Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump

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I’m a novice when it comes to fashion, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. Through trial and error, I’m finding my personal style and fighting the frump.

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump | Life as Mom

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Photo credit: Emily Rose

Over the last month or so, I’ve been working to fight the frump. I found that I didn’t feel my best — or look it — when I was just going through the motions, throwing on a tshirt, shorts, and flipflops.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the casual beach look, it wasn’t helping my motivation to get going in the morning, and it certainly didn’t help avoiding my frumpiness.

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been reexamining my wardrobe, even busting out in my personal style.

And I can’t even believe I just typed those words. Personal style?!

While I’ve written about clothing in the past, I’ve never felt like I really knew what I was doing.

Yet, in this style discovery journey, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. No longer am I feeling my way blindly, but I’ve got a very clear road map.

Thanks to the basic capsule wardrobe here and the Outfit Formulas in general, I’ve found clothes that make me feel stylish, but not overly so, if you know what I mean. I’ve seen the pictures from Paris Fashion Week and I am not impressed.

A few tips and tricks from these style capsule guides have really helped me build a great wardrobe for fall, one where I’m not ashamed to go out in public.

If you’ve ever felt like a frump, let me tell you, it feels amazing to get dressed each day and feel like I’m somewhat stylish and put together. My only regret is not having learned some of this sooner!

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump | Life as Mom
Photo credit: Emily Rose

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned in finding my personal style:

Find the beautiful things.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Which clothing items in your closet do you love?
  • What catches your eye in the stores?
  • What are you drawn to on Pinterest?

Overtime, you’ll see patterns. I found that I really like Alison’s style, so her wardrobe capsules are a great fit for me. Curating a dedicated board on Pinterest also helps me see what I like as well as online window shopping.


I never in a million years would have tried leopard print or peep-toed booties. Never. But, I gave them a try because I’m being adventurous these days — and I’ve found that I really like them!

Spending money on new clothes and (gasp) fashion advice is also a way I’m experimenting. It has its risks. How many times have we thrown money at an ebook or course and then forgotten about the resource as well as our good intentions? Or found that it didn’t meet our expectations at all?

For me, paying for this fashion advice is turning out to be a better investment than the 6 failed fixes I’ve tried via Stitch Fix. I can offset the cost of the style challenge by shopping my closet or hunting for bargains in stores or online.

Be comfortable.

At the same time as seeking out on trend style, I’m also focusing on clothes that are comfortable. I’ve returned many pairs of black skinny jeans. It’s not worth the cost investment if it doesn’t feel comfortable or have the right fit. In the past, I would have just made do. And looked frumpy.

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump | Life as Mom
Photo credit: Emily Rose


I’ve heard people talk about the importance of accessorizing, but I really didn’t understand how to put things together in a way that was flattering. Since the style challenge includes templates for each outfit, I’m learning how to balance each ensemble so that it doesn’t look like I raided my grandma’s costume jewelry.

I can now see how a printed belt and some earrings can take an outfit from everyday mom to wow mom in about two minutes! And I feel just a little bit fancy. 😉

Be You.

As you look toward finding and refining your personal style, remember who you are. What communicates your story, your interests, your personality?

You’re not going to see me in silk dresses and high heels — unless I’m in a wedding and someone else is paying for the clothes! That’s just not me.

I’m a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschool mom who cooks a fair amount and lives on a budget. I need to be able to move and be comfortable. I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on clothes. This lifestyle doesn’t require much from me, but as we’ve discussed before, it’s no excuse to be a frump!

Wear what looks good on you.

This is always the tricky part, isn’t it? Those of us who are not natural-born fashionistas, might not know what looks good on us. I’ve had lots of trial and err and lots of wardrobe changes in recent weeks, in part because I’m putting a little more care into my appearance.

If you’re wondering what looks good on you, ask yourself:

  • Which outfits do you get complemented on?
  • What makes you feel pretty?

Also, start taking pictures of yourself. Photographic evidence helps us see ourselves in a different way than just looking in the mirror. If all else fails, post a picture on Facebook, and folks will come out of the woodwork to offer advice.

