What does mumsy look like?

(500 Posts)
appletarts Fri 26-Apr-13 20:16:17

What do you think of when you think mumsy? I'm interested in opinions and pics if anyone finds something quintessentially mumsy. It's my fear, looking all mummy.

tigerdriverII Mexico Fri 26-Apr-13 20:23:21

Short hair, mousy and "easy" to wear. Baggy anything. Fleeces. Frosty pink lippy. Shapeless jeans that are nice and comfy. Anything that is "comfy". Shoes that look like Cornish pasties. The hair is the worst though.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 20:23:57

IMO it's mainly ill fitting in dreary colours or sipid florals. Pastels in odd lengths. Blousy and twee are excellent mumsy phrases too. If any of those three spring to mind climb in a boat, row to sea as its easier to swim back than change without gok Wans help!

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 20:26:49

Oh god the hair..... My way it's pony tails, low slung.

How do I know all this? I'm looking in the freakin mirror!

I used to have style, but then I had time and money then too.... ;)

tigerdriverII Mexico Fri 26-Apr-13 20:28:39

Oh yes, of course: pastels, weak florals and patterns, especially if the fabric isn't very nice. Sparkly bits in inappropriate places: very ageing.

pizzaqueen Fri 26-Apr-13 20:31:39

I think there are a few different kinds of mumsy. But the first thing that comes to my head is high waisted jeans and plain bobbly knits and ill fitting tops. Dressed for comfort rather than style.

cocolepew United States Fri 26-Apr-13 20:32:24

Hair in a short bob that doesn't move, shapless jeans, trousers/jeans too short, boots with a little heel, fleeces, metallic shoes, polo shirts with the collar turned up.

500internalerror Fri 26-Apr-13 20:34:56

Jeans worn with regatta jackets because its so practical.

larahusky Fri 26-Apr-13 20:35:05

I think skinny jeans tucked into boring long boots, jacket that is sensible and waterproof, hair badly home dyed (as in bad colour choice) to cover the grey.

chattychattyboomba Fri 26-Apr-13 20:37:08

I kind of try to look mumsy sometimes... Hopefully in a good way. I'm paranoid about looking like a skanky overdressed mum so I have toned down a lot...i am fairly young (27) and most 'mums' i know are in their late 40's so i want to fit in but still look nice and a bit more conservative than the 20something style...
I don't know really what mumsy looks like but maybe just sloppy... Velour Track suit? Leggings that are see-through (as though you haven't looked in the mirror after getting dressed) messy hair... Home died blonde with black routes? Or frizzy mousy hair in one of those claw clips or a scrunchy grin

larahusky Fri 26-Apr-13 20:37:41

Mind you, most mothers at our school are pretty gorgeous. The most mumsy thing is the ones in running gear about to race off into the distance after the drop off!

thebeastandbeauty Fri 26-Apr-13 20:37:58

A bob that has no movement, especially one with a fringe.

Bootcut jeans and black boots with heels.


Fishandjam Fri 26-Apr-13 20:39:34

Is it really about short hair though? I have short hair because I look mumsy with long hair!

ankle skimming bootcut jeans is about as mumsy it gets round here. Most of the mums I see are dressed to the nines at 7 in the morning. I don't know how they have time to look so perfectly made up and dressed so early hmm

Hopefully Fri 26-Apr-13 20:42:46

Shapeless clothes
Tatty/boring boring shoes
Lots of black/beige/denim and no colour
No accessories
Visible lack of care/effort (as opposed to low maintenance style)

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:23

Larahusky do your DC go to our school??

I think Mumsy is anorak....leggings and a tunic....a long bum covering cardy and a "nice" necklace.

Hair is always MID length...not too short and not too long...booooring.

MerylStrop Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:06

Mumsy isn't what you wear, it's how you wear it
IMO it isn't even necessarily unattractive or ill-fitting
It's more like a timidity in taste.

MrsWolowitz Fri 26-Apr-13 20:48:44

Unflattering hair. Possibly with a wispy fringe.

Bootcut, high-waisted jeans.

Black leather ankle boots with a little heel.

A top with a cheesy logo or a fleece and a sensible waterproof.

Sometimes I look terribly mumsy but I don't scrub up too bad so I don't mind. I am a mum after all! smile

ItsAllTLAsToMe Fri 26-Apr-13 20:50:21

I feel quite uncomfortable reading this thread sad.

It feels a bit like 'Yeah, let's slate Mums for looking like Mums' or 'Let's slate someone off for not having the same priorities / amount of money / amount of time as I have.'.

For every one of you that posts, I bet there are 6 or 7 lurkers that read the thread, think it describes them, then leave feeling a little bit worse about themselves.

I dress like a woman, not like the young girl that I used to be. When I think of the money that I used to spend on clothes, I feel very silly.

Hopefully Fri 26-Apr-13 20:50:32

Timidity in taste is a great way of describing it - not any kind of 'look' at all.

BinksToEnlightenment Fri 26-Apr-13 20:51:27

A fleece. Typically blue.

Shapeless stone wash jeans.

Plain comfortable shoes.

Hair that has no life in it.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 26-Apr-13 20:52:57

Oh fuck! sad

BinksToEnlightenment Fri 26-Apr-13 20:54:22

Oh and very little makeup. Not the natural look. The didn't have time to put makeup on look.

I'm not judging them! I don't think bad of them for it. The thread is asking for a summary of a common look.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 20:56:53

This will not end well.

But I think its pretty hard to give real examples, coco said eg metallic shoes well I love metallic shoes and don't think I look particularly mumsy. Someone else said mid-length hair - well that could be Alexa Chung hair - not mumsy in my opinion.

But anyway I think its perhaps better to give ideas for what looks good rather than listing things that we consider mumsy [gets off soapbox]

CeeceeBloomingdale Fri 26-Apr-13 21:09:34

You know the Next catalogue? That.

TooMuchRain Fri 26-Apr-13 21:10:06

I always think of White Stuff - you know, bright tunics that look a bit like pinafores - the kind of clothes that look a child's

ExRatty Fri 26-Apr-13 21:14:46

I like mumsy. It's a uniform.

There are different mum tribes

There is the frustrated Pony CLub commissioner type
loves puffa gilet
fitted jackets
little scarf
fitted trousers with either long boots or flats

There is sexy household slut academic exerciser mum
turns up in yoga gear
spinning gear
band t shirt
weird literary or music festival t shirt <holey>
pj bottoms that might also be from thailand or tibet
mix of the above

I don't think i'm mumsy mumsy
these days is biker boots or fly boots
next parka
high waisted tragic not your daughter jeans
low waisted and escaping muffin top
"naturally" home dyed hair (if natural hair colour was once hiawatha)
soon linen and birkenstocks with standard next top of the season
juicy tube lips with attached hair

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:16:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cocolepew United States Fri 26-Apr-13 21:18:51

Everyone has different styles, so its just your own personal opinion.
I wear jeans and Converse everyday, some people think that is a mumsy uniform obviously they are wrong

cocolepew United States Fri 26-Apr-13 21:19:57

That wasnt to anyone in particular btw.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:21:12

Coco - I wear pistols a lot. And according to many on here they're mum boots and worse than that - bloody expensive mum boots. shock wink

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:22:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:25:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:26:29

Gwynnie's frock with the sheer side panels wasn't mumsy but it may be a tad much on the school run.

Bunbaker Fri 26-Apr-13 21:27:35

Hear, hear ItsAllTLAsToMe

Most of the sneery remarks here have described me to a T. I can't wear high heels, they hurt my feet. I find skinny jeans uncomfortable and deeply unflattering. Low rise jeans are very uncomfortable as well, and, yes, I own a Regatta jacket because I don't like getting wet.

I am sat here in my Gap stripey top and Tommy Hilfiger bootcuts feeling depressed about my clothes.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:27:51

You see I think that Miranda/boden'esque/whitestuff'esque style can look nice. Its not for me but still . . . I guess in some ways I look back at pictures of my granny in her smart summer dresses and god it looked a whole lot easier. You had a few nice frocks and you were sorted.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:28:49

Bunbaker - just call it a breton and your jeans skinny bootcuts and there you go - chic rather than mumsy.

Takver Fri 26-Apr-13 21:28:58

"There is sexy household slut academic exerciser mum
turns up in yoga gear
spinning gear
band t shirt
weird literary or music festival t shirt <holey>
pj bottoms that might also be from thailand or tibet
mix of the above"

Now I am PMSL picturing pickup time at ExRattyMinor school grin

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:29:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:29:42

And its far more stylish in my opinion to wear clothes that suit you/flatter you and that you are comfortable in than to struggle in styles that do you no favours.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:30:36

I can't do white stuff because I don't do tunics and I can't get past the button necklaces - I think I have an actual phobia of them.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 21:30:50

Itsall this is friendly. Honest. Plainly reading this far we all have our mumsy days, our cant be fecked days, our shite I need help days, but thus far there's a quiet proudness there in the background.

I hope a lurker sees that too, along with picturing the fleecy bad haired high jeans wearer!

Awks Fri 26-Apr-13 21:34:07

Gawd who has the vapours if someone doesn't like their clothes? Blardy hell. Mumsy to me is Bon Marche, maxi dresses, linen loose trousers with drawstring waists and those scarves that have necklacey bits attached.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 21:34:21

I've also had great sex when wearing a white stuff dress so I'm biased on that one.

Was in padstien (padstow) though... Does that still count?

cocolepew United States Fri 26-Apr-13 21:34:40

See, I think I'm not mumsy because I slap a full face of make up on and have swishy hair. Therefore it doesn't matter what I wear
I admit I'm probably completely deluded.

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:34:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hermioneweasley Fri 26-Apr-13 21:38:05

I have been described to a T! It doesn't seem to matter what I do - I can make anything look mumsy. It's my superpower.

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 26-Apr-13 21:40:28

Hermione - I have a tendency to look very newsreader if I'm not careful. Bit too much volume in the blowdry and I'm in dangerous territory and don't let me go near a boucle jacket.

Awks Fri 26-Apr-13 21:44:08

I get your newsreadery unfortunate-ness. I'm the air hostess circa 1980.

cocolepew United States Fri 26-Apr-13 21:44:26

grin at hermione and MCB.

JoyceDivision Fri 26-Apr-13 21:50:36

I am growing out my short hair. It looks like Boris Johnsons, but brown.

I live in Birkenstocks. When its cold I live in converse.

I like breton tops.

I don't make major effort with my appearance.

Sometime I wear a bodywarmer.

I might look mumsy, but I suspect not, because I look like a bouncer, esp as I live in big shades to ward off thecrows feet round my eyes grin

Plus, I'd rather not give a tos,s than try to keep up with some clique or adhere to some I'm trying to look cool but look like I'm not trying hard weird double standard thing?

Fishandjam Fri 26-Apr-13 21:58:20

I've always worked on the basis that pretty much no matter what I wear, Docs will save me from mumsiness. Am I wrong? confused

CorrieDale Sat 27-Apr-13 07:33:57

I'm stuck with boot cuts because skinnies look terrible on me and I didn't lose 3 stone just to look as if my legs are short and fat. Which they are but I don't need to show the world that! The bootcuts are a good long length though so do I pass?

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 27-Apr-13 07:42:49

Anything from Per Una especially midi panelled skirts.

FrugalFashionista Sat 27-Apr-13 07:53:41

Corrie and Bunbaker whatever works best for your shape always looks best! I've seen a bootcut mini-revival (worn long over heeled boots) this spring where I live. Skinnies are starting to looking dated, they aren't exactly a new idea...

But I cannot understand these 'mumsy' threads. Most of us here have children and most of us have had to adapt our lifestyle and fashion choices somewhat because we have families. If the right choice for someone is comfort-oriented clothes, pastels and a bit of glitter, what is wrong with that?

FrugalFashionista Sat 27-Apr-13 07:57:05

Btw the fashion people around here have rediscovered midi skirts. This season the classic frumpy look (mid length skirts and modest mid heel shoes) is very fashionable wink

elfycat Sat 27-Apr-13 08:00:03

Isn't mumsy a state of mind? the one where you look knackered, dark circles round your eyes and you'd kill for half a day with nothing else to do but sleep

I was feeling mumsy in long skirts and white blouses, left over from office work before having the DDs. It's about a rut, whatever you wear.

noddyholder Sat 27-Apr-13 08:03:08

Hair 'styles' that don't move. Patterned maxi dresses. Sensible coats and boots. Tunics with leggings. Too muh matchy stuff. Anything rock ad roll,if you aren't eg studs biker jackets PVC jeggings. Too many accessories esp scarves and beads

happyfreeconfused Sat 27-Apr-13 08:09:47

Mumsy is also about your shape. I am slim but I am sure my waist is getting thicker and my hips are bigger, making my legs look shorter - overall look equals dumpy. I have to be really careful what I wear now. The wrong length skirt and I age about 15 years.

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 08:18:58

What do fashionistas wear when the weather is inclement if they aren't allowed to wear practical clothes? Do they just get wet/cold/sore feet?

I love my maxi dresses and will continue to wear them.
Stick tongue out grin

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 08:28:22

Well yesterday I wore narrow jeans (not quite skinny - don't have skinny enough legs), metallic ballet pumps, a linen, a linen tunic and a very elderly military cut fitted jacket. I didn't feel mumsy.

The jeans were Per Una (and last weekend I tried on 17 pair of jeans, some of which were priced at £170 and the Per Una ones were the best fit and the most comfy), the tunic Next, the shoes Clarks and the jacket was John Lewis own, circa 2004. I don't know what label attaches to me really, but I felt dressed comfortably and in things that flattered me.

That might be it actually, mumsy might be wearing things that don't flatter and starting to look as you don't care but I don't think there are "mumsy looks" per se.

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 08:30:56

The narrow straight jeans from Per Una are the best thing they have done for years. Beware that that do shrink a little though. I thought I had put on some weight, but the length has shrunk as well.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 08:38:04


Fuckitthatlldo Sat 27-Apr-13 08:40:32

Boot cut jeans a fraction too short, worn with low heeled black ankle boots and a fleece.

Or in the summer, shapeless wide legged linen trousers from M+S with an equally shapeless white shirt/blouse thing and a 'statement' (read plastic) necklace.

Short, practical haircut or - alternatively - long, unstyled hair that could do with being cut into a proper style, pulled back into a pony tail. Dingy looking skin. Little to no make-up.

These women are ten a penny where I live and personally it makes me want to weep. Because every woman can look good with a bit of effort and imagination. All women have something beautiful about them. All of us have good points we can emphasise.

But hey, I get it that some people care a lot less than others. And I'm sure that many of these women are perfectly content with themselves and their lives and would just rather spend the time they could be using to style their hair and put some thought into their clothes and make-up, doing something else. Fair enough.

GenghisCanDoHisOwnWashing Sat 27-Apr-13 08:55:32

ItsAllTLAsToMe - I'm with you, how can this make anyone feel good about themselves? I have my hair in a bob because it's really fine and looks crap long. Nothing I can do about it, this style suits me best. According to mnet that makes me mumsy.
I don't however wear fleeces (unless out for a proper muddy/wellies etc) walk.
I do wear bootleg jeans because I have fat legs so they look best.
No pastels, florals (well maybe one) or sparkles.
I do, however have a regatta jacket for when it's raining on the school run (would not be worn on an evening out).

I couldn't give a crap what people wear, I have one really glamourous friend and one who only wears sweatshirts, jeans and trainers. I have button necklace wearing white-stuff friends and primarni friends. I don't class any of them as mumsy, they are just women wearing what they like <righteous hat on>

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 27-Apr-13 09:01:44

In my opinion you just can't say pastels/florals etc are mumsy - that's madness. Its also a bit sad that mumsy is an insult really - seems we're either mutton or mumsy.

But button necklaces - why? I just don't get them - for me its not that they're mumsy they're just odd.

FrugalFashionista Sat 27-Apr-13 09:04:25

Bunbaker parkas wink
If you look at fashion week winter shots taken outside you'll see a lot of people in wildly inappropriate clothes and taxi shoes. And then a couple of people (often Swedes and Russians) decked out in parkas, good wool coats and fur.

My advice for anyone living in a rainy/cold climate would be to spend your time and money on finding some great coats and boots - that's what you are going to wear most of the time. A parka can look very dowdy on a non-model body type so try to find a style that works for your shape.

hedgefund Sat 27-Apr-13 09:05:52

women in john lewis (especially in the white stuff dept) generally look mumsy

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 09:10:38

I think basically I am not the least bit interested in high fashion. I am 54 and would look ridiculous in a parka. (I am slim though grin)

FrugalFashionista Sat 27-Apr-13 09:26:58

Bunbaker I don't do parkas wink <would look like a lost hiker>
But a good winter coat is worth investing in - my best one is Dr Zhivago style princess-cut full length flared black, always get lots of compliments for it and have had it since the 1990s.

