Tuesday 12 March 2013

From Frump to Fashion

This morning, I came across a great post by Sheila Gregoire of "...to Love, Honor and Vacuum," a blog dedicated to all things marriage (including sex!) from a Christian perspective.  Many of Sheila's posts resonate for me, and this series seems to have hit a note with a whole lotta women: Fight the Frump.   I'm finding myself inspired and affirmed and heartbroken reading through all the comments.  One thing is for sure, we women have a lot to say about our bodies and our style.

Naturally, it got me thinking about frumpy.  I have long been determined not to be a frumpy mommy, to put some effort into myself.  I don't consider this selfish in the least - I believe it is being a good steward of what God gave me.  Of course, there is a line and the line varies for different people.  For me, if "taking care of myself" started to infringe on my marriage, my family or my budget, that would be a good indication that things are crossing into selfish territory!  Otherwise, I have learned the hard way to have proper priorities - and "me" is right up there!  Without a happy healthy me, it is sure hard to have a happy healthy marriage, family, job, friendships, and everything else.  Put on YOUR oxygen mask first, they say.  We women tend to put our kids first, our church roles first, our husbands first, and culture seems to glorify that; a motherly sacrifice.  But IMHO, it may be a self-sacrifice but it isn't anything to brag about.  I'm much more interested in how women balance their roles and responsibilities and still maintain proper priorities... and of course I'm interested in personal style!

I think frumpy is less about clothes and more about attitude.  Some people wear sweats and a tee and look chic.  Some people wear business casual and look uncomfortable.  This much I know: it has nothing to do with size and nothing to do with budget, but time does play a role.  For example, I have friends of all shapes and sizes that have found awesome pieces at VV Boutique, but you need time to look around and try on.  Even if you can't find an item of clothing on every trip, you can often find finishing pieces like bags, scarves and accessories that make the outfit!  Repeat after me: it is okay to take time to shop for yourself.  This is necessary step in preparing yourself to fight the frump, and is exactly why What Not to Wear takes women away for a week!  You need to invest some time in order for it to flow smoothly on an ordinary day.

Since it's my day off, I had time to bribe ask my kids to snap some shots of my personal frumpy look...  For me, frumpy = yoga-type pants, plain tee, hoody and running shoes.  Note that I have no accessories, no make-up and my hair is pulled into a plain pony.  
Can't quite believe I'm sharing this.
 Hmmm, actually it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I said "personal frumpy look" because for some people, this outfit might make them feel great and that makes all the difference.  However, it doesn't do that for me!  I don't even relax at home looking like this; maybe when camping but even then I wear cuter shoes and comfy slouchy rolled jeans.  And accessories.  And mascara.  I liked how Sheila timed how long it took her to put together her looks, so I did the same!  It took me 1min 30 seconds to dress frumpy (including pulling my clothes out of the closet, tying up my shoes) plus 30 seconds to comb my hair and pull it in a pony.  Total: 2 minutes.

Here is how I fought the frump, using the same elements from the outfit above: comfy pants, comfy top, outer layer, comfy shoes:
Calvin Klein striped dress $50 from Winners last year, Oxmo leggings $40
Teal Cleo cardi $4.90 and Sperry Top-Siders $9.90 from VV Boutique
Necklace was an extra awesome gift and earrings are from my closet  

This outfit took 1min 50 seconds to put on including changing my mind about my cardi and accessorizing with earrings and a necklace.  These shoes have awesome tread and slip on and off hands-free!  Much more convenient than runners!
 My make-up and hair took 4min 35 seconds.  I should note that I don't wash my hair every day and usually take extra time to blow dry, straighten or curl it when I do wash it, and then I can get 3 or 4 more days mileage out of it!  In my "fashion" look, it's still a pony tail, but is styled much more polished.  Total time: 6min 25 seconds.  I think the difference is well worth four and a half minutes.  For anyone familiar with Fly Lady, you know the importance of "dressing to shoes" - for yourself, everyday.  It makes a difference in how your approach your home and your life.

I have an organized closet so could easily pull what I wanted - this is part of the prep that is an investment for your everyday life!  I figure, you either need a small wardrobe with quality pieces that you know will fit well and work together OR an ample wardrobe that allows some experimentation without being overwhelming and hard to navigate.  Same goes for accessories, bags and shoes.

I didn't have anything special planned today.  Other than the people I saw at school drop-off and pick-up, I didn't see anyone besides my kids, and my husband won't be home in time to see me in these clothes.  Because I'll be in jammies!!!  This is not a "special" dress and dresses by nature do not need to be reserved for special occasions.  In fact, the more you incorporate them into your everyday wardrobe, the better Styles per Cost or cost per wear you will get.  I found this look more comfortable than the stretch pants and tee which do nothing for my mid-section!  There's some discussion in Sheila's comments about aprons; well, girls, I have been wearing aprons since before I had kids, when I had a giant slobbery dog to content with.  Now, I slip one on as I prepare meals and pack lunches.  No need to change into something frumpy comfy!

Thank you Sheila for inspiring such a great conversation amongst women!  I look forward to reading more on the Fight the Frump series and seeing women reap the fruit in their real lives!


  1. Way to go! I LOVE that you timed yourself, too! That's what I find: so many people say "I don't have the time", but once you know what you're doing with hair and makeup, it really doesn't take any more time!

    Thanks so much for participating!

  2. Thanks for stopping by Sheila! I should've specified that I do a full face of make-up and still manage to get it done quickly! Glad you've inspired women to get past the frump!

  3. This post inspired me to wear make-up twice this week!

  4. Must do more of this this year. Ban the frump!

  5. You always look so lovely.


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