I've morphed into a fat, mumsy frump - please help!

(23 Posts)
Nancery Tue 12-Apr-16 19:44:07

I was given a CD of some pics taken in 2000 the other week and, while I never thought it at the time, realised I was actually quite cool. I had ice blonde hair and a quirky dress sense (and was about 2 and a half stone lighter...)

This has made me realise quite how much I have changed (I am now 41) and I think it's bringing on a mid life crisis!

I have one DC, he is nearly 4, and spend a lot of my time either with him, walking the dog or working from home. I need clothes that are both flattering and a bit interesting / quirky (like I used to wear), which also hide my horrible middle, fat upper arms and double chin (no idea how you can achieve the latter with clothing but still...) My hair is it's natural mousey / dark blonde and cut well, but a boring colour.

While I am reasonably fit, I am shite at sticking to a diet and also find losing weight trickier as I am a Type 1 diabetic (so I have to eat to get my blood sugar up before exercise, for example).

I want to get back to feeling more like the old me, but don't have a lot of time to spend on myself every day - please help!

specialsubject Tue 12-Apr-16 20:26:35

I have a concept of 'not 25 any more' relating to aches, pains and injuries. It also relates to wobbles and wrinkles, especially if you've had a baby.

are you actually overweight? As you know losing weight and diabetes are tricky bedfellows. Perhaps a chat with your doc about how to tackle it if needed.

your middle is not 'horrible' - and please don't refer to any part of your body in this way in front of the kid.

Nancery Tue 12-Apr-16 20:40:34

Thanks for replying SpecialSubject.
I wouldn't refer to anything as horrible in front of DS, but I am very much an 'apple' shape. And hate it as I find it very hard to disguise.
I think I am overweight and also do know how to lose it, but being diabetic makes it trickier. I have Type 1 so have been 'at it', so to speak, since I was 4 - its very different to Type 2 (sorry to point that out if you know already!)
Even more annoyingly, in the pics I was 26 and drank like a fish, and smoked like a chimney. And looked bloody great! Grrr

RickOShay Tue 12-Apr-16 21:53:26

I am also an apple. I wear skinny jeans every single day of my life, I try and fail to wear anything else. I layer tops and try to be interesting with jewellery and scarves, boots and jackets. Have you thought about dyeing your hair back to ice blonde, or even having highlights, it sounds like you don't really like the colour very much. Tkmaxx is great for things that you wouldn't normally buy, but you need to have time to have a mass trying on session. You can look as good at 41 as you did at 26, of course you can.

Nancery Tue 12-Apr-16 21:59:31

Thank you! Am seriously considering the hair colour as we type! I loved it at the time, but I am not sure if the upkeep will become a hassle, an expensive one at that! My hair looks okay now, a nice-ish colour, but just a bloody boring one too! I had highlights last year but then had quite a bit cut off in Feb so they are close to out. Am weighing up sensible highlights vs platinum blonde...
Don't know if I can face TKMaxx as trying stuff one makes me lose the will to live - the mirrors, ugh!

BlueEyedWonder Tue 12-Apr-16 22:09:40

I'd start with your hair as you wear it everyday. What about some blonde highlights to give it a lift?
As for clothes, think about what fits your lifestyle. Slim fit jeans. Boden do some nice quirky print shirts. Zara also had some nice ts. Maybe some Joules wellies for dog walking. A good coat/jacket is also a good buy.
Scarves, jewellery, brooches all add interest.

CoolToned Tue 12-Apr-16 22:11:20

Fellow apple here - I agree, our body type makes us look bigger than we are!

CoolToned Tue 12-Apr-16 22:12:05

But since my arms and tummy are hopeless, I show my legs every chance I get - skinny jeans, shorts, short skirts. I'm 37.

oldlaundbooth Tue 12-Apr-16 22:18:31

Honestly OP, there's some awesome advice on here but the one thing that'll make you feel so much better is weight loss.

I know it's hard, especially with T1D, but if there's a way you could lose even a few pounds I'm sure you'd feel loads better.

Nancery Tue 12-Apr-16 22:50:38

Thanks for replies; will respond properly later as DH has just got back (work trip) but I appreciate the advice!

RickOShay Tue 12-Apr-16 22:54:23

What about some pink or lilac streaks? I am living vicariously as I would really love some but am too chicken, and feel too old at 48 to have some. I know what you mean about tkmaxx, you need to do it on a good day on your own. It is worth it, as you can find some great stuff that you wouldn't get anywhere else. Is there anybody whose style you lust after? Maybe just copy them. No shame.

