frump post. It is obvious that this is something that both excites and frustrates/overwhelms us all.

I wanted to revisit the post, because there were some questions and a couple of things that people took issue with. Obviously, my specifics and thoughts about these will be mine and not Charla’s. Charla, if you hear me, come help us out! You too, Stacy London!

This is the list I posted. (As one reader pointed out, the original list was 25 and not 24. I forgot overalls. She thought maybe I excluded them because I love them. No, dear reader. I do not. Just because I just got rid of my maternity (EEK!) overalls, that I’ve had since my first pregnancy 8 years ago, doesn’t mean I love them. No siree. Actually, I just missed it when copying and I looked that list up and down until my eyes crossed, looking for the missing item…)

Holiday sweaters with bells and appliqués (reindeers, teddy bears, bumblebees, pumpkins).
Granny necklaces that tell how many grandchildren you have.
Souvenir T-shirts.
T-shirts with meant-to-be funny sayings.
Acid-washed jeans.
Ripped jeans.
Shoulder pads.
Flannel shirts.
Muumuus. (**Does this really need to be stated?)
Photo handbags (the older you get, the more sophisticated your accessories should be).
Flesh-colored hose.
Penny loafers.
Oversize blazers.
Mommy robes.
Thin gold chain necklaces.
Elastic-waist pants.
Granny undies.
Baggy sweats.
Bearlike, full-length fur coats.
Short shorts.
Cargo pants.
Stockings with reinforced toes.
Three-piece suits with vests.

Several people took issue with getting rid of clothes that are comfortable and that we really do enjoy wearing, regardless of what some list says.

I think the point that Charla is trying to make, and one that I tried to zone in on, is that there are clothes in all sorts of styles that are comfortable. But not all of those styles are flattering. And what may be flattering on you may look like a something my cat regurgitated, when I wear it. But, I think that universally, there are some trends that we fall into without realizing that there is a better option.

I’m certain we can all agree that there are times when some items on this list are practical. We can certainly find an occasion to wear most items on this list at some point. But we aren’t talking about saving your baggy sweats for days when you are sick or have dirty jobs to take care of. We are speaking about not wearing those same baggy sweats all day every day.

I found this quote from Charla and think it sums it up nicely: “I think women in America are so hung up on comfort, they walk around in clothes like they’re going to the gym,” she says. “If you dress well, you will get people to sit up and take notice.”

Frankly, people are gonna notice us one way or the other. The question is, do we send off something positive or negative?

What a Difference!!
For some great before and afters, look here.
photos are from
~ Backpacks: an item some of you wondered about. I used to use a backpack diaper bag. They are handy and necessary when you are juggling several kids. Otherwise, your diaper bag tends to manage to always flop around and whack you in the belly and fall off of your shoulder. I am thinking she meant avoiding using it as your everyday purse. There are many attractive options out there for larger bags, if needed. Another possibility she meant, was to avoid the backpack purse that a lot of teenagers use. Again and again, she mentions that we should not try to look too young, as if we are stuck in the past.~ Granny Undies: I am wondering if when she mentions granny undies, she means to instead wear one of these (as opposed to what some might have thought, which was that she was implying a thong. nothankyouverymuch.

Isn’t the difference AMAZING!??! Seriously, it doesn’t even look like the same bottom. Her clothes even fit her differently.

(I hope these photos don’t offend. I’m hoping to answer some questions and show examples to clarify.)

~ Thin Gold Chains: this one perplexes me. But my best guess is that, as we age, our accessories should become more sophisticated (as mentioned in the list above). Since we all might have our own definition of sophisticated, for clarity sake, I will say, that there are many many lovely, feminine jewelry pieces to choose from now. They range from small and dainty, to large and chunky. Don’t just limit your choice to gold chains.

~ Cargo pants: these fall into that vague area too. I think that there are some styles that are more fashionable and others that just look trendy and junior miss which is what we should avoid as we age. If you choose to wear these, find some that are flattering to your figure. A lot of cargo pants tend to be loose fitting and can be too baggy and unshapely.

Remember, larger clothes don’t hide. There are flattering clothes for every shape.

~ Mommy Robe: honestly… I have no idea. I am assuming this means don’t wear your robe and curlers around town… but I just don’t know…

Lest you think I am looking down my nose at anyone who wears sweats and souvenir t-shirts, I am writing these posts for my inspiration as well. I was able to get away with these things when I was young and spritely, but as I approach 40, I realize that I need to take care of myself in all areas, not just physically.