I think that the problem with fashion right now is that it's geared toward looks that look good on models but not necessarily real people. I've been reading fashion history and designers like Chanel and Balenciaga and Schiaparelli specialized in clothes that flattered their rich and middle aged customers. Chanel made cardigans and sweaters and jackets and suits that were men's sportswear adapted for women (her big innovation was jersey that adapted to body movements - really liberating after rigid corsets and elaborate hats). Cristobal Balenciaga came up with the sack dress that was really good for a more rotund body shape. Schiaparelli came up with hyper-emphasized shoulders - when shoulders were exaggerated, non-slim waists looked tiny.

Those couturiers designed clothes by pinning fabric on real bodies. Many clothes these days are 'two-dimensional', designed to look good on clothes hangers and online store displays and on people who have tall, lank, flat two-dimensional bodies. Real bodies, however, are usually extremely three-dimensional wink and the mismatch is a problem...

mewkins Sat 27-Apr-13 09:28:21

I think if this moved to the feminist section we may get some sensible responses along the lines of why must we invent lots of derogatory terms to label and judge women. 'Mumsy', frumpy etc. We aren't nearly as judgemental about men's appearances for goodness sake.

From reading numerous threads on here, we must all live in fear of turning into a stereotype so that other women will have ammunition to sneer. How lovely.
Oh yes, and we must all be French or we are nothing. I'll work on that.

hedgefund Sat 27-Apr-13 09:29:48

mn is very judgemental about mens appearances especially when they go topless in the summer and show off their tatts

appletarts Sat 27-Apr-13 09:49:18

For me it is about more than fashion, I started this thread because I dread being all mumsy and no me, it's about keeping my identity. But Here I am with a bob hairdo that doesn't move cos I'm growing out a crop which I thought looked edgy but actually just made me look mumsy. I try to remember what I wore before I was a mum but those things are out of date now so wearing what I once wore would make me look frumpy, read mumsy. I love the ironic 70's loafers worn with midlength skirts but that's not very ironic when you are actually beginning to look proper middle aged is it? All is not lost, I do still have my own sense of style and wouldn't be seen dead in pastels/florals/sparkles/gap sweater/anorak with maxi dress etc etc. I don't think this is a demeaning debate, I think S&B is all about just that surely? Meaning everyone over here is looking to make the most of their appearance most over here aren't looking to get frumpy. I thought this subject was implicit in most of the threads on S&B. See the models in white stuff don't look mumsy but put a knackered dumpy mum in it and hey presto! It's also the long old dilemma of what the sod do you wear once you're no longer in early twenties.

InNeedOfBrandy Sat 27-Apr-13 09:56:44

I had my long hair cut into a bob, it's being grown out now as I'm not old enough for short hair and it looks mumsy.

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 09:57:25

Frugal I have a beautiful winter coat and always get complimented when I wear it, but it isn't always practical. It is more a of a coat for best or going to work/church/out for the evening and it isn't waterproof or even showerproof. We get a lot of damp weather where we live and I don't want to spend most of my time in the car just because I want to look naice.

Also, it isn't as warm as my Cotton Traders duvet coat which I have needed to wear a lot this winter as it has been so cold and snowy. I needed it for waiting at the station in the snow because I couldn't get the car out and for walking to the shop in the snow to get supplies.

Takver Sat 27-Apr-13 10:04:53

Bunbaker, I hesitate to contribute always to S&B threads but my feeling is that you do better to think what you are actually going to wear, and find the best option for that, rather than having 'smart' clothes that never get warm.

So for me that is the best warm waterproof coat I could find for when I'm not at work (best as in I think it suits me best) as I walk/cycle everywhere.

Similarly, I usually wear workwear trousers (work in horticulture) so I put some effort into finding ones that I feel look smart as well as being comfortable.

Takver Sat 27-Apr-13 10:05:19

sorry, 'worn', not 'warm'

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:14:12

That is exactly what I do Takver. I feel the cold very easily and being warm is my top priority for winter clothes. Being stylish comes way down my list of priorities.

I used to watch Gok on TV and always used to think that the model looked lovely but I would feel cold in the clothes he suggested. One of my friends suggested we write to him and ask him to do a Pennine version of his show and dress women in clothes more suitable to our climate.

noddyholder Sat 27-Apr-13 10:16:33

I think size doesnt matter if your clothes fit. I am straight around the waist and if i put weight on everything looks frumpy.

JazzDalek Sat 27-Apr-13 10:19:03

I bought a black coat from Land's End this winter. It is 100% granny, but do you know what, I LOVE it and will love it forever for keeping ALL of the elements off me this winter. Gales, torrential rain, snow, sleet, hail - I zipped up that baby, pulled the hood and I was invulnerable grin

I'm "only" 34, but what can I tell you? I have no car, and practical clothing offering things like warmth and comfort have an almost mystical allure to me. Sloppy, chunky wool jumpers: catnip. Thick socks, legwarmers: can't resist.

When I buy clothes it goes like this:

1. Comfort
2. Fabric quality (no polyester, minimal nylon, no acrylic)
3. Appearance (suits figure, cut, colour to suit)
4. Cost

And then waaaaaay down the list, in tiny, inoffensive writing, an afterthought, really:

87. Fashion...?

As for hair, I have had bobs of various lengths over the years, as well as a very short crop in 2006. My hair just doesn't seem to do length very well sad - I would love long, luscious hair, but once mine gets past my shoulders I start getting breakage and it just looks limp and ratty. There's nothing wrong with a good bob, though I do agree there are bad bobs that can look ageing (have had one of those too, thanks Supercuts hmm )

cocolepew United States Sat 27-Apr-13 10:26:33

I agree about shape. I'm a stone overweight and it makes me feel short and dumpy.
I could dress to flatter my shape more, I look ok in tea dress over skinnies/leggings type of stuff. But it isn't practical for my work, jeans and Converse are. So I put on a stripey top and think I look like Jean Seberg. Then I look in a full length mirror and realise stripes are not my friend.

Samu2 Sat 27-Apr-13 10:48:46

I can only think of one person who looks mumsy and she wears clothes that I think ages her. Sensible cardigan and skirts that you would expect to see on someone in their 70's for example.

I have no particular style, I wear lots of different type of things. Today I have red skinny jeans on with Wonder Woman Cons which a lot of people would think looks too young on a 31 year old. I wear what I like and what looks good and my style changes from day to day.

santamarianovella Sat 27-Apr-13 11:58:12

mrsC you are right,this might not end well.
there is a "mum" look ,but its not just bad haircuts and frumpy clothes,its more of an attitude.it seems that some women stop trying to look nice once kids come along.i keep reading things like "will this suit me now that im a mum " or "do i need to cut my hair now that im a mum" why would i wanna do that?why would anyone want to adapt something that is not who they really are?

changeforthebetter Sat 27-Apr-13 13:53:44

Passes ItsAllTLAtome large wine smile

Takver Sat 27-Apr-13 17:17:44

Now to me, fashion isn't important, but it is nice to have something that you think 'yes, I look good in that'.

So recently on the train, I saw an older gentleman (70s maybe), wearing those kind of tweedy trousers & jacket that are almost a uniform for lots of men in that age group. But his jacket was nicely cut, and he had a rather natty wool waistcoat in a very fine mustard colour underneath it, and he definitely looked just that bit smarter than the people around. (Actually, he probably wanted the waistcoat because it was a very nippy March day, but he looked good too.)

Takver Sat 27-Apr-13 17:19:46

I agree that 'mumsy' isn't a helpful description, really it says 'bags under eyes and a faint smell of baby-sick'

But actually, I'd say that men are much worse for failing to make that little bit of effort that would make a bit difference. (Its something I like about DH, that he will take the time to look for a nice shirt, not just any old shirt.)

freerangeeggs Sat 27-Apr-13 17:27:03

Mom Jeans at Topshop!

Loveiswhereitfalls Sat 27-Apr-13 17:52:22

Mumsy is wearing clothes that dont flatter or fit you and not caring much.
Why Mumsy though ?hmm

happyyonisleepyyoni Sat 27-Apr-13 18:10:22

I'd say it means droopy skirts worn with unflattering blouse, cardigan/anorak and an earnest expression, very long unstylish hair in a plait or cut in a "practical" bob, no makeup...

Chandon Sat 27-Apr-13 18:28:58

I agree with, who was it?, upthread that a good coat and boots make a huge difference.

I have a long belted wool coat, And for really wet days a chic long belted mac.

Even if I wear it over leggings, some people will say " you always look so smart"

I am comfort driven, but just love a good coat!

Same with boots.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 18:34:39

Agrees. I have done the school run in a good coat and boots with a lovely silk scarf at the neck and my nightie or jim jams underneath

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 18:53:37

My school run days are over (smug). DD gets the bus to school now.

OnTheNingNangNong Sat 27-Apr-13 18:55:54

I'm mid 20's and judging by this thread I do have my mumsy moments.

I need my waterproof coat for walking up and down the hills as I don't drive and have to push a pram so I am normally seen in flat boots or shoes.

I also have mid length hair, but it is normally straightened, and my fringe is normally slightly wild tamed.

I do wear make up.

Fuck it, I have two young children, one of whom delights in covering me with all sorts of bodily excretions so I will look mumsy, I do try to make the effort though.

Spookey80 Sat 27-Apr-13 20:34:21

Mrs cb has it right as always. Giving the example of alexa Chung with what could be described as mumsy haircut, mousey brown, mid length. However she is far from mumsy, I think anyway.
It's totally about how you feel about yourself and carry yourself. I also have a waterproof coat for the school run, but I honestly wouldn't wear it with flat knee high boots, because I would feel mumsy. I would only wear it with my converse m&s this makes me feel less mumsy. Weird, but its kind of like that.

Emperorsnewclothesshow Sat 27-Apr-13 21:09:07

Fleeces, practical hair (short layered bob), comfy shoes (crocs), nothing else springs to mind... Anything can look good if styled properly surely?

Bunbaker Sat 27-Apr-13 23:41:50

I have never owned a pair of Converse. They are just expensive plimsolls after all. Are they waterproof?

wreckitralph Sun 28-Apr-13 01:44:59

So where do Mumsies buy their clothes? so I can avoid those shops like the plague

I don't think it's a specific item of clothing, or even a look, more a case of not doing yourself justice. Irritating that it is termed mumsy, because I see plenty of overweight childless teenagers doing the same - dressing to hide.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:08:46


A word used by some women to describe other women who "don't make the best of themselves"- usually this means "doesn't wear lipstick"

this is based on the assumption that women have a duty to "look their best" so as not to frighten the horses, and that physical appearance is the most important thing about them.

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 28-Apr-13 09:18:41

I don't particularly like the word - but I'm not a great fan of mutton either and often it seems women are accused of being one or the other.

Surely better to focus on looking elegant/cool/chic/whatever you're 'thing' is than not looking a certain way.

And you know this is S&B so we do tend to focus on physical appearance a bit but I don't think anyone thinks its the most important thing about someone.

Oh, I hate it when threads go this way - the implication that by giving a toss what you look like you're somehow letting down the sisterhood. Tripe.

As it goes, I don't care what anyone else does. You want to bathe in fake tan and have four foot blonde hair extensions? Knock yourself out. You want to smear your face in menstrual blood and shout 'I am woman, hear me roar'. Fine by me.

The OP asked for opinions because she is worried (rightly or wrongly) about looking mumsy. We have given them. Personally I feel 'making the best of oneself' is a good thing and counteracts low self-esteem, but that's only my opinion and if that's not your bag then good luck to you. I'm not interested in judging anyone.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:52:34

"Oh, I hate it when threads go this way - the implication that by giving a toss what you look like you're somehow letting down the sisterhood. Tripe."

Not as bad as the implication that if you dare to be seen out in a fleece, flat shoes or waterproof clothing that actually keeps you dry you have somehow stopped caring and are to be pitied or mocked or both!

Fuckitthatlldo Sun 28-Apr-13 09:55:34

I certainly don't think that physical appearance is the most important thing about myself or any other woman.

Nor do I think that women have a duty to look their best.

I have strong feminist values that I am proud of. But years spent living as a woman and working in a women only organisation have taught me that a woman's confidence and self esteem is boosted (not dependent on, but boosted) by the feeling that she looks good. In fact, little changes in appearance can often be one of the first indicators of improving mental health.

That's why it makes me want to weep when I see great swathes of women looking like they don't care, or that they want to hide and fade into the background.

It isn't healthy to have no interest whatsoever in our appearances, and it certainly doesn't make us 'better' feminists.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 28-Apr-13 09:55:48

I think more women use it to describe themselves actually, than other women. When I hear it I think about the awkwardness of transition. I was a bit mumsy when my DS was very small, and I was almost playing the role of a mother without really knowing what I was doing. I had props...

And then I felt mumsy when my children were older and I went back to work, and made that adjustment in identity.

As Mrs CB said, describing a single item as mumsy is daft, because actually, it's not about that. And it's not about lipstick either. These threads confuse me.


Am still at least 2 stone (28 pounds) overweight from hideous pregnancy. It's DD's 1st birthday next week. Limited selection of badly fitting clothes (I refuse to spend my limited funds on new ones as I am losing the weight, so it would be a waste of money). Short hair, growing it out so I am in between styles - a bit scruffy. Hair colour is at least decent, it goes a lovely golden colour in the sun. In winter it's mousy brown. No time to do makeup most days as DD likes to attack my makeup bag, & me, when I try so I've pretty much given up.

Depressing really, I used to love clothes & looking nice. I think it's ironic that I look like I've got everything from a charity shop (sometimes I have) whereas she always looks gorgeous. I put so much effort into her appearance & so little into mine these days.

Oh yes, and I always year flat shoes as we don't have a car, & I have to wear orthotic supports full time & they aren't compatible with heels...

I am so looking forward to getting back into my old clothes.

wreckitralph Sun 28-Apr-13 10:06:49

At my school the mums have LV or Hermes handbags (real ones) and their watches are worth more than my car. They spend fortunes on manis and pedis and facials. However, the most attractive woman I know at my school is English (how nice) and very, very attractive. She doesn't look like she wears any makeup, although I have seen a teeny bit of mascara on her. She wears clothes that cover up a bit because as she told me, she feels conscious about her big boobs. She has lovely natural blonde hair down to her shoulders, flawless skin and blue eyes. I've never seen her with nail varnish and I've seen her in the same clothes loads of times. What sets her apart from the rest is her natural physical beauty, the way she walks and holds herself and her mild, kind manner. If I could look like anyone in our school I'd pick her because even though her clothes may be a bit mumsy, she is in a class of her own.

cocolepew United States Sun 28-Apr-13 10:27:11

I wouldn't use the word mumsy but have used frumpy.
After having my first DD I was so frumpy it was unbelievable. I went from being punky/gothy to my gran in one fell swoop shock.

I agree on the good coat and boots in the winter, they hide a multitude of sins.

kerstina Sun 28-Apr-13 11:23:02

I think frumpy is very different to mumsy. We had frumpy girls at school. They did not want to follow the latest fashions in clothes,makeup hair.Seemed to just wear boring, unflattering clothes. I guess they just did not care about their appearance. A lot of us on here we love clothes(not fashion),makeup ect. That is why we visit this board after all.
Mumsy is a bit different just meaning not vey edgy,usually bit more mature. A bit bland. A bit boring.Not wearing colours and styles that suit them I have a lovely friend who just does not make the best of herself. I would love to give her a makeover but I know her well enough to realise she just is not that bothered.
Everyone is different. I absolutely do not judge people for looking mumsy as it is probably me who is at fault for being a bit vain grin
Wreck it Ralph your friend sounds stunning and would look good in anything I am sure but this thread is more about style than beauty.

noddyholder Sun 28-Apr-13 12:27:30

Its all about how you present yourself The same things can look cool and elegant on one person and frumpy on another. Kate moss wears black skinnies biker jacket heeled boots and looks cool. jane mcdonald doesn't.

wreckitralph Sun 28-Apr-13 12:32:17

I wouldn't actually say she is stunning, I'd say she was more wholesome looking. I think she is very beautiful, but I think my view is influenced by the way she carries herself - she is pure class [hmmm]

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 28-Apr-13 12:47:47

Recalls wearing skirts with patterns for a about five years (from when ds was 1 until dd was about three) because they hid the snot marks from when the darlings wipes their noses on me. blush. I always wore make-up and did my hair though grin

Startail Sun 28-Apr-13 12:54:49

Frills, bows, puff sleeves, bibs with pearl buttons, bubble hems, gathers.

All childish, twee, unnecessary detailing that makes dumpy, short bodied size 16's like me look even dumpier and rounder than we are.

