Sunday Mornings at Home

Sunday Mornings at Home

Good morning, ladies and welcome to Sunday Mornings at Home.

Today is really more of a participation day, because I truly would love to hear your thoughts.

There were many comments on the Thursday post, Mother-of-the-Groom Journey: Rehearsal Dinner Dress.

The comments gave me much food for thought, including styling ideas.

But, I want to dive a little further down in your brains and ask a couple of questions.

So, get your morning beverage a comfy spot where you can think before you answer.

And let’s get started with Sunday Mornings at Home.


Sunday Mornings at Home

Mostly on this blog, we discuss all things fashion…girls, no matter our ages, love to talk about clothes.

It helps all of us if we are clear and defined on the comments we make. 

Please answer these questions below:

  1.  What does the word FRUMPY mean to you?  Do you see your definition applied to all women or just you?
  2.  When you think someone looks “old” what does that specifically mean?  Is it the same as FRUMPY?
  3. And when you say a dress, like yesterday, is too young and for younger ladies…why do you think that?  What makes it too young?

As for me, you know I am all about what our clothing says about us.

I desire for each outfit I wear to tell the world I am polished, creative, approachable, joyful and current.

The word “current,” to me, keeps me looking youthful and fresh…not old and frumpy, and hopefully not too young.

But, there are times I put on clothing I personally believe is frumpy, however other women may love It….it just depends (to me) on what we want to say to the world with our outside appearance.

There were some who believed the rehearsal dinner dress contender was frumpy.

Of course, I don’t or it would not be a contender…but I do wonder what is meant when it is called frumpy.

Specifics are so important and do make a difference when commenting in a way to bring understanding.

Let me be clear, I am not saying you cannot comment with these terms, I am only asking for clarification.

Maybe I would see the dress in a different light, if I understood why it would be called frumpy.

Please understand that I ask for clarification for all of us who are regular readers here…it would help us all to understand what frumpy means to women.

It also would help all of us understand why some might call an outfit…any outfit…too matronly or too young.  

I thought I would show you two of my own examples of frumpy and share why.


Sunday Mornings at Home

I am calling this first dress…My Mother.

My mother would have worn a dress like this later in life with pearls and a hat and a big handbag on her arm…for church or to go out to dinner.

I think it is the fit of the dress and overall print that I immediately saw as aging and frumpy on me.  It might be perfectly lovely on someone else.

But, to me, it just was off.

Sunday Mornings at Home

Ok…stop laughing…I call this dress, Laura Ingalls.

It does not speak my style adjectives….for sure, not current.   It makes me look larger than I am.  It is not vibrant.

It just is …… NO on me.  

For the ones who said, “The struggle is real when shopping for weddings”…you are correct. 

Most dresses are either too young or too old…and not many are just right.

Please share and think about your answer…it could be really interesting to read the different ways we all describe the words.


Sunday Mornings at Home

James Avery sent me this Give It To God charm from their Spring Collection and this is a charm I need to look at every morning.

In fact, I am considering putting it on a ribbon and placing it in my devotional book.

A message I should remember to do every day in my prayer time.

And please remember James Avery Craftsman Jewelers for special Easter surprises.

I am honored to be one of their ambassadors.


Sunday mornings at Home


Note:  Tux took a Valentine this week to his favorite girl in the neighborhood…her name is Lucy.  Tux doesn’t care for many dogs, but he does run to see Lucy when he can.

Next week, my friend Karen goes out and about with me to see what is in the stores.

Retailers are finally beginning to bring in some spring…while I hope to see more…there are some new arrivals out there.

Leigh Ann has been off on trips and caring for grandchildren.  Our schedules haven’t matched up much lately.

But, she hopes to return for shopping fun soon.

Tomorrow, I am going to discuss what shopping for this wedding means to be…it has been a tad inciteful.

Now it is your turn, friends, please answer the questions as best you can on Sunday Mornings at Home today.

You do not need to say…in my opinion…we know it is your opinion if you are commenting here.

I love learning from everyone and did learn much last week…so let’s keep it going…..and also…..


By Pamela Lutrell

Disclaimer:  I was provided product for this post.


