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How to Not Feel Frumpy

6 Ways to Stop Feeling Frumpy and Start Feeling Like Yourself Again

“Frumpy” is often used to describe how someone looks.

But I think frumpy is a feeling that eventually manifests in how we present ourselves.

How to Not Feel Frumpy
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How to Not Feel Frumpy

Feeling frumpy happens to all of us.

Sometimes, it’s just a day; maybe it lasts a couple of weeks, or you can’t remember the last time you didn’t feel frumpy.

When I turned 40, I honestly stopped caring about what other people think.

So, if you ran into me at Target one day, and I happened to look like a bridge troll, I couldn’t care less.

But looking like a bridge troll too many days in a row affects my mental health … and it brings on the frump.

My outlook turned negative; I resented my body for changing on me, and I felt sad looking at my reflection in the mirror.

What happened to you?” played on a loop in my brain.

The next thing you know, my hair is in a dirty knot, and I’m wearing sweatpants. Because who cares?

How we present ourselves physically to the world directly correlates to how we feel inside.

And how we feel on the inside can be significantly impacted by external factors, like what we’re wearing, our hair, our skin, etc.

It’s why a fresh blowout or a manicure can feel fantastic or how a great outfit can improve your day.

I’ve talked about everything I do to keep me mentally and physically in shape.

Healthy routines, a good diet, exercise, blah blah blah, it’s all important, and it’s boring, and it takes buckets of self-discipline and a long time to see results.

Today, I’m sharing six simple, superficial things you can do that will almost immediately take the frumpy feeling away.

And it doesn’t involve sweating, losing weight, waking up at 4 am to meditate, or spending too much money.

Upgrade Your Underwear

Upgrade Your Underwear
Read: Every Undergarment You Will Ever Need

Your undergarments are the foundation of your outfit; the wrong ones can ruin an outfit. 

Underwear has three essential roles: to support, to add shape and structure, and to make you feel good.

And I have three specific things I want you to do so you can stop the frump:

Get Fitted for a New Bra

This is the number one game changer.

When you get the girls back in place, you change how your clothes look on you. You’ll bring back your waistline and feel fit.

I recommend getting measured by a professional at a small local boutique or a better department store. They will not only know how to do it properly, but they will also be able to help you find the best brand and style for your needs.

So, if you had a baby, breastfed, gained weight, lost weight, or are in perimenopause or out of menopause, consider getting a bra fitting. 

I did this last week, and my cup size changed since my last one. 

And replace your bras; they do a lot of work and wear out.

If you rotate between a few everyday bras, washing and wearing regularly, you’ll get about a year or so of life out of them.

You can see some of our favorite bras here.

Invest in Shapewear

When I talk about shapewear, people lose their minds.

So let’s be clear: I’m not talking about girdles. I want you to breathe, and if you live in Florida, we know it’s too hot.

But sometimes, shapewear designed to be slim and smooth makes all the difference in how your clothes fit when needed.

Ditch the Granny Panties

I’m all for comfort, ladies, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

No one is telling you to wear a string up your bum, but the ratty, tired, stretched-out elastic bottoms you’re putting on because “no one cares” is dragging you down.

Update with something new, and go full coverage; that’s fine!

We must remember that wearing something pretty isn’t reserved for younger women, so buy something that makes YOU feel good, sexy, and feminine.

Poor Fit and Cheap Details

Two factors in your clothes will make you feel frumpy – wearing things that are too big and outdated items, especially prints.

How to Not Feel Frumpy for women
Good fit, texture, and contrast build an easy but chic outfit.

Oversized Clothes

When we are self-conscious about a part of our body, we tend to cover it up.

Take our midsection. I’ve never met a woman who didn’t want to minimize it.

And since our instinct is to cover up, we wear long, oversized pieces.

But in reality, all that does is make us look bigger than we are; we change our shape, drag down our outfits, and make us look and feel frumpy.

Instead, opt for tailored pieces that fit well. They are timeless, are always appropriate, and have a longer lifespan in your closet.

You want your clothes to fit YOUR body and work for your proportions.

I know that’s easier said than done.

Figuring out your body type and learning to dress for it is a process, but start by swapping out one oversized piece for a better-fitting option and see how much better you feel.

Edit Out Bad Prints

You might not want to hear this: There are a lot of cheap, bad prints that make you look older than you are.

I’m not telling you to ditch all prints entirely.

They are an essential aspect of personal style.

Be discerning regarding the prints you keep and bring into your wardrobe.

You need to LOVE it; it should speak to you like a piece of art.

Don’t just buy a printed top because you need something to wear with jeans.

And think before you buy something cheap because the more inexpensive the item, the worse the print design tends to be.

Dress with the Intention

I have a girlfriend who wakes up and gets dressed every day, no matter the day, no matter what’s going on.

Before her kids are up, she’s dressed.

One day, she was in my kitchen. I looked like a hot mess, and she was wearing a skort and polo top, crisp sneakers, and a cute baseball hat.

Her life is just as chaotic as mine; she doesn’t have help, and she has a crazy job and busy kids.

This is what she does to keep it together. She wakes up and dresses with intention. And then she can go about her day.

So I started doing it, breaking my terrible habit of throwing on whatever until I had to get dressed for real.

And it absolutely changes how you feel.

To make it less overwhelming, lay out the outfit the night before, even if it’s just a simple sweatsuit.

