10 Easy Ways to Fight the Frump

10 Ways to Fight the Frump

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. You also might like my post, Denim Mistakes You May Be Making.

#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. For more on this topic, read my post, Makeup Mistakes That Can Age You.

#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.

Read more in this post: Fight the Frump Shoe Edition.

#8. Update your eyeglasses.

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.

Did you like this post?

Subscribe to get updates in your email inbox! You can also connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my About Page: Blog Monetization and Disclosure.

Join The Conversation

38 Responses

  1. This is so relevant, Jo-Lynne. I just went to breakfast with some friends that are older, and they were talking about how it just doesn’t matter and they don’t care anymore. And I get it, but the things you talk about actually make you feel better about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself, then it shows and you can make others feel good (in my opinion)!
    Funny that you include accessories in your tips, because this week, the three of us (actually 4 because I have an 80+ bloggette joining us) showed outfits with and without accessories. It’s fun to see the comparison side by side, I think!!

  2. Great ideas to fight the frump! I sent you the message on your Instastory yesterday about how much I loved seeing a live try on of your new items — I would love to see this as a regular feature! So helpful to see them in person for some reason and hear your commentary! (Even if your kids are horrified! LOL)

  3. I loved Stacy and Clinton and What Not to Wear! I miss that show but am so happy to have found your blog mentioned on Pinterest. You are filling the void quite nicely. Keep posting your great tips and outfits and be encouraged that your thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated !

  4. Good Morning and thanks for another great post. I especially liked #3, 5 and 7. For the longest time I didn’t really know what my style was and I would just mimic what the other girls/ladies in the office wore. What really helped me was discovering Pinterest and Bloggers like you and Cyndi. I can’t always afford some of the trendy high end brands but I’ve gotten really good at finding a similar item at TJMaxx or Marshall’s. Plus it’s fun when I do find the extact same brand for less ????
    Shoes are another big issues, because as we age we need more comfort but as you have shown us…we don’t have to settle for an ugly shoe to get it. I really love my wedges from The Walking Store (they are both comfy and cute) thanks to you! .

  5. there is nothing worse then going somewhere with someone who looks like they just threw some clothes on and ran out the door. And you have taken your time to pick out the outfit and fix your hair and makeup all in the same time it took them to just throw on clothes . I am contently saying something to my sister about this, why don’t you put on something besides a oversize tee shirt and baggie jeans, and what’s up with the tube style hair tie . her answerer I didn’t have time to wash my hair when I took a shower and why dress up I am not going anywhere but to town. Funny thing is mom always told us, no matter where you going when you walk out the front door, always look your best. Me I do my sister well that is another thing ……….

    1. Funny, my mother was the same way. I once asked her if I should iron the shirt I had on. She replied “are you leaving the house?”.

  6. Great post. I just got some funky new glasses last year and can’t believe how many comments I get on them. Getting my hair done next month – I am so lucky, I have had the same hairdresser for the last 17 years! I don’t know what I would do without him. I actually grew out my bangs! I had bangs for 45 years! It’s the little things that make a difference! Also inspired by my friend from England – she is so stylish and I have never seen her “slobby” – even at an 8am soccer game she looks totally put together – makes you want to do the same! 🙂
    Have fun on your holiday!

  7. Great post! Any suggestions on a good place to get a bra fitting? I’ve used Victoria Secret and nothing against them I just don’t think they measured right.

  8. Have a wonderful time at the beach!!!!!!! I enjoyed this post and those are great reminders! I had the chance to spend some time with my 94 yr old grandma this summer and one day took her to a doctors appt but before we left the house she said “Well, I’d rather not go out without any jewelry”… so my aunt found her jewelry box and she put on one of her rings and a necklace…. so she would totally agree with you too! And every day even for staying at the house she would put on a cute outfit :). Love her! Also, that may be another post idea…stylish comfort shoes for fall/winter?

  9. Great post and all so true. I am heading to the beach for a week also to the Jersey shore. Have a great trip, let’s hope for beautiful weather.

  10. One that really resonates with me is #10. I’ve had to accept that I can’t just buy and wear any pretty thing I see. I used to think, if it looked good on someone else, it would look good on me!

    In reality, I need to reject 90% of what I come across (maybe more!). This is true in any category – tops, jeans, shoes, handbags, etc. When I consider fit, color, lifestyle, budget, and whether I really love it – very few things make the cut. And that’s fine. When I’m selective, I end up with clothes I love and look forward to wearing.

    I love your list. Lots for me to work on lol.