Gusthetheatrecat Tue 12-Apr-16 23:08:32

I am very, very far from being a style icon, but some things that have helped me feel less frumpy over the last two or three years have included lipstick, some nice necklaces, lots of scarves, and a few slightly experimental clothes purchases.
Lipstick - I bought a few surprising shades. I got a red free with a magazine that I now often wear mixed with some lipbalm.
Necklaces - even just cheap ones make me feel better. Ditto perfume, actually, I make sure I spray some on every day and although I still look just as frumpy as before it lifts my mood.
Scarves are very cheap and I have loads. I try to get some that can update my outfit a bit: I bought the Mumsnet leopard print one ages ago and loved it. A year or two ago I bought a scarf with neon pompom trim which sounds horrendous but is lovely.
Clothes-wise I found a fashion blog I liked (School Gate Style) and bought some stuff based on her recommendations. This was handy for me as I have no time to browse shops like I used to. If you can find a fashion blogger with similar taste to you, or a similar shape to you, it can be useful to follow them and try out some things they've rated.
Be kind to yourself, as well. It's really hard having small children. I emerged from the fug of maternity wear and babies to find that I was older, a different shape, and out of touch with what was in fashion. I think there is a kind of small children chrysalis and I see the women around me often start to emerge from it when their child is around 3, 4 or 5. You are not alone!

Floisme Wed 13-Apr-16 06:35:40

I avoid earrings, scarves, high necklines and chin length hair. That's to keep attention away from my jowls but it might work with your chin too. And specs can also help as they draw the eye upwards.

PassMeASpanner Wed 13-Apr-16 06:58:06

Nancery - the fact that you didn't think you looked cool when you did would suggest that you are never going to be happy with what you look like!
I'm as far from a fashionista as humanly possible but even I have some bare minimum standards.
Nothing fleece unless dog walking.
No shirts (gaping over muffin tops not a good look)
Not too much colour (I have to try sooooo hard with this, I love colour, practically swoon when I go into white stuff) but super stylish people don't seem to dress like rainbows sad
Also, sorry to be harsh, but you will need to put a bit of time and effort into it (like going to TK Maxx as suggested!) or getting your hair highlighted etc.

Effortlessly stylish is a contradiction in terms IMO.

Favouritethings Wed 13-Apr-16 07:19:38

You will probably look back of photos of you now in 10 years time and think why didn't I realise how good I looked!

MamaLazarou Wed 13-Apr-16 11:07:32

Only on Mumsnet would someone posting for advice on how to be more edgy and less mumsy be told to buy some wellies from Joules! grin

OP, I am having a mid-life style crisis, too. I looked down at my sensible shoes recently and thought, 'Imy 25-year-old self would cry if she saw these on her feet'. I seem to have prioritised comfort, affordability and durability over style and expression and it has gradually crept up on me. I don't feel like my clothes express my personality any more so I am trying to change that.

Some punky colours in your hair will instantly make you feel a bit edgier. Maybe pink dip-dyed ends or streaks - or maybe go rose gold or a washed-out pastel all over?

Can you sew? I bought a sewing machine recently and have been making simple patterns in fabrics that really 'speak to me'. I'm aiming to get good enough to make my own dresses. If you look among the 'costume' and 'historical' sections of pattern departments you can find some wearable, less mainstream styles.

I also found that making a Pinterest 'mood board' is useful. Pin things that inspire you, colours and textures that you find exciting, and people whose style you admire. You can then look at other people's boards who have pinned the same sort of thing and get some ideas from them.

Low-carbing has made a difference to the pudginess of my face, but I am not sure how that would work out with your Type 1 diabetes.

As FavouriteThings says above, make the most of what you have got now instead of hankering after what you once had because one day you will look back and think, 'man, I was a gorgeous young thing when I was 41'! smile

BettyBi0 Wed 13-Apr-16 11:25:15

Do you live near any good department stores that offer a personal shopper experience? It might be a good way to try out some new things whilst under the guidance of someone with a good eye. I bet they would be really understanding of the "I'd like to hide x, y, and z" and they'd also have some knowledge of current fashions.

You could also go for a make-up review at bobbi brown or one of the other non-day glow orange counters. Might give you a little lift?