Often in floral fabric which is a bit too pastel and looks tatty (whitestuff) or a bit too primary colour to look classy (M&S) or is plain horrid (Next)

Chandon Sun 28-Apr-13 16:12:10

Wreckitralph has a crush grin

Fishandjam Sun 28-Apr-13 22:22:06

Unfortunately, I think that for many women, having kids spells the end of a lot of disposable income to spend on clothing and/or time to tour the shops looking for decent stuff amongst the tat. I'd love to be head to toe in Saltwater but I can't afford it, so I have to settle for Joe Brown's or Fat Face (even though Fat Face has been shite these last couple of seasons, as it's one of the few shops in my nearest small town that I can get a buggy into). And nice expensive clothes are not well accessorized with snot and posset stains in any event.

Fishandjam Sun 28-Apr-13 22:29:31

Bloody hell, I take it back re Saltwater. Just had a dekko at their Spring collection and it's the very definition of mumsy. Their winter stuff was much nicer...

DisappointedHorse Sun 28-Apr-13 22:40:18

I have hair like this which meets a lot of people's mummy definition but I love it! I hate my hair long, it feels like it drags everything down and I feel witchy and old. Is it mumsy hair?

Style wise I wear skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, converse, little skirts with Chelsea boots, dresses, denim jackets, blazers, a variety really. I do love a scarf though!

I hate White Stuff and Fat Face as its just too fussy.

DisappointedHorse Sun 28-Apr-13 22:40:48


cocolepew United States Sun 28-Apr-13 22:52:30

No thats not mumsy hair, it moves grin

Plus mine is very similar so its v cool grin

cocolepew United States Sun 28-Apr-13 22:53:22

Sarah Miligans hair is what I imagine when I say a mumsy bob.

cocolepew United States Sun 28-Apr-13 22:53:48

And her clothes come to think of it hmm

fedupofnamechanging Mon 29-Apr-13 10:20:00

But Sarah Milican has hair which is very similar to some of Danii Minogue's styles - the difference is that DM is very beautiful and slim and dresses well and SM does not. But the hair is much of a much

Non fitted jeans, jumpers, mum boots or crocs, a specific haircut with a big wide headband.
YY to Sarah millican's hair!

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 11:47:14

Really?? I've ploughed through the various posts that tell me that should some of you lay eyes on me, I would make you weep with pity. But this? It isn't healthy to have no interest whatsoever in our appearances?

Since when did not paying the level of attention YOU deem 'healthy' equate to having NO interest in your appearance? I have some interest in my appearance, just not that much. I am not mentally unhealthy FFS.
That is a ridiculous statement anyway. Nuns and monks are unhealthy, then, right?

I'm in two minds how much more to engage with this debate because justifying my choices makes me sound like I'm somehow trying to argue for your approval, which I have no interest in doing. Rather, I'd like to try to get the point accross that I have other priorities that ACTIVELY HELP MY SELF ESTEEM A MILLION TIMES MORE THAN THE YEARS I SPENT WEARING MAKE UP AND PAYING ATTENTION TO FASHION, and you can stick your pity where the sun don't shine, thank you very much.

My life pretty much consists of:
Work (v conservative suity environment), walking to and from work in all weathers, hiking, swimming / yoga / cycling, Gardening, Lounging around at homl and travelling (activity based or hiking trips)

I hate wearing make up because my skin hates it, it damages my self esteem, I'd rather spend the time and money on something else eand I don't like not being able to touch my face. Jeans, comfy waterproof shoes and coats and warm easily washable tops and fleece suit my life and make me feel comfy and mean I can do whatever I want whenever I want without going 'oooh, no, I can't go for an unexpected muddy walk because I'm wearing stupid shoes because I wasn't expecting to do this when I got dressed this morning'. I wear skinny jeans in the winter because they tuck nicely into winter boots, and bootcut jeans / linen trousers in summer because they work best (I think!) with sandals or trainers.

I have a boring bob because I have awful awful hair and that's the only style that makes it look vaguely tolerable.

Now, some of you are saying that it's not the clothes per se, it's the attitude, the 'not making the most of yourself', that's the problem. But the thing is I genuinely don't give a f*ck about 'making the best of myself', which is entirely subjective anyway. All of you would probably have different ideas about what I would look best in anyway, based on your own tastes! I feel happy when I look in the mirror in my scruffs. I also feel happy when I look in the mirror when I've made an effort to go out for a special occasion, although I normally feel slightly uncomfortable and grumpy. What's important to me is making the most of my life, not my appearance, and how I dress is part of acheiving that.

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 11:50:27

Coco and DisappointedHorse, that Dannii bob is my favourite hair of all time! It's my hair too, though mines usually a bit wavier. Always makes me think of Pulp Fiction/Leon. Definitely looks better on my fine-ish hair than long and straggly.

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 11:56:21

Sarah Millican's bobs are usually a bit too layered and flicky.

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 12:01:45

woozle great post and I do agree without despite my last two posts being about hair smile The argument that "it's been proven that women feel better about themselves when they have nice clothes and a bit of lippy" is shite - the reason those things make women feel better is because society values them for their looks above most other things. Apply the same argument to men - that theyd feel better about themselves with a more fashionable haircut and they'd look at you like this: confused

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 12:04:45

To me, mumsy is just not dressing like someone who's very young. I see around my neighbourhood. All the young ones are in leggings with tops short enough to see at least half your bum. If you are dressed like that, then you aren't mumsy.

I think I dress my age, ie someone who could be a mum (or not a teenage mum).

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 12:06:03

*with you, not without

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 12:07:45

Actually and mini shorts too.

Really, I don't see what's wrong with looking a like a mum.

YoniOno Mon 29-Apr-13 12:14:37

I was at a toddler group this morning and was well dressed (obv wink )

Got chatting to a mum who was about 20, floral tunic with holey cardigan on top, baggy stonewash jeans and hair scraped back with a poor dye job.

I vaguely noticed what she was wearing but didn't judge, couldn't give a stuff really, got chatting as our toddlers were doing battle over something. Anyway she made several snarky comments about how she doesn't bother with nice clothes because what's the point when they get covered in snot/banana/whatever. I agreed, and tried to be empathetic or whatever - but it struck me that I was in a top from Ebay that cost me 99p plus postage and Primark jeans. She was judging me for making the effort, but I couldn't give a stuff if my outfit got covered in snot, that's what the washing machine's for.

No idea what my point is really, but I felt really awkward and guilty for having made the effort to look and feel nice today! confused fair enough if she couldn't be bothered, but I could and that's fine too.

JazzDalek Mon 29-Apr-13 12:24:14

You must have looked great YoniOno for her to notice and make jealous comments grin

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 12:27:04

Exactly Plathism, their self esteem is mainly fed by doing things they enjoy, find satisfying and fulfilling, or that they're good at.

(And I'm also capable of enjoying chit chat about hair. I'm not a complete freak.... grin)

YoniOno Mon 29-Apr-13 12:36:37

Jazz - I don't think I looked great, but I looked as though I'd made an effort iyswim and she was mocking that. I felt self conscious and a bit of a twat until I thought stuff it, I like getting dolled up! If I can't dress up for toddler groups, my SAHM life would lose a little joy.

It is interesting that you think she was jealous though (or are you mocking me for being bigheaded? confused ) she was much prettier than me, it was nothing to do with jealousy.

givemeaclue Mon 29-Apr-13 12:44:00

Fat face (the shop)
Body warmers
Ugg boots
No make up
Supermarket clothes
Really bad work clothes

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 12:47:08

I do get that this could be seen a as a tad bitchy...

but....are the so called "mumsy" women even hanging out in S&B?

why would they? they aint bothered, and fair enough! they are happily running in fields with their bobs not moving, and their mum jeans gathering mud. Live and let live I say

and, IF they are, well maybe they will get some helpful tips!

I am however tres amused by the Mom jeans images

LOL at saltwater too, yes.....quite.......

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 12:48:30
MrsMarigold Mon 29-Apr-13 12:49:07

I have really lovely clothes from before I had children but lots are dry-clean only which means they just aren't practical at the moment.

Also not sure if it's just me but good clothes from a few years ago are better quality than good clothes now. I went to sample sale last week and I can honestly say it is hard to tell the difference in quality between a Zara t-shirt and a DKNY or Splendid one. It isn't just t-shirts either...

I do get covered in baby snot/sick and food when I mentioned this to my DH he said I should wear my dressing gown over my clothes at home but I can't do that I'd feel really awful.

Also big rant here, but I'm so sick of wearing breastfeeding friendly clothes - they are frumpy but for now I have no alternative. hmm

MrsMarigold Mon 29-Apr-13 12:50:13

As for shops like Phase Eight and LK Bennet - totally mother of the bride.

givemeaclue Mon 29-Apr-13 12:53:20

Oh yes saltwater and white stuff are mumstastic

YoniTime Mon 29-Apr-13 12:54:58

What sort of non-mumsy shops for adult women (not polyester crap teen shops) exist then?

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 12:56:10

It's not a problem for us if a banker looks like a banker, a teacher like a teacher, an art student like an art student, a style blogger like a style blogger - so why on earth should anyone have a problem with a mother who looks like a mother?

I think looking 'mumsy' means that the woman has other priorities in life.
And honestly, what's wrong with that?

It's us that obsess over S&B minutiae that are the weirdo mutants

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 12:58:43

"so why on earth should anyone have a problem with a mother who looks like a mother?

I suspect, that many of the S&B devotees dont want to look like a "mumsy" mother?

what does a mother even look like?

badtasteyoni Mon 29-Apr-13 12:59:36

Mumhair is the worst one I think - not defined by a particular style, but more by thinking because you've just had a baby you need to have all your hair chopped of because you 'won't have to look after it as much' hmm. That usually results in this

juneau Mon 29-Apr-13 13:00:22

Oh dear, I'm definitely mumsy blush

No make up? Often, because I don't have time before I do the school run. Skinny jeans with long boots? Yes, sometimes, if that's what's lying by the back door when I run out. Hair shoved in ponytail? Yes, often. Fleece? On occasion -- because they're warm and comfy--.

I definitely need to up my game!

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 13:04:18

Ok definitely time for me to start to embrace my inner 'mumsiness'.

The assumption that wearing the denim du jour with the latest killer ankle boot and hair that takes a long time to style somehow makes me a better person really bothers me...

badtasteyoni Mon 29-Apr-13 13:06:14

So what do you do if ankle boots don't suit you? My ankles are sparrow-skinny (not in a good way so I'm not showing off grin). Ankle boots with skinny jeans just look daft on me. Is it better to look daft than mumsy? confused

Bunbaker Mon 29-Apr-13 13:06:21

"I do get covered in baby snot/sick and food when I mentioned this to my DH he said I should wear my dressing gown over my clothes at home but I can't do that I'd feel really awful."

Or you could get one of thos old fashioned pinnies grin

YoniTime Mon 29-Apr-13 13:06:33

By the way, I agree with others that there isn't wrong to look like a mum if you are a mum. However I'm a but interested in what a non-mumsy store/look for mums would be?

Also, is there a word for a man who has "let himself go" as he aged? Dadsy?

Kikithecat Mon 29-Apr-13 13:14:30

OK so bootcuts are out, ankle boots are out, high waists are out and now skinnies and long boots are out. Does that actually leave ANYTHING?

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 13:15:34

fromparistoberlin, yes, it could be seen as a tad bitchy. Probably because it is bitchy.

It also reminds of the sort of girl at school who'd snigger mockingly at anything and everything if she thought it might make her look that bit cooler, because even though she was so cool and pretty and fashionable she somehow never quite felt it, and laughing at all the people who were DEFINITELY less cool and pretty and fashionable than her made her feel better. hmm

'Live and let live' you say? Just sniggering while you're at it confused

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 13:23:11

of course I am not sniggering ! FFS I am well aware that there is a deeper world out there, with major shit going on! in the grand scheme of things, its not important

OP asked what looked mumsy, people replied. end of

juneau Mon 29-Apr-13 13:23:20

I think the reason so many of us are 'mumsy' is because we don't have the time and sometimes the money to be bang 'on trend' any more - and that's if we even care or want to be.

When I worked I used to browse shops during my lunch hour and go clothes shopping regularly. In the past three years I spent nine months pregnant and since then I've had precisely zero time to go browsing and trying stuff on. I managed one day last Sept to go shopping FFS! I do flick through fashion mags and I suppose I know what I SHOULD be wearing, but with DS2 only just starting nursery last month this is really the first time in a long time that I'll have the time to shop and be more focussed on how I look.

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 13:25:59

I think that some people dress mumsy mainly because they have had babies and mistakenly think they are "fat" and "old"
and that more on tend stuff will make them look silly
which I think is a bit of a shame

but I also agree time is a major factor

and some people dont give a fuck! fair enough

I only started dressing better again when DS2 was 1.5 years old, and mainly cos my job demanded it!! !

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 13:29:44

No, clearly your whole post was written in an entirely non-sniggery way. My mistake.

kerstina Mon 29-Apr-13 13:31:46

This thread seems to be hitting a raw nerve with some people sad
I don't feel mumsy but when I look down at my clothes I realise I probably am! Live in the same cardigan coat thing. Make no effort with hair just tie it back.
I ordered a dark denim biker style jacket yesterday(inspired by this thread) from Asos in a bid to look a bit edgier. It will probably look ridiculous but it was a bargain reduced to £18 from £50. I would link if knew how to do them!

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 13:36:16

i agree, I understand completely what OP meant, but judging by responses it has made some people feel like shit!

I was being sarky, but clearly landed like I am a bitch that sniggers at people that wear fleeces

hey ho sad

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 13:37:04

I'm going to get off this thread now, but I just want to say one thing.

The thread is not the problem, as I see it. YY, the OP asked a question and she's getting answers. Fair enough. Sadly, that's not 'end of'. There's a fair bit of pity, judgment and mocking. And it is entirely one-sided, all aimed at this perceived 'mumsiness'. No 'mumsy' people are mocking, judging or pitying those who 'make an effort'. I find that interesing, and sad.

MrsMarigold Mon 29-Apr-13 13:45:50

Great idea bunbaker - my mum actually gave me one pink gingham with hand sewn embroidery, I'll dig it out.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 13:54:17

These threads always cause offence. Which is why I'd personally see threads that focus on positive stuff so looking a certain way rather than not looking a certain way - hope that makes sense.

There is quite obviously nothing wrong in not wearing make up/not bothering about clothes etc etc but equally in S&B a lot of us are very interested in this stuff.

Generally S&B is a very positive section and I think its very sad if it ever makes anyone feel bad about themselves.

Samu2 Mon 29-Apr-13 13:55:27

Kate Middleton= Mumsy imo.

I love her, she is beautiful but I think she looks mumsy.

Tweet2tweet Mon 29-Apr-13 14:09:05

I am a mum and may look like one- what's the issue? I have friend going through IVF who would love to look 'mumsy'. Stop reinforcing the stereotype that women 'should' look a certain way.
Men are not described as looking 'dadsy', so why as women do we have to create belittling titles for other women.
Boot cut jeans= staple to style and being cosmopolitan in Europe
Fleece= practical and doesn't necessarily have to be out dated, some very high tech and well fitted fleeces out there
Ankle boots= so many different types to look fab
Hair= whatever an individual wants!

Women should wear what they want and forget about what everyone else thinks.

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 14:11:36

Exactly MrsCampbell, clothes, hair, makeup etc are something to be enjoyed, if you're interested in them!

I can see why people get offended by the term mumsy - it does imply that looking like a busy mum with no time or inclination to dress up is bad thing, which suggests that we don't have much respect for the role of mothering. Picture an old, male professor who is very unkempt and grizzly with wild white hair and beard - we have a lot of respect for that look, even though it's outside the norms of what's considered attractive, because we read the look as meaning the professor has much more important, respectable things to be getting on with than caring about his appearance. The mumsy look doesn't command the same respect.

Kate Middleton looks pretty gransy, more than mumsy. She is adorable, but needs a stylist to transport her to the xxi century.

I often look mumsy, btw. I don't care.

Catlike Mon 29-Apr-13 14:47:19

Going by the replies on this thread, there are two kinds of mumsy then. The fleece wearing, unflattering short haircutted 'don't give a shit what I look like' kind of mumsy and the 'does make an effort but clothes are hopelessly passé' kind.

From reading previous threads about "mumsiness", it does seen that any type of look that's adopted by many women who have kids ends up being derided as mumsy, even if it's actually flattering and arguably stylish.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 29-Apr-13 14:50:26

Agree with the poster who said 'anything bought in Next'. Passed through Next yesterday and you couldn't give away any of that shit to me for free. Awful.

Next is evil.

Will someone PLEASE explain to me why 'COMFORTABLE' shoes = the worst possible sartorial boo-boo? What the effing chuck do you lot think your feet are actually FOR? The alternative to 'comfortable' shoes can only possibly be shoes which are not comfortable and are therefore not fit for purpose!!. shock

Are you all carried everywhere on a litter by Nubian slaves? Or are you rich enought to be able to afford to drive wherever you go?

