Style and Fashion, over 40.

What makes an outfit frumpy? | Summer dresses, over 40.

Fake Fabulous | What makes a summer dress frumpy? Summer dress, espadrilles and oversized glasses | Green, Pink and White.

This week, we had a mini Scottish heatwave and it was verging on HOT at times.
The thermometer was up to 28 degrees, and I wanted to make the most of it.

I decided to wear this dress again, minus the thermal baselayer!
If I'm honest, it was because this dress has a comfortable built-in bra.
I was enjoying the heat, and could not be bothered with any 'digging in' or sweatiness associated with more structured undies.
{I am lucky to have a small enough bust to get away with this.}

This summer look is a very simple one.

A colourful dress.
Espadrilles.
Plus a few accessories, to add interest.
Nothing to it really.

Fake Fabulous | What makes a summer dress frumpy? Summer dress, espadrilles and oversized glasses | Green, Pink and White.

This dress is a bright (almost neon) colour and I love it!
It feels so fresh and vibrant.

The hemline is pretty short, but wearing the dress with flat shoes stops it looking too cheap and trashy.
These pink espadrilles are a fun, and practical, choice.

Adding a couple of necklaces (a choker length and one longer) provided coverage and interest to my neckline.
My green cashmere cardigan was on hand to fight any sudden chill (the weather can change dramatically quickly in Scotland) and also worked well to protect my pale skin against the midday sun.
{Good cashmere fabric is perfect in all weathers.}
Oversized white sunglasses, a pink belt and some bracelets finished my look off perfectly.

Fake Fabulous | What makes a summer dress frumpy? Summer dress, espadrilles and oversized glasses | Green, Pink and White.

Sundresses.
Simple, and stylish, right?

Well, not always!

Summer dresses can look fantastic but, they can also look very frumpy.

This got me thinking...

10 Easy Ways to look Frumpy, in a Sundress.

{And none of them are to do with your size!}

1. Sticking with trends from previous seasons or (worse) "your day".

This is a big one.
Wearing a certain style because it was in fashion when you were younger is a sure way to look frumpy and dated.

"I love this style....It was all the rage in my day...it looks great on me!"

{Arrrggggghhhhh!}

Wearing the fashions, and trends, of yesteryear is a one way ticket to frumpsville.

{Although, beautiful vintage items (styled well) look amazing.}

No, you will not look younger, like you did 'back in the day'.
You will look like a frumpy middle-aged women in an old dress.

And, while I am on the subject...

It still is "your day".
You are alive, aren't you?
You are able to get dressed, and are free to have fun with your clothes.
Your day is today!

Ditch the trends of your youth, and make the trends of now work for you.
You deserve it.

2. Self tie belts, or 'free' belts that come with your dress.

You know those fabric (or free) belts that come attached to dresses and tunics?
Bin them.
They look cheap and nasty, because they are.

You, on the other hand, are NOT...and deserve to look better.
Popping a good quality belt over your sundress can elevate it from "Whatever" to "Wow!"
Easy.

3. Wearing the Wrong Size.

A dress that is large (and loose) does not make you look slimmer, or hide your lumps and bumps, it just makes you look big and baggy....like you are trying to hide something.
Or, just trying to hide.

A dress that is too tight does not squeeze you into shape and make you look slimmer, you just look even larger and generally lumpier.
Not a great look at any size.

Buy a dress that fits.
If you don't like the size on the label, snip it out.
Looking good is more important than being able to say,
"This dress is a 12, you know!"

4. Frumpy Hemlines.

Hiding away under a frumpy hemline is not flattering.
Don't think because you are over 30 (or 40, or 50) you need to wear a certain length.
Forget about dressing "your age" and just pick something you love!
Style has nothing to do with the numbers on your birth certificate.

If your legs are decent, get them out.

If you would rather cover your pins, go maxi.
{More on that here}

If you do love a (tricky) midi length, then rock it!

5. Covering up your arms/neck.

Yes, covering your body provides comfort (and decency) but choosing a dress just because it has sleeves is not going to make your arms look thin and toned.