I appreciate your support of this blog by shopping with my SHOPPING LINKS, and if you don’t see the retailer you need for anything, just send me an email and I will see if I have a link or if there is a sale you are looking for!

Email is

Recent requests have been for SHEEC NO-SHOW FOOTWEAR and Bombas…and Tuckernuck …just click the name and you will be there.

I am here to assist you with any gift ideas as well, and hope you will consider shopping gifts with these links!  AND your home purchases!

I know many like to make Home Depot purchases online and then drive to the store to pick them up.  You can still use my HOME DEPOT link to do that.

A special thank you to everyone who does this to offer your support of the blog!!  It makes a difference and keeps me here.

Sunday Mornings at Home



  1. Oh boy you have really got me thinking. I see the word frumpy as meaning old-fashioned and unflattering to one’s body type, colouring and age.I don’t see myself as frumpy and I would use this definition in regard to other women too but sometimes in can be a matter of taste. I don’t like to be too judgmental about what someone wears especially if they are confident in what they are wearing.

    If I thought that someone was looking old in what they were wearing I would not see it as frumpy.I generally look at someone’s face to think if they look old anyway.It’s a hard thing for me to explain as I would generally say someone is looking old if they look unhealthy.

    I think a dress is too young or for younger ladies when it shows too much skin, is too short, too tight fitting and is too sheer and clingy.I also think lots of frills and flounces and many floral patterns are for younger ladies too.
    This has been quite thought provoking.

  2. Hi Pam. I think frumpy and matronly are basically the same idea. If I feel like my mother (or grandmother) in something, that’s a good clue to me! I think garments that are somewhat fussy (busy print, a lot of ruffles etc. or even “too” basic) can go that direction, but it also depends on personal style & body type. Those of us with more “mature” figures can look/feel that way in something a younger (& more slender) person does not. I had the same struggles as you for my own son’s wedding a few years ago. I can’t tell you how many dresses I tried, but I ended up ordering several dresses from Nordstrom, and my MOG dress was a Tadashi Shoji dress (Nordstrom carries but they have their own website) and I knew it was “it” when I tried it on. I felt the best I have ever felt (including my own wedding day) and like the most elegant version of myself. I’m not sure of their current stock, but their dresses tend to be flattering and sophisticated so you might want to check them out. I think ultimately its about how you feel (and think you look in photos, lol).

  3. Hi Julie, you did good explaining your thoughts here. I believe specifics help everyone.Thanks.

  4. Hi Lisa. Thanks for sharing your MOG thoughts. I hope today’s exercise will be for everyone to think through these terms and find it helpful. This is for all of us today. Not just for my wedding journey. Just wanted to clarify for everyone. I hope you will be here tomorrow to see a contender I have for the wedding! Thanks for joining in.

  5. Pam, trying to find dresses for Mother of the Groom can be exhausting!!! I have been there and done that and in the end I decided that the star of the show was the bride. HA. Whatever you choose, you will look lovely and appropriate, because you have confidence and a smile. I love the Tuckernuck site and, as I was looking for dresses, I saw this one and that of you. Let me know what you think. Robin’s Egg Floral Elle Dress–TUCKERNUCK. Have a blessed day.

  6. Hi Linda, Thank you for sending ideas! I do have a special shopping link for Tuckernuck below. This particular design shows a large floral pattern right on an area I would not want to accentuate. It draws the eye right to the middle and would make me look larger. But thank you so much for doing some hunting for me!

  7. Wow!! It seems as if dressing to NOT look matronly or frumpy, or the opposite, too young or silly has become a full time endeavor. At 72, I don’t want either of those extremes applied to me. I love feminine clothing, but ruffles and frills are frequently as WRONG as pants with an elastic waist and polyester. (Having said that, I just ordered a pair of pullon jeans, hoping to avoid that pesky poking out closure:) Is it a feeling, an intuitive unh un, a response to oneself in the mirror? So often while shopping with my daughters, they might advise me to try something and say its a good choice. I see the opposite, and know I’d never, never feel comfortable in that garment. Whether its the fit, the silhouette, the fabric, or the style, its just not quite right for me I thought the dresses you showed were lovely, and the pale aqua with the over cape was so flattering, but today’s choices weren’t. I agreed that the burgundy was too dark. In the end, you will wear the dress; not have the dress wear you. I am constantly awed by your ability to dress according to your five personal descriptors, and to honestly describe your journey toward that end. You have helped me to not make some mistaken purchases and to be intentional and easier while dressing. So, chin up, you are working on this for lots of us! Thanks!