I have no intention of spending the rest of my life like some middle-aged Little Mermaid, unable to move 10 paces without feeling I'm walking on red hot knives.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 29-Apr-13 14:53:01

I think being a mum does not stop one wanting to look fuckable. Mummy's fleece and bootcut jean scenario is not even wankworthy. Married with kids but I still aim to look pretty attractive.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Mon 29-Apr-13 14:54:13

You can get comfortable, attrctive looking shoes though. Ballet flats for example.

There's comfortable shoes and comfortable shoes. I'd try to avoid the plainly ugly ones.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 14:58:01

I agree Kate Middleton looks mumsy. She always look so safe and old.

noddyholder Mon 29-Apr-13 14:58:20

property thats a terrible turn of phrase

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 29-Apr-13 15:00:02

Woozle your post comes across as very defensive. Notice I made it clear that women's self esteem was boosted by, rather than dependent on, looking good. That's true, whether you like it or not. The vast majority of women are not happy when they feel they look awful.

Not taking any interest in ones appearance is also a very well documented sign of mental ill health. It's not a ridiculous statement at all. Again it's true, whether you like it or not. I agree that there are questions of degree however. One persons taking an interest is anothers impossibly vain, fair enough. But it is often a symptom of low level depression when women stop making much of an effort with themselves - this is something I have noticed both personally and professionally. Stating that doesn't mean I think every woman wearing fleece is mentally unwell for goodness sake! You're putting two and two together and making five.

If you're happy with the way you are then good for you. But you don't present as being very happy with the way you are when you feel the need to come and shout at strangers online for expressing a view. If you don't care and are perfectly happy with the way you look, then why are you even in this section reading this thread? It's perfectly clear I've touched a nerve.

And actually Plathism, these exact same things hold true for men. They are not under the same societal pressure as women to be appealing, for sure, but they still feel better about themselves if they feel they look good, just like everyone else. The entire animal kingdom makes efforts to preen and look attractive to potential partners. Humans are no different.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 15:01:10

And catlike yes, I think you are so right about this:
From reading previous threads about "mumsiness", it does seen that any type of look that's adopted by many women who have kids ends up being derided as mumsy, even if it's actually flattering and arguably stylish.

Basically the whole premise is deriding people that look like a woman who have kids. It's basically the look of a normal mum (even those that makes an effort) vs the likes of Miranda Kerr. I've seen people deriding those mum style bloggers too. Honestly I thought many of them look great.

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 15:06:12

Fuckitthatlldo wink

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 15:09:31

Fuckit isn't the kind of 'not making an effort' that you're talking about, where it becomes a sign of mental illness, things like not cleaning yourself, wearing dirty/tattered clothes etc? Not going out in a fleece and mum boots. Woozles post came across as angry that women are judged for wearing comfortable, practical clothes, not defensive or unhappy with the way she looks. My two happiest, most carefree friends are the ones who permanently look like they're going on a hike and never wear make up. They don't give a toss about fashion or what other women think their clothes say about them, and they have never lacked male attention.

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 29-Apr-13 15:16:03

Well yes Plathism that would be the most extreme example. But again, it's a question of degree. For many women, simply not making an effort to style their hair or do their make-up or wear nice clothes can be a symptom of declining mental health. Particularly when they have previously enjoyed doing those things.

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 15:22:10

Does 'mumsy' actually mean that you have gathered enough life experience, self esteem and social status to become rather independent of the sociocultural norms that try to define your value solely throgh your consumer behaviors, status symbols, or various desirability attributes that are defined by men and other women, not you?

If yes - hell yes! Count me in! grin

Geckoandthemonkey Mon 29-Apr-13 15:31:47

Mumsy is having a hairstyle that doesn't suit you.
It's mutton dressed as lamb
It's tweed, Bon Marche/EWM type clothing
Too much make up or none at all
Court shoes & M&S
Ill fitting clothes
Kate Middleton is a bit mumsy but only as she has to took conservative
A lot of British women are mumsy imo
Sorry, but it's true.

What in your opinion is non-mumsy?

nappybaglady Mon 29-Apr-13 15:31:50

Love this thread. Am off work feeling poorly and you've brought me out of mumsnet retirement. Am wearing my new favourite fleece as old one was starting to have a few too many holes. Also wearing my new 'yoga pants'. I don't do yoga. They have 'special butt-control technology' which arguably says that I care about what they look like but actually I bought them because they fit. Almost all my other clothes are from white stuff. Even my work clothes. I save lives for a living. No-one seems to mind what I wear. Have my shoulder length layered hair up in a ponytail. Will shortly be putting on my approach shoes (fugly trainers) when I go out to get kids. No make-up today. Usually eyeliner and mascara (wipe-on wipe off, not Essex eyelashes)

my breathing isn't working well today but this thread has made me feel great about myself. If you see me I'm the one who is smiling - comfy feet, nice & warm, tissues in my pocket. I'm mumsy & I'm proud of it. I bet there are more mumsies on here than not. So weep away you smart or glamorous types. We'll just assume that your feet hurt or one of your false eyelashes is rubbing.

Peace and love and comfy shoes

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 29-Apr-13 15:32:42

No Frugal, it doesn't mean that wink

Although I'm now imagining a entire tribe of subversive mumsy radicals.

Storming parliament in their mom jeans and fleeces.

I like. grin

peace love and comfy shoes I love it grin

Honestly, I don't know why anyone cares if someone looks 'mumsy' I look like a bag lady most of the time but I like it. My sister despairs of me but it's what I like so I wear it. All the women in our school playground are dressed to the nines every single day and it looks uncomfortable to me, more so than wearing a fleece and yoga pants.

magso Mon 29-Apr-13 15:38:44

Hmm decribes me to a T!
So what do you do when you have thin fine mousy hair that falls out if you so much as look at hair dye, wide feet or bunions that can't cope with heels, and care for a impulsive messy escape-artist child (so need to be able to run /change quickly into wash and wear clothes/ sit on the floor/ rescue from trees/clear up etc)?

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 15:41:20

I dont think people on this thread care that other women might look mumsy

I just think they care that THEY dont look "mumsy"

lets not go into the psychological whys and wherefores as it could turn dark and nasty

and yet.....

I can see why the fleece wearers are affronted, as it can read like "fuck me , I DONT want to look like HER"


you cant be shallow and flippant on MN, not even in S&B!!!

Plathism Mon 29-Apr-13 15:46:22

That's why MN is so great IMO fromparis, you just can't get away with spouting cliches and propagating harmful stereotypes because someone will try and call you on it! Its def made me think before I spout anyway (most of the time...)

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 15:53:05

Your post come accross as very defensive. Yes, it probably does come accross as defensive. It was intended to defend my attitude to dressing from the judginess and pity I was reading. But I assume you mean defensive in a perjorative sensm which I can't really refute sensibly.

But you don't present as being very happy with the way you are when you feel the need to come and shout at strangers online for expressing a view

Disagreeing with judging women based on a perceived lack of effort to conform to a social norm which you subscribe to, and being angered by that attitude, especially when presented by grown women to other women in a sneery, pitying and mocking manner, is entirely different to shouting because one is unhappy with oneself. Plathism has already made this point very nicely thanks And anyway, it's not just a view, is it? It's a rather pernicious, and often cruelly expressed view.

You're the one who thinks that not style your hair, wearing make up or wearing 'nice clothes' is a sign of mental illness. I'd focus on psychoanalysing yourself rather than mem, if that's your bag.

If you don't care and are perfectly happy with the way you look, then why are you even in this section reading this thread

Simply? Because it was in Discussions of the Day for a while, and I clicked on it and got sucked in. (I'll ignore the subtext of that question implying that only the 'right' sort of people should be in here.)
Also, because of the internal dialogue which has brought me to where I am now, I find discussions of perceptions of female appearance very interesting. As indeed this one has proved to be. And also because it really really bothers me to see the peace of mind that I feel lucky to have being potentially eroded or diminished in others by some of the attitudes aired on this thread (although it only inspires me to stamp about crossly in my least flattering clothes).

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 15:57:30

Oh and Lapsed I'm still grin grin at your post. You know what'd like? Being carried by Nubian slives WHILE wearing comfy shoes, but there's probably a law about that...

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 15:58:42

I dont think people on this thread care that other women might look mumsy

That's really not the impression I got from the 'I see people like this and want to weep' posts hmm

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 15:59:26

<looking for my fleece>
Bra burning is so last century.
Flaunt your fleeces ladies grin

to me mumsy looks like, jeans, bit on the baggy side, bootcut, mum boots, mums hair do, mousey but grey coming through, cut into a sensible bob, scraggily eyebrows and genrally messy

Fluffy1234 Mon 29-Apr-13 16:03:26

Bob haircut
Tesco type jeans
Fleece or gillet
'chelsea' type boots.

As I said, I look mumsy most all the time. When we lived in England I lived in a beige parka from H&M 10 months out of 12, because I was cold and I also wore a wooly hat until well into May.
I don't feel particularly holier than thou for this.
If I could choose between looking mumsy in my h&M parka and looking glamorous like Alexa Chung, I'd choose the second grin

YoniTime Mon 29-Apr-13 16:20:07

We never got an answer to this, but I now gather that non-mumsy means wearing uncomfortable and impractical clothing, perhaps dressing trendy/like a teen, and most importantly styling your hair a lot.
Sounds a bit unappealing.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 16:26:26

If I could choose between looking mumsy in my h&M parka and looking glamorous like Alexa Chung, I'd choose the second

Looking at my mum tum, I don't think I have a chance to look like Alexa Chung. grin

Honestly ladies, look at yourself in the mirror. Do you have a body that looks Kate Moss, Miranda Kerr or Elle Macpherson? (They are all mums btw). Do you have a bit of a mum bum or a mum tum. Then sorry you are mumsy. Unless you look as good as these mums, then stop putting down other women just because we look like mums.

BTW, I'm quite proud I like comfy and practical clothes. I'm also proud I don't look as good as Alexa Chung grin.

I'm a little insulted that looking 'mumsy' is being looked on as a pre cursor to mental illness. Just because you don't wear make up, it doesn't mean you're depressed.

Actually, no, I don't have a mum tom or a mum bum.
I just feel the cold.

I don't consider myself particularly mumsy, yet I am dressed stylishly, warmly and am comfortably shod. I don't think these things are mutually exclusive!

In fact, I'd go as far as to say its never been easier to do fashion in comfort! I'm wearing a graphic sweatshirt (essentially the equivalent of a fleece), boyfriend jeans (essentially slightly baggy jeans) and New Balance trainers (well, just trainers).

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 16:36:58

Onelittlelady You are not alone!

AphraBehn Mon 29-Apr-13 16:45:01

Shit, today I tick almost of whiteandyellowiris's list shock.

Still I have been descaling the bathrooms, not going to waste a decent outfit on that.

AphraBehn Mon 29-Apr-13 16:47:17

I'm even wearing a waterfall cardigan. At least it's a nice colour.

FrugalFashionista Mon 29-Apr-13 16:49:29

My take home is that there are several parallel mumiverses

The Pragmatic
Bootcut+Fleece+Sneakers/Other climate-appropriate shoes+Short or bobbed hair

The Aspirational
Pistols /Converse/Ballet Flats + Skinnies + Breton or Zara Linen tee + BBH styled hair + MN scarf
They are in the know, you know wink

The Emmanuelle Alts
Ditto but substitute spiky heel and white jean

The Misfits
Everyone else

Did I miss any important MN subcultures? wink

Woozle, my slaves peel my grapes for me too!

And I wear men's shoes/boots whenever I can get away with it.

grin grin grin at the idea that not wearing make-up and dressing for comfort is a sign of mental illness and depression! Dear heavens above, come and have a look round my university campus. Have you ever seen how academics dress? Slobbiness would appear to be inversely proportionate to professional success and IQ. And as for comfy female professorial footwear, just don't go there - even I am shocked on occasion! shock

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 29-Apr-13 16:55:41

Oh for goodness sake. Nobody has said that not wearing make-up always equals depression.

Just that a lack of interest in ones physical appearance can sometimes be a symptom of depression. And that for some women - particularly if they previously enjoyed taking a lot of care over their looks - then not bothering anymore can be a symptom of declining mental health.

Both of those things are true. And not particularly radical statements either. Posters who are choosing to a) misconstrue what I'm saying, and b) get offended by it, are doing so due to their own issues.

By all means get upset if you want. But that's your stuff. It's got nothing to do with me.

racmun Mon 29-Apr-13 16:55:58

The posters that have said boot cut jeans and black leather ankle boots with a little heel have got me chuckling to myself.

In addition I would say a shapeless anorak coat combined with a very sensible across the body bag.

Mouse coloured hair- just long - no style and never seen a highlight in its life!!!!

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 16:58:22

Lapsed You've just reminded me of a lecturer I had at uni who lived in one of those beige waistcoats with loads of pockets that you wear in the desert.-- I kind of wanted one--

It's all a bit Catch 22 isn't it? If we're all mentally unwell, we're probably unable to tell than we're mentally unwell, and any argument will be taken as the futile whining of a hopeless case.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 17:00:11

Is Mary Beard mentally unwell? I think she's pretty cool.

isitsnowingyet Mon 29-Apr-13 17:04:27

OMG- I am depressed for sure. I'm wearing a beige fleece (I realise it's not attractive - but it's just sooo warm), boots, boot cut jeans and no accessories!

I always have the intention of dressing smartly, but then have to walk the dog in the muddy woods etc and a lot of smart clothes are cold

I'm guessing polo necks are not trendy and are also mumsy

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 17:07:23

Well I'm wearing a cardigan, a wollen dress, jeggings, and very comfy flats with socks. (I hate shoes with no socks). Bob haircut. I definitely look mumsy. (Looks into mirror and see no Alexa Chung).

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 29-Apr-13 17:10:37

Oh and I went to the gym today and saw a 20ish with a completely flat tummy. I remember I used to look like that. Now I have a slightly protruding stomach since DD. The stomach muscle is not like it used to be. Nothing feels more mumsy than that, isn't it?

Francagoestohollywood I'm jealous of your flat stomach blush.

Christ there are some snarky posts on this thread.

I don't think it's particularly nice to sneer at anyone, whether they wear a fleece or Pistols and a Breton.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:30:48

You see now those who aren't interested in clothes are doing the usual 'you're all vain and missing precious moments whilst you pile on the eyeliner you deluded fool'.

Why can't we all just focus on the positives - if you like clothes great - if you save lives - great and hey if you like clothes and save lives - well that's great too and not mutually exclusive judging by many female Dr's I know wink

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:32:08

And you know Next actually ahs some reasonable stuff in this season - its how you wear it smile

noddyholder Mon 29-Apr-13 17:33:08

I think this is just MN banter tbh I never talk about mumsiness apart from in reference to myself at times with my RL friends. I think we all know life is hard enough and someones scale on the mumsy o meter is meaningless in the big picture but MN is not the big picture it is like a magazine that goes in the recycling when you are finished with it.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:34:40

True but I bet we're only 2 posts away from Olivia coming on with her 'peace and love' wink

And now Ambers mentioned br***s

noddyholder Mon 29-Apr-13 17:38:05

We needthese

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 17:42:54

You see now those who aren't interested in clothes are doing the usual 'you're all vain and missing precious moments whilst you pile on the eyeliner you deluded fool'.

WTF? Please show me a post that even vaguely implies that! confused

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:47:35

Look back at nappybaglady's comments smile

I paraphrased somewhat wink

Well, my DS thinks I look nice and that I smell nice so I'm happy. If I look mumsy or bag lady or anything inbetween, I don't care. grin

woozlebear Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:51

OK. One.

Well, do as you would be done by and all that.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 17:50:55

And to clarify - I don't care if people are interested in clothes or not and I don't like the word 'mumsy' as its only ever used in a way that makes people feel rubbish.

But equally I don't like the implication that as Nappybaglady said:

If you see me I'm the one who is smiling - comfy feet, nice & warm, tissues in my pocket. I'm mumsy & I'm proud of it. I bet there are more mumsies on here than not. So weep away you smart or glamorous types. We'll just assume that your feet hurt or one of your false eyelashes is rubbing.

Its all just building into the rubbish situation where women judge each other as to who is the better person/mother based on silly stuff and its not helpful to anyone.

cocolepew United States Mon 29-Apr-13 18:23:38

I wish someone would link to the denim biker jacket <shallow>

I went for a walk woth the dog and family yesterday wearing straight leg joggers, my trainers, a fleece and a baseball cap, my hair scrapped back and no makeup. I felt fine with everything except the fleece.
I appear to be flecceist. But I used to think my mum looked nice in her fitted ones from M&S hmm.
I just don't like myself in one. Couldn't care less about anyone else.

Nothing wrong with a well fitted fleece though to be fair, I only wear them when camping or at a festival when it's freezing cold late on at night.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:08

I need a fleece - am going to Pembrokeshire in July - I will need sensible shoes and fleece and waterproofs.

Oh I can't wait.

