Don’t Be Frumpy: My 3 Anti-Frump Rules

Warning: This week I will talk about the ‘F’ word: Frumpiness. That manner of being that undermines your confidence and stops you putting your best foot forward, possibly because it’s clad in a Croc.

Mes belles, to live a chic life, don’t be frumpy.

What do I mean by frumpy? The proper question is: what do you mean by frumpy? Being chic is about being you – expressing what you like and who you are in a stylish and elegant way. So frumpy is a state of mind, it’s anything that puts you in a non-chic mindset. Don’t be frumpy means don’t dress or act in a way that undermines your own sense of chic.

For example, here are three things that make me feel frumpy.

Don’t be frumpy means don’t dress or act in a way that undermines your own sense of chic.

My Three ‘Don’t Be Frumpy’ Rules

1. Don’t wear clothes that are too baggy

On my frame (which is petite and easily swamped) anything voluminous looks fuddy-duddy. It stops me feeling chic or looking elegant. For this reason I choose more structured pieces.

To go out, my ‘uniform’ is skinny jeans paired with either a camisole and blazer in warmer weather or a chic, cosy knit in winter.

For work I often wear structured leggings and a fitted tank, with increasing layers and weights of chic sweaters as it gets colder (I feel the cold!).

Even to relax on the sofa in the evenings I wear casual pants and fairly fitted tees or sweaters. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with track pants and hoodies for downtime, but they make me feel frumpy.

Suggestions for you:

  • Notice when you feel frumpy or if you catch your reflection and don’t like the silhouette. Perhaps it’s florals, or large-scale patterns, or particular colours that make you feel blah. Don’t be frumpy! Remove these from your closet and package them up for donation – one woman’s frump is another woman’s fab.
  • Also notice what enlivens you, what brings out your inner elegance and outer style. Perhaps a bohemian ensemble or a signature colour make you feel your most chic. Then wear it more. And buy more in this style when you need to update pieces.

Notice what enlivens you, what brings out your inner elegance and outer style. Then wear it more.

2. Don’t stick to the same haircut past its prime

There’s nothing wrong with finding your ideal signature cut and sticking with it, as, say, Anna Wintour has done. But if you haven’t changed up your style in decades, it’s worth poking your head out the window and checking your train isn’t marooned in Frumpsville.

A few years ago my classic bob felt ho-hum, and I asked my stylist for something new. He urged me to try a pixie – and I never looked back. Except to admire the chic gradation rising from my neck. It suits my fine hair, garners compliments – even from people I barely know – and is ultra low-maintenance (mes amis, it air dries!). It aligns beautifully with my personal lifestyle philosophies of simplicity and minimalism.

Suggestions for you:

  • Are you clinging to a dated hair style that’s neither elegant nor flattering? Then make an appointment with your hairstylist to discuss a cut that’s better suited to your face and lifestyle. HINT: If you’re regularly asked if you’re on the way to an 80s themed party, then dial faster.
  • Perhaps your hairstylist is a purveyor of frump whose favourite tools include scissors, head-shaped bowls, and vats of blue rinse. Some relationships run their course, and perhaps it’s time to move on. Ask a friend who has a stylish cut for a recommendation.
  • Look for haircut ideas on Pinterest and save them to a Chic Hairstyles board. Over time, you’ll be drawn to styles you like, and can discuss these options with your hairstylist.

If you haven’t changed up your style in decades, it’s worth poking your head out the window and checking your train isn’t marooned in Frumpsville.

3. Don’t be closed to new ideas

I don’t have children so I lack that day-to-day exposure to the way the younger generation sees the world with which parents are, um, blessed. Every generation views things differently – mine did, yours did – and no-one is ‘wrong’. If I find myself resisting new ideas, I push myself to ask more questions. When I spend time with the kids of friends and siblings, I love to listen to their take on things and I try to see through their eyes. (Which reminds me: I need to update the prescription on my glasses.) I find their views to be an excellent antidote to mental frumpiness.

Suggestions for you:

  • If there’s an issue on which age divides the two sides, then open yourself to understanding the perspective of the younger generation. Do some research. Don’t be frumpy and let yourself get stuck in old patterns – enjoy new ideas and fresh thinking.
  • Let yourself be educated by your kids and the kids of family and friends. I’ve learned so much from young people!
  • Read books by younger writers, watch younger comedians, go to exhibits by younger artists – expose yourself to the next generation of thinkers.

An attitude of open-mindedness, a personal dress style that looks and feels elegant, a hairstyle that suits you and your lifestyle – these are just three ways to stop being frumpy and live a more chic life.

Read books by younger writers, watch younger comedians, go to exhibits by younger artists – expose yourself to the next generation of thinkers.

Your Chic Life Assignment For Week 1

  1. Review the ‘don’t be frumpy’ suggestions under each of my frumpy danger areas. Do any of these resonate with you? What can you do this week to stop being frumpy?
  2. If your frump zones differ from mine, then list your top three. Choose an action for each area that you will take this week.

This post is part of my 12-Week Series: 12 Ways To Live A Chic Life.
You can receive the weekly posts direct to your inbox by signing up for A Chic Life updates here.

Don't Be Frumpy: My 3 Anti-Frump Rules

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To live by conscious choice and not convention or habit. To have less, but better quality. To do more of what matters and less of everything else. To live with grace, elegance, style. To show love, kindness, compassion. To experience inner peace and joy…  Read More

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C’est Moi, Michele

Salut, I'm Michele. For me, 'chic' is more than how you look - it's how you do everything. A chic life is personal style, an organized home, elegance, confidence, living well, self-care, minimalism, joyful work, and happy relationships. And it all starts with knowing who you are. Thank you for joining me! Read More