  11. So excited for you going to the beach! What time are your picking me up?? LOL! Great refresher post!! For a while, I did have the frump factor going on. I only worked 2 days a week, but I had to really dress up. Even on my days off, I still kept myself somewhat decent. But after retiring 7 years ago, I really let things go to you know where……and with taking care of the grandkids, I slipped even more. A number of years ago my daughter sent me a Pinterest pin from Cyndi, through which I found your blog & brought myself back up out of the frump pit. Your daily blog keeps me from slipping!! . A simple morning routine now- light foundation, earrings, a nice top to go with my ever present jeans & I feel good about my self every day! And the memory of my mother alway wearing earrings & lipstick, no matter what, even if she was gardening. The lipstick, well, I usually forego it unless I’m going out. The reason—I love kissing all those grandkids & the older ones aren’t found of Grammy’s lipstick all over them!! ????

  12. Fantastic tips! When I was in the brunt of the Cushings Disease, I lost my hair from the neck down, gained lots of facial hair, except my eyebrows fell out and they never grew back. I bought one of the eye pencils you recommended before, but I need a tutorial on using it. I have stopped wearing makeup for several reasons: I sweat way too bad, which causes it to streak, and I have eye allergies that worsen when I wear eye makeup then have to remove it. I used Zennioptical to update my eyeglasses without going broke, and I have gone to shorter hair due to my thin face, and the heat. I am finding that so many of my tops don’t make me feel good, so it’s getting time to donate.


  13. I loved What Not to Wear! When I’m shopping or when I’m thinking about purging my closet, I always ask myself how an outfit makes me feel and that all comes from Stacy and Clinton. I miss that show but I thank my lucky stars that we have you and your fabulous blob!

  14. I too loved watching “What Not To Wear.” It really was helpful. I agree with all your points in your post today. I think so many woman put themselves last in keeping themselves up and they don’t have too. It doesn’t cost much to follow your points and you feel much better if you get yourself ready for the day, no matter what you are planning to do or where you are going. I have always did my hair and make-up each day, even when I was a stay-at-home mom, as I thought it was also important for my husband to have someone to come home to that kept themselves up. For years I thought it was being vain, but its not. But, we must also feed our insides and keep ourselves in HIS WORD. Thanks Jo-Lynne.

  15. I think you’ve convinced me to get the bra fitting – I never thought it was necessary, but so many examples I’ve seen lately where it has made a big difference. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Thank You for the great refresher. At age 57 I think ALL of your tips are relevant and not drastic or expensive.

  17. This was an excellent Post Jo-Lynne! Another suggestion I would add is to make regular appointments for eye, dental and other medical concerns. I have arthritis in my knees and recently due to some major projects, I really aggravated my left knee to the point I could not walk without limping, the pain was almost unbearable. I hobbled around for weeks and felt so old. No matter how cute of outfit I put on I felt unattractive and well, frumpy. I finally saw my doctor who gave me a Cortisone shot to bring down the inflammation and by the next morning I was walking like a spring chick again! When we don’t feel good or are in pain, it shows on our face, our posture and our overall body appearance suffers. So many ailments can be made better if we would take the time to seek medical or professional assistance. We women tend to take care of everyone else first but suffer through our own issues unnecessarily.

  18. Always great things to keep in mind! Enjoy your beach week! We have been renting beach homes for years. Headed down to our favorite spot in FL, Marco Island, for the week where we are staying in a home we’ve rented twice before. It’s great with our family of 5 and my son’s girlfriend is joining us too! It’s a big 5 bedroom house so we can all spread out and enjoy the pool and hot tub and short distance to the beach! It’s perfect! I’m sure you’ll love your time at the beach!!

  19. Great tips, Jo-Lynne. It is so easy to let ourselves get comfy and all of a sudden that translates to frumpy! I’m better than I used to be. Another tip I would add is – Stand up straight. I know it sounds funny, but when i look at my pictures for the blog, the ones where I look best are the ones where I am making a conscious effort to stand a little straighter. Thanks for the tips! Sorry I am so far behind in my comments. Life! – Amy

    1. That is so true. I have always had trouble with my posture, and my mom told me my whole life to stand up straight. I think it’s a self confidence thing, and it’s become a bad habit. I always try to remember to stand up straight when we’re taking blog pictures.

  20. I look forward to your Friday posts. I am older than you, but I have actually copied some of your outfits exactly by ordering from your links and I feel much younger and much better about myself. Hopefully we won’t run into each other! Ha ha! Thank you so much for helping me stay out of the frump. My friends have commented that I always dress more modern than they do. Wish I could just get them to stop wearing gym shoes out to lunch and dinner. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close this search box.