I never leave the house without full slap, inc. eyeliner. I get my hair dyed at the hairdresser every 6 weeks as well. But honestly, that's my choice - I am 52, the world is not fair and it's definately not a level playing field for older middle-aged women when competing in the jobs market. I can pass for 10 years younger, but I know I shouldn't have to hmm.

Clothing is different though. You simply can't avoid the fact that a lot of snobbery about clothing and appearence is to do with money. Unless you are young enough to look good in Primark clothes, you need to be able to keep up with whatever is fashionable, and that requires a reasonable level of disposable income.

Look at all the sneers about my favourite the leggings and tunic look! This was fashionable a few years back. Not everyone can afford to change their wardrobe every year.

MrsCB, bloss pinned a really nice sweaty Betty fleece. May be worth a look.

I apologise for using th B word. Obviously I meant stripey top.

kerstina Mon 29-Apr-13 18:52:58

ASOS denim biker jacket in pigment wash. Can anyone link please. I just tried. I think its a bargain got 10% off too. Love to know your opinions!

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 18:58:07

Yes wash your mouth out Amber.

Off to look at fleece.

cocolepew United States Mon 29-Apr-13 19:01:09

Found it! Its very nice.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 19:08:55

Oh I love that fleece - will go and try on tomorrow. - thanks Amber and Bloss

OrangeMabel Mon 29-Apr-13 19:40:05

Amber how do you know you look stylish? It could just be wishful thinking and you actually look downright mumsy to someone else? Are baggy jeans stylish if they are called daft names like "boyfriend"?

dexter73 Mon 29-Apr-13 19:50:16

I don't think it really matters if someone else thinks you look mumsy. For a start how would you know? If you feel stylish and think that you look nice that is the important thing.

OrangeMabel Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:00

Oh it took me so long to type the above post, the discussion moved on!

Never mind, I always kill S&B threads - MNHQ should pay me for it ...

Sheila Mon 29-Apr-13 19:58:20

I think it must be rather blissful to not care what you look like - what freedom!

I suspect that the majority of women DO care, but that many don't have the budget/figure/skills to put a good look together.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 19:58:58

I agree Dexter - style is so subjective. God some days - I look at myself and wonder what the actual . . .

DH told me I looked like I was a cushion last week - I reckon mumsy is better than that.

Well I have a reasonably successful blog Mabel, so someone thinks I'm doing it right!

dexter73 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:14

Yes Mrs CB it is subjective. I really like what I am wearing today and it is very 'me'. However it is totally made up of items that have been mentioned on here as being mumsy. I don't think it is so that's all that matters to me!

YoniOno Mon 29-Apr-13 20:01:27

This discussion has moved on somewhat... but I just wanted to address woozle's comment that it's all one-sided sneering at people who dress mumsily. I wrote a little anecdote from my morning upthread where a mumsy mum at toddler group was sneering at me for being a bit dressed up - the implication is definitely 'oh I'm such a committed mother I don't make time for myself to put on makeup etc' rather than just 'you like wearing makeup, I don't - fine'. I didn't get dressed up for anyone else, just me cos I enjoy it - I feel a bit sad knowing people judge for it and think I'm ignoring DS whilst tarting up. It takes very little time - it's a little hobby and makes me feel like myself rather than a martyr.

And yy to looking stylish not being incompatible with comfort - stretchy skinnies, ballet flats and a cross body bag and I walked the two miles to the toddler group and back. With my spf50 on of course wink

People who self-identify as mumsy - do you internally sneer at women who are dressed fashionably and are wearing full makeup at baby type things?

Catlike Mon 29-Apr-13 20:17:52

Unless you are young enough to look good in Primark clothes, you need to be able to keep up with whatever is fashionable, and that requires a reasonable level of disposable income.

That is so true. Even if you're not slavishly following every trend, your wardrobe will inevitably look slightly passé if you don't update it fairly frequently and many of us just don't have the money to keep doing that every few months (or the figure to get away with the primark versions!).

And, as I said before, simply the fact of particular styles becoming popular with women who are mums is enough to render them tired and outdated because mothers are somehow seen as intrinsically frumpy. It's unfair but it's true.

This article by Jess Cartner-Morley sums that sneery attitude up quite well:
The trouble is, these days, every mum at every school gate in the western world is working that look, only with less-than-perfect jeans, the high-street version of her Antonio Berardi jacket and a growing-out bob.

There was a time, a year or so ago, when school-run chic was having a moment, but the shine has worn off.Thirtysomething mothers loved the fact that they were wearing the same clothes as off-duty models – but funnily enough, the off-duty models didn't feel the same way

santamarianovella Mon 29-Apr-13 20:20:45

thank you yoniono,thats what i wanted to say since the beginning of this thread,but was scared that i get misunderstood.
it seems that if you dont mind or care what you wear or look like and think of clothes as garments that cover your body and keep you warm along with great love for the outdoors then you are the perfect mum.

but god forbid if you look after yourself,and dress nicely and do hair and make up.cause that means wasting precious time. therefore it means that you are neglecting your home and kids.poor babies!
thats just very superficial and can only be described as an act of pure jealousy.

dexter73 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:20:49

I'm definitely working the off-duty model look!!! hmmwink

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 20:30:06

Well Dexter you is wicked cool so I'd expect nothing less.

miffybun73 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:30:12

Short hair, pale blue boot cut jeans that are a bit too short with black boots and baggy fleece. I'm guilty of some of these, but never the short hair. I'll be a mad old lady with long grey hair in a bun rather than short hair ;)

dexter73 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:30:49

Bat t-shirt and crocs!

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 20:39:44

Well, ce soir I am working several mumsy looks all at once:

- Mothercare feeding vest with no bra underneath (pregnancy clothes when not pregnant + lactating sagging tits = tick)
- Red Molotov slogan T shirt (deluded attempt to be amusing = tick)
- bootcut jeans from Fat Face (double tick, though lose points for their length being sufficient)
- purple waterfall cardigan (tick, with extra points cos I bought it at a garden centre)
- black ankle boots which look like Cornish pasties (tick)
- Craghoppers fleece, also bought from garden centre (double tick)

I am Ubermumsy, hear me roar!!

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 20:41:47

Oh yes, and my short hair is a bit all over the place after a day outside in the wind.

I'm too mumsy for this board <tra la>

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 20:42:08

grin at Fishandjam

Wait, how do boots look like Cornish pasties?!?!

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 20:48:02

Ooh, ooh, and the only makeup I wore was a bit of foundation and a bit of kohl pencil. Vaseline on lips.

So ner.

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 20:50:27

Like this onelittlelady.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 20:51:40

Oh you wore makeup fishandjam and just some kohl and vaseline is what all the celebs/alexa chungs say they wear. [removes mumsy sash forthwith]

I have just pinned a fleece and some clarks sandals - I am one step away from the Crew Clothing website

kerstina Mon 29-Apr-13 20:52:21

Amber is there a link to your blog please as I would like to follow it. Just clicked on your photo. I think you are beautiful and your wedding outfit is exquisite.

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 20:54:20

Yes Mrs. But the celebs are lying. And if you saw me, you'd know I really wasn't grin

The kohl has smudged on my greasy skin, making me look extra tired - does that help?

miffybun73 Mon 29-Apr-13 20:54:41

The ultimate Mum boot http://www.next.co.uk/x512384s3#762483x51

I had them when pregnant and frightened of slipping on the ice in anything with a heel. Mine were even worse though, virtually the same, but with weird cornish pasty effect stitching around the edges smile

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 20:59:30

I think OP is either a fashion zeitgeist, or a journo

why? Mum jeans were in The Evening Standard tonight!

what a coincidence!

OP, if you are not a journo I apologise, but u need to move into trend forecasting!

orangeandemons Mon 29-Apr-13 20:59:50

Mumsy hmm, not at all keen on that word....but all this chat about mums's, when a much worse crime imo is people who get dressed up for school run. They are the ones I think need help not the mumsy ones..

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 21:03:09

why orange, I am genuinely curious

LifeofPo Mon 29-Apr-13 21:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 29-Apr-13 21:15:38

Does anyone dress up for the school run? Don't we just dress for our lifes and that may include a school run.

I am a sahm and dress the same pretty much everyday. I like clothes and enjoy dressing up but its not just for the school run and I don't know anyone who foes that.

I need to start going to garden centres that sell clothes. At least I'll have something to do while my MIL witters about bedding plants. Also waterfall cardis can look awesome - the lovely hopefully rocks them!

kerstina aw, shucks. Will PM you a link - trust me, you'll be disillusioned, I don't look remotely elegant normally!

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 21:19:53

Hehe po. Hmpf, you can barely buy plants at our local garden centre, what with the EWM concession, the Hotter shoes concession, the Joules/Barbour/Weird Fish/Tayberry/Jack Mayfly rails, the books section, the toys section, the gift cards section, the vast tatsome ornaments section, the Yankee Candles concession, the stupidly expensive crockery and cookware section and the freezers full of raw croissants and summer fruit mixture.

Actually, slips into Ronnie Corbett mode I was there a year or so ago on the hunt for clematis trellis and peat-free compost. I was actually mid-gardening session so I was wearing wellies, a navy corporate freebie fleece, a navy wooly hat and paint-stained hiking trousers. A bloke came up to me and said "whereabouts are the hostas?" I'd already clocked them so was happy to direct him. But when someone else said to me "why don't you sell sodium chlorate any more?" the penny dropped. So the third person to beetle towards me was met with a firm "Sorry, but contrary to popular opinion, I don't actually work here."

FishandJam I have some of those boots in the purple and I love them, they are so comfy.

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 21:29:35

garden centre clothes are gransie , not mumsie

gransie is allowed, makes me think of my granny

Fishandjam Mon 29-Apr-13 21:35:10

onelittlelady, they are, aren't they! I wanted the teal ones but couldn't find my size anywhere online.

Samu2 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:18:52

Next isn't all bad, they do some good jeans and boots.

libertychick Mon 29-Apr-13 23:07:17

I think I am part-time mumsy - usually on a Saturday morning when I take DD to the park and wear trackies, a horrible old mantaray brown parka that is about 2 sizes too big and filthy old trainers - it's my 'jumping up and down in muddy puddles' outfit!! There are several local mums who only know me from there who quite possibly feel sorry for me!

Mon to Friday I am all smart and professional - on Sunday's I tick the skinnies, breton, blazer and converse box...I suspect many others on here have similar disconnected sartorial lives.

You know, I have never ever been to a garden centre. It never even occured to me that you could buy things other than for the garden there. I don't mind waterfall cardigans as a general rule, the only thing I dislike is that they are pushed at larger ladies like they are the only thing keeping them from being majorly unfashionable! I own one and its for lounging round the house in when it's cold

noviceoftheday Tue 30-Apr-13 06:09:30

Mumsy means to look dowdy, unfashionable and unstylish. To render entire brands or single items of clothing as mumsy just doesn't ring true because a good looking woman with the appropriate figure, hair, make up and accessories can make anything look good.

Similarly, the duchess of Cambridge may not be rocking it with the most fashion forward clothes but I wouldn't describe her look (overall) as dowdy. Eg there are a couple of floral numbers she's worn that would look a car crash on me, so to me florals are dowdy but they are currently v fashionable.

In rl there are two people who spring to mind when I think of the word mumsy, one is mother and the other isn't. One is my best friend, she doesn't share my obsession with all things S&B and nor does she have the disposable income to do so. I have loved her for 25 years, will love her for another 25 years and more because bottom line is I couldn't give a crap what she looks like. The other is a colleague. Equally I couldn't care less what she looks like but when she was looking for promotion a few years ago she suddenly invested in a few pieces that improved her overall look. It was the right thing to do as she suddenly looked more believable looking for a more senior role in the City.

I do think things are changing for men too. Certainly in the City, the 'Dad' look (male version of mumsy I guess) wouldn't fly and neither would the scruffy unkempt look. Men in my company have been told to tidy themselves up and I guess that wouldn't have happened 20 years ago.

Agree with this novice. My DH was told he needed to sharpen up a bit in order to look a bit older and have more gravitas. The net result of this is thousands going on a tailor which should be going on handbags angry

Bunbaker Tue 30-Apr-13 06:46:47

There is a universal hatred on MN for:

low heeled footwear, especially boots
Bootleg jeans
Waterfall cardigans
M & S
Trainers for anything other than the gym

I own a pair of boots that are high (for me) but would be considered low heeled by the fashion police, I own a pair of bootleg jeans, my favourite work trousers are from Next, my undies are from M & S and I wear trainers for walking. But, I don't own a waterfall cardigan because I never see them in a size 10.

The MN "uniform seems to be skinny jeans and Converse. Skinnies don't suit me and I don't like wearing plimsolls.

Someone upthread said that ballet flats are stylish and comfortable. They are not comfortable. They don't support my feet, are useless for doing any more walking than about the house or at work and give me claw toes from trying to keep them on. DD's podiatrist hates ballet flats and says they are really bad for the feet.

It's all about the low block heel at the moment. I can't bear those ridiculous stripper shoes people still insist on crippling themselves with. So naff.

Chandon Tue 30-Apr-13 07:36:36

Liberty, are there really mums who jump up and down in puddles?

Never felt the need to do that, sounds like too much laundry!

The mumsyness debate does nt bother me.

Compared to the fashion crowd I look mumsy, compared to others I look glam. It is all relative.

Sheila Tue 30-Apr-13 08:01:42

Surely the definition of mumsy is non-sexual. So you can look pretty but still mumsy, wear jeans and flats and not look mumsy. It's about projecting some kind of sexual allure - not what mums are stereotypically supposed to do, hence the MILF tag.

cocolepew United States Tue 30-Apr-13 08:09:01

I 've never got the Next haters, mine has some lovely tops in it all the time. Currently linen t shirts which I'm after. Zara etc is out of my price bracket.
I tried on their lift and slim jeans yesterday and they were fab.

Samu2 Tue 30-Apr-13 08:09:19

I don't understand the Next hate but people wearing trainers for anything other than working out is a pet peeve of mine too.

It was one of my deal breakers when single grin

It depends on the trainers.

booge Tue 30-Apr-13 08:29:35

9/10 people in skinny jeans look terrible. I work at a university and this equally applies to the young. Give me bootcut any day even if the fashion victims think they're mumsy.

fromparistoberlin Tue 30-Apr-13 08:40:05

there is a lovely girl in my office, she has no kids BTW

But she lives in bootcuts and mumboots!!!

now I understand my comnplex feelings about her, thanks S&B!!!!

FoundAChopinLizt Tue 30-Apr-13 08:42:04

It's probably already been said but is an unfashionable, functionally dressed man, 'dadsie'?'

I walk my dog straight after the school drop off most days. So I wear waterproof jacket, old jeans, muddy wellies, fleece and minimal makeup. I do get smarter as the day goes on, depending on what I'm doing.

Some people are more interested than others in what they look like, just as some people are more interested in cooking, art, celebrity gossip, sport or whatever.

I think a lack of interest in fashion is just that. Mumsy is such an unfortunate term for it.

UtterflyButterfly Tue 30-Apr-13 09:10:01

I think the way you wear something makes the difference too - when my DD saw me wearing a new purple cardigan, with a white t-shirt and straight legged dark jeans she advised me in no uncertain terms that 'that cardigan's all right when you wear it with jeans, but if you wore it with a flowery skirt it would be sooo grannyish'. Luckily I don't own a flowery skirt!

Dollylucy Tue 30-Apr-13 09:19:54

And this is why Style and Beauty stays hidden
ffs, really?

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 09:20:25

I think Next is mumsy because all their clothes are oversized and baggy. It's the opposite of the likes of Zara.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 09:22:50

I mean that's what I believe the hate crowd thinks. It's the opposite of being sexy and slim.

I'm very mumsy and only wear comfy shoes. I can't stand ballet pumps or heels.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 09:35:35

Bunbaker I was going to say exactly that about ballet flats. There's not a ballet flat in the world I could walk 2 miles in without being grumpy and a bit footsore. Skinnies are great for tucking in boots in winter, IMO, but v unflattering on most for summer wear, and can only really work with ballets, plimsolls (no support either) or flimsy strappy sandals that I would class as instrumens of torture.

The faux loathing of bootcuts is ridiculous. I bet there's not a person on here who 10 years ago owned any jeans OTHER than bootcuts. And I doubt any of them could give a better explanation for why they suddenly worship only at the altar of skinnies beside 'oh well, the fashion industry told me they were cool, innit'.

Next has gems like every single shop on the high street. You just need an eye.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 09:47:03

Fortunately the brief attempt to whip up a counter sympathy fest for the yummy mummies (based, rather oddly it seems, on one persions one-off RL experience more than anything on this thread) seems to have died the death.

But in answer to the question Yoni put to me. No, I don't internally sneer at Mums who've made an effort. That's one of the reasons why I find the sneeriness on the thread so particulatly repugnant. I might, on the odd occasion have an opinion about someone's priorities when they seem fairly extreme and self-damaging (my mother, for instance, spends a minimum of 3 hours a day putting on or removing makeup, yet also complains, on a daily basis, of a lack of time to do things she wants to do confused. I have an opinion about that. Mainly that it's batty).

