Love Wraps? Beware of the Frumpy Zone

One of the challenges of being a blogger is walking that fine line between what a reader wants, and what you think a reader should know.  I have always believed I am here to encourage you to look and feel your best…however, you define it.  But, I have to agree on the wraps…many are not flattering, and if you are not careful they can take you into the “frumpy zone.” (Cue the evil music!)

The “Frumpy Zone” is that place where we begin to not care about our appearance and desire to hide behind our clothing.  It is a place where we can look older than we are.  It is a place where our self- esteem can plummet.  When I turned 50, I lived solidly in the frumpy zone and it was robbing me of joy and living life to its fullest.

Coming out of that place turned me around and returned life, confidence, joy and fun to me in ways which was empowering in my life.  This blog has always been about that journey and been about much more than clothing.  Obviously, I wear ruanas, wraps, kimonos, ponchos for bop- around- comfort- style. There are days I love the easy, creative style.   But, let’s be honest here…the times I wear these garments are most often times when I am not feeling confident about my body.  I go up and down, and up and down with my weight and there are days, I want a fun wrap to put a smile on my face, but also perhaps to do a little hiding.  Is that a bad thing…not necessarily, but if I were to hide day after day, then it might be.  The truth about style is that no matter our size we can look smaller and better in clothing with great fit.

I was asked by a reader to do the WRAP sequence.  There is one more look I will post.    We will also revisit soon how to style a look in order to appear smaller.  We will also discuss going to a gym and how I am boosting my metabolism, as well as, beginning to eat healthier (finally after years of saying I was going to do it).  For those of you who do not wear wraps because they are not flattering, bravo to you.  But, to those of you who wear them and perhaps struggle with body image as I sometimes do, then heed this advice

  1. Pick something fun, different, and true to who you are
  2. Look for ones not too oversized….with many of the wraps you can size down
  3. A sheer wrap with a flattering fit underneath works best.
  4. Add statement accessories to individualize your look, and to draw the eye of the beholder to the piece.
  5. Don’t wear these often…make them the exception for comfort times or casual style rather than the norm.
  6. Have the courage to come out of hiding…if that is what you are doing.

I took pictures of my work outfit in front of artwork to remind you that we are all masterpieces with our own unique beauty…..just as any good painter does, enhance it, don’t hide it.  I would not be doing you service unless I pointed out the potential pitfalls of these garments…and I get it, I have hidden behind them before when my self confidence was struggling.  We all have those days.  Tomorrow’s wrap is very unusual…come back to see what you think.

We haven’t discussed frumpy in awhile…how do you define the word…what is frumpy to you?  Remember the key to any great masterpiece is to




  1. I realize not everyone likes to wear wraps, and i understand your point about hiding. That’s not why I wear them. The look you featured yesterday looked classy to me. I wear right-sized ruanas and ponchos over slim bottoms and love the look. Maybe it’s because I’m small chested? The times that I am experiencing a midsection bulge, I admit I “hide” behind flowy tops. This is why I’m back at the gym and walking at home. I love my wraps as an accessory though. Frumpy to me is shapeless, ill-fitting garments with prints that are muddy, prints that are too small, baggy jeans (not talking about wide legs here, just baggy), sensible shoes. We know it when we see it. I’d be interested to know what you take to the gym, off topic here! Being new to it, I’d like to know what you consider essentials. I come home to shower and don’t want to over pack!

    1. I only wanted to throw up a caution flag, Karen. You know I love to wear these garments. I just wanted to offer some advice to those who might be hiding behind them which is only concerning if we stay in that same place. And yes!! I will be writing about the gym very soon.

  2. Hello, Pamela, for once I wanted to comment, and support Karen. Ruanas and kimonos are not only for hiding. I just love them (if they are beautfiul, of course !), also in professional settings, for instance talks, because they give you a wonderful ease of movement. And I do not mind so much about being bulky with them (yes, I am, probably): this is a view from the outside – from the inside, precisely, they seem to float around you and I love the feeling. One can be frumpy with tight clothes (many examples !). I understand that it may be out of the comfort zone for many and this is of course fine. But (from the outside !) you seemed beautiful with them and I was a bit sad to read that you saw them as a hiding trick, partially. Sorry for my English (I am writing from Paris) and thank you for your blog.

    1. Oh how I wish I was sitting in Paris with you!! I love an elegant kimono and I do wear them often. They can be styled in very flattering ways and that is why I offered the style points. I just wanted to mention a precaution to those who might go toward a rut hiding behind these garments. I know it is easy to do. But a beautiful wrap in moderation can be confidence building and had been a few times for me… especially when I have had the courage to size down.

  3. My daughter bought me a wrap for Christmas that is stitched on the lower part of the sides. I find it easier to style than a traditional wrap. I’m going to look for more like that. It’s easy to belt it because it doesn’t “shift” and my daughter suggested wearing black slacks with a black turtleneck (The wrap is black and white plaid), belting my waist under the wrap with a medium or large belt and leaving the wrap open which is easy to do when the sides are stitched partway up.

  4. I love to belt the ponchos too, and it’s flattering sometimes to just belt the back as long as the fabric is not too heavy.
    Frumpy to me is big floral prints! Not that I don’t own some, but I have to be careful about that…
    I think we need to love ourselves more and not be so critical. We are all here for a limited time. If we act with compassion and honor our loved ones, isn’t that more important that what we might have looked like on any given day?

    1. I agree, Susan. But I discovered that I loved myself more when I began to care about myself with my appearance and health. Then that confidence and joy lead me to reach out with a smile and do more for others! When I cared more for me, I could do even more for others!

  5. I do love wraps and ruanas. I agree they can be too oversized and make us look larger. They’re also a great way to dress up when we feel the need for coverage. I love this scarf on you Pam! Such a great look.

  6. What is frumpy? Hum. I think frumpy when I see someone wearing old worn out clothes, especially baggy butt jeans and a cutesy old sweatshirt. Add to that, hair with no style and no make up. That sounds really judgmental, but it’s sad that this person has completely given up. I know several women who don’t do much in the hair and makeup department and still manage to not look frumpy. How do they pull it off? A low ponytail or bun, a bit of lipstick, add a standout accessory and they look very chic. I wish I could look that good! So spending lots of money on yourself isn’t necessary. Even young women can look frumpy. When was it ok to wear jammie bottoms out in public? I hope these ladies come to realize that instead of hiding, everyone is staring at them.

  7. I equate frumpy with ill fitting or poorly care for clothing. I tend to feel frumpy in clothing that is wrinkled or rumpled looking. I have a hard time embracing linen clothing for that reason, even though it is supposed to be cool & comfortable. The last time I wore my ruana, I wore it with black tailored pants, a crisp white cotton button front shirt, black flats & a silver & black necklace.

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