How To Look Stylish And Fight The Frump

How To Look Stylish And Fight The Frump

Are you worried about getting frumpy with age? If yes, you’re not alone. Women complain about this all the time. Most recently, I received a message saying “I don’t want to be an aging frumpy older mom to my young son. I want to be COOL.”  

In my 25 years of styling women, I’ve found there are 3 underlying issues causing frumpiness. They’re related to feeling old, overweight, and / or out-of-style.

Keep reading and learn how to tackle these 3 issues so you Look Stylish And Fight The Frump 

1. Highlight (Don’t Hide) Your Body

A large portion of frumpy cases comes from fit. Choosing well-fitting, complimentary garments is HUGE in looking stylish. But it’s not just about what you wear. It’s HOW you wear it. You must highlight your body. Because even if your clothes are well fitting, but they aren’t playing up your strengths…you’re missing the mark. 


I have a pair of wide length pants that are quite long. Wide leg pants as a garment are pretty IN right now. But if I wear them with flat sneakers, I feel frumpy. Again, it’s not what you wear…it’s how you wear it. The wide leg and full length of the silhouette needs to be elongated on my 5’4” frame. Otherwise it overpowers me. Heels help. Or another option would be to hem up the length to show my ankles which creates a more balanced proportion. Pay attention to the proportions of your outfits so they highlight your frame.

Another frumpy trap women fall into is hiding their bodies. This comes from thinking they need to  cover everything up. My client did this when she gained weight in her middle. She was confused about how to dress so she started wearing everything oversized. She thought hiding her body was the solution. It wasn’t.

I see stylish women in all shapes and sizes who are showing their bodies. If you’ve gained weight, it’s possible for you too! The secret is knowing HOW to wear your clothes in a way that highlights you best. Rely on some of the proven strategies to help. Like if you want to downplay your stomach, try asymmetrical styles. Or tops with ruching. And I know it may sound counterintuitive, but a belt worn at the smallest part of your waist can look fab! 


The bottom line is stylish women don’t hide their bodies. They understand how to highlight them instead. 

2. Reinvent Yourself

Women who feel frumpy often think “I look old.” It could be that they’re wearing clothes they’ve owned forever. Or maybe it’s because they have a younger daughter and they compare themselves to her and her friends. But the truth is that feeling old starts with a thought. If you tell yourself you’re old, you’ll feel old.

I recently watched a Paul McCartney special. This guy is in his 70s, and his new music sounds modern! He’s collaborating with young artists and incorporating fresh ideas.

You can do the same with your style! 

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you are destined for frumpiness. There are plenty of stylish women in their 70s and beyond. These women are not stuck in the past. They let go of their old ideas and stay current with themselves, along with the world around them. 

To fight the frump of feeling old, bring a sense of curiosity to your outfits. Look at your go-to styles and ask yourself how you can mix things up. It could be as simple as wearing a different color. Or maybe it’s making more of a statement with your accessories. Do you always wear your shirt untucked? How about a half tuck?

In the spring session of the 90 Day Style Refresh, the women went crazy with belts! Most weren’t wearing them before they started the program, but after seeing how easily a belt brought an outfit together, they each added new belts to their wardrobes. What’s something new and different you can add into your outfits?

Just remember, this isn’t about looking younger. It’s about re engaging with your vibrancy. Embrace who you used to be and get curious about who you are becoming. 

3. Redefine What Stylish Looks Like

If you’re concerned that you look out of style and that’s making you frumpy, know this…the fashion industry doesn’t get to determine if what you’re wearing is IN or OUT. You get to decide. It’s possible that some items in your wardrobe are old and you don’t feel great when you wear them. If this is the case, then those items are outdated…to YOU. Don’t wear clothes that feel wrong. 

You also need to redefine what looks stylish to you. It may not be the same as it used to be. I know a lot of women have shifted since the pandemic. They still care about how they look, but they’ve changed the types of clothes they wear.  

Come up with a word that defines how you want to look and feel? Is it stylish? Cool? Classy? Or is it something else? It’s important to articulate how you want your style to be so you can align your outfits to match your definition.

So if I want to look chic then I’ll pull out something in my wardrobe that makes me feel chic. And I’ll build my outfit around that item. 

You can do the same! And pay close attention to how your clothes make you feel. You want them all to inspire and energize. Don’t settle for anything less. I have a client whose style got frumpy because she constantly settled. She received a lot of hand-me-downs and only bought cheap things from the thrift store. None of it aligned with her style definition. She just took what was there. Don’t do that! It’s possible for you to have an incredible style, and look exactly how you desire.

Look Stylish And Fight The Frump

The key to looking stylish and to fight the frump is to highlight (and don’t hide) your body. You do this by understanding what styles and proportions suit you best. You also must stay open to fresh ideas and experiment with new looks. Let go of your old ways! Lastly define how your style looks and feels, and then align your clothes to match this definition.

And don’t forget the most important element that’s foundational for all incredible styles—confidence. It’s the number one way to look stylish and fight the frump.

Freaking out about how you look on video? Worried that you’re not coming across in your best light? Take the quick quiz to discover your on-camera style so you show up more magnetically in life.

Elysha Lenkin
I help women over 40 feel unforgettable in their clothes.

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