Santa,your comment thats just very superficial and can only be described as an act of pure jealousy. Really, anyone less glam than you, who has any kind of opinion about your appearance, is solely motivated by the inevitable jealousy they feel for you? I'm not even sure what emoticon I want for that. Here, have a few confused shock hmm grin grin grin

KristinaM Tue 30-Apr-13 09:53:56

I cannot understand why people come onto S&B threads and announce " there is more to life than fashion you know"

Do they come onto the beekeepers threads and post " do you care more about bees than staving children in Africa? "

Or ask the gardeners " who cares about the best clematis for a south facing wall? I am happy and healthy and I have no climbers at all "

OrangeMabel Tue 30-Apr-13 09:57:25

If Kate Moss or Alexa Wotsit rocked up in a pair of bootcuts and shod in low heeled black ankle boots then the fashionistas would be down to M&S as quick as their ballet shoes could get them there ... mark my words.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 09:58:12

cannot understand why people come onto S&B threads and announce " there is more to life than fashion you know"

Yes, but it's not just any old S&B thread, is it? It's one where people with different priorities / tastes have been mocked and pitied. Why the effin almighty hell should they NOT come on and defend themselves? I wouldn't come on any random thread and state my point of view. That, as you say, would be annoying and silly.

KristinaM Tue 30-Apr-13 09:58:55

Ballet shoes are SO last season, dahling

OrangeMabel Tue 30-Apr-13 09:59:11

Kristina - this thread made Discussions of the Day; didn't realise you had to be a fashion obsessive to contribute to it. Surely all women are allowed an opinion?

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 09:59:28

Quite Kristina.

And woozle there is often sneering in S&B at those of us who like clothes I've been on here long enough to have seen many threads where people who like clothes are regarded as being shallow creatures who spend all their time putting on make up rather than playing with their children.

You see the same with regards to people who sneer at those who like a clean and tidy house.

But I don't think I was trying to create a sympathy fest. As I've said numerous times I don't like the term mumsy either.

KristinaM Tue 30-Apr-13 10:01:48

I agree that people with different taste should nt be mocked or pitied. Not should one assume what someones motives are for dressing in a particular style. Some people don't care about clothes the same as others don't care about gardening . Of bees. It doesn't make you a better or worse person

VioletGoesVintage Tue 30-Apr-13 10:04:07

Wow, have been dipping and out of this thread with great interest. As someone who used to model (catwalk) and then worked in a profession where the default outfit for women was a dark suit with a white/cream shirt, I've had my fill of wearing what I am supposed to wear.

Nowadays I work as neither and just please myself when it comes to clothes. Today, for instance, my outfit includes very long bootcuts and a long space dye waterfall-esque cardigan (the latter from Next). I think I look pretty good but I don't give two figs what other people think. I dress to suit my daily life and, yes, I suppose also some image of "me" that I have in my head. It's sad if some people feel they can't do the same without feeling judged by others for following the herd/not making enough effort/making too much effort etc.

wreckitralph Tue 30-Apr-13 10:04:32

I'd be interested to see how old some of the posters are that have strong opinions on what people are wearing at the school gates. Personally when I was in my 20's and early 30's I wouldn't leave the house without loads of makeup and a well thought out outfit. I wouldn't even go to 7/11 in the scruff. Now that I am older, personally I don't think I take 1/3 of the time and effort that I used to. However a friend did tell me today (when I mentioned this thread) that I certainly am not a bit mumsy (phew). At 43, I have other priorities at the school gate such as, is my child the best reader in the class, has anyone noticed that he goes to Kumon and is he gifted grin. I'm also more interested in having a flash house than a flash wardrobe.

Just interested to see if there is an age gap here.

Finally just want to leave you with something that my old mum use to say. It's rather scathing. It doesn't matter how many clothes you have or how fashionable you are and I wince as I type - you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:07:37

I'm 40 and don't care what anyone else wears. I care what I wear though.

I think the school run thing is way overstated on here - bloody Cod and her 'schoolrun dress' wink

I do notice when people look nice though and compliment them which probably makes me very strange.

Parisisalwaysagoodidea Tue 30-Apr-13 10:07:53

If Kate Moss or Alexa Wotsit rocked up in a pair of bootcuts and shod in low heeled black ankle boots then the fashionistas would be down to M&S as quick as their ballet shoes could get them there ... mark my words.


woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:08:59

And woozle there is often sneering in S&B at those of us who like clothes

I am???? confused.

I seriously think you're thinking of someone else. I've only ever been on a handful S&B threads, and I certainly haven't done that, either on this thread or any other. I'm really really confused as to why you would think (or say) that I do that.

badtasteyoni Tue 30-Apr-13 10:13:06

Wreckitralph I'm not much younger than you and although I can't say I have a 'thought through' outfit every day, I always 'do' my hair and make up before leaving the house - and I am just as interested in fashion as I ever was. I feel happier and more confident that way so it works for me.

And what's wrong with having a flash house and a flash wardrobe?

And I'm sure you could get your DS a little 'I go to Kumon' t-shirt if you looked hard enough...

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:13:11

Woozle - I didn't say you said that - I meant in general there is often this attitude on here.

Just as there is an attitude of moral judgement if someone spends more than £500 on a handbag.

I don't disagree with what you're saying at all - in fact I think we agree that using terms like mumsy just denigrates women and is a bad thing. And if you're interested in clothes well fab and if you're not - that's fine too.

God - I really need to go and remove dead mouse from lawn and cut it - no wonder I'm procrastinating on here wink

kerstina Tue 30-Apr-13 10:18:04

I am 44 and probably spend a lot more time and effort than I did in the past on clothes,makeup not so much hair as I like it natural and not too styled. I think if you were quite attractive when younger you are a bit reluctant to let go. But that is my personal theory and will probably get flamed! Also it has never been easier to look great with mums net and the internet. I just wish I had it years ago.
Also as i am not working full time I have the time to do it. I think clothes and make up are another form of art so why sneer at it. Hope I do not sound pretentious grin

kerstina Tue 30-Apr-13 10:18:55

Takes 5 mins to put make up on not 3 hours btw!

ClaraDeLaNoche Tue 30-Apr-13 10:19:12

Wrecjitralph- you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Anyone can l

cocolepew United States Tue 30-Apr-13 10:19:17

I'm not sneering at anyone, and I don't think anyone else is either.

Today I am wearing the dreaded linen trousers, I am wearing them with a low cut linen blouse with a white vest and Converse . I'm not mumsy, I'm scruffy smile

santamarianovella Tue 30-Apr-13 10:20:15

woozlebear,i wasnt talking about myself,but addressing the whole notion that women do get jealous of other women who take care of their appearances,its a fact,and not only that, somehow they get judged as being vain lousy mums.
i dont want to sound mean but if you have no interest in fashion or beauty then why are you here? i read some of your posts and you sound very defensive.
we are giving opinions there is no need to be this mean.

KristinaM Tue 30-Apr-13 10:20:25

MrsCB -I suggest you shoot the cat and get a gardener

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 10:22:01

And woozle there is often sneering in S&B at those of us who like clothes

Excellent misunderstanding based on lack of commas grin Sorry, that kind of thing amuses me.

FWIW, I'm 31, I'm not a mum yet, and I love clothes and shopping and make up. I just hate the term mumsy (like many others on this thread) and I REALLY hate the tone of some posts which suggests that women who are uninterested in their appearance are somehow not 'making the most of themselves' and that they OUGHT to care. That's the kind of thing that makes them feel shit about themselves, not the fact that they don't look fashionable or groomed.

ClaraDeLaNoche Tue 30-Apr-13 10:22:57

Ah! Lost all my musings. Basically I think that good S&B can make that silk purse.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:23:08


Nonetheless I don't think it's particularly relevant to counter the arguments on this thread from those who are rightfully indignant about the sneeriness on this thread directed at those perceived as 'mumsy', by saying 'oh well, there's often lots of reverse sneering.

There hasn't been on this thread. On this thread all the sneering and mocking has been aimed at the 'mumsy' types (apart from one spirited retort). Can't people just stop it and apologise rather than making all these rather ungracious counter-arguments? It's not nice to sneer at people, especially over things like this. And no, sneering in the other direction isn't nice either, but saying it sometimes happens doesn't make this any better, and it's got nothing to do with this thread.

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 10:23:42

And feck off with the 'why are you in S&B then' queries - it's the internet, everyone's here, this thread is huge and appears in Active convos and Discussions of the day, and has 'mumsy' in the title, which rightly pisses people off.

badtasteyoni Tue 30-Apr-13 10:24:57

I think sometimes people don't realise they've stumbled onto a S&B thread - if you're not interested in S&B then why come onto a thread on the subject to tell everyone you're not bothered about it?confused

It's like me signing up to football forum and telling them it's all a load of old shit - am tempted to do that now actually grin

seeker Tue 30-Apr-13 10:25:35

I love clothes. I also love lots of other things- which means I am sometimes, by SB standards, unsuitably dressed- in Morrison's this morning in a fleece, jodhpurs and wellies for example. I am sure I was roundly sneered at by people who would "take the trouble" to drive 5 miles home, get changed, then drive back to do the shopping. But hey ho.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:26:31

Finding a gardener is very hard Kristina - perhaps I should start a thread - I can imagine the sympathy I'd get wink

Pathism - I just don't think that many people do think that others should pay more attention to their appearance. I think the majority of people don't really notice what other people wear.

Glad my lack of commas amused me - golly, you weren't trying to make me feel shit about my punctuation were you wink Because you know that wouldn't be terribly nice behaviour would it?

ClaraDeLaNoche Tue 30-Apr-13 10:26:45

Apologise for what? For thinking that looking good is important?

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:26:58

Lordy - I meant 'amused you' - seriously I need to get off here.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:29:51

badtaste I assume you haven't seen my response to the first person who made the same massivelt-missing-the-point analogy?

<Sigh> I'll say it again then. This is not just any old S&B thread, is it? It's one where people with different priorities / tastes have been mocked and pitied in rude and upsetting ways. Why the hell should they NOT come on and defend themselves? I wouldn't come on any random S&B thread and start saying it was all shallow and irrelevant (and indeed I haven't said or even implied that here. I have merely defended my own choices against nastily expressed judgment.)

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:30:55

I'm certainly not apologising - I've been very reasonable. smile

Seeker - you see I don't think anyone would judge you for being in riding clothes in morrisons. Unless perhaps you don't have horses and are just pretending you are a Jilly Cooper character. And I personally wouldn't judge you for that - I'd admire it smile

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 10:31:54

No of course I wasn't trying to make you feel bad about your punctuation, I'm an editor and I just like it when my profession is justified by misunderstandings like that. It's often hard to think of examples to explain to people why commas etc. are necessary, so I kind of collect them <sad>
But I'm not sad enough to think that people should always write properly on the internet. I don't.

And I agree, most people don't care what others wear, but a LOT of people are terrified of looking 'mumsy' themselves, which I think says a lot about the values of our society and causes lots of women pointless stress and lowers their self-esteem.

badtasteyoni Tue 30-Apr-13 10:32:07

No I haven't seen your one post out of the 317 on here hmm

I just dip in and read that latest bit because I'm shallow like that grin

I wear bootcut jeans because I have a long torso and short legs, so skinny jeans look ridiculous and unflattering on me. Lots of mums at DS1's school wear leggings/jeggings/skinny jeans. Some look fab in them, others certainly do not. They still look like Mums. Surely, we should all wear what suits us. I am flat-footed so have to wear wedge/heels most of the time, but I do wear Superga's and Fly too for 'flat' days.

I do make an effort, but I am not dictated to by trends, I wear what suits me. I have long hair too. According to this thread, I am more mumsy because I wear heels and bootcuts though. sad

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 10:32:37

Sorry MrsCB, I meant to put your name in my last post and bold it.

CambridgeBlue Tue 30-Apr-13 10:33:05

Pistols /Converse/Ballet Flats + Skinnies + Breton or Zara Linen tee + BBH styled hair + MN scarf

This is exactly how I look most of the time, thanks Mumsnet! smile

To go back to men who were mentioned up-thread, I do think there is a 'Dadsy' look and I know this because my DH wears it. It's not his fault bless him but he moved into a job where the dress code excludes jeans but isn't smart enough for a nice suit. He ends up in sort of chino trousers (but not the trendy kind because he's 40 odd and doesn't want to dress like a teenager) with a plain or checked shirt and lace-up shoes - it's the Mumsy look encapsulated for men - comfy, inoffensive but rather dull and unflattering. I don't think any of his friends or colleagues have either noticed or could give a toss though.

Re the age thing - I think I look ten times better and less 'mumsy' these days than I did when I actually had a young child, mainly thanks to this board, Pinterest, slightly more cash, loss of baby weight and just being a bit more comfortable with myself as I've got older. Of course I have off days (working from home today in fleece, tracky bottom and no make-up...) but I finally feel like I've found my look even if it is very similar to a lot of other 30/40something Mums' look - see above smile.

If that makes me happier and makes shopping easier, I don't see how it can be a bad thing. I don't judge my friends who are less interested in their clothes but to me how I look (and therefore feel) is very important. I don't think that make me shallow or less of a good parent.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:36:41

Santa it sounds like you're saying I'm being mean. How am I being mean?

Lots of mean comments have been made on this thread (the sight of mumsy people making other people want to weep, the 'mumsy' people being told they shouldn't be on S&B threads...) How have I been mean?

I'm also fed up with being told I told defensive, with all the critical and dismisssive connotations of that word. Of course I sound defensive. My choices have been mocked and criticised on this thread, and I'm defending my choices and my right to make them without incurring the jeery judginess of other grown women who should have better manners.

Fuckitthatlldo Tue 30-Apr-13 10:37:54

Paris in many of those pictures the celebrities in question are wearing flared jeans, not bootcut at all.

Personally I love flared jeans, preferably with a widish leg. Worn with heels they create a very long leg line. I also love straight leg jeans.

I'm no fashion victim. I wear what suits me. I sometimes wear skinny jeans but they're not my favourite cut. People are right when they say they don't flatter many body types. Even very slim women - if they are pear shaped and their top is the wrong length - can look bad in skinnies. I think they can be hard to get right.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 10:39:32

Mrs CB I didn't ask you to apologise, I said 'people' ie the people who made the really quite unpleasant comments yesterday.

FlowersBlown Tue 30-Apr-13 10:40:13

Mumsy is an attitude rather than a style. As has been said, 10 years ago boot cuts were classic and stylish. Now they are old hat and haven't been out of fashion for long enough to come back in. The type of jeans that our Mums used to wear - high waisted with tapered legs - are now the height of cool. 20 years ago that was a Mumsy look. It wasn't cool, it smacked of somebody who played it very safe and bought their clothes in M&S.

If you see somebody in an unusual outfit you have to look at their hair, their face and their attitude to know whether they are 'working a look' or if they just don't care and chucked a pair of granny shoes on by accident. Its not about the clothes themselves. The right person can make anything look good. That's how trends start.

tungthai Tue 30-Apr-13 10:40:56

On this thread posters have said that short hair, layered bobs, un-layered bobs, mid length hair and long hair are all mumsy.

How about the bag over head look. Is that acceptable?

badtasteyoni Tue 30-Apr-13 10:45:40

What brand bag?

AgeingFop Tue 30-Apr-13 10:46:05

CambridgeBlue I like your description of the Dadsy look! I wear this at work as, like your DH, it's smarter than jeans but not as formal as a suit. Try to avoid really dull colours but that's about the best I can hope for!

I do have non-work clothes that I make more of an effort with.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 30-Apr-13 10:46:33

I think most of us who are on the thread at the moment actually agree with each other.

Mean comments about anyone's appearance are just that - mean.

As I said before, S&B is generally a lovely positive section of mn. Its very sad if it makes anyone feel bad about themselves.

Where's Olivia with her Fierce and Love?

Can't everyone just get along?

Fuckitthatlldo Tue 30-Apr-13 11:09:14

Well I'm not going to apologise either. Because I don't believe I've said anything wrong.

Yes it makes me feel sad to see lots of women no longer taking any sort of interest in their appearances and looking as though they don't care. Because it suggests to me that they're putting themselves last. Perhaps some women genuinely don't care (and good for them) but I suspect the majority do, as evidenced by the amount of threads started on S+B by women who feel depressed at how they look, post children.

Women are people in their own right - not just mothers and wives and daughters. And I think retaining a pride in how we present ourselves is one indicator of a healthy self interest/esteem.

So sue me. I'm not sneering or mocking. I'm as pro women as they come. I've worked in domestic abuse service provision for years and am a proud feminist.

pickledsiblings Tue 30-Apr-13 11:13:07

"Boot cut jeans a fraction too short, worn with low heeled black ankle boots and a fleece.

