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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.

Skincare

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.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

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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Debra

Friday 9th of February 2024

This is great! Have you ever done a post just about prints? I'd love some guidance on good vs bad prints.

Megan Kristel

Friday 9th of February 2024

Hey Debra, I'm thinking about doing one, just trying to figure out how to explain it without offending everyone ;)

Lorie

Friday 9th of February 2024

All great suggestions and I regularly practice most of them. One more recommendation would be to whiten your teeth periodically even if it's just using the OTC whitening strips. You'll smile more and it'll brighten up your whole face. You'll feel happier and more confident.

Megan Kristel

Friday 9th of February 2024

Yes!!! I do this once a week with the Lumineux Whitening strips and you're right, it makes a big difference.!

Ana

Thursday 8th of February 2024

Thank you for this post! I never comment but always read and this one just hits different, like a wake up call. Thank you Megan.

Lauren

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

GREAT article! Thank you for your real life support!!

MB

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Thank you! Great reminders. And I love that you mention we are doing this for OURSELVES ❤️

NATALIE K

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Thank you for such lovely content!!! Natalie

Jen

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

You seem to know the perfect time to post the perfect topic. I really appreciate your viewpoint, ideas, and tips. They are all great and since I’ve been following you, I’ve been feeling less frumpy and more vibrant at age 47. Thank you!

Kay

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Great article. Self-care means so much more than meditation or taking deep, relaxing breaths. There are so many ways to implement self-care into our everyday actions. Your article highlights this fact and provides easy ways to do so. Thank you for sharing!

Liz

Friday 4th of August 2023

Tara Royce, I’ve sent you a DM via Facebook about shoes x

Liz

Friday 4th of August 2023

Hi Megan, thanks SO much for your article, which was perfectly timed, as usual! I’ve been very fortunate to have been buying homewares for a partial home makeover these past few months and had really lost sight of myself. So have already ordered and received some nude Hanky Panky pants which are FAB, I’ve got a couple of different sizes of nude Wacoal bras coming in the post, I’ve edited out a not-great print dress and a faded long sleeved tee and upgraded them to ones which are more flattering and dare I say it… edgy?!! I’ve also been through my NYDJ jeans collection to see which ones actually fit and flatter, worked out I need more stretch and less cotton and have bought a couple of new pairs and I’ve taken a few pieces of jewellery to my local charity shop but gifted one of the pieces to a (much younger) girlfriend who was honestly thrilled! I’ve even started (yesterday) to be more organised and have started to skin cycle… I had the products but wasn’t using them in a structured way. You really are the best motivator… I’m doing it for me and feel so much better, having only read your article 2 days ago. You’re The Best x

Tara Royce

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Megan, thank you so much for this post, as it deeply speaks to me. I’m in a huge rut, since being diagnosed with dysautonomia and plantar fasciitis this last year, meaning I have to wear compression pants/legging/capris and arch support shoes (wide width on top of that!). I’m an elementary school teacher and as of late my daily outfits in this very hot NM summer are leggings, an oversized tunic and Birkenstocks or compression pantyhose with a dress and Birkenstocks. I would love if anyone had any recommendations/suggestions on what else I can wear or combinations that would work. Thank you!!

Mb

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Hi, Megan, I love this! Approx 2 years ago, I realized that when I went for my walk, I was frumpy: old-pathetic shoes that looked like I was bandaged, lol... etc. & THEN, I made a decision to look GREAT every day! WOW! Talk about feeling awesome! I also made sure I wore make-up everyday (not quite ready for eyebrows yet though; have never used brow pencil, blonde eyebrows, never plucked...) A friend gave me eyebrow stuff that I can try & I put it on one day... & then immediately wanted to wash it off... I hear you though... I LOVE your style & how u encourage us! Your site is awesome! I learn sooo much! Thank you, thank you! xo

Gaby

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Love this post! One thing though, yes, embrace the color of your skin. Radioactive = porcelain.