  8. Thanks for sharing, Paula..,you are right the frumpy/aging/too young line is the one we all walk. My adjectives help me tow that line. I think a conversation like this is so beneficial.

  9. Good morning, I think of frumpy as oversized or ill-fitting clothes. My mother in her later years put on a few pounds and thought she was hiding her weight gain by wearing clothes that were a couple sizes too large for her, as we know it is just the opposite she looked much larger in the big baggie clothes. I also see frumpy as very outdated outfits and accessories. I also know younger or my age women that do the same thing with oversized clothes.

  10. For me to call someones fashion “frumpy” it definitely means ill-fitting ( usually too big) and of material that reminds me of drapes, or upholstery. It might mean heavy old fashioned shoes that are worn- out or any other accessory that is just “tired”.

    Too young is more difficult to define but there are styles that my imagination just speaks to me and says” too young”! Low rise pants showing part of the tummy is one.example. But there are other garment styles that you simply know are too youthful- little bows all over and too too much in ruffling says it to me. A little but of ruffling is okay but not overkill.

  11. “Matronly” is all about the “house dress” look, flowered buttoned or zip-ups with no shape that look inexpensive. An expensive suit, however, can look matronly. “Frumpy” focuses on the wide—extra fabric, a cut that is as broad as it is long or tall in this case, and no shape. Your Laura dress was a breath-taking gasp of both matronly and frumpy.
    The red dress with the large flowers did not meet my standard for either matronly or frumpy; it had a waist, a shape.

    I think the common denominator of both descriptors of style is the no-shape factor. Your mint green contender covered up your shape. I have a hard time with ponchos and capes for this reason. When I see one of these extra fabric cover ups, I wonder what the wearer is trying to hide. Clothes need to skim the body, especially on the top.

    The accessories, posture, and hair style can also be matronly and frumpy. Yet another story…

  12. Hi Cassandra, I like the mint green topper because of how sheer it is. You can see the body shape through it. Giving a little coverup…a little flow and still see a defined silhouette. Does that make a difference? Would love your thoughts!

  13. Well, this takes some deep thought. Personally, frumpy to me can be ill fitting not thought out clothes but will have to think on this some more. That prairie dress says it for me,but I am sure there are young women out there that would look fabulous with the right styling. I think style personality plays into this as well. Someone with a classic look would think quite differently than a dramatic or bohemian style. That bright floral dress, I would wear with a chunky belt, wedge heel sandals, a flowy scarf and some wrist adornment and maybe a wide brimmed hat or fun earrings. Confidence in the way an outfit is worn makes a big difference. I really like the look of the MOG dress but it is ultimately up to you and the happy couple for the cohesive look.
    Lots of thought this morning Pam.

  14. Thanks, Diane! The happy couple? They just want us to feel confident and joyful in what we wear. No rules.

  15. When something is ill fitting, no longer is style and not a complimentary color or pattern, I see it as frumpy. Over the years I’ve noticed that while older women can look frumpy, so can young ones.
    Looking frumpy is a package deal. Not just clothing and shoes but hair and make-up, too. A young girl I worked with years ago often wore a crocheted poncho (purple) over her shirts and twisted her hair in Heidi braids around her ears. She screamed frump while only being in her thirties. When we wear colors that compliment us and styles that fit us properly, we look our best. I only see styles as too revealing, tight fitting and overly trendy as clothes that are “too young” for older women.
    Good luck in your search! When I was MOG and MOB I found my dresses at Nordstrom. At that time they were great to work with and did all the alterations so it was easy.
    Happy Sunday!

  16. Thanks Linda! Good comment about how any age can look frumpy. I love my Nordstrom stylist! She has given great customer service and been very helpful.