Or in the summer, shapeless wide legged linen trousers from M+S with an equally shapeless white shirt/blouse thing and a 'statement' (read plastic) necklace.

Short, practical haircut or - alternatively - long, unstyled hair that could do with being cut into a proper style, pulled back into a pony tail. Dingy looking skin. Little to no make-up.

These women are ten a penny where I live and personally it makes me want to weep. Because every woman can look good with a bit of effort and imagination. All women have something beautiful about them. All of us have good points we can emphasise.

But hey, I get it that some people care a lot less than others. And I'm sure that many of these women are perfectly content with themselves and their lives and would just rather spend the time they could be using to style their hair and put some thought into their clothes and make-up, doing something else. Fair enough."

i think this is spot on and is indicative of the mum who is so 'selfless' that she doesn't look in the mirror from one day to the next. Her thoughts and actions allow little time/space for self improvement wrt superficial things like how she looks. She keeps her mind sharp and will one day get around to thinking about her image...

No need to weep Fuckitthatlldo.

pickledsiblings Tue 30-Apr-13 11:14:05

cross posts Fuckitthatlldo smile

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 11:16:53

Fuckitt I am a proud feminist and I think women don't care enough about how much they earn. Many surrender their financial independence once they have children, with no thoughts about pensions and careers. That is much bigger issue than not dressing fuckable enough. Sorry I have to so disagree with you.

cocolepew United States Tue 30-Apr-13 11:19:30

I agrre that its an attitude and hairstyle. I'm at a FE college at the moment and was looking at people in the canteen. Loads of linen stuff, bootcuts etc. Not one person I would describe as mumsy.

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 11:21:37

fuckit I'm sure you are pro women and a feminist and I don't disagree with you in some ways. It's just that the level of what women have to do to be considered to be making an effort with their appearance is so so far from what men have to do. Men can throw on anything, get a haircut and they're done. No one is going to wonder why they're not as into clothes as they might have been when they were 19. That's what pisses me off.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 11:26:40

These women are ten a penny where I live and personally it makes me want to weep.

I think the judginess and patronising pity in that statement could warrant an apology, FITTLD, should you change your mind.

Fuckitthatlldo Tue 30-Apr-13 11:33:48

I would certainly agree with that too OneLittleToddler. Financial independence is a major issue for women and a lack of it is one of the main factors in preventing women from leaving abusive relationships. Absolutely.

But that wasn't the topic for discussion.

Fuckitthatlldo Tue 30-Apr-13 11:40:17

Woozle can't you see that your response to what I've written is all about you and your stuff?

You see a few lines typed out on the internet and assume/project all sorts of emotions I don't actually feel onto them.

I've told you. I'm not judging. Or sneering. Or mocking. The fact that you're assuming I am says more about you than it does about me.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 11:42:08

No, I can't, because I can't see what emotion would be triggering your weeping, if not pity.

Please enlighten me.

Fuckitthatlldo Tue 30-Apr-13 11:53:50

I've made myself perfectly clear in my posts Woozle. I don't need to endlessly explain myself.

'Makes me want to weep' is just a figure of speech. I might say the same about a bad joke.

But you've picked up on that one line and mentioned it many times. You've obviously found it very significant.

Again, that's your stuff. It's got nothing to do with me. Your emotional responses are your responsibility.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 11:57:52

Oh fine, you just go through life saying whatever, than arguing the hind legs off a donkey when someone calls you on it, and continuing blithely on your way secure in the belief that it's all about their ishoos and nothing about what you actually said. It was, at best, a poorly chosen turn of phrase, and maybe it wasn't an accurate representation of what you actually think and believe, but that doesn't absolve you of all responsibility for how other people interpret it. hmm

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 11:59:53

I'm sorry, I just read your post again and can't stop grin grin grin at the fact that you actually said that what you said has got nothing to do with you. Really? Other people's emotional responses to what you say are their responsibility?


There's really no point us carrying on with this, is there?

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 12:02:47

And saying it's 'just a figure of speech' is beyond meaningless. There's all kinds of inappropriate and downright vile things that are 'just' figures of speech. Something being a figure of speech doesn't mean it has no meaning fgs.

I think I need to hide this thread now. I'm clearly not mentall well enough to deal with it grin

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 12:09:18

Can I second a practical question that was made upthread: if you are too old to be wearing ironic clothing that you may have looked very good in 20 years ago, where do you go to shop?

I find it really difficult to find clothes that are not mumsy but that suit/hide bums, big hips, saggy breasts (ah, no more, thanks bra ladies!) back fat, cellulite etc.

Exactly instant, it's easy for skinny/slim women to be judgey, which is why I stand by my dress for yourself comment. I spend a lot of time in Italy where women are stylish, not trend-led. They dress to suit their shape and yes, they wear flares and bootcuts frequently and they look good. They do not try to dress like girls in their teens/early twenties, but they do look frumpy either.

Skinnie jeans/jeggings are a trend thing in the UK, but do we have to all be sheep?

do *not look frumpy!

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 12:32:17

I agree Little, and I also spend a lot of time in Italy. Unfortunately, I am a borderline Italian size 46 which means going to the "Larger Ladees" shops sad

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:35:31

instant you don't have to hide it forever- you could try to lose it!

I'm sorry but I don't get this notion that being older means you just let yourself go and become plump.

I expect I am one of the older posters here and my weight now is about 5lbs more than when I was 21- and it's constant bloody effort that keeps it like that!

Not boasting but just saying how it annoys me when people moan but don't seem to think their size,shape or whatever is something that has nothing to do with what they do!

I buy my clothes at all the usual places- White Company, Jigsaw, Boden, White Stuff ( plain only ) Mint Velvet.

"Boot cut jeans a fraction too short, worn with low heeled black ankle boots and a fleece.

Or in the summer, shapeless wide legged linen trousers from M+S with an equally shapeless white shirt/blouse thing and a 'statement' (read plastic) necklace.

Short, practical haircut or - alternatively - long, unstyled hair that could do with being cut into a proper style, pulled back into a pony tail. Dingy looking skin. Little to no make-up."

shock shock shock

OK. Please can SOMEONE explain to me what is wrong with a 'short practical haircut', or 'little make-up'. Please?.

And while we're at it, what (in fashionista terms) is the alternative to comfortable, low-heeled black ankle boots that you can actually walk 2 miles uphill in, whilst pushing a buggy loaded with toddler and shopping in the rain? Or are we all expected to be rich enough to have a car and never walk anywhere?

dexter73 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:43:57

There is nothing wrong with short haircuts or little/no make up. There is also nothing wrong with low heeled black ankle boots.

dexter73 Tue 30-Apr-13 12:48:38

Wish I looked this good with no make up!!

FoundAChopinLizt Tue 30-Apr-13 12:48:51

This morning I bought myself some lovely Fat Face skinny crops in bright coral. I tried them on and considered if they were 'Mumsy' in honour of this thread.

Then I thought, fuck it, they're 'my' colour, fit perfectly and will go with my white linen tops, so I don't care.

£5 Oxfam, if anyone's interested.

Winterlight Tue 30-Apr-13 12:57:01

Asked my daughter (22) what male equivalent of looking 'mumsy' (when used as an insult) is and she said; 'looking like Jeremy Clarkson'.

Isn't Italian sizing tiddly though? I'm a UK 8-10 and have a skirt which is IT42...

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:08:46

I have watched Goks shows and I don't think much of his "styling" at all. To me he makes the women look cheap and nasty and trying too hard rather than stylish.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:10:31

Lapsed I think it's more about when you put all those things together!

A short hair cut is fine as long as it's a good haircut- not a version of a boy's crop which looks like it's been attacked with the kitchen scissors.

Add a fleece, too short jeans and plain black boots with a small heel and it just screams 'frump'. Flat boots are fine IMO and so are black ones, but anyone who's taken any notice of trends will have noticed that a biker style is more in favour now than a plain black pair. So like short hair, there are black boots- and black boots.

My Mum and her fashionable friends ( 70s and 80s) wear all sorts, but one question I ask myself is ' Would Ethel wear this?' as she is 80, and if the answer is 'yes' then I put it back !

It's the details that count. One person can look frumpy in jeans and boots whereas someone else can look better because the jeans fit, they aren't the 'wrong' cut, the boots have some buckles or straps, etc etc.

AphraBehn Tue 30-Apr-13 13:13:19

After due consideration I've realised I will probably always have a touch of the mumsy about me, what with being 40+ and not a supermodel/hollywood film star/beyonce/fashion blogger.

Fuck it then. Just have to hope I come back as Miranda Kerr.

Catlike Tue 30-Apr-13 13:14:42

Flat boots are fine IMO and so are black ones, but anyone who's taken any notice of trends will have noticed that a biker style is more in favour now than a plain black pair

Hmm. I've seen biker boots slated as mumsy on S&B before...

kerstina Tue 30-Apr-13 13:16:59

I agree Rulesgirl I preferred Trinny and Susannas styling.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:22:55

O I totally agree with you kerstina. They were brilliant and made women look stylish. Looking on the net I would say that Elle McPhearson is a good example of "stylish" and not mumsy but she wears a lot of styles that have been frowned upon on this thread. It really does depend on how you wear something and if it suits you. And actually bootcuts have made their way back onto the catwalks this year.
[[http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=elle+macpherson+style&rls=com.microsoft:en-GB:IE-Address&rlz=1I7ASUT_en-GBGB463GB458&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=S7Z_UeDuBsi_0QWXkIHQCg&ved=0CDcQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=632] and she is not a young girl either but she wears it well.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:23:27

I'd love to see some of the MN style gurus in RL and see what they look like. I suspect there is a gap between their perceived stylishness and the reality of their attire.

OrangeMabel Tue 30-Apr-13 13:23:38

blush just realised I called ballet flats "shoes" by mistake!

But what do you mean "they are so last season" - I thought they were non-mumsy?

As for the link to Kate Moss in bootcuts - they look a bit on the long side to me but what do I know?

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:24:32
MysteriousHamster Tue 30-Apr-13 13:31:41

I have mousy hair. It's my natural hair colour.

By this thread if it's short or long than it's mumsy. Well fuck that.

I like my hair. It changes in the seasons, gets blonder in the sun. Why should I have to spend money on hair dye for it?

People say this thread isn't mean, that it's all about choices people could or do make - but I have to change my hair or I'm 'mumsy' (and it's always used in a negative way)???

If many women had red hair rather than mousy would you be really saying 'oh ginger is so mumsy' - no, I don't think you would. Would you slag off afro hair for being mumsy? No.

Criticise badly styled hair if you want, fine, but to go on about the hair colour. Well, it is mean, imo, and it has happened a few times on this thread. If I was feeling low today, this thread would make me feel worse. Yes, maybe I should be more thick-skinned, but maybe people should think about what they're writing.

I'm a bit overweight (14 when I should be a 10 or 12) so that makes me look a bit frumpy sometimes. But I wouldn't say mumsy because I hate the connotations of that. There's nothing wrong with looking like a mum - loads of women are mums!

Comfort does play a part in my choices. I don't drive everywhere so it's essential for me to wear clothes I can walk in. That doesn't automatically make me 'mumsy'. If I choose bad clothes it might make me frumpy, though.

Ugh. This thread smells like boys changing rooms.

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 13:34:05

point taken, bella65, but I think shapes do change with the years and with pregnancies. You may weigh the same as when you were 20, but nobody but a plastic surgeon will put my twin-skin or my breasts back to where they were pre-pregnancy.

It's much harder work for a 45 year old to not look mumsy than a 25 year old, I would argue.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:43:58

I am a stylist and I have found that it is the older women over 45 who look the most "stylish" and put together. There is something about the children getting older that frees a woman up to invest in herself again and re ignite her passion for style. Older women seem to make more of an effort as they have more time to think about themselves again and are the least likely age group to look mumsy.

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 13:45:49

I just live the wrong combo, rules: small children and approaching 45!

NotConnie Tue 30-Apr-13 13:53:55

Hard to look stylish when you're in your 50's, born with huge hips and thighs totally out of proportion to the rest of my body, 5'2" with short legs and arms. Yes I do carry a lot of excess weight now, that I can't seem to shift, but even when I was 20 the flaws I was born with made me look horrid.
I am not fixable and about as far removed from Elle McPherson that we may as well be a separate species.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:53:58

For you instant its hard I agree. Having small children at any age is damn hard work and In my opinion women lose themselves for awhile but you do find yourself again once their older. Out of interest, are you happy with your style the way it is instant.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 13:55:24

instant I think your post should say that some shapes change with pregnancy. I was lucky and only put on a tiny bit of weight when PG so had no stretch marks, or any excess weight afterwards. My body looks hardly any different , and neither do most of my friends who have children. But I grant that some women have a harder time.

And yes, it is harder to look good when you are older- and I'm well past 45! But it's all about making the effort if it bothers you, and reelly working at things. I don't mean this is so for everyone but I care about my figure and eat & exercise to try to keep things as good as I can.

One thing's for sure, I don't want to see anyone In those horrid see through leggings/jeggings. It's always the ones who think they're skinny so it must look ok. I don't want to see your bottom thank you. Too much on show......

Elle Macpherson always looks good, I agree Rules.

*in, not In. Damn i-pad!

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 13:59:32

You don't have to be tall like Elle to copy some of her ideas. Some of her style works for everyone. Most of the time she is all about "style" not "fashion". Doesn't matter what your size or whether you have short legs etc....its dressing to suit your own shape that's important and not hiding under tents and shapeless things. You would be surprised the amount of ladies who come in and head for the shapeless floaty section. Then when you help them to try on something more fitted, they instantly look a stone or two lighter and feel so much better about their shape.

ExRatty Tue 30-Apr-13 14:01:27

What happened to Trinny and Susannah?

I adored them

Fillyjonk75 Tue 30-Apr-13 14:04:37

TBH I concentrate what I look like underneath the clothes - i.e. being fit, healthy, toned and strong. What you wear on top - make up, clothing- is just window dressing.

I don't see anything wrong with looking like a mum though.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 14:05:09

me to ExRatty. Trinny and Susannah might have poked a few boobs and said some unkind things but they knew how to dress women for their individual shape and how to make the most of their shape without looking like you had just walked into a "fashion" shop and walked out with all the latest trends on you in one go...IYKWIM smile

Wearing the right bra makes a huge difference. Now DS2 is 9MO, I went on the bra intervention thread last month and thank goodness I did, I was in a 36DD, but should have been in a 32G. Wearing the correct size now makes me look slimmer and I can wear nicer tops.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 14:08:28

I go to the gym, run, do weights and eat well but I have always believed that "window dressing" is important to me cause it is how people see me and the image I want to portray every day. It makes me feel more confident to look good on the outside and that each day I look the "best" version of me that I can. But that's just me and I know not everyone thinks like this and that's fine.

VestaCurry Tue 30-Apr-13 14:12:10

I've come to the conclusion it's anything from Boden because their clothes can be spotted so easily. I'm not thinking mumsy in a derogatory way either. It's just their clothes are targeted at women with children (with a comfortable household income). I have a few bits from there but stopped buying about 3 years ago because I decided it's very ££££ for what you actual get from the womenswear. Still love the kids stuff though because it has mileage, I buy bits in sales only, hand it down from one dc to the next, then sell on eBay.

santamarianovella Tue 30-Apr-13 14:13:51

there is nothing wrong with flat boots or ballet flats.we cant wear high heels all day.and what is wrong with parkas?
not wearing makeup does not make you mumsy.if you have good skin why hide it?
claudia schiffer and elle macpherson wear alot of skinny and boots combo,and they always looks so effortlessly stylish.
its how you wear things.
m&s do a lot of conservative clothes,thats why they always pop in mind when one thinks of mumsy style.

MaBumble Tue 30-Apr-13 14:29:27

Reading through this thread I have come to the conclusion I'm totally rocking a cool mumsy look
Long hair in pony tail - check
Only make up, mascara - check
Boot cut jeans - check
Black boots - check
Plain black V neck T Shirt - check

My hair is clean and swishy
I have good skin
Tall and wobbly bits curvy so boot cut suits my shape (I remember high waisted peg leg jeans first time a round and they looked awful on me)
I too have been on the bra intervention thread so my boobs look AMAZING in my v neck tshirt
I may loss mumsy points for the buckles and zips on my sensible boots

Where what you want, and what looks good/makes you feel good smile

Round here, lots of Mums wear Joules polos, quilted jackets and gilets with their skinny jeans, but where's the individuality? I love it when I see someone with something that suits them, that they have thrown together because they like it and not to fit in with the sheeple. There is a hippy mum that would get slated on S&B, but she looks great IMO.

I wore my parka all Winter for the walk to school because there and back it is an hour (2 hours a day then). I have to be practical. At weekends it's a different story. However, I style my hair differently every day and wear lipstick because I like to.

