Are you tired of feeling frumpy in your clothes? These 4 steps will help you say goodbye to ill-fitting outfits and that “ugh” feeling when what you wear just isn’t working.
Today I’m going to talk about the F word: frumpy. We’re going to talk about what you can do. The four big steps you can take to create the perfect wardrobe for you so you can stop feeling like a frumpy, frantic hot mess. I don’t use the frumpy word a whole lot. I have my reasons, but it’s one of those words that’s kind of fuzzy and everybody seems to have a different definition of what it means.
For me, I tend to think of frumpy as wearing clothes that are too big or too baggy, don’t fit you properly, and make you look like you’re wearing a potato sack. Maybe it’s the wrong colors. Many of you probably have different definitions of what it means to look frumpy. But what about what it means to feel frumpy?
I think that one’s a little harder to define because sometimes we can be wearing something that is supposed to look cute but we still don’t feel our best. Maybe you went to Pinterest and you were scrolling even though I told you not to, and you decided to copy an outfit because it looked great on some influencer who’s 5’10” and a size six.
Let’s say you’re like me. I’m 5’1” and three-quarters cheating and saying 5’2″. I’m also a size 10, with short arms and a short torso. Not built anything like that influencer. That outfit, which looks great on her and great on a lot of people, doesn’t look great on you. Even if it looks passively okay and no one’s going to really give you a hard time or it’s so trendy enough that people are going to believe it’s fine because it’s trendy.
You might feel frumpy because it’s not authentic to who you are. It’s not in alignment with your personal style, how you look, how you dress, or any of those things. Today I really want to share with you the four steps to curating the perfect wardrobe for you so you can enjoy that. You can avoid that frumpy feeling that we all hate so much.
Table of Contents
Stop Feeling Frumpy Step #1: Use Color and Style to Identify What Makes You Look Great
The first thing I’m going to tell you is to start with color. And I’m going to add style. You need to take the time to use color and style to identify what makes you actually look great. A really simple example is people’s love of the color black. Many of us can wear black and it works fine. Some people can wear black and it’s stunning.
Other people need to avoid black like the plague because it makes them look tired and exhausted and drains the color from their faces. It doesn’t really do them any favors. Black is everywhere. It’s an easy color to pick up. It’s an easy neutral to match to everything. You don’t have to think about it or overthink it.
Taking the time to find your best version of black is a great way to take the first step in your wardrobe. I talk a lot about finding your best colors and then creating a color palette. because this helps you to really streamline the process and gives you some limits. Limits are great when it comes to your wardrobe. You need limits. I need limits. We all need limits.
We don’t need a wardrobe filled with anything and everything we could possibly imagine because we’re bound to lose out on who we are when that happens. Beyond just our colors, find things about your style that make you happy. You can take quizzes that’ll give you little descriptors about your style, maybe boho or classic, but when it comes down to it, these words don’t really distill much down for you.
They just give you a box that doesn’t make a lot of sense. One of the things that you can do to really take your style to the next level is create a mood board. Collect images that you find beautiful and then do some analysis to see what jumps out at you. Are there colors that jump out at you? Are there feelings that jump out at you from the pictures?
Did you pick certain types of scenery over and over again? Do you need to have a beachy vibe because you picked 10 pictures that were beaches? This kind of personal exploration into your color and your style is the very first thing that I always recommend to help you find things that make you look great.
Stop Feeling Frumpy Step #2: Explore Specific Clothing Items to Find Your Perfect Look
The second tip I have for you is to do some exploration of style. A lot of people do this in a way that I don’t like: scrolling Pinterest. They think they will scroll through Pinterest and try to make some outfits, but don’t do that. I have something better for you. I have what I like to call the Great Expedition.
What you can do is go to a mall or an outdoor mall, any place really that has a ton of clothing stores because you want a lot of options. I want you to go by yourself and I want you to try on as many things as you can. Try on as much as you can and take notes about what you like and what you don’t like, but don’t buy anything. Literally, you’re not allowed to buy anything at all.