If you like the style, and it happens to have sleeves, then great.
But, if you are buying it just because it has sleeves, don't bother.

Choose a shape you love, then style it to suit your body.
You can always pop on a lightweight cardigan/coverup (or a soft denim jacket).

Likewise, covering your neck with a scarf (or high neckline) does not hide your wrinkles.
It just looks like you are hiding your neck, and draws the eye to that area.
Try a V (or open) neck and draw the eye away from your loose skin with a fabulous necklace, and a great bra!

Speaking of which...

6.  Wearing an old bra.

Bad Bra = Frumpy Old Maid.

An ill fitting bra (and pants) can ruin even the most modern dress.
If you are fastening your bra on the tightest hook, or it is looking washed out and a little grey, it is time to ditch it and get a new one.
Those puppies need support to look their best.
Treat yourself.
Your dress (and the rest of the world) will thank you for it!

7. Boring handbags.

Slinging a boring black handbag over your shoulder is an easy way to ruin your summer look.
Give your old faithful, had-it-forever, day-bag a rest and try something more vibrant and exciting.
Try a mini-bag or a tote or something silly!


8.  Ugly shoes (and feet).

Shoes can make or break an outfit.
Great footwear has the power to make a boring dress look beautiful and a beautiful dress look stunning.
Shoes are important.

Yes, I know comfort is key, especially on a hot day BUT there really is no excuse for ugly shoes.

{Although, sometimes an ugly shoe is a good thing!}

There are hundreds of comfortable and funky styles availible.
(See this post from Suzanne if you need some ideas.)

Don't forget your feet!

When feet are neglected your whole outfit can seem neglected, no matter how lovely it is.
It's like leaving the stickers on the bottom of your shoes...just because you can't see your cracked heels does not mean the rest of the world can't either.

It only takes a few minutes to buff and moisturise your feet, paint your toenails and trim any stray hairs off your toes.

9. Overdone hair and makeup

Nothing says "old frump" faster than overdone, lego hair.

Perfectly tonged curls (or flicks) and ironed fringes, frozen into place with a pile of hairspray, look dated and old fashioned.

A slightly undone, messy and ultimately sexy, hairstyle is much more modern.

{Take care to tame any ageing frizz}

Hair should whisper "touch me" not scream "Safety Helmet!"

Caking on the make up is another sure way to look 10 years older.
(Especially if it is the same makeup routine you had in "your day"!)

Not bothering with make up is almost as bad.
Something subtle with defined eyes, glowing skin and kissable lips is much more fresh and fun.

{Check out this tutorial if you need makeup for super-hot (and humid) conditions}

10. Being sour-faced.

This is just for fun, but probably the most important frump-factor of all!
A dour face is ageing.
Everyone looks better with a smile.

We all get lines and wrinkles eventually and crinkly eyes (and laughter lines) are much prettier than a scowls and jowls.


A great sundress, fun shoes and a big smile is the perfect summer look at any age!

Fake Fabulous | What makes a summer dress frumpy? Summer dress, espadrilles and oversized glasses | Green, Pink and White.

What says "Frumpy" to you?
Please share your thoughts in the comments....or contact me.

I love hearing from you!

{ADDED 23/01/2016: I have just read this post, from Anna...my blogging buddy...and she has got the sundress and sandals look NAILED, please check it out.}

SHOES: Mini Boden (these are nice)
DRESS: Charlie Jade (this slip dress is pretty)
CARDIGAN: Boden (very old) This season
NECKLACES & BRACELETS: Various gifts and charity shop finds
SUNGLASSES: Primark (these are cool)

GET the LOOK


37 comments

  1. I'm not sure you could ever come up with something frumpy in this print, Samantha!! It screams fun & lively! And you continued taking it there with the interesting shoes & necklaces!!
    It is interesting how no one yearns to be frumpy---yet it happens!
    jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It certainly is Jodie!
      No one goes out intending to look dowdy and frumpy...why does it happen?
      Is it all in the attitude?
      Is it as simple as a smile?
      Maybe.
      It certainly has nothing to do with dress size, colouring or age.
      If we find the root cause of frumpiness it could be like finding the elixir of life! :oP
      XXX

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  2. The print and colors of this dress are so pretty and look fabulous with your coloring!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am (trying) to rock my slightly blue-tinged limbs in a blue tinged dress :oP. XXX

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  3. I do think that frumpy is very subjective, like everything in fashion. What I consider frumpy someone else might consider fabulous.

