I must really love you guys. Why else would I intentionally put on unflattering clothes and take pictures in them and put them on YouTube and stuff. I mean, who does that? I do. Because it’s important for me to show you that the way we dress has such an impact on the way we feel and the way we are perceived. If we want to feel our best, we have to talk about looking our best. It matters.
This is not my best.
Before I show you all the embarrassing pictures and we all have a laugh at my expense, let me make an important distinction between the two types of frumpy clothes.
Frumpy Frumpy = Clothes that intentionally make older women feel bad. i.e. you are old, so wear these bad old clothes. Here are some examples of dated, frumpy clothes that are still available. (These are from the video where I finally “dress my age.”)
Trendy Frumpy = Clothes that inadvertently make older women feel bad. i.e. these clothes look good on about .05 of the population, but they’re trendy, so that’s all we’re going to put in stores this season.
This video is dedicated (mostly) to the second category. These are current, modern, and trendy clothes that happen to be hard to wear and unflattering to many.
Let’s take a look at some of these styles, and the frumpy trends they represent.
Frumpy Alert: Faux Status Prints
Sorry, Michael Kors. But no one is going to believe this “designer” print is fancy. These faux status prints can usually be found in stores but are especially trendy now, and they are bad. There’s nothing wrong with not wearing Gucci or Hermes. Just don’t fake it with these faux status prints.
Frumpy Alert: Tunics
These should probably be in the Frumpy Frumpy category, but they landed here because I am seeing a few bad ones come out for the holidays, and I wanted to draw your attention to them. While there is nothing wrong with an essential worn as a tunic with leggings (i.e. a basic long sweater or button-down, for example), embellished tunics are dated and frumpy, in my opinion. It’s hard to see in this pic, but this black tunic is embellished with sparkly stuff at the top. It’s just not a modern look, although as far as tunics go, this is not the worst option by a mile.
Frumpy Alert: Dated Cardigan
Another Frumpy Frumpy item that seems to come out as trendy around holiday times is the dated cardigan. A simple fine knit cardigan in a solid color can be worn easily as a sweater or layered over something, especially if it is neutral. But the combination of style and pattern here make this look dated.
Frumpy Alert: Short Sleeve Sweater
I know many people will disagree with me on this one, but this is definitely a Frumpy Trendy look that I dislike. While it might work on much younger women (and that is debatable), they make mature women look older. They are just a frumpy style. If it’s too warm to wear a sweater, then don’t wear a sweater.
Am I missing something? What is the appeal here?
Frumpy Alert: Puffy Tops
I love a statement top as much as the next girl, but some of them are so hard to wear. I wish I could get away with the over-the-top frilliness of this shirt, but it is just the wrong scale for my body and overwhelming for my height and frame.
Frumpy Alert: Fluffy Fleece
Fleece, sherpa, and other fluffy fabrics are definitely cozy, but they are for loungewear only. I still think a chic sweatshirt is a better option in most situations, but if you must do fleece or just love it for cozy days, try to pair it with leggings for balance. These jeans are definitely making the situation worse.
Frumpy Alert: Oversized Wraps
I love a good wrap, cape, and poncho, but some of the oversized blankets masquerading as clothing just have too much volume and heft to be flattering and wearable. Unless you feel like dragging your favorite blanky around with you all day, they’re not super practical either. Skip them in favor of more streamlined shawls, scarves, and capes.
I adored this style and the belt definitely definitely helped, but this is one case where the One Size label does not apply. It might work on someone tall and slim but for me it was a fail.
Frumpy Alert: Fluffy Layers
You know I adore completer pieces, and this silhouette in flannel, cotton, or a knit would be perfection. However, in this heavyweight fabric, with the extra volume and slouchy shoulders and sleeves, it swallows me up. This is one of those pieces that would look much better with leggings and a more fitted layer underneath, but is too hard to style for my taste.
Frumpy Alert: The Prairie Dress
Even though nobody seems to love them, these shapeless floral frocks are still abundant in stores. Known for their muted colors, usually tiny prints, and shapeless cut, they are hard to pull off at any age. Here, you’ll see a couple of variations on the same trend. The first is more flattering on me, with a more fitted shape, a v-neck, and shorter sleeves. The others are tents, with an unflattering shape that is only made worse by the awful patterns.
Frumpy Alert: The Boxy Pants
Shapeless, baggy jeans and pants are having a real moment, and although I like volume and drama (much more) than the next woman, these are a little crazy. For pants to be flattering, they have to fit well where it counts: hips, bum, and waist. Then the flowiness looks intentional and not just like a bad fit. And this is not ill-fitting because it’s the wrong size. This brand is one I’m familiar with, and they run true to size. They were just designed to fit this way.
Frumpy Alert: Saggy Knits
As I said in the previous frumpy trends video, knit pants are tricky. You’ll find chic and comfortable knit pants and matched sets, and you’ll also find really frumpy versions and those that are so gargantuan they double as shelter. This is one of those oversized, shapeless, and otherwise impossible to wear sets.
Which of these frumpy trends have you tried? And do you like any of them? Let me know in the comments!