Just go and try on a bunch of clothes. It does more for you because you can avoid Pinterest or Instagram and saying, oh, that looks great on this person, and then it doesn’t look great on you. You’re actually trying things on your body right there to see if you like it or not. Go with your gut instinct.
Don’t talk yourself into liking it just because it’s supposed to be trendy or fashionable, or it’s supposed to be a wardrobe staple. If you put it on and you love it immediately, that’s a good one. Any other feeling is pretty much a no because if you put it on and you start hemming and hawing in your head and trying to talk yourself into it, it’s a no. If you have to talk yourself into a piece of clothing, it’s just a no.
Make some time and schedule a day. Go try on as much stuff as you can to explore specific clothing items that you actually really like.
Stop Feeling Frumpy Step #3: Plan and Shop Style Uniforms Needed for Your Lifestyle
The next thing on my list is to create a set of style uniforms. I’ve talked about this and I teach this at length but really, you just need one great outfit. What is your go-to outfit? Is it a pair of jeans and a t-shirt? Great. Buy several versions of that and then figure out how you can dress it up, dress it down, and add accessories that bring your fun to it. There’s nothing wrong with having a go-to outfit.
Maybe your go-to outfit is a dress and a cardigan. That would be me! How can you make this work for you? Don’t overthink it. Don’t think that you need to have 50 different outfit variations in your closet, because I promise you that you don’t. You need three to five probably for any given season. And even that might be excessive. Focus on the one outfit that you love and that always makes you feel good.
Figure out how you can replicate this in your wardrobe, even between seasons. For example, let’s say in the summertime, you like Bermuda shorts and a short-sleeved v-neck tea. How can we translate that to the winter? Maybe a pair of slacks of some sort possibly Chino pants. If you like colored Bermuda shorts, we can go with colored chino pants and then you can get V-neck sweaters.
It’s the same basic outfit, it’s the same basic silhouette. You simply changed it up for the seasons. You don’t need 50 outfits, you only need one super great outfit variation that you can wear in multiple different ways.
Stop Feeling Frumpy Step #4: Continue Mindfully Curating Your Wardrobe with Seasonal Shopping
The final tip to take when you are really trying to build your own wardrobe is to change the way you approach shopping. Don’t think of shopping as a constant accumulation of things for your ever-growing collection. Don’t think of it as an exercise in finding the next perfect thing for your wardrobe, because I can guarantee you there is no next perfect thing for your wardrobe.
If there was I would’ve found it by now because I spent years searching for the next perfect thing. There are just clothes that I really like to wear and clothes that make me feel great. Now that I know what those are, instead of dealing with that shiny object syndrome and chasing down that perfect wardrobe item that’s going to make everything even better.
I focus on what I actually love. Twice a year I make a list and I add about five new quality items to help me curate my wardrobe, to keep it fresh. This forces me to really think long and hard about what I want, about what I need, about what my wardrobe, and what will work best with my wardrobe.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Feeling Frumpy
These are my four tips, the things that I really believe in and teach my clients. There are the things that I personally do day in and day out in my own wardrobe throughout the year and the seasons as the seasons change. This is how I have come to have a wardrobe that makes me happy, that is filled with only clothes that I love.
I don’t wear things that don’t work for me. I don’t keep things that I order that are not definite yeses. I’m really confident and sure of who I am at this point in my fashion. That’s not to say it’s not going to change because it is going to change. That’s the other thing too, when you know yourself, the changes that come at you are so much easier to navigate because you have a baseline for who you are, what your own personal style is, what is authentic for you, what makes you look great, and what makes you feel great.
You can avoid that feeling of frumpiness. I’ll be honest with you when I wear loungewear on my lazy days, I still feel a little bit frumpy. I think that’s just one of those things that sometimes clothes are going to make you feel frumpy because they’re not intended to be going out clothes. But we can minimize those times and we can minimize those days by being mindful and being intentional with the things we wear and how we show up.
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These 4 essential steps will lead you to the wardrobe of your dreams so you don’t have to worry about feeling frumpy.
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.