Create an Everyday Jewelry Capsule

Everyday Jewelry Capsule
Read: How to Create a Capsule Jewelry Collection

You can take the most basic tee shirt and jeans outfit and immediately elevate it with accessories.

Make this easy by pulling together a jewelry capsule.

Start with what you have.

Collect your hoops, studs, delicate necklaces, etc, and put them on a tray you can see and quickly access.

Don’t be afraid to wear your better pieces every day; life is too short.

Then, over time, add to it. 

You can pick up inexpensive pieces from Amazon as you maybe wait to bring in more considered purchases.

You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.


A Collection of Skincare Products
Read: How to Skin Cycle

Skincare can be complicated and overwhelming.

So, this is a gentle reminder to get back on it if you have a routine you’ve fallen away from.

Results come from consistency, and I’ve seen the best results when I started Skin Cycle. 

If you are a soap and water girl and not really into skincare, add just a few things. 

Get a good moisturizer and use it morning and night; make sure you use an SPF daily.

Drink a TON of water.

And for an extra boost, add a glow serum to bring some life to your face.

I like the Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Serum but Glow Recipe.

Fake a Tan

Fake a Tan | How to Not Feel Frumpy

She’s happier with a tan.

This isn’t for everyone for obvious reasons, but when I feel extra blah, regardless of the time of year, I get a spray tan.

Oddly enough, I get excessive hate for saying this. I mentioned this once before and could not believe the emails I received berating me for even suggesting a spray tan.

So, before the hate mail comes in, a spray tan makes me feel alive and healthy.

I don’t want to embrace my natural skin tone because I look radioactive in the sun. A little sunless tan goes a long way in helping me feel pretty and vibrante. It doesn’t hurt anyone.

How is it different from wearing make-up or coloring your hair?

Anyway, if you feel better with one, go for it. All my pale-skinned friends agree it’s an instant mood booster.

There are so many options on the market today. For trips and big events, I have a lovely women who will come to my house and spray me. For local readers, Leslie at Namaste Tan gives the best spray tan I’ve EVER had.

If you want an at home DIY option, Loving Tan is my favorite.

And if you just want to give yourself a temporary glow, St. Tropez One Night Only is my go-to. It’s body make up rather than a self tanner, so it comes off when you get in the shower, but doesn’t transfer on your clothes.

Game-Changing Grooming

How to give yourself a salon manicure at home

Your nails and eyebrows are the small details that elevate your appearance, and you’ll feel like your best version of yourself.

You are worth the hour at the nail salon; while you’re there, have them shape your eyebrows.

Your eyebrows enhance your face shape; when cleaned up and well-groomed, you’ll look younger and more vibrant.

I swear but the eyebrow products from Anastasia. I like her eyebrow duo, and brow definer pencil.

And for a natural and hard-to-mess up look, try the Gimme Brow from Benefit.

And that’s how you start to stop feeling frumpy.

Little changes lead to big results.

Sometimes, a simple act, like getting dressed, painting your nails, or putting on your favorite lipstick, whatever it is, starts a ripple effect.

You feel better immediately, which might inspire you to do more.

One of the few good things about living in this time in history is that society isn’t expecting women to go out to pasturer in our 40s and 50s.

I’m 44 and feel more alive and confident than I did at 34 and 24. I want my outside to match my inside. I don’t want to live the second half of my life, that I worked so hard to get to, feeling like a frumpster.

The beauty of these next chapters in our lives, is that we’re not doing it for anyone but ourselves.

That’s self love, that’s self care.


Related Posts

 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Thursday 6th of July 2023

Love your posts Megan! They’re so well thought out and different. You really give me new things to think about. Really appreciate the work you put into it all. Thank you!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Thanks so much! As we get older and have less social occasions, it is so easy to get into frump mode. Great post!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Thanks, Tina!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

I relate to every part of this, including the spiral from pjs all day to bridge troll to frumpy. Thanks for the pick-me-up and reminders!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Such a slippery slope for me too!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Thank you for these wonderful suggestions. I am a full figure that lives in a very rural area. We don't have stores that measure for bras. I do alot of online ordering. I don't feel my current bras do me any favors. How do I know if I'm wearing the right kind, size, etc.? What do you suggest?

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Third Love is a fantastic brand and their website walks you through how to find your size and if you're in the wrong one easily :)


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Megan, Thank you for this post and reminder! I love all of your posts and information, but this one hit home for me today!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Thank you! I'm so glad it was helpful :)


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Megan - you have posted a lot of great things - but this has to be in the top 3 best!! thanks for the little kick in the behind AND viable suggestions to go with it!! 🥰

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Awww, this is really nice thanks!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

This is one of the best posts. So many reminders, especially dressing with intention daily, help me (and others) feel less frumpy and have a more positive self image! Thank you!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Great post. So many great suggestions. I saw an Oprah show years ago where she did makeovers of housewives and she said many of the same things- you don’t have to look frumpy just because you are a stay at home mom/retired/housewife! Don’t go to the grocery store looking like you just rolled out of bed! Don’t wear ovesized baggy sweats outside the house! That show stuck in my mind and I have always used it to motivate myself to take a glance in the mirror before I head out the door and make sure I look like I care about myself. Your post is another I can refer badk to for inspiration!


Thursday 6th of July 2023

Where are your earrings from? In the first photo? They’re fun looking for and very different.

Megan Kristel

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Hey Terri, here is the link to them in our Amazon store. Only $10!

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