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Can I have some ideas on de-frumping myself please?

(74 Posts)
Graze8 Sun 20-Oct-13 22:31:20

I'm 5"2' and around a size 10/12. I'm 44 years old. In the winter I tend to want to hibernate and end up wearing things which are warm and comfortable but apparently this equates to frumpy. Some ideas on what to wear with a little bit of glamour but not over kill for the school run would be very appreciated. I tend to live in skinny jeans and thermal tops with big coats. Please help.

bishboschone Mon 21-Oct-13 10:44:14

I think they were bloody rude !!!

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 10:46:11

Just a quick question. I have a pair of black suede ankle boots with faux fur around the top (M&S last year). I quite often wear them with skinny jeans but do you think it would be ok to wear them with opaques and a knitted dress?

Snowlike Mon 21-Oct-13 10:46:50

Would never dream of telling someone they looked tired. Knew a girl at uni used to say d

lucysmam Mon 21-Oct-13 10:47:47

Come join us on the operation rennovation thread if you fancy it? smile

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 10:49:11

Thanks lucysmam. I will.

Snowlike Mon 21-Oct-13 10:49:56

Bloody phone! Don't worry about the other mums, if they are that snipey about clothes they really aren't going to be great friends anyway. Jumper dresses, a scarf and boots are such an easy way to dress, stay warm and look good.

mignonnette Mon 21-Oct-13 10:53:43

Hi there Graze8

First a few questions- What are your favourite colours and what colours would you never wear?
Whose style do you admire and whose style would not be your cup of tea?
What kind of activities would you like your new clothing for? Do you want to amp up school gate time or for work, leaisure, going out or all of them?
Any types of clothes you never wear such as loose pants, fitted shirts....etc?

Oh and yes to the boots and dress but I'd also consider some woolly tights in shades other than black-dark grey, navy, burgundy. M&S have them and good department stores stock ranges of hosiery.

Unsolicited criticism always needs to be seen in the light of the person giving it. Try to step back from your response (being hurt) to gain insight into the motives of that rude person. It always says more about them than you. I see you have a nice slim figure- bet she was envious of that!

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 12:06:50

Hi Mignonette.

My favourite colours are blues, purples and deep reds. I tend to end up wearing a lot of black in the winter. I don't wear orange, yellow or green.

I have my own business but I only need to go there once a month and don't really need to dress up for it. So generally I suppose I'm a SAHM mum. I quite like how Jennifer Aniston dresses and I love the way Rosie Huntington Whitely dresses in a very stylish casual manner. Sadly I look nothing like them. As I said before I'm 5"2'. I'm dark olive toned with dark hair which is just below my shoulders.

I never wear trousers. I don't think they suit me. I'm generally in jeans (either slim fit or skinny), I have a few jumper dresses. I don't wear leggings. I tend to stick to dresses for certain occasions as it removes the hassle of what to wear with a skirt. I also prefer boots to shoes especially if they have a heel as I find I then have better balance.

I don't really lead a very glam life. Just the normal picking up kids. Occasional lunches with other mums. Odd evenings out.

mignonnetteZOMBIEKILLEROFHQ Mon 21-Oct-13 13:24:46

How about doing the knee boot with a sharp little A line on the knee skirt (maybe with an inverted front pleat) paired with a soft sweater or sweater/sweatshirt and a tank in toning or contrasting colour peeping from beneath? Add a blazer or jacket, a scarf and you have a look that would do for work, home and play. Look for kilt type skirts in checks or soft woollen fabrics. You can get that rosie look with a skirt by looking at her layered top half-jacket and tank or shirt and jacket with a scarf and a pair of winter sunglasses for bright days. This look is what i mean and works with boots and ankle boots plus choose the colours you like as separates. This is a sharply cut skirt, the style I am referring to.

You don't have to wear this pant style if you prefer jeans but this look from Oui has the little boucle knitted cardi jacket with a T shirt that is very modern but also classic. it won't date too much and you can wear whatever shoe you like with it. The same here in that it is all black but the belt makes so much difference. Try on some different shaped pants but make sure they are in a wool blend fabric so they hang well. Department store staff are your friend here in trying on styles and make sure you try them on with the heels you plan to wear them with.