MaBumble you sound like me, except tall! smile

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 14:40:54

Rulesgirl I go to the gym 4 times a week. I normally wears topshop size 8/10. That doesn't stop me dressing mumsy. I look like a mum and I'm proud of it. I just find the whole bashing of 'looking like a mum' disgusting. Just because I wear comfy clothes doesn't mean I am fat and don't look after myself.

LadyBigtoes Tue 30-Apr-13 14:41:41

I have short hair but that's not the mumsy look round here - I think I'm considered a bit scary and radical.

Mumsy to me =

Shoulder length hair usually in a ponytail
Skinny jeans with boots, often slightly pointy with a low heel
Little jacket, fleece or raincoat
Orla kiely, cath kidston or similar bag
In summer, tunics from white stuff or boden, but always the more tame ones.
"Safe" choices in everything - no crazy hair colour, no crazy shades, looking as much as possible like the next mum.

I don't think it's necessarily attacking people to notice these "tribes" - I think to myself that I would rather avoid following a "look" but people could probably look at me and pin down a few cultural categories I belong to quite easily. I find it interesting. I also like to notice the non-mumsy mums at school who depart from the norm.

LadyBigtoes Tue 30-Apr-13 14:45:01

Also, I don't think "looking like a mum" is the same thing as "mumsy". Mumsy to me speaks of women who look unthreatening and slightly sexless - as if they were everyone's mum IYSWIM. I know plenty of women who are obviously mums but are more flamboyant, individual or fashiony, as per their tastes.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 14:53:01

OneLittleToddle nothing wrong with looking like a mum. Never said there was. Were talking about "mumsy" and what peoples definitions of mumsy is too them.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 30-Apr-13 14:56:12

It feels to me here mumsy is derogatory. It's the opposite of being a MILF. And it includes women in skinnies, boden, pistol/converse/ballet pumps, wearing scarves/statement necklace. This group definitely dresses like a mum, and I don't think they look like they don't look after themselves. But so many here just mock them as mumsy.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 15:01:17

LadyBigtoes said it well. Its not about what you wear its how you wear it. You can wear any label or non label but its wearing it too suit you and your body shape that makes it work or not. If your not too bothered about how you look on the outside then that's fine. No one said you had to be. Im guessing that the OP just wanted to see what other people though "mumsy" was to them.

ExRatty Tue 30-Apr-13 15:03:15

I hate the term MILF*
I'd rather Mrs Robinson <but that shows my great age>
*as if motherhood ever made a woman less fuckable

LadyBigtoes Tue 30-Apr-13 15:08:24

God yes have to admit I'd rather be called mumsy than a MILF - hate that term because it is so objectifying, even down to the "I". It's not about what you look like, it's just about the lechiness of some bloke.

Also, mumsy to me means following the herd. It's a "look" precisely because it's something that people do to fit in and look "normal". I don't have to like it, and I don't, because I like originality and individuality and people wearing what they love and what's "them", not what's in or what's nice and safe.

vitaminC Tue 30-Apr-13 15:14:01

I don't think there is one single look that defines mumsy. To me it's more about not keeping up to date and still wearing the same styles that were fashionable before you had kids, however many years ago that was (hence all the references to boot-cut jeans, low-heeled boots etc). You don't have to be a fashion victim to pay attention to modern styling and shapes, and you don't have to spend a fortune on clothes to look "with-it", whilst still being age-appropriate!

I also don't think it's anti-feminist to frown on women letting themselves go, which is what "mumsy" seems to be describing. I definitely consider myself a feminist, and I feel it's important to set aside a little time and money for making myself look and feel good, as a person in my own right, rather than being all martyr-like and self-sacrificing, simply because I now have kids!

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 15:25:29

I totally agree vitamin smile

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 15:28:21

VitaminC- agreed.

I think Mumsy is just a term for a very dated choice of clothes, without appreciating the little tweaks that go into making something look 'now' as opposed to 10 years back.

But also IMHO it's more about women who let themselves go- or never had it to let go of at all! The uncared for, no make up, messy hair, clothes that don't really fit anywhere, look.

The whole kind of washed out, washed up look as if they are afraid of looking remotely attractive.

NotConnie Tue 30-Apr-13 15:36:32

So the fat, old, dwarf at the back would like to know - is "mumsy" the same as "frumpy" ? Or something different?

ADefiniteMaybe Tue 30-Apr-13 15:40:20

VitaminC - I agree. I am a mum but I am not mumsy. Happily, at 45, I am not some slavish follower of fashion either. I really think I have sorted out my own style for the first time in my life. Admittedly I am quite a "safe" dresser but it is stylish not mumsy. I really enjoy my clothes and am pleased with my wardrobe these days. I hope (and I am told) that I am doing a half decent job as a mother and I am considered to be more than capable at my job. Life isn't about sacrifice, it's about balance.

vitaminC Tue 30-Apr-13 15:42:35

NotConnie I think there can be some overlap between mumsy and frumpy, but in general I would define them as follows:

Mumsy = still wearing the same styles as before becoming a mum (i.e. 10-15 years out of date)

Frumpy = wearing shapeless, styleless clothes generally worn by much older women, i.e. not so much old-fashioned as unfashionable. The opposite of mutton-dressed-as-lamb (Lamb dressed as mutton? grin)

vitaminC Tue 30-Apr-13 15:44:36

Maybe <Life isn't about sacrifice, it's about balance.>
Yes, this!

noddyholder Tue 30-Apr-13 15:46:29

I think mumsy is for me not looking as good as I can. Suddenly seeing myself looking frumpy becasue of what I am wearing

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 15:48:48

A lot of the time womens self esteem is wrapped up in how they look and if they are not happy with their look then it affects all areas of their life. Once they have found a look and style that suits their body shape and lifestyle then they feel "sorted" and can get on with their live feeling really good about themselves.

mathanxiety Tue 30-Apr-13 15:50:27

So what's 'Dadsy' then -- if we're going to look askance at people let's do it in a way that knocks both sexes when they get to a point where they realise life isn't all about how you look/ you're worth more than the sum total of what you wear?

<runs and hides>

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 15:52:27

But what you wear and how your present yourself to the outside worlds says a lot about how you feel on the inside. It also shows that you value yourself enough to dress in a way that pleases you and makes you look good and what is wrong with that.

LadyBigtoes Tue 30-Apr-13 15:53:35

"Dadsy" thread already under way - here!

ExRatty Tue 30-Apr-13 15:55:56

my idea of mumsy is often very, very put together

newsreadery maybe air hostessy
capable horsey or dog walkery
avidly on trend from 2 years ago
linen wearing next warriors

not drudges/frumps at all

NotConnie Tue 30-Apr-13 15:57:44

I think I'm Frumpy then! grin
I noticed that rulesgirl mentioned that wearing more fitted clothes often makes us look a lot better, so I'll give that a try and get away from the shapeless clothes that I try to hide in currently.

woozlebear Tue 30-Apr-13 16:05:30

Once they have found a look and style that suits their body shape and lifestyle then they feel "sorted" and can get on with their live feeling really good about themselves.

The problem is, I feel that what I wear suits my body shape and lifestyle. I spent many years changing my look all the time and feeling anxious about it. Now I feel sorted, as you say, but come here to find everyone else would class me as mumsy. I like very plain, simple, timeless, practical stuff. I like things that are well cut and nice fabric, and I feel that what I wear does actually flatter me in terms of cut and colour, (the unstyled hair and lack of makeup is a moot point, but that's how I feel happiest). It is probably 'dated' though, it's definitely not fashionable and probably never was, and it doesn't show flair and imagination or individuality, which also appears to be another criteria for non-mumsiness. (Although whenever I'm out people dressed like me seem to be way outnumbered, so maybe it is individual after all?)

It seems quite a narrow line that has to be followed to escape 'mumsiness' - conforming enough to meet the requirements for looking up-to-date, groomed enough in terms of hair style and make up to conform to general expectations, but also individual enough on top of that to avoid looking sheepy and like you're trying to hide. Sounds quite difficult.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 16:07:43

NotConnie....I know that Trinny and Sussanah are not in vogue in this day and age but if you could get hold of some of their previous books on What Not To Wear they will steer you in the right direction for finding the right clothes to suit your shape and all your bumps. Worth a try. Just then adapt the shapes and styles to suit what is more currently in.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 16:11:33

Woozle your clothes sound fine. If they suit your body shape and enhance rather than drown then you have got your look sorted in my opinion. Its not about "fashion" its about style which you can tweek here and there to keep up to date. Fashion dates very quickly and what was in last week is gone the next but style....that lasts much longer and is more enduring.

ChubbyKitty Tue 30-Apr-13 16:15:55

This thread confuses me. Why do you necessarily have to change all your clothes when you become a mum? While ttc I am wearing skinny jeans, long vests to cover my flabby belly but also show off boobs and ballet pumps. I have dyed blonde hair at shoulder length with a Barbie fringe, and I wear make up everyday.

I enjoy these and I feel rather pretty. I'm also known to wear hot pants over leggings in military boots for a few quiet drinks with friends. They've quite often told me I look nice.

When I am pregnant I will only be adding bump bands and maternity jeans/trousers to this mix as I already know how comfortable everything else is going to be because, as I said, already have a round belly so things have to fit over it anyway.

And when I am a mum? I'll be wearing the exact same stuff.

Sometimes I go to work without straightening my hair or wearing make up, but as I work at dominos it's hardly likely that I'd be spurned by my colleagues for this.

So...to reiterate, why have I got to change my clothes? Seems very expensive.

instantfamily Tue 30-Apr-13 16:18:25

Rulesgirl I am generally happy with my style. Some days I make more of an effort than others. Right now I am in what I think of as my mid-life crisis and have gone to hairdresser with a photo of Tilda Swinton wink

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 16:20:11

Chubby this is off topic but what's a Barbie fringe? I love fringes and if there's a new one indeed to try I want to know!

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 16:21:01

*I need, not indeed!!

vitaminC Tue 30-Apr-13 16:21:45

Kitty The point is not that you have to change when you become a mum, but that you don't need togive up following fashion once you have kids. "Mumsy" refers to people women who have remained stuck in a timewarp ever since they became a mother!

Your current style sounds great, in 2013, but if you're still dressing exactly the same 10 or 15 years from now, there's a good chance it will look mumsy!

ChubbyKitty Tue 30-Apr-13 16:22:22

Like the new barbies have, and lady gaga in poker face.

My mum cut it for me blush

ChubbyKitty Tue 30-Apr-13 16:23:52

Ah. Fair play. I can't imagine what's going to be the fashion in 10 years time hahaconfused

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 16:24:26

You don't have to change your clothes when you become a Mum, but some ladies when they become Mums do feel that they lose their way in the sense that they would like to look a bit better and more put together. They have been soooo busy looking after babies and children that they have forgotten to look after themselves . The thread I believe was started for different people to say how they describe the word "mumsy". If you are happy with your look and are still happy with it and it still works for you and looks good ten years down the line when you have had children then that is great.

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 16:25:41

I think the OP actually used the wrong terminology smile
I think she really meant frumpy.

I think it's easy to lose the plot clothes-wise when you have young DCs- I did. From 35- 45 were my 'wilderness years' and it was only once they were becoming teens that I found my sense of style again.

I now recoil in horror at what I used to wear in my late 30s early 40s- it was all much too 'old' for me and I now dress- i think- better than ever, in a non-mutton way in my 50s, partly due to time, money and knowing who I am.

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 16:27:28

Just googled chubby - great fringe grin I call it a Zooey fringe...incidentally Barbies are now £50. Wtf?

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 16:27:40

bella ...I am the same. Now in my 50s and I dress so much better and more stylish and actually look so much younger than I ever did in my thirties and early forties. When my kids turned 12 and 14 and gave myself a good talking to and sorted myself out and then went on to help other ladies.l

ChubbyKitty Tue 30-Apr-13 16:28:47

I hope it does still look good but when I hit 35 I might put the girls away a bit more, I imagine they'll start to feel the force of gravity. I don't want to turn into that woman from Futurama, if you watch it, the one who's always smoking and coughing up stuff. shock

youlooklikeaclown Tue 30-Apr-13 16:29:13

Is anyone else in the foetal position crying in front of their wardrobe? I fall into the hippy-mom-chazza shop fashion and also into dog owner category as I have a Millets cagoule jack-in-a-pack thingy - strangely though I don't own a dog....but I have never, no, never worn a waterfall cardie to cover my ass

ChubbyKitty Tue 30-Apr-13 16:30:12

Aw thanks plathismgrin

Also £50???

Back in my day that'd get you a dreamhouse and 5 new outfits!

Plathism Tue 30-Apr-13 16:30:18

Oh wait, its only Barbies that contain video cameras that are £50. My mistake! There's something rather creepy about cameras hidden in dolls hmm

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 17:52:13

Rules hello smile

I'm afraid I went for the calf length skirts many years back and now I wouldn't be seen dead in them. Maybe they were more fashionable then than now hmm

That- for me- is the definition of frumpy. I don't see how floor length skits do anyone a favour unless you are wearing a maxi dress. The skirts- always full ones- which come about 6 inches above the ankles are what my mum and her friends wear and they are in their 80s.

I found it hard to adjust from a working wardrobe to a SAHM wardrobe for a few years but once I began working I got my act together and in my mid- late 40s had a radical overhaul of hair, clothes, and style.

florascotia Tue 30-Apr-13 18:09:14

I don't think it's people who should be labelled 'mumsy', but rather clothes shops/manufacturers. For young mothers, it is indeed possible to adapt everyday clothes and look good, but for anyone over a certain age, clothes that combine practicality/affordability/ durability/comfort/style/a flattering fit (and, ideally, ethics) are really not easy to find. I can see how it can seem so obvious simple to settle for something comfortable and practical, with no sense of style. And there's nothing wrong with doing so - unless, like (presumably) readers of Style and Beauty threads - one is interested in fashion or style as an art form, as a means of self-expression, or for morale-boosting purposes. There's nothing superior in so doing (or in the alternative). It's just a matter of personal preference.

I feel relatively fortunate. I'm a crepey (in Mumsnet-speak) and some time ago decided on a sort of uniform of practical basic classics enlivened with quite posh jackets, scarves and jewellery. Stylistically speaking, that's probably terribly boring, but I feel comfortable with it. But my younger, poorer, self could never have afforded to dress like this. Perhaps it would not have wanted to. But I don't think it would have wanted to dress in some of the offerings of mainstream shops/online retailers today, either. Let's have some better middle-range, middle-age products!!

Fillyjonk75 Tue 30-Apr-13 18:19:12

I don't see why comfy = frumpy. Who wears uncomfortable clothes after their teens?

The looks I would avoid personally are at one end of the scale, covering the body with shapeless, style-free clothing, mannish short hair cut, clothes seem interchangeable with those of their husbands and three or four sons, no makeup or ever any attempt to dress up or look remotely different when going out in the evening.

At the other end of the scale tight revealing clothing, badly dyed dull hair, face full of makeup, massive heels...

Most mums seem to be somewhere in the middle and look fine!

OrangeMabel Tue 30-Apr-13 18:24:34

but not wearing make up all the time doesn't mean you've "let yourself go"; it could just mean that you don't like wearing make-up. Sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don't (more often I don't) but I'm still the same person whether I've got slap on or not. Yet many of you would judge me hmm

bella65 Tue 30-Apr-13 18:34:01

The make up/ no make up thing has been done loads on Mn and I can admit to being totally prejudiced.

I look ill with no make up- pale skin, purple under eye shadows and no colour at all.

I won't open my door without foundation, blusher and mascara. Too scary for the caller!

On the other hand I have friends who use hardly any make up and they look fine.

But generally I'd say that most women look a lot fresher for wearing some kind of make up even if just tinted moisturiser, blusher, mascara and a bit of lip stuff. It just makes you look polished and as if you care about yourself.

juneau Tue 30-Apr-13 18:36:09

I think almost everyone is enhanced by a bit of make-up - I certainly am - but whether we remember or care to put it on before leaving the house is another matter!

However, I agree with whoever it was who said that feeling good about yourself (and, for me, that means wearing nice, flattering, un-frumpy clothes and a bit of make-up), goes hand-in-hand with how you look. If I go out in a pair of jeans, muddy boots, a fleece and no make-up I don't feel great about myself and there is unlikely to be a spring in my step.

As an exhausted new mum though, both times, I honestly couldn't be arsed. It took me about a year after each child to get my fashion mojo back and really care how I looked on a day-to-day basis. That kind of concern takes a back seat when you aren't getting enough sleep. But I found as soon I was well-rested again I was dying to get to the hairdresser and look like 'me' again.

Rulesgirl Tue 30-Apr-13 19:00:12

bella I have to admit that I too am having trouble getting round the midi skirt look that seems to have come back. I wore it last time round cause that was the length of skirts and it took me awhile to get used to on the knee length but now whenever I try on a midi......well I just feel frumpy. ha ha. I do love a maxi skirt though, very stylish with a t shirt and flats.