Nancery Wed 13-Apr-16 11:49:04

Morning! I have just got back from the hairdressers where I went for a chat about getting something done with my hair. I was wondering about bright pale blonde again but have been talked round, due to the maintenance, to highlights that are still quite dramatic but will only need re doing every 12ish weeks rather than 4, and can be easy to make darker etc if I change my mind (unlike a block of colour which is, I remember, a nightmare!)
Thanks for the advice. I agree that losing weight is a large part. I am possibly the world's crappest dieter! In my defence, I don't have a car but do have a very active dog so I am not sedentary in the least but due to this I have to either compensate with long acting carbs for the diabetic side of things, or get to the evening and think 'fuck it' and don't hold back as much as I should (wine and cheese are particular issues!) The diabetic aspect does make things more complicated but possibly not as complicated as I am making it out to be, I just have to be far stricter and more controlled re things like dressings or, that one again, cheese and I am a crap at it. It also seems to make weight slower to come off, which is a massive morale sapper.
Back in a bit will reply more...

RickOShay Wed 13-Apr-16 14:18:51

Weight is an absolute bastard. I am almost not joking when I say I was lucky enough to have a stomach bug which shifted a few pounds, which then gave me the push to lose a few more, but to maintain an OK weight is bloody hard work and I am hardly stick thin. If you are not in the right frame of mind you just can't do it and spend your whole day saying fuck it, and stuffing a baguette in your mouth. Rather than beat yourself up over this, focus on other stuff for the moment, so hair, shoes jewellery that sort of thing, which might give you enough of a boost and feeling of being in control to then sort out the cheese consumption situation.
What colour have you decided for your hair?

Nancery Wed 13-Apr-16 17:29:13

Rick0Shay that's exactly it! I am very busy, and very active and it's far easier to live off sandwiches and the like in the day time and then have a lovely dinner (lots of veg, but I am not skimpy with the less healthy stuff either although my dinners are generally reasonably healthy) with what feels like a well earned large glass of wine with it. Not great I know, but my god its a hard habit to kick!

I have been reading the posts and taking note, and it's so nice to know that others are in a similar mindset. I agree that looking after a young child does take it's toll on other things (I am quite fussy about tidiness etc too, not obsessively but in comparison to both DH and DS) and it's easy to put yourself last, especially in the appearance department.

I suppose my clothes are okay really, it's just more the general overall package. I also tend to spend a lot on a few things and then wear them a lot so perhaps I am bored of the same dresses or whatever. I still love the stripes and slightly unusual stuff I used to be known for, but it's a hell of a lot milder than it was (and I think I find it harder to get my head around the idea of dressing similarly quirkily but also more age, and figure, appropriately.)

I have spoken to the colourist and she suggested the best way for me to go very blonde but with less commitment would be to have some very light highlights inc a few of bleach as the regrowth would be far more subtle. I said I wanted something a bit more out there than simply nice highlights and she assured me that it would be as it would lift very well (it's mousey blonde now) and we could also use a purple toner to make it more ashy than golden.

I think I need to try and get some weight off and then do it as a 'treat' - if nothing else, the idea of sitting in the hairdressers for several hours in front of a mirror does not appeal in the slightest! If only it was as easy to do as it is to type...

Nancery Wed 13-Apr-16 17:38:17

MamaLazarou I can't sew for toffee! My mum is a 'certified' dress designer though so I used to pass stuff onto her, but she tends to go through phases of being willing to make stuff so it doesn't often happen. I don't have the patience for it, although I am reasonably creative, and currently not the space you need - we are due to move soon and will then have lots of space, but that will also mean we have a large house to do up so the chances of me trying to learn how to sew are rather slim indeed! Good luck with your mid life crisis too - it sounds remarkably similar to mine! wink

whirlygirly Wed 13-Apr-16 19:09:27

Oh God I feel your pain. I'm on a mission to shed a stone as it's tipped my figure over from curvy to full on frumpy. I'm hour glass and can't get away with much extra weight.
It's affecting everything I wear so I've started with that first.

I've gone more natural on hair colour and a darker tone has made a real difference, endless highlights had added a touch of brass which didn't suit my skin tone.

I'm also trying on everything I own and getting shot of stuff which doesn't suit me any more. Relaxed skinnies are the best jeans shape, I'm wearing with casual blazers and ts from places like hush. That's the best representation of my style at the moment.

Nancery Wed 13-Apr-16 20:09:05

<waves>
crap isn't it?!

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