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump

So, that’s how I’m finding my personal style and fighting my frumpiness. It’s proving to be a very fun adventure. I’ve learned soooo much about shopping in the last month. I’ll be sharing that in a future post, because there are some tricks to getting good prices and making returns easy.

My excitement over my clothing has become a little contagious as well. My girls, my husband, and at least one of the boys are all interested in building wardrobes they feel good in.

I’d love to hear what you do to refine your personal style and embellish your wardrobe in ways that make you feel like the most beautiful you.

Let’s chat in the comments!

Finding My Personal Style and Fighting the Frump | Life as Mom

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  1. I was in the same boat as you, having no idea what my personal style was. I had plenty of nice work/church clothes, but nothing to just hang out in or run errands, or have coffee with a friend. A blogger I follow recommended trying Dressing Your Truth, which is a program designed to teach you about yourself and your style will evolve from there. I realized the more I began to know ME, that I was wearing the wrong color and type of clothing for my personality. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to experiment with some personal development along with fashion! DYT has a paid course that is very indepth, but there are plenty of free videos online too. ( I am not a consultant or paid by them in any way. I think there might be a referral credit if you buy something, but I don’t refer because of that. This program has really helped me figure me out.)

  2. You look great and you are inspiring me. I love all the outfit photos on Instagram. But…
    How much time does it take you to shop? I don’t enjoy clothes shopping, but went yesterday in a window of available time. I tried on several pairs of pants/jeans but didn’t find any that fit. I know skinny jeans don’t work for me, but neither did the straight leg or boyfriend ones…
    So I’m wondering if this meal planning for clothes service you are describing would be helpful, or if I wouldn’t be able to find any of the pieces which actually fit my body.

    1. I’ll admit that I have spent my free time shopping, mostly online. There is some trial and error. I’ve returned LOTS of things — and learned which stores offer free returns. Jeans have been somewhat challenging. I finally went back to what was in my closet that I knew worked for me and ordered the same in a different color. They haven’t arrived yet, but we’ll see.

      Once I have the capsule complete, I don’t anticipate doing any shopping for several months since I will have an updated mix and match wardrobe.

      The GYPO style challenges provide shopping lists, but can’t really guarantee a custom fit. That part is subjective because we all have different body styles. So, the shopping list will say black skinny jeans or something like that and it’s up to you to find the right piece for you.

      You might try the free personal stylist/shopper service at Nordstrom. I don’t have any experience with them, but it might be worth a shot. Like their bra specialists, it sounds like they work with you to find things that fit you correctly. My experience in the lingerie department was that their prices were comparable to other places. And really, all you need to do is find the maker and style that fits you and then search it online and you can find better prices, if needed. (Though it’s usually considerate to make at least one purchase with them since they’re offering you a service.) Hope that helps!

  3. You have inspired me! I am working on it…..hence the reason I am wearing a cardigan and skinny jeans to a soccer game today! I love the red blouse and boyfriend jeans. Please keep these posts coming!

  4. You look bright and sparkly in the red print blouse, and the boyfriend jeans and leopard flats are super cute together! But the best part of all is how your family is getting into the action! The older my son gets, the worse my wardrobe has become! Loving this inspiring series and hoping to jump into the action with you!

  5. Thanks so much for this series. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. You’ve got me all excited. By the way, you look awesome.

  6. Loving the real world advice. I’m also a stay at home mom on a budget. Getting dressed and groomed really does make a difference in my attitude and mood. It’s time to learn and put it to work. Thank you so much for doing this set of posts!

  7. The church fellowship we belong to us ladies have a uniform dress we wear. We have it custom fitted so it suits each of our bodies nicely & not look frumpy & so forth. Its nice to not have to pick out other clothes for my body type but OH so fun to pick fabric colors that fit my personality 🙂 If I had to wear other clothes I would probably be struggling w/ frumpy also because I’ve never been a fashion person. Your hair looks awesome down & curled a little, so pretty, That blouse in the top picture is so pretty & looks great on you 🙂