    Truly in the end it is how we feel about ourselves that matters most.

    I adore the print on this dress and you in green. It is such a wonderful colour with your hair.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    Replies
    1. You are right Suzanne..... beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
      But, you must admit, there is often a little something that just makes an outfit work or not.
      Maybe it is (as you say) the confidence... feel good = look good.
      That might be the secret!
      So buying the dress you love regardless of age, shape, size...whatever...MUST be the secret!
      {That, and happy shoes :oD }
      XXX

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  4. Ohh, you caught me! The saggy bra one, GUILTY. The girls and I are in desperate need of a fitting and a couple of new bras. Everything will look better...and YOUNGER...once the girls have been hoisted north - thanks for the reminder!

    Bettye
    fashionschlub.com

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    Replies
    1. Hahahaha...I am glad I reminded you Bettye. Curves NEED extra TLC, and deserve to look great!
      My good friend is plus sized (not a blogger) and always looks FABULOUS. I am sure her secret weapons are great undies (the girls are up and at them) and a power pout (bright lippy). She is the reason I know for certain that style has nothing to do with dress size and everything to do with attitude! XXX

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  5. Super cute post Samantha and I totally agree with all your tips!

    You might like my post about Dressing for Success in Summer Heat: http://funkyforty.com/how-to-dress-for-success-in-summer/

    Have a super weekend sweetie xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Yvonne, I will! ...I just added you to my blogroll. XXX

      Delete
  6. For me, frumpy = bad proportions. Ankle pants are fine. Capri pants or pants that come mid-calf not fine. They are frumpy. Puffed or capped sleeves are frumpy. The cut of the sleeve is so important. I like my sundresses simple. When it is hot, the less I wear the better off I am. Here's what I wore on a recent visit to Cabris a few weeks ago: https://atypical60.com/2016/07/11/a-caprice-in-cabris/

    Enjoy my other posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh...what a pretty dress! So simple and perfect.
      I am prone to slittering so get nervous in white (although I have been known to wear it from time to time...packing wipes! :OD).
      You are right about the cut of sleeves and trouser lengths.
      I spend a lot of time 'people watching' and trying to figure out what it is about certain outfits that looks so good (or not). People are really fascinating. :oD

      Delete
  7. The dress reminds me of Spring! The most beautiful time of the year, well exept for this year then , full with rainy days! Fibrant colors and perfect Green cardigan. I think its all in the attitude, when you are Happy and convidant then you wear that out and that is more beautiful then a nice outfit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The dress reminds me of Spring! The most beautiful time of the year, well exept for this year then , full with rainy days! Fibrant colors and perfect Green cardigan. I think its all in the attitude, when you are Happy and convidant then you wear that out and that is more beautiful then a nice outfit.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You are right Nancy. Confidence is everything...but it's getting the confidence that is the hard part!
      I think that putting a nice outfit together helps find the confidence to make it look good...it is a cycle, looking good = confidence=looking good....and on it goes.
      Break into this cycle and you are laughing! Literally!! :oD
      XXX

      Delete
  9. Hmm..I was pondering over this, like many we have those old things we like to hold on too because once a upon a time it was jaw-dropping on us, now outdated, hence once a time..but I m thinking maybe we can revamp those items we refuse to part with, a cardigan like you have here, maybe a summer scarf and viola! And yes, shoes can't have ugly shoes, nothing like ugly shoes to make an outfit even more dated say, "I don't care how I look", when the truth is we really do...hmm..refashioning old frocks comes to mind?...What are your thoughts?...Margie...PS still having a hard time posting on this with my ID..gradstudentmargie@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. I like the idea of refashioning old dresses, restyling them, adding modern shoes....even getting them altered (I wish I was better with the sewing machine) XXX

