How to not look middle aged

(994 Posts)
Justtakeatowel Wed 17-Jun-20 19:30:26

I've seen a few pictures of my recently and I look frumpy. I don't mind looking my age (mid 40s) but I just look uurgh.

I've started curly girl and I think curly hair ages me loads! Where do I need to buy from to make myself a bit more with it? I've a tendency to buy cheap supermarket stuff which I think isn't always cut the best and I'm willing to spend a bit more.

I'm 5 ft 7 and 9 stone 9 if that makes a difference but a definite apple and have a bit of a belly which I think adds to the frumpiness


OP’s posts: |
thedevilinablackdress Wed 17-Jun-20 21:12:03

You're going to have to give us a bit more to go on. What sort of style do you like. What's your lifestyle. How much do you want to spend.
And there's nothing wrong with being middle-aged. Can we not use it as an insult? It's not a bad thing. I'm middle aged and have awesome style (IMHO)

IsolatedIzzy Wed 17-Jun-20 21:29:36

Weight I think is a big player, I've put a lot of weight on and I think that makes me look more middle aged!

And hair - I've always had a lot of quite messy, longish rock chic hair, fine when you're 30!

All of a sudden rock chic has gone and fat middle aged woman with messy hair appeared!! I had it cut into a medium choppy bob, at least it has some shape to it! I wish the fat bit was so easy to fix! ☹️

dementedma Wed 17-Jun-20 21:31:27

9 stone 9 at 5 foot 7 has to be super slim!

GazingAndGrazing Wed 17-Jun-20 21:34:29


Weight I think is a big player, I've put a lot of weight on and I think that makes me look more middle aged!

And hair - I've always had a lot of quite messy, longish rock chic hair, fine when you're 30!

All of a sudden rock chic has gone and fat middle aged woman with messy hair appeared!! I had it cut into a medium choppy bob, at least it has some shape to it! I wish the fat bit was so easy to fix! ☹️

I’m the same! I could have written your post line by line.

My hair is such a mess, it’s naturally curly, too long, too many speckles of grey and always worn in a messy bun which used to look alright.

I really do look like Aunt Flo now...

ZaraCarmichaelshighheels Wed 17-Jun-20 21:36:11

Yes more info needed! You are tall and slim so you can easily look fabulous, what’s your current style that makes you look frumpy?

Clockonmantlepiece Wed 17-Jun-20 22:18:41

Unfortunately you are going to need to spend more money. Much more.
I went through this too.
It's like a taboo / secret that no other woman will tell you but it's quite simple, and they all do it, then lie about it.

Buy more expensive clothes from cool shops.
Do not shop for clothes in supermarkets.
Have expensive haircut. Keep it maintained.
Have botox. This is important.
Optional - Have fillers.
Wear heels. Watch youtube video on styling and copy them.
Have nails and eyebrows done professionally in 'natural' (ha!) beauty style.
Keep fit - optional
I'm not sure about face cream. I think its a myth.

I know you'll think the above is ridiculous and not for you.
The secret is, it can all be done so subtly, that 'maybe she's born with it'. (Like fuck she is!). They perpetrate the myth that the above is only for barbie / Katie price types. They are lying. Above is most often just done to a 'naturally healthy' stage to eliminate frumpiness.


Gigia Wed 17-Jun-20 22:21:15

Agree totally with @Clockonmantlepiece

MeMeMeYou Wed 17-Jun-20 22:26:55

I have got slack in the last year on diet and exercise but when I felt this way I went low carb and bought a kettle bell rather than buy new clothes. I realised that whatever I bought it wouldn’t look good unless i sorted my tummy and core out. Even cheap clothes hung well then. I must get back on it as I lasted a couple of years but I’ve fallen by the wayside

TableNiner Wed 17-Jun-20 22:48:02

Very tricky territory. I agree with a pp that ultimately there’s nothing wrong with being and looking middle aged. The alternative is worse. Also it only does get worse.

Some people would criticise us for being try too hard, the dreaded mutton dressed as lamb or over coordinated in your right ‘colours’.

I also agree that not surrendering is a lot of work. A lot of subtle effort to look anywhere as good as 10-15 years ago.

One thing I’ve begun to think, from observing ladies older than me, is that ultimately subtly doesn’t work (or just becomes too much to keep up with) and to counteract the invisibility of being an older lady you might as well go all out, wear whatever you like, even if that’s a load of sequins and transfers.