  17. I think many of us think of frumpy in comparison with what our mothers wore and I think perhaps we are not being fair to them. They wore what was available to them and what their peers wore. Many of them sewed their own clothes and I remember them sharing patterns and the patterns were considered the latest styles. And me and my peers? We wear the same styles and shop the same places. Honestly, I rarely see anyone I consider frumpy.

  18. I think frumpy is an easy word to toss around while ignoring the real health-related issues of aging, for example, the need to protect aging skin or an easy on, off style due to health issues. So, to handle this reality, I have a “beware zone.” If this was a style I would have disdained in younger years (the knit tee with the appliquéd butterfly on the chest I initially thought was cute), I’m in scary territory and need to analyze (the tee was indeed frumpy). Generally, to me frumpy involves outdated embellishment, cuts, or sizing (usually too large and/or long). Prints enhance the dated effect and are also in my beware zone (need to analyze!) as are colors that are pastel and worn in Easter egg fashion (coral top with yellow pants and pistachio sneakers). I have a friend who worked in mature fashion years ago and says that teal and burgundy, when worn as a combo, are marketed mostly to older women, and I find this to be true. Also, outdated accessories are cool and vintage on a modern outfit, but punch up the frump factor exponentially if worn with outsize, embellished clothing. Hairstyles too need to be current. Frump is often not just one item, but a look.
    Old I don’t understand. If someone says she looks old in an outfit, I assume they mean frumpy. “Old” is a number that seems to get higher every year for me :). It means you are old in years. Too young is usually too trendy all over, too ruffly, too party dress, too tight, lots of skin. Honestly, I don’t much like it on the young either (especially the skin). I watch younger bloggers to see what they recommend and are wearing, and it’s pretty eye opening. I now see how things we feel enhance or draw the eye away from problems actually call attention to them, and how really quite dated some of the merchandise is in stores I favor and frequent.

  19. Thanks, Linlee! I believe there are more like you who rarely see it than like the ones who see it often!

  20. I think that our recent months, years of COVID, staying home, isolating, have added to our increased frumpiness as a country. The ease and appeal of sweatpants, sweatshirts, other more casual clothing has seemed to now be “the dressed of the day” for many. These loose-fitting, pretty much shapeless, baggy items to me make any wearer appear frumpy whether young or old. I chide my grandchildren about not wearing wrinkled, unkempt, worn out clothing. I’m very aware of trying to balance my tops and bottoms. If my tops are fuller, my pants will be slimmer, and vice versa. My most difficult struggle against frumpiness is with my shoes as I’m constantly struggling to find comfortable but trendy footwear. I can remember my mother continuing to wear her high heels until she died, but I have all but given up on that aspect of my wardrobe.

  21. Frumpy: I don’t care how I look. Unkempt hair, clothing that’s doesn’t fit, or really express your personality. Anything that makes you feel old. No smile is very aging!
    Too young: too tight, too short, calls too much attention to body parts. Hey this might apply to young people too! (Just sayin’)

  22. Frumpy refers mainly to the fit of the clothing. Oversized stuff. I always want to look put together. Opening up the word matronly is a whole different animal. Matronly is something that makes you look older. I don’t want to dress like a really young person. At 68 next month that would look ridiculous. But one of your adjectives I think is current. I do think that is important. A for instance would be the wide leg pants that we are seeing everywhere. Some of them are lovely. As a plus size petite, it’s not a look for me because I look frumpy. Show me a classic, well fitting trousers, and I’m there.
    We all have likes and dislikes either formed from watching mom or just fashion in general. I know you don’t care for lace. I love to have just a bit in an outfit. Even in corporate America, I would wear a lace pocket square in my suit jacket. While you might think it aging or matronly, I see it as a peek at femininity in BBC a rather rigid garment.
    Thanks for this topic, Pam. I am loving seeing the responses. Viva la difference!!