One last thing. I realized last night that I didn’t post my outfit. The weekend got away from me. I will (try) to post it tomorrow if I am able to pull it off of myself without crawling into a corner in the fetal postion… old habits die hard. Stop by and leave a comment if you post yours!

Fightin’ the Frump

I was at the bookstore the other night reading through my usual selection that I am too cheap to buy even though it’s on my recommended reading list over in my left side bar enjoy scanning through while the kids play with the lead-tainted Thomas train set.

I’ve learned so many invaluable tips from this book:

Have you ever noticed, when looking through old photos, how much older everyone looks in them? Pick up a high school yearbook from the 50s and all of the girls look like they are headed to the nearest AARP office to sign up.

Some trends just make us look older than we are. And at my age, I’m not willing to fall into that trap. Look at Oprah, Katie Couric… these women look better now than they did fifteen years ago!

Here are some of the tips recommended in this book:

Cut Bangs (there are so many styles of bangs to choose from. Not all will be flattering on your face shape. But choose some. Bangs soften and frame the face)

Lighten the lipstick and lipliner.

Choose fun hip eyeglasses, not granny styles. Seriously, girlfriend was probably younger than I am when she had this photo taken. But the hair and the glasses make her look like she could be my great aunt Hilda (if I had a great aunt Hilda).

I don’t think these express anything except temporary loss of sanity.

Avoid hair that is too long and parted down the middle.

Lighten the hair.

Eyebrows, ladies! Eyebrows! I am example numero uno for what a good brow shaping can do to improve your looks. Weedwhackers come to mind when I think of my eyesbrows pre-1994, which is the year that will forever be known as the year that I got a clue that my bushy eyebrows needed help, STAT!

And her top 24 items that must be removed from all closets: (listed in this great article)

  1. Holiday sweaters with bells and appliqués (reindeers, teddy bears, bumblebees, pumpkins).
  2. Granny necklaces that tell how many grandchildren you have.
  3. Souvenir T-shirts.
  4. T-shirts with meant-to-be funny sayings.
  5. Acid-washed jeans.
  6. Ripped jeans.
  7. Shoulder pads.
  8. Flannel shirts.
  9. Muumuus. (**Does this really need to be stated?)
  10. Photo handbags (the older you get, the more sophisticated your accessories should be).
  11. Flesh-colored hose.
  12. Penny loafers.
  13. Oversize blazers.
  14. Mommy robes.
  15. Thin gold chain necklaces.
  16. Elastic-waist pants.
  17. Granny undies.
  18. Baggy sweats.
  19. Bearlike, full-length fur coats.
  20. Short shorts.
  21. Cargo pants.
  22. Stockings with reinforced toes.
  23. Three-piece suits with vests.
  24. Backpacks.

For more information, check out these links:

This video shows Charla talking about some of her tips.
Read an excerpt of How Not to Look Old here.
An interview with Time magazine here.

Let’s fight the frump, ladies! We can do it! My challenge to you, should you dare to take it, is to clear your closet of at least ONE frumpy outfit (we all have them). Take a picture of it and post it. Then get rid of it.

I’ll take my own challenge and I’ll be posting my frumpy outfit on monday so that I can spend my entire weekend in it, crying over the future loss…

What is wrong with this picture?

You may have to click on the photo to figure it out.

Message to myself:

Dear Self,

I thought I was okay with this whole “aging” thing… It’s never really been a problem for me. But that was before I started noticing how my pores are becoming enlarged, my crow’s feet are spreading and I have to wear my glasses more.

When did all of this sneak up on me? Caught off guard…Suddenly, I find myself looking at e.v.e.r.y. single bottle of “wrinkle cream”.

I’m absorbing these changes. Trying to soak them in and savor them. It’s not always easy. Especially when, during the sermon today the pastor mentioned the “prime of physical maturity” was around 31, 32, maybe 33, and that after that, the body starts into it’s aging process. I realized that I am beyond all of those…and…I am aging…

But, you know what? I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to continue to laugh hard enough that those crow’s feet eventually spread out to my earlobes. Every day that I age, I am that much closer to meeting my Savior face-to-face.

I don’t want to become so absorbed with aging that I miss out on the reason God has allowed me to stay on this earth… aging…Every day that I am on this earth breathing, God has ordained for me.

So, Self, don’t ever worry about getting old. Enjoy it. Savor it. Soak it up.