Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Frump Girl

This is how I feel I look most days. Dumpy, frumpy, beige, blending in to the woodwork, boring. Certainly not in any way, shape or form attractive. And this isn't a weight thing. Well, not fully.

I think (rather, I fervently hope) that it's pretty typical of a stay at home mother to feel this way. Most of the SAHMs I talk to seem to feel pretty frumpy most of the time. And really, there's a point to such frumpiness: Why dress up when you're going to get covered in boogers, blood and baby food (and that's on a good day)? What's the point? Who has the time or money to dry clean all those cute clothes? Not me, that's for sure. Pointy-toed shoes, according to Stacy and Clinton, may look great and give you a long, lean leg line, but they're hell for chasing around a speedy toddler or running around the park. I'll stick to my Keds.

I don't want to be Frump Girl, though, that's the thing. I want to look put together. I'm tired of wearing snot-stained jeans, of having my shirt smeared with oatmeal and blueberries, of having my hair sticky with banana before 10 a.m.. I've stopped buying white shirts - if the babies don't ruin them, I will.

How do I dig myself out of this rut? How do I care about how I look again? I'm not a frilly, frou-frou-ey person. I never have been (well, there was that brief period in the 80s, but let's not go there). I don't want to wear the latest fashion (they don't make them in my size anyway) and I don't want to be uncomfortable. But I'd really like to look better, to wear a bit of make up, fix my hair every day, look more with it and less frazzled. Less Frump Girl.


Christine said...

Your picture doesn't work :(

Lara said...

okay, i feel like part of me wants to just tell you that you are great and you don't need to worry about looking any better than you do.

but another part of me hears in this a genuine desire to make changes. not necessarily because you're not absolutely fine just the way you are - because you are - but because you want to feel better. so to that end, i do have some suggestions.

first and foremost, keep it simple. it is, in fact, possible to buy things that look cute while still being casual, comfortable, and easy to clean. one of the things that makes the biggest difference in how things look is the fit - a simple black t-shirt that fits well (not too tight, not too baggy) can be very cute, with jeans (also not too tight, not too baggy) and sneakers or flip flops.

keep colors simple too, and bring in some brightness with accessories. buy a pair of sneakers, for example, that aren't just white or black, but maybe have some shades of green or blue or pink (depending on your preferences). a cute scarf belt can add some brightness, as could a cute headband (which also holds your hair out of your face). and when you're going out, bring a functional and comfy bag that is a vivid shade of purple or red or something.

once things fit well, they'll be a lot more comfortable. if you buy stuff that is machine washable - just check the tags - you can feel free to get them dirty without too much concern. just throw them in the washer and they'll be fine. personally, i recommend trying to shop at target or old navy or maybe the gap. you can get relatively nice stuff that's almost always machine washable but is comfy and cute. payless or target for shoes.

as to makeup, a little blush, a quick brush of mascara, and a dab of gloss can make a huge difference, and it takes about two minutes in the morning. if you feel like adding more, find a shade of eyeshadow you really like and that brings out your eyes, and (if you're feeling really ambitious) go for foundation to even out your skin tone before moving to the other stuff.

okay, i realize i've rambled for far too long. sorry if i sound snotty about this - i certainly am not an expert or anything. but i do consider myself moderately fashionable, and i went through this same dilemma when i was a nanny (especially after a brand new white cardigan was ruined). anyway, i hope some of that was helpful! many hugs to you. :)

LJ said...

can i add to the above poster? (great comments Lara!!)
Concealer!! it'll be your best friend...--I should take my own advice though, I'm working on it.

I hear you on the frump. I have the means to buy nice clothes and I have bought nice clothes and I realized sometimes they stay in the closet because they are deemed going out clothes. (Too fancy for staying home.) Then after a while of not wearing them (and going out I don't mean to the store either) I realize lately why bother? I don't see the point of looking nice anymore. I am a girly girl and not too frou frou. I don't get the stains you talk about though, yet I do get peed on and other things that I do around the house. Your kids are still small, give it a couple years when the Boo or the Bug (the youngest one) is ready to start going out to play at the park or something then you can focus on looking more presentable. They won't always spit up on you!!
I'm not very helpful sorry.