  23. Interesting questions, Pam! In writing this answer, I just realized that I use “frumpy” – both for myself and others – only to apply only to clothes/outfits, not to the person. “Frumpy” to me means an outfit or garment with a sad, dispirited, droopy quality (imagine a washed-too-many times, baggy, oversized tunic), with a good dose of “I gave up.” Wrinkled, ill-fitting clothing can wander into frump territory, especially if it looks like it was chosen to hide in rather than to flatter or be fun. Haha, “old” to me means whatever the generation older than me wore when they were 10 years older than me! I don’t see your burgundy dress above as “frumpy” or “old”, just not your style. If you gave it a v-neck, regular sleeves instead of puffed, and shortened it, I could see it being a nice dress. Maybe not for you or me, but someone. The Laura dress screams NOT ME at the top of its lungs! But, and my friend Rose and I say, after we stop laughing, “someone somewhere will love it!”

  24. I completely agree that Ingalls dress would look cute in a young, smaller woman with a fun wide brimmed hat and sandals. But on me, it was rather humorous!

  25. I see very few frumpy women in my neck of the words; what I’m exposed to are fit, active, mostly in shape and stylish over 70 ladies. Like you I people watch and take mental notes. While golfing with many elderly women, of which I am one, the ones that look frumpy are dressed in uncoordinated, old outfits or golf in cargo pants in dark colors that would be more appropriate hiking in Oregon. What these women have in common are an attitude that they don’t care how they appear or take very little time to pull themselves together. That floral dress looks frumpy because of the overall pattern which women of our age remember as being on our mother’s sofas; I call it the Willa Cather look which women in my daughters group (age 42) carry well because it makes them look trendy and current. Lace can be frumpy but in a fitted, sheath it can be stunning. Your pale green dress fit you so well and was not frumpy ; if it were me, I would go with the navy color because it says classic & creative but green is definitely your color!

  26. Do we even have a parallel adjective for men? Or, in our fast-fashion world, are clothes that are not current considered frumpy? Does the youth-oriented fashion industry realize that many pieces, worn on older bodies, will just look odd? These are my questions that your question raised…sorry I can’t contribute more feedback for you.

  27. 1. Frumpy means clothes that are ill-fitting, worn out, in bad repair….with shoes or accessories that look tired. And……worn with bad posture. When a women has clothes on that make her smile and feel confident, she cannot be “frumpy.” 2. Looking old is being poorly groomed and looking unhealthy. An unpleasant facial expression and bad posture adds to the OLD look. 3. Too young could be dressing in tight, short, skin-baring clothes. A mini skirt with a ruffly top would be an example. There are so many other factors to all of these questions, but to be brief, these are a few. P.S. Your aqua dress and overlay is not frumpy. It makes you glow.

  28. Both pieces are past purchased from Chico’s! I have worn Chico’s for over 30 years…these are perhaps in the last five years. Go down my post and click on their sale link and you will see similar denim jackets in the sale! Thanks for asking!

  29. I do not think the dresses you have shown portray your 5 adjectives. Have you considered a pants outfit for the rehearsal dinner. You can find one on any level of appropriateness for the occasion from fun to formal. It would be easier to find flat shoes to accompany the outfits.

  30. I have considered pants but not found anything I consider appropriate for this event. I will let you know if I do

  31. These are some frumpy and aging looks according to many you tube fashion influencers: jersey fabrics, large bold prints, ill fitting clothes.. too tight or too baggy. Large plastic jewelry. Polyester. Tunic length tops. Capri pants vs. ankle length pants. Suggested tops: solids, leopard print, stripes, plaid or 2 color polka dots.

  32. What do you think, Carol? We can all look up YouTube…I want to know how readers define it! Thanks so much.

  33. For me, “frumpy” is synonymous with “I don’t care”. Wearing mismatched sweats, too tight leggings, uncombed hair.
    I do not see “old” except as an age thing.
    “Young” is usually associated with baring too much flesh….deep cleavage, miniskirts.

    To me, lifestyles are very casual these days. There are no occasions for me that require a dress. I wear pant outfits and pearls 🙂. When I do wear a dress it is for playfulness and fun, usually with a cute wig. Instead of high heels, i wear cute sandals or flats. This works well for my retired life.

  34. i think too high-waisted pants with a tight belt is the male equivalent of frumpy — something that is so not current.

