Feeling Frumpy?- Little Ways We Let Ourselves Go

frumpy woman - Feeling Frumpy
frumpy woman

I love wearing heels, but after I left my job as a television producer and began working in a home office, I found I was wearing them less and less. I miss wearing heels – they make me feel sexy and confident and attractive – so lately I’ve been trying to wear them more and more.

Funny enough, I feel like a little kid learning to walk again, and that’s made me realize how easy it is to slip into a style rut.

I have a friend who, because of a health issue, had to stop wearing makeup for a time. Fair enough but when her health improved, because she was out of the habit of wearing makeup, she didn’t bother starting to use it again.

Putting on foundation or blush just felt like too much work. If she were happy with that, there wouldn’t have been any problem, but she told me that when she looked in the mirror, she felt old and drab. She convinced herself that others saw her that way too and she began to feel uncomfortable in social situations.

Things finally turned around when, on a whim, she had a mini-makeover at a department store cosmetic counter. She loved the results but not only that; she realized she had given up. She decided right then and there to put in the effort to improve her grooming.

No one ever decides to consciously get into a rut or let themselves go, but the truth is that it’s a slippery slope. It starts with little things, like not bothering to change out of your “uniform” of yoga pants and a t-shirt when you run out to get groceries, going too long between haircuts and coloring because you just don’t have the time for a trip to the hairdresser, or not getting enough rest or exercise because between work, kids, and your aging parents, there’s just no time.

I get it, as women we have a ton of expectations placed on us at this stage of life, but I think it’s sad that in all of that, we’re the ones who tend to come last.

Some of you might think this is nonsense, that there are more important things in life to devote our time to than always trying to look pulled together. Or maybe you think it doesn’t matter, that at our age we’ve earned the right not to have to try hard or worse, that no one is looking at us anyway.

While I do agree that we midlife women have bigger things on our plates than our appearance, I also know for a fact that all of us, regardless of our age, feel better overall when we respect ourselves enough to take some time for ourselves.

What do you think? Do we let ourselves go as we get older? Have any of you fallen down that slippery slope? Have you managed to pull yourself back up? And if so, how did you do it? I’d love to hear your story. Comment below.

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5 thoughts on “Feeling Frumpy?- Little Ways We Let Ourselves Go

  1. I am 47 yrs old and work in aged psychiatry. I have many depressed ladies i see. I can guage how their mood is by how they are caring for them selves. As their depression subsides they will great me with lippy on, nails done or a new scarf. I always look colourful going to see them, they love to see what im wearing. It is such an imprtant thing to not get in a rut and neglect yourself.

    1. Hi Rachelle,
      That’s really interesting. I bet the colors they wear changes too. They probably wear less black or dark colors.
      I find that color, is a powerful mood changer. Cheers, Deborah

  2. Just a little background. I forgot to add that I left a career in court reporting to raise my six children. I have been a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years, and still am; but I am now in the jewelry business part time as well. I homeschool my kids and have been for over 20 years. Our oldest received a full ride to college based on her PSAT/SAT scores. She was a national merit scholar. Our oldest two are grown now. And I have a sweet little grandson. The four remaining at home are 3, 6 12 and 14. My 3 year old has special needs. So life is busier than ever, but I have made a commitment to take of myself along with my family and part of that is caring about how I look. I blog over at

  3. Having six kids, I had definitely fallen into the frumpy mom slump. What woke me up was having teenage daughters, who are grown now. They just wouldn’t let up about how bad I looked, pointing out the “mom jeans” and prairie skirts, etc. Then one day I caught a glimpse of my reflexion in a store window, and boy was that scary. My self-esteem had really plummeted as well. I finally started paying attention and slowly started making changes. I allowed my daughter to go in my closet and fill up trash bags with clothes. Did that ever hurt! I mean, not my favorite t-shirts from the 80’s! But away they went, along with the denim jumpers and on and on. I became a student of fashion and started reading what not to wear books, how not to look old books, fashion blogs, and your blog, of course. I’ve learned how to accessorize, what colors work for me, how to apply my makeup to work for my older skin, for example, that red lipstick on older women will make them look even older, and how to work with my hair. I have chosen go natural. I have silver hair, which I am loving. I am still learning, but I have come a long way. I feel so much better about myself, and I get so many compliments.

  4. It’s funny — for me, a heel lover in the past, I am finding it tricky to wear heels without looking frumpy, whereas wearing current flats feels not just practical but also more fashion forward. (Obviously it depends on the flats in question.) I love the femininity of a gorgeous stiletto court shoe (pump) but it is so difficult to make my outfit look current and interesting as opposed to merely smart and on the frumpy or at least unfashionable side of things. I do have some more current high heels that I have less trouble with.

    I don’t wear much if any makeup but that is not about letting myself go — I just think makeup tends to look pretty bad on older women, unless they stick to just a little mascara and a lip stain and possibly a little blusher. I avoid foundation (including the BBs and CCs) and powder at all costs.

    It takes a lot more work than it used to to stay very fit and slim but like you, I’m not into letting myself go.

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