OhTheJoys said...

I end up going to the local (huge) thrift store on "everything is half off" day a lot so that I can get new (to me) things more often than I could if I spent retail cash. Sometimes new (to me) clothes that cost almost nothing work for me -- and I am not too disturbed if they get snot encrusted because they were a dollar each (or whatever.)

Shannon said...

I shop at Walmart and Target and buy what's on sale. You can dress like you've shopped in more expensive stores....make sure you don't buy pieces that look like they came from walmart or target!

A white t-shirt and a pair of jeans with a black belt is one of my favorite outfits.

I used to be frump girl, but now I make a point to put a bit of makeup on everyday and wear clothes I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen out in, even if I don't go anywhere.

I just wear eyeliner, undereye concealer, and lipstick or light pink gloss. You don't need a lot to look finished.

There are some days though when I don't want to put in the effort and like being frump girl. I treat it like a vacation.

Kerri. said...

I'm with Shannon - shop smart, dress smarter. And a little lip gloss goes a long way when you're edging towards Frump Girl territory. And Lara's comments are terrific, too - the whole accessorizing thing can make a frumpy outfit cruise into the stratosphere of sophistication. Or at least get off the ground a bit.

But, like Shannon, I embrace my Frump Days. There isn't anything quite like a tattered old Garciaparra Red Sox t-shirt, a pair of gym shorts, and a baseball cap. Who needs a shower? Not Frump Girl! :)

Anonymous said...

Julia, meet Dana. Dana loves all color and usually looks trendy and very put together. But even she has her days, in which she freely admits not looking "typical".

I can't add anything that people haven't said before me, though I'm frump girl, too so I'm taking notes. Also, trying a different eating plan to lose my extra 5th grader equivalent that's amassed all over my body. If it works and you're interested, I'll fill you in.

Zazzy said...

I'm torn. Part or most of me just wants to be comfortable at home. My hair is pulled back in a pony tail and I have no makeup on. My shirt is clean but it has a little hole in it and these pants are too big. I wouldn't be totally embarrassed if a friend dropped by (small chance since I'm living here on the outskirts of civilization) but I'm definitely on the frumpy side.

Research clearly shows, however, that for many people dressing as though you're going out, doing the hair and makeup thing, etc, increases feelings of self-esteem and helps decrease depression.

Then again, I can't help picturing myself in shirtwaist dress and heels with a nice string of pearls ala The Beav's mother. Did women ever really do that?

Major Bedhead said...

megan - I fixed it.

Lara - good advice. And I just got a coupon for DSW, so funky shoes it will be. And a stripy tote bag.

Laura - I don't have any clothes, really. I have t-shirts (not cute ones, ones you'd paint in) and jeans. I panic if I have to go out anywhere fancy.

OTJ - The thrift stores around here sell stuff that's so out of date, it's not funny. I like thrift shopping, but I draw the line at parachute pants and neon shirts.

Shannon & Kerri - I just got two new lip glosses from Avon. Yay! I'll work on actually putting it on my lips. :D

Andrea - yes, I'd love to know how you're losing weight. I have the same fifth-grader. Pesky little bugger.

Zaz - I think they did. Scary thought, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I didn't shave today. I know how you feel.

Stomper Girl said...

Where I live (Melbourne) there is a running joke about the prevailing wardrobe because apparently we all wear black all the time! And I do have a lot of black stuff. But it's so slimming, it hides a LOT of stains, it's always in style, and it goes with everything. Child and frump-proof.

My main frumpiness comes from hair neglect, it's always bundled into a ponytail. On the rare occasions that I have it cut I feel about 300% more presentable.

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karrie said...

I live in long-sleeved ts from Eddie Bauer, dark jeans and an red, red clogs. A friend jokes that this is the Cambridge/Somerville Mommy Uniform, and I think she's probably right. But it's comfortable, easy and works for me. If I was sufficiently motivated, The Uniform could be jazzed up a bit with interesting jewelry, a cute coat or scarf.