If you look at this pin, you can see how layering different lengths of chains can modern up a simple shirt. Imagine this shirt worn with a dark denim jean or navy,grey,burgundy or brown cords and a jacket will give you that Rosie look too.

I would splash out on a really good pair of jeans and also try jean cut cord trousers in a skinny or straight cut. Jewel colours such as dark burgundy, dark purple or chestnut brown worn as jeans or cords would look good. My way to dress them up is to buy a good blazer/suit style jacket in black, grey or navy and wear this with them. To go out you can put a sparkly top on over jeans with heeled ankle boots and with the jacket. This is the jacket/jean/shirt/sweater look that is never frumpy.

A good hair cut can help too as can lessons from a stylist in how to blowdry well.

This pin shows how muted classic colours work at a neckline. Again, wear this style with a pretty skirt or a an a line skirt or even a gathered flared skirt. Or with jeans and a heeled boot.

How to wear black and cream here. You can choose a flippy black skirt worn with a cream top. Pair them with knee boots or ankle boots and thick tights and see how black is not boring. Navy and cream works well. A lot of it is in the fabrics you choose. Contrast a thick wool sweater or cotton sweatshirt with a flippy skirt and thick tights for warmth.

Here is a cool everyday casual look. Imagine this sweater in red/purple/black as well as breton stripe. Pair it with your trousers and choose a cool belt and bag. Accessorize has great clutches that I promise will make you feel different when you carry one.

Tops like this Atterley Rd one will modern up any jean or skirt worn with. Again, wear under a blazer. Look for 'hybrid' sweater/sweatshirts like this to wear. Instantly modern. Uniqlo make good sweatshirts and T shirts in good deep colours.

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:30:44

Thanks you so much Mignonnette. You have given me so many ideas to work with. I'm planning to look through my wardrobe to see what I have and I can work with and then I can go shopping grin.

Cataline Mon 21-Oct-13 13:35:00

Wow Mignonette- love these ideas!! Am now following you on Pinterest too..... grin

mignonnetteZOMBIEKILLEROFHQ Mon 21-Oct-13 13:36:51

I have a pinterest site here and i do recommend setting one up for yourself if you haven't already as it works well for recording ideas.

Also come introduce yourself on MNVogue here as the MNers on it would love to meet you and chat new styles.

Take photos of looks you like to the stores either on your phone or torn out of magazines. At least nowadays we don't have to be matchy matchy and putting prints/stripes/dots/plain and colours together can look great and not at all frowned upon any more. If you want, post some photo links to outfits you like and we can see if we can find clothing items that match them.

Flo56 Mon 21-Oct-13 16:24:40

I meant to respond to this earlier and other people have already made some great suggestions. But here are mine anyway...
I def agree with thinking about your hair. You say you cover up the grey but I think a great cut is more important. It can transform how you look.
You also say you wear a lot of black. I'm no expert - not even had my colours done - but I do think black makes a lot of people look tired and haggard, unless it genuinely suits you?
I also wondered - and this may sound random - whether you wear contact lenses? I ask because I wore them myself until I hit my 40s. Looking at photos, I can see that they made me look tired all the time. I now wear glasses and think I look much better, even though I'm older! I may be wide of the mark but it's just a thought.
And don't let the woman in the restaurant bother you. If you really looked frumpy, I very much doubt she would have been staring - she wouldn't have noticed you at all.

noddyholder Mon 21-Oct-13 16:35:49

Less of everything I think. Less make up less hair 'style' and less vivid hair colour, less accessories, scarves and bangle over load is very middle aged and frumpy. More natural eg I found spending more on basics like foundations and mascara and simple shapes that really fit. I am 48 and try and be really honest with myself re what suits and have stopped with the cleavage and legs unless its a fancy dress party.

SirChenjin Mon 21-Oct-13 17:13:30

I've been following this with interest smile.