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  10. Oh but, got a little off topic, attitude is everything, you can have a great outfit..but if you don't smile or you slouch or you have a chip on shoulder attitude, doesn't matter how great your outfit looks, you can still look frumpy...Margie..gradstudentmargie@gmail.com

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    1. Indeed! Attitude is everything...but it's overcoming that first hurdle that is sometimes the hardest. Getting the confidence to have the attitude. Thank you Margie for these great comments! XXX

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  11. I'm always for splashes for colours in an outfit, so this outfit gets two thumbs up from me! Seriously am into the red and white striped espadrilles, I don't know why I don't have those in my closet. My favourite thing about this post though is actually your eye makeup - LOVE how you've lined your eyes with the blue! Subtle but yet impactful!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Liyana. I love a bit of teal liner and feel that (as I am getting older) I need more...and brighter!! No point pretending I don't have any lines on my face. I am embracing the fact I can have fun with makeup. Thank you so much for noticing....and your lovely comment! XXX

      Delete
  12. Wonderful post! Your dress is fab and your advice is spot-on. Esp about having an unhappy look - that will age anyone! Thanks for linking, xo

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Patti...I am a firm believer in "You get the face you deserve".
      Smiling is always the best option. XXX

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  13. Great reading, very interesting and some good ideas. Nice to link up . Jacqui
    www.mummabstylish.com

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  14. Your sundress is just a bright, summery splash of "YOU" Samantha. Your fearless enjoyment of color is even more vibrant on a happy, warm summer day. I think the hardest thing for many women is lacking the confidence to wear that confidence on their face and in their fashion. So many women just "wish" they could wear a particular look. The reality is there are many looks and the CAN make one (or more) their own. You GO GIRLS!!

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  15. Your sundress is just a bright, summery splash of "YOU" Samantha. Your fearless enjoyment of color is even more vibrant on a happy, warm summer day. I think the hardest thing for many women is lacking the confidence to wear that confidence on their face and in their fashion. So many women just "wish" they could wear a particular look. The reality is there are many looks and the CAN make one (or more) their own. You GO GIRLS!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ooooo except for a couple of nasty typos/letters left off. Dang it I hate when those happen!:×!!!

      Delete
    2. Ooooo except for a couple of nasty typos/letters left off. Dang it I hate when those happen!:×!!!

      Delete
    3. It happens to me all of the time! My fingers can't keep up with my brain :oD Don't worry...I 'autocorrected' in my head :oP

      Delete
  16. love your sundress and glad you could wear it barelegs (and without usual thermal undies). It's a fab color combo and also fab bijouterie. I think that wearing cool accessories makes everything look way better, beautiful jewelry and an interesting bag, and pretty shoes!!.
    Obviously, there will be always bad hair days, but I don't give up, and there are hairpins and hats too!. I think that a nice hairstyle and cool shoes could rock any outfit!!
    You share the best advice!!
    besos

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    1. Hahahaha...yes Monica! The thermals had a day off...although they are back out today! XXX

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  17. Finally catching up with some reading Samantha and have to give you a big hug for linking through to my sundress post x Your little bright sundress is so cute. I love all your clever tips to avoid frumpsville! Always makes good reading, these how to features. Hope you get another burst of summer soon x
    Anna

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    1. There seems to be less and less chance of that elusive, balmy late summer...but we always have hope, don't we? :oD. Thank you Anna. XXX

      Delete
  18. Very cute print on that dress there!
    Now, if I could fit in dresses that I wore "back in the day" (which were vintage pieces from the 50s/60s) I would not look frumpy at all! My joy would radiate fiercely and banish any iota of frump. Alas, won't happen. Pass me another cupcake, please. Hehheh.

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    1. Hahahaha...thank you for this comment Anne. You are right, it's all in the attitude!! Maybe you could find a vintage piece to fit you now (or vintage inspired) and radiate some of that joy. XXX

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