  35. My hubby is a frumpy dresser. He wears gym shorts with a flannel shirt, white gym socks and running shoes all winter long! (Sigh). I love it when he dresses to look nice and put together.

  36. for me I think frumpy is when I see women around my age (68) wearing baggy graphic t-shirts and baggy wide leg shorts with ankle socks with out of date sneakers, dressing to young is when I try something on, and ask myself if my granddaughter would wear it and if the answer is yes I hang it up, I have to say when I saw your dress you were thinking about for the rehearsal dinner to me it didn’t look like anything you would pick out as far as color and style

  37. To me frumpy is something that doesn’t fit right, that hangs on a person. A dress is too young if it is too short, shorter than above the knee length. Someone looks old when they don’t take care of their appearance, skin, hair, well fitting clothes for their shape, etc. I think you start looking old when you stop making an effort to look and feel your best and to be interested in life

  38. I’m going to pass on ‘frump’ because others have addressed it. Your example of a big handbag with that dress said it all to me. I don’t see too much frumpy, but too young is much harder. One thing I think can be both aging (not frumpy) and too young at the same time are tops with cutesy slogans, embroidered animals, frills in weird places. I know lots of women over 50 wear them, but I don’t see the appeal for myself. I always consider the daughter-(soon-to-be) DIL test. If they wouldn’t be caught dead in an outfit, then neither would I. This doesn’t mean that I wear what they do; it simply means that somewhere there’s a line. There’s a big difference between clothes they would not wear themselves and clothes that they would not be caught dead in. My internal test is, if I can see a grandmother or granddaughter in a style, then it’s probably frumpy or too young. (BTW aging and ill health are not frumpy – we need compassion for one another.d)

  39. I think we all have our ideas on what suits us and also makes us feel like ourselves, so I’m going to leave the frumpy question alone. But I want to repeat that I strongly feel the mint green dress and sheer poncho are totally flattering on you, and fashionable as well as elegant. It would be wonderful for the wedding itself or for the dinner. Eileen Fisher clothing is not meant to be form fitting, and I think the topper works so well in this case because it’s short, sheer and not fussy. The fabrics are just beautiful.

    As a side note, you are looking fabulous and I really admire what you have on in today’s outfit photo too.

  40. Thanks Maeve! Specifics help us all! Your last statement is a good one for all of us to remember!

  41. Awww…thank you Jane! So sweet and encouraging. I like that the dress form can be seen through the poncho!

  42. For me now that I have major feet issues, I see my mother-in-law whenever I try to buy shoes…..her very frumpy no style shoes. Her sister was always dressed perfectly, staid but not frumpy. I think your rehearsal dinner dress may seem a little matronly due to the color. It’s a pretty dress and looks very nice on you. Special occasion dresses are just hard. So many look like my grandma would wear them and I’m a grandma…lol.

  43. I was so lucky at my daughter’s wedding, it was a black and white wedding so I got to wear black, a color that I love. A long, fitted sheath dress with a short tailored jacket and one glitzy button. I was in heaven! And my husband literally stopped in his tracks when I tried it on at the store-it was awesome!
    To me, frumpy is huge floral prints in bright colors and ill fitting tops. While I know you love kimonos and ponchos, I find them not flattering and would rather wear a fitted jacket. They always look on me anyway as if I’m trying to hide some figure aspect. And I have nothing to hide..
    Matronly would be my granny with her hair in a bun, orthopedic shoes always in black, and a cotton house dress. She dressed appropriately for the times and her age. But we don’t live in her age! Constant pressure to make us look young is exhausting. Adopting trends that seem like they may last a season or two is exhausting. I guess that is why my adjectives include classic, simple, serene..

  44. Oh I see this one has been popular! To me, frumpy is when someone looks like they have given up, to have just put clothes on to be covered, with no thought of looking nice for themselves or being confident or being seen.
    And I feel the definition applies to myself and everyone.
    Old is when the light has gone out of someone’s eyes, and there is no happiness in their smile.
    Too young would be too exposed, showing parts of the body that aren’t attractive anymore…with the exception of the beach….feel the sun and enjoy as much as you are comfortable with.