I like watching Trinny’s fashion videos as although I don’t like everything she wears, and she clearly has access to things us mere mortals do not, she does not look middle aged at 57 and you can pick up a few tips, for example on necklines and jewellery. Jewellery is important as can make you look a bit more with it without major investment

mrslebon Wed 17-Jun-20 23:07:21

Disagree with the comment about Botox being ‘important’ and the need for fillers. Start with a good skincare routine! As regards putting on weight, what kind of exercise do you like to do? There’s a TON of stuff online at the mo, for example, Alice Liveing’s free workouts on Instagram.

ListenToIronMaidenBaby Wed 17-Jun-20 23:15:51

If you have grey hair then colour it! Regularly! That will help massively :-)

LaurieFairyCake Wed 17-Jun-20 23:23:01

I have to disagree with the 'wear heels'

I'm very short and booby and I've embraced laceless trainer styles - looks so much more edgy than heels

I urge you to find your 'style' - I'm art teacher/geek/potter - relaxed, non try hard, pretty boho

There's goth, Hampstead lady, many other 'styles' - find you

irishfeminist Wed 17-Jun-20 23:34:51

I found the "Botox and fillers" being "very important" really depressing too. Everyone thinks they aren't noticeable if you pay enough for them; well they are. And they make everyone look the same with the weird flat screen TV forehead and the slightly "off" proportions of the rest of your face. Even very wealthy/famous women.

OP, I'm mid 40s and it's bloody hard - weight and fitness are hugely important to keep weight off and I do Youtube workouts like The Body Project and pilates most days. Otherwise my body just collapses!

I agree about getting a decent hairdresser too, and good grooming.

Judystilldreamsofhorses Wed 17-Jun-20 23:40:36

I’m mid 40s and shorter/heavier than you - 5/6, ten stone. I don’t have Botox or fillers, but do have a good skin-care routine, and I have quite a definite “style” in terms of hair and makeup - my hair’s in a Louise Brooks type bob, and I always wear red lipstick. I usually have my hair cut every five weeks, so right now it is a lot longer than I would like, but because it’s a good cut it looks okay. (I have trimmed the fringe though.)

What I think is important is to know what to spend money on. For example, I buy cheap t-shirts, but pay more for jeans and trousers to get as good a fit as possible. I know Cos trousers are best for me, and Whistles and Levi’s for jeans. I spend more on winter clothes than summer clothes, and I always have decent leather shoes/boots/bags. I know what suits me, even if other people don’t like it. Things like frills and fussy prints are not my cup of tea and don’t work (although I love them on other people) so I steer clear of those. I have a large number of grey crew necked jumpers, and black polo necks, as winter staples - very boring, but very “me”. I’m quite pear-shaped, but if I was more apple I would probably spend more on tops. I always tuck things in, or have them end at the waistband, but I have friends who carry more weight on the tummy and look fab in more drape-y things. They tend to have better bums/legs!

I (usually) get my eyebrows waxed/threaded every three weeks, and do my own nails a couple of times a week. Again, usually, I get an airflow polish on my teeth every three or six months, regular checkups. I don’t go to the gym but - ha, usually again - do about 18,000 steps on a regular working day - I am aiming for 10,000 just now but commuting to my kitchen doesn’t work quite as well.

I don’t even own heels, they don’t work with my style, but I have a large trainer collection, and look after shoes/boots well in terms of cleaning/cobbler etc. (Also, I know Mumsnet hates this, but I iron everything!)

AnnaNimmity Wed 17-Jun-20 23:49:27

Well you can look frumpy in your 30s if you wear the wrong clothes.

I don't agree with @Clockonmantlepiece fwiw. I don't look frumpy and haven't had botox, wear heels or have fillers. In fact I know people in their 30s who do that and as a result look much older and frumpier than they should.

But I think the key is wearing the right clothes for you, having a good hair cut and being slim. Agree having eyebrows done is good too, although not like thick caterpillars.

And some things are inherently frumpy - fitflops being a prime example.

I think it's also about finding out what suits you. So there are many labels I would never wear but which look ok on other people - boden, sea salt, toast, hush, jigsaw, hobbs, etc . and lengths of skirts I can't wear (knee length) or styles I can't wear. You get the picture - it's about finding what suits you.

AnnaNimmity Wed 17-Jun-20 23:50:34

And nothing wrong with looking your age! But no need to look awful.

onlinelinda Wed 17-Jun-20 23:53:23

Your BMI is 21.1, which is absolutely not overweight.