A challenge for those of you In The Know - how do you wear skinnies if you are 5 foot 2 and a size 10/12 pear shape with a bit of a tum? I usually live in skinnies, boots and tunic tops, but need a change (thanks to DD rolling her eyes every time I appear in "oh look Mum, another tunic....")

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 17:32:40

Thanks Flo56. I don't wear glasses or contacts. I have made an appt with my hairdresser so hopefully we can sort out my hair. I've made myself a promise to cut down on the black clothes.

BerryBlast Mon 21-Oct-13 17:51:11

Graze I always say to my DD that you know when you look nice, because, other women (not all women, though) will give you dirty looks and you know when you look awful when the want to chat and be friends with you smile I bet you look lovely and some nasty bit**es make themselves feel better by being cows !

Graze8 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:16:27

Thank you Berryblast. I feel a lot better since I started this thread. I can't understand it when women are horrible to each other. It's almost as if they haven't left their playground days behind them.

TJH1 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:39:37

Sorry Graze8, I know you have had a hard time but I really don't think you are doing your DD any favours by saying woman will give her dirty looks if she looks good, what a message to give your daughter about other women-that they only talk to you when you look like crap? I feel you need to work on your self esteem and feel good about yourself and don't pass your negative opinions onto your daughter.

TJH1 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:40:33

Sorry Graze meant to say Berry

easypeeler Mon 21-Oct-13 18:42:46

TJH1 - Berryblast says it to her daughter, not Graze8 confused

Graze8 is having a hard enough time already without putting words in her mouth!

Great thread, great ideas thanks

easypeeler Mon 21-Oct-13 18:43:31


FaddyPeony Mon 21-Oct-13 18:50:12

Honestly I don't think that women give dirty looks when one looks nice. I think it is that they are surreptitiously trying to check you out. By that I mean they're mentally taking notes, getting ideas, thinking hmm her boots are nice, wonder where she got them...or, wow love her style doesn't she look great. But because they are trying to do it in a non-obvious way it looks all furtive and suspicious.

Really. I do it all the time (and I even think that I've seen people do it to me once or twice). I have the horrors now thinking of all the times people have thought I've been giving them dirty looks!

So, people, next time you love what someone is wearing TELL THEM.

As for the person who actually told you you look tired, OP, you know that's not about you, it's about them. By the way you sound like you have quite an effortless style going on already, are you sure you need to change?

SirChenjin I'm 5'2 and I have two preferred ways to wear skinny jeans:

one is when I do the 'half-tuck' - google old MN threads on this - so that my T-shirt or thin sweater ends where my jeans waist begins. This is more flattering than having my topline hem end at an unflattering place at the top of my thighs.

the other is wearing longline slim cardis buttoned up. Similar effect to a tunic, I guess, but I like how it looks with a buttoned up shirt underneath, skinny jeans, and boots of some ilk - knee length boots in particular. For it to work I think the jeans need to be quite close-fitting.

Flo56 Mon 21-Oct-13 19:14:54

Sirchenjin I'm 5'3, reasonably slim but with short legs and thigh 'issues'.To be honest, I'm trying to wean myself off skinnies (in fact all jeans and trousers) because I know they do me no favours. Some days I'm just too damn lazy but I try and mitigate the worst effects:
Like Faddy, I wear them with a long cardi. But I mean long, not 'boyfriend' or waterfall but practically knee length i.e. well past my thighs.
Or with a jumper-dress, again ending just above the knee. Not a tunic. Sorry if you wear them a lot but I find anything thigh length turns my legs into tree trunks.
Or I wear something to distract the eye upwards e.g. a vest top with a cropped cardi (so two different lengths going on). Or a patterned top or a necklace etc.
And always with a well fitting bra which transforms me from a pear shape to practically an hourglass. (Thank you, lovely bra ladies smile
I have to say I disagree with BerryBlast. I've always found women very supportive about this kind of stuff but maybe I've just led a sheltered life?

SirChenjin Mon 21-Oct-13 19:15:28

My problem is that I've got a narrow waist and my backside is rather curvy - so anything that ends at the waist accentuates my bum. I do find that layering tight fitting tops helps, but I need more ideas which is why this thread is great smile

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