  45. Fascinating – all the above !
    OK – frumpy is how I would describe a garment , not a person . The word conjures a picture of a gathered skirt with a very uneven hem . So maybe I mean careless or not well-groomed ?
    (Too) old or young is more complicated . Too young on me (I am 69) would be anything too revealing or actually tasteless – which I realise is itself judgemental ! Maybe serious sartorial mistakes are more forgiveable on the very young ? Too young on others makes me think of a woman I saw with very heavy make up on which could not disguise her deep facial lines and wearing an unfashionably short skirt . She would have looked better with warmer clothes , lower heels and a smile instead of inch-thick foundation !

  46. A Peter Pan collar would probably seem too young. I thought the red dress had one. At any rate, that jewel neckline shoves it into frump, for me. Needs show a little skin around the face; scoop, v- neck, maybe boat would be less frumpy, to me. Several ladies did very good definitions of frumpy. Dispirited is the word I would use. The Contender is a nice dress but it is not you. Where is creative? I also think it might be too formal for the venue. Would you wear it to a dinner there with friends? It may be the color on my monitor (it doesn’t seem to do color well) but it comes off as blah. Perhaps shoes and accessories would make a difference.

  47. I will do my best!! Frumpy I mean for all ladies!! It would be a all taupe outfit or a very yesterday purse!! Old style glasses!! I’m sure some of my walking shoes are old lady but when you have they foot problems I have from many years of gout you would understand!! I do my best and wear the same dark socks as shoes and skirt same color as well in the winter. I have better looking shoes in the Spring & Summer but I’m unable to wear heels. This made me feel frumpy at first but I’ve learned there are many cute flats out there now and I spend my money on shoe’s!! Old to me isn’t current!!! Too young is showing too much!!! Hope this helps!!!

  48. Frumpy. Well both dresses shown today are frumpy on you. Neither the colors nor the styles suit you.
    Frumpy includes unflattering colors, bad styling and badly fitted.
    I know you are shopping for a mother of the groom dresses. In my opinion the Eileen Fisher two pice outfit in a light green you wore last week is the best on you. It is youthful; not old fashioned.
    The color looks good on you (in the photo). The style is something you would see many women of many ages wearing. It can be dressed up with jewelry or more casual without the matching and a non-matching top instead.
    It makes you look thin. No bulges or lumps appear. You look happy wearing it.

    Diane Santa Barbara CA

  49. Wow!!! I am not reading any of these comments until I chime in!
    1. Frumpy, in my mind and eye, could simply be that the item is ill fitting, the wrong pattern for body type, the wrong garment for personality type. No updated or flattering hair cut. I might feel frumpy in a romantic styled dress that looks fabulous on a taller friend. Frumpy could also be the woman who pulls on a baggy pair of sweat pants while there are more pared down versions that may look fab with the right workout top and updated sneakers. Pam, you are a character. I just loved you in those two dresses with your smiling comments regarding them. I believe that you will do anything for us to make your point!
    2. Old has nothing to do with age. My MIL died last year at 96. She was not old. She walked with purpose, conversed with all, socialized looking her best. I have seen women in their 50s and 60s look old. (I am 70.) Old has more to do with disinterest in those around them or not being open minded to various opinions; it has to do with posture, boredom, grumbling about everything, and attitude. They might ‘plop’ when they sit or ‘groan’ when they get up out of a chair. Have they given up? Reached the point of not caring? Never cared?
    3. Clothes that I consider too young for myself are too short, too long, too skimpy, too tight, maybe too trendy if they are extreme. I know it when I see it! I love what my daughter wears to work, and I used to dress very much like her, but my day has passed for some of her little Boden dresses or trousers with a 2” heeled bootie. I ‘remember when’ and enjoy the outfits on her. Younger women can get away with flutter sleeves, higher heels, cinched waists.
    I take great pleasure in clothing and I have fun doing so. As Linda Grants points out in The Thoughtful Dresser, clothing marks different periods of our lives. I enjoy looking at photos and noting what I wore or how I cut my hair. Why do clothes absorb us so? It is a beautiful mystery, and many of us here love a good mystery.
    Pam, your posts are most enjoyable!