Halo84 Thu 18-Jun-20 00:01:26

OP, book an appointment with the best salon in your city. Get a stylish cut and highlights. It really makes a difference.

Book a makeover at Sephora, or at one of the make up counters in a department store. You don't need to go all out as they will, but they will give you good tips.

Clothing - buy a few key pieces and spend a lot of money on them. Key first is excellent undergarments, particularly a supportive bra. Tops - V necks are best for apple shapes. Empire waists are also good as they hide your stomach. Tops with detail at the top, drawing the eye upward, are also good. Tops should be long, to your hipbone, ideally. They should just skim over your stomach, but not be too loose, as it makes the area look larger.

Monochromatic dressing (pants/skirt/top) gives a longer look. You can have an different colour jacket or topper.

Pants - side zipper or elastic waist are best for apple shapes. Avoid pleats.

Shoes - ensure they are polished and stylish.

wowfudge Thu 18-Jun-20 00:08:47

I have to disagree with dyeing grey hair - too dark a colour on someone who is greying can be far more aging as it emphasises that your skin tone has changed with age. Your skin and face, and genes tbh, are more of an indicator of age.

blueshoes Thu 18-Jun-20 00:27:01

Keep slim.
Draw your eyebrows. They fade with age. It is the one thing that instantly takes years off my face.
Wear clothes with a bit more structure, better quality fabrics. Less disposable fashion.
Hair - I am still working on this one.

IdblowJonSnow Thu 18-Jun-20 00:36:29

Same boat here. I really need botox right now, not just to get rid of wrinkles but I just wear a perpetual frown which makes me look scary!
Agree hair and brows are things that make a real difference in most people.

Justtakeatowel Thu 18-Jun-20 07:35:16

You are all right about the middle aged thing, I shouldn't use it as an insult, I suppose I don't want to look frumpy and that can happen at any age.

I am not overweight, I don't think anyone said I was or I did did I? But I do have a belly that bloats and I end up with a strange shape by the end of the day. I am broad shoulders so I need to buy size 12 generally on my top half. I don't carry what weight I have well so I do need to tone up my core as I think this would help me. I've also noticed my posture is crap as I've always felt gangly so I think I stoop. I need to stop that!

My 'style' is quite relaxed, t shirts, sweaters. I see other people looking great but I think, like you've confirmed, because I buy cheap the cut just isn't quite right.

I've put 3 pictures on, they are rubbish because I can't seem to find any full length ones of me at all! The vest top one shows a bit of my shape. The jumper is the kind of thing I like to wear!

I think that maybe I'll need to ditch the curly girl method once this is all over as it isn't flattering at all. I won't try Botox, it's more the overall look I'm concerned about. I just don't want to be frumpy

I need to find some shops that actually have my style and take it from there and stop buying so cheap!!!!

OP’s posts: |
Floisme Thu 18-Jun-20 08:18:44

I really do look like Aunt Flo now...
You called? hmm

We really have done a number on ourselves haven't we?

I think you have to find a way into this that you're going to enjoy because quite honestly all these self maintenance lists look exhausting. So if you get pleasure out of paying someone £200 to stick needles in your eyes then crack on. Me, I'll stick to clothes.

I gave up on supermarket clothes because they used to go saggy before I'd even washed them, and frankly my body is saggy enough. I doubt you're at that stage yet but you could try upgrading one item - e.g. jeans or T shirts and see if that makes a difference.

When your body changes the first thing you sometimes notice is that your favourite clothes don't look good on you any more. If I ever say on here that I've worked out what suits me and found my style then you will know that zombies have taken over my account. I think it's better to recognise that you're changing and to keep moving, reviewing your style, trying new looks, getting it wrong, trying again.

And if all of that sounds too much like hard work then find something that isn't. Put your energy into skincare instead or getting fit or finding a lipstick that lights up your face.

Just please don't do it because you don't want to look middle aged because quite frankly, you are middle aged and you will look that way until you're old and then you will wonder what the hell you were complaining about.

Floisme Thu 18-Jun-20 08:23:37

I forgot to say, I like the jumper on you and it shows off your shape. I think the vest top looks a bit clingy but quite honestly you have such great legs that no-one will notice. I'm not so keen on the stripy top but I might just be projecting there because those colours make me look a bit washed out - they might look fine on your. I prefer your hair wavy.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in