Megan Kristel

Sunday 9th of July 2023

I appreciate the comment, but I don't have porcelain skin, I have pasty, fair skin that shows every lump, vein and bruise I've ever had in my life. A subtle spray tan makes me feel confident and shows off the little tone I kill myself to have at the gym. So, respectfully, I'm not embracing it, just like I'm not embracing my gray hair, I'm covering them up at the salon. Let's let women do what they need to feel confident and happy without the low key shaming.

Julie W

Saturday 8th of July 2023

Loved and needed this posting! I often think of myself as frumpy (thought that was just a southern word!) and so appreciate your insight as well as guidance to move out of the "frumps" Thanks for all of your effort!

Tammy S

Saturday 8th of July 2023

Megan, I love seeing you posting more photos of you wearing these pieces. You look so polished and pulled together. More importantly you look confident!

This is a great article. You touched on some important tips and I think we all need to hear this to some degree. I just spent two days at a popular theme park with my our two teenagers and logged in almost 18k steps in hot, sunny weather. But I didn’t feel grumpy because I packed athleta skorts, drifit golf polo tops and cute sun hats with my lululemon belt bag dupe you recommended -all of these pieces were recommended or inspired by posts you have written over the last couple of years. These helped me feel put together (along with a travel sized can of spray deodorant and a small portable fan) as we waited in line or hiked the park.

The rest of my vacation uniform also came from your recommendations-thr linen drawstring shorts, girlfriend tee’s and either a white sneaker or a chic flat sandal. Thank you for what you do! I know you make sacrifices and have struggles and challenges but you are such a blessing to all of your readers!

Tracy

Saturday 8th of July 2023

Loved this article!! I had been feeling down just about how I looked and what clothes I wear and of course my hair!!! But after reading this I realized that I can get back on track and feel good again! I also definitely need new bras!!! Thanks so much!!!

Joanne

Saturday 8th of July 2023

Your information is so important to aging women. I am 70 and enjoy your "telling it like it is." Dressing with intention has helped to motivate me to wake up to enjoy my day earlier, and not stay in my jams until I decide to head out. Thank you!

Nikki Rubio

Friday 7th of July 2023

I recently started dressing with intention for my 5:30am dog walk. It’s simple: black sneakers/leggings and white T-shirt/cap or hoodie with matching cap. How I start the day impacts the rest of my day. Thanks for the tips and the reminder that we are all worth the tiny bit of effort that has a big pay off!

Jenn

Friday 7th of July 2023

Yep, summer break is halfway over and I desperately needed to be reminded to take care of myself BEFORE I go back and take care of 7th graders in the Fall. Thank you for this!

Arleen

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Well, if this wasn't just the most perfectly timed message! I have been decluttering my closet, FINALLY getting rid of everything that doesn't fit, and more importantly, items I don't love. Starting to think all I'll have left are scrubs for Mon-Fri. Thank you for the encouragement and direction!

Stephanie

Thursday 6th of July 2023

I love your daily bits of inspiration, but today's post is really great! I so relate to the comment regarding prints. Find myself looking critically at some past choices and realizing they are not helping me present myself in the best light. This is especially true when I purchase online. More recently I've been choosing basics in solid colors, and only purchasing prints that I really love!

Thanks again.

Averilfenton

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Thank you so much! I really needed this. I’m going through a rough time and here I am mid afternoon, sitting in my PJs and noting that I really need to shave my legs. You gave me a real boost. I’m going to have a bath and do some self care. Please keep it coming.

Lisha

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Meg, thank you for these little pearls of fashion wisdom. The results are sure to bring about joy. ❤️

Pura

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Yes! I was taught all of these and they have served me well through out the years. But I was especially surprised (in a happy way) to see you address undergarments first. When we were young my mother taught us that undergarments could make or break our day. She insisted they could make us feel powerful and beautiful even if no one else could see them. And this has been my experience throughout life. She insisted that at least once a year we go through our undergarment and pajama drawers and discard anything that was torn, stained or in any other way damaged. I still do it today and it makes a world of difference in how my clothes fit and on how I feel. Thank you for a very helpful article.

Jane

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!

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