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5 Reasons We Don’t Bother to Fight the Frump

Are you feeling a little dumpy when it comes to your clothing? Is it time to fight the frump? Are you guilty of these excuses?

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5 Reasons We Don't Bother to Fight the Frump | Life as Mom

I come by frumpiness pretty honestly. Knowing what’s in style just isn’t really high on my priority list. There are too many other things on which I need to focus my attention.

That said, I don’t like looking like a frump.

And all too often, that’s the position in which I find myself. Like last week: in Nordstrom, getting fitted for a bra of all things, only to realize that my 10-year old shorts had muck on them and my last season t-shirt had a spill right on the front. Nice.

It was a little wake-up call for me. I’ve rode the summer wave of casual shorts and t-shirts, but it’s probably time, now at 44, to give a little more attention to my appearance. I am, after all, no longer a college student.

That drive home from the mall, I started thinking about what I could do to improve my appearance and realized that one thing I could do was to stop making excuses.

5 Reasons Why We Don’t Bother to Fight the Frump

You may be a natural fashionista and not need to think too long and hard about these things, but if you’ve found yourself in too many “mom clothes”, it might be time to consider why you aren’t paying a little more attention to your appearance.

Are these excuses you’ve been making for looking like a frump?

1. I’m not an ideal weight.

I hear you. I’m not an ideal weight, either. Over the last five years, a stubborn ten pounds have gathered on my form and been very resistant to leaving the facility. Despite all kinds of diet and exercise programs, I find myself back at this unlucky number. Should I wait until I lose that ten pounds before I start dressing better?

Probably not, because that might mean never.

I’m not saying you’re not going to lose the weight. I’m saying if you dress to feel confident and comfortable, you’ll enjoy the season until you get to your ideal.

If you’re on a roll and dropping weight quickly, then by all means, hold off on big purchases.

No matter where you are, you are worth dressing in a style that reflects the beauty inside you.

5 Reasons We Don't Bother to Fight the Frump | Life as Mom

2. I have no place to go that it matters.

I’ve been a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom for 19 years, I get this. My most frequent appearances are made at the grocery store.

That said, my guess is that you’ve found yourself in plenty of situations where you were grossly underdressed or felt ill at ease because your ensemble didn’t quite suit the occasion. I know that has happened to me more times than I can count!

Why wait for “a place that matters” when happenstance will throw those situations our way when we least expect it?! Let’s dress so that we feel comfortable no matter where we are or who we’re with!

3. I don’t have money to buy new clothes.

I’ve been experimenting this past week, putting together “styled” outfits based on clothes that I already have. While some of them have not been my favorite, many have been perfectly passable for the general public. You don’t have to be a regular Nordstrom shopper to dress for success, as they say.

Plus, there are plenty of ways to save money on clothes:

  • shop thrift stores and clearance sales
  • use eBates before shopping online – you’ll get cash back on every purchase
  • browse what’s available at ThredUp – find secondhand brand names that have already been vetted for quality condition

4. My clothes all get stained anyway.

I know well the season of wearing spit-up on your shoulder. Perpetually. It may seem counterproductive to put effort into your wardrobe when it’s just going to get mucked up anyway.

Yet, there’s something psychological at play when we dress to feel pretty and confident. Admit it, you feel better in pretty clothes than you do in the ugly, old stained ones. Especially when you need to pick the kids up at school or run into an old classmate at the grocery store.

There are ways to protect our clothes. Hello, aprons and burp cloths. And there are ways to fight stains. Yes, they take a little more effort, but I think in the long run, it’s gonna be worth it — especially if you feel like a million bucks.

5 Reasons We Don't Bother to Fight the Frump | Life as Mom

5. I don’t have an important job.

I’m not a teacher. I’m not a bank executive. I don’t have a high-paying, high power job. But, you know what?

I have the best job in the world for me. To be the best ME I can be. You have that same calling. And if being THE BEST YOU means feeling good about your appearance, then it’s worth the effort to rock it!

Don’t tell yourself that your appearance doesn’t matter or that your daily occupations aren’t worth dressing well. Those are lies. How you feel about yourself affects how you live your life, do your work, and love your people.

Appearances are not everything, that is very true. Looks are not everything. But, if you have the means and the desire to fight the frump, then I think it’s a worthy fight.

It would be nice to have a perfect body, a personal shopper, and an unlimited bank account to fund said shopper, but that isn’t my reality. Instead I’m making small efforts to update my appearance and be better prepared to take on the day and whatever situations it has for me.

Next week, I’ll be sharing how I’m fighting the frump and offering suggestions on how you can, too. I’m super excited to tell you about my experiences with Get Your Pretty On, Thred Up, and the other various things I’m tweaking and experimenting with so that I can feel great when I leave my cave.

Are YOU fighting the frump?

5 Reasons We Don't Bother to Fight the Frump | Life as Mom

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Comments

  1. I am right there with you. I just went shopping to go with my husband to Las Vegas where he had a work conference. Our first time there and I looked over my clothes to pick to pack and was underwhelmed. As a fellow work at home Mom, my wardrobe has lots of casual and comfortable options, but I do have to meet with clients occasionally so I have to take time to find some nicer pieces so I look professional. It’s also fun to have some more dressed up options for date nights. I’ve tried Stitchfix but they are pricey so I stick with Loft, Gap and Macy’s to find some cute tops and good jeans/pants. I just turned 40 this year so I let the younger sales associates help me find new items. It’s good to not buy the same style all the time.

  2. This rings true for me on several levels. The biggest excuse I tell myself is that as a stay at home mom, it doesn’t matter. I really do feel better when I’m just a bit dressed up. Most of it is just habit. I’m staying home, so I put on something comfortable. I have a house full of boys who truly do not care what they wear, so its easy to get out of the habit of even thinking about it. Money is an issue too. We have never been recreational shoppers, and I feel like I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for clothes. At 42, it seems like there is a big age gap in the clothes that are available. I don’t need grandma’s pant suit, but also don’t need a short and sheer mini dress. Some of my best finds in the past were with “modest” shopping sites. I don’t choose modest dress as a religious conviction, but have found it to be a decent source of ideas for pretty and appropriate clothing that won’t leave my parts hanging out.

    • The style guide I mentioned in the post has really helped me hone in on what to buy, most of it basics that mix and match, just not in ways I ever considered before. My ThredUp stuff came today and I was pretty happy with it all. Haven’t tried it on yet, but the condition and quality was good.

  3. This is SO me!!! I work at home painting signs and it’s so much more comfy to do that in shorts or yoga pants. It’s also hard to find clothes in my closet without paint specks on them!! I can’t wait to read more next week.

  4. I’m so excited to read your coming posts. I’ve been having exactly the same thoughts this last week. And I have all of the same excuses. I’m going through my closet and making outfits with what I already have and assessing what I really need so when I go shopping I don’t just pick up another tshirt (that’s what I usually do when I shop and it doesn’t improve my wardrobe very much.) I have a really hard time shopping for clothes online. I don’t mind consignment shopping but that’s hard for me too with 4 little kids and living 50 miles from town. Again, excuses but I’m working on it!

  5. Yes! I work from home most of the time, but occasionally travel to my company’s headquarters. Was actually there the past 2 weeks (highly unusual) with some colleagues from France and realized I needed to “up my game”. I bought 2 pairs of new shoes and they made a huge difference in the overall look of what I was wearing. My husband also commented that I need to refresh my wardrobe more often. I love specific recommendations on what to buy but also find it’s great to try on before buying – and I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I try a few things outside my comfort zone. I completely agree with the comments on being in my 40’s, 10-15 pounds more than I’d like to be, and struggling finding clothing that is age-appropriate and basically classic but updated. I don’t want to be dressed up, but I do want to look pulled together when I pick up kids from school. (By the way, I love the sleeveless lilac top above #5.)

    • It’s a shirt I bought from LOFT in 2011. It’s held up amazingly well. I found the same top in brown on ThredUp. It just came today. Thrilled!

      And yes, I notice shoes do make a difference!

  6. “I was going through a phase, Frump Girl.” -My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    I so could have written this post except that I haven’t started defrumping yet. I hate shopping for clothes and never know what is in style. I end up leaving the store with granny clothes or something that might be trendy but I’ll never wear because it’s so uncomfortable. 🙁 Looking forward to the inspiration from watching your defrumping process.

  7. I by no means have a fashionable wardrobe. However several years ago I did decide to get rid of all my t-shirts (the cotton mens fit one’s from one thing/place or another). I still wear tee shirts, but limit myself to women’s cut shirts and this alone helped me feel much less frumpy. This last year I did away with all my regular hooded sweatshirts and have been thrifting more flattering cut cardigans and zip up sweatshirts. I also try to keep my yoga pants at home. So nothing drastic but it helps a little.

  8. I do better some times than others, so I’m thinking this is a good refresher for me. One thing that helps me is that people here (Mali) dress up more, so I know it’s culturally important. But it’s also so HOT that it makes it not seem worth the effort. I do better if I know I have a few outfits that are comfortable and look presentable. Then I can repeat those things a lot.

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