  50. 1. I grew up with a very stylish grandmother. My mother’s style was more casual but she always looked current as did her friends. My mother-in-law was the poster child for frumpy. Baggy flowered zip-up housedresses with short sleeves that were not kind to her heavy arms. Slippers with holes cut out for her bunions instead of shoes. Dingy tightly curled hair. She was younger than my grandmother and looked older. Now that I’m in my 70s I see my contemporaries wearing baggy sweatpants topped sweatshirts complete with cutesy animal (pink teddy bears!) appliques. Their hair is lank with no particular style and their shoes and handbags look worn out. These women are well off financially. They have simply stopped caring about their looks. And I think frumpy.

    2. Old or matronly is a not sloppy. Clothes that are ill fitting, usually too large and probably in a large loud print or an awkward color; a tight perm. Clothes and accessories (if there are any) look dated but not retro.

    3. There’s a great old expression “mutton dressed as lamb”. As others have mentioned, clothes that are too tight, too short, too low cut and/or too sheer. My rule of thumb is if a trend was in style when I was in my teens or 20s then I should ignore it when it comes back around. Like mini skirts and crop tops (which I wore in the day) and the Little House on the Prairie dresses (which I did not) the first time around.

    I’ve loved reading all the comments.

    I know you’ll chose a great Mother of the Groom dress for the wedding & the rehearsal dinner. Can’t wait to see you in your final choices.

  51. To me, frumpy is something that makes ME feel old & tired. Yes, it is something that strictly applies to me. Some garments look great on someone else but not me. Old is someone who has given up & finds no joy in life. It is their posture & facial expressions that make them seem old. It has very little to do with chronological age. I have known people in their forties who were old & people in their eighties who were young. Sadly, it is often life experiences that makes someone old. When I see a garment that I could see my twenty something granddaughters wearing, that is likely too young for me. It would make me feel as if I were trying too hard to recapture my younger days.

  52. One aspect that we are not mentioning much is clothing that is past its expiration date. I actually see this more on older men and than women. Perhaps that blazer or suit was once very sharp. Now it’s shiny and does not look fresh. Expired clothing will always look frumpy unless someone buys it as thrift, takes serious measures to clean and restyle it, and changes the silhouette drastically. For frumpy on women, I think of the Ruth Buzzy character with the hairnet and large weaponized purse on the old TV show Laugh-in. It was a great site gag, as they say, but also highlighted what all of us are saying about a style that is lacking–outdated, worn out, oversized, dark but not sharp colors, not looking clean or neat to which the actress added the hang-dog look of the lonely and needy. (It was always fun to see that actress not in that character). Without being unkind to anyone who is either tired or ill, frumpy does mean it doesn’t work as a statement of fashion. One thing my daughter pointed out to me last year when I was a post-covid MOG and not looking very well–shiny fabrics can sometimes upstage the bride in photographs. My daughter nixed an outfit I wanted because it was somewhat shiny.

  53. Boy those dresses to me they all look “Little House on the Prairie”. Not sure what the designers are thinking. I’m retired but work part-time at Chicos and not a fan of the dresses. Besides being only 5’1 1/2”. Frumpy mmmm, hard to put into words. Something that makes you look old, not fitting well, at least they haven’t brought back the dusters and house dresses my grandma would wear.

  54. I like the green dress and topper. I would wear it.

    Too often words are weaponized and used against women. “Frumpy” is one of those gender-specific words used to control women. Never have I heard this word used to describe a man. It falls into the same category as calling a single woman a “spinster” and a single man a “bachelor”. It’s a word with a lot of history and context, in a negative way. So a man of a certain age is “distinguished”, but a woman is “frumpy” and “matronly”. Words can be as harmful as sticks and stones.

    That’s my pulpit, and I will preach.

    As always, wear what makes you feel good. I know you do. And be happy that this is not a situation of the MOG being told to wear certain items, right down to the hosiery color and shoes, as does happen. That would be too much drama for me, and who needs it?

  55. Lots of interesting comments. But now I am questioning what is meant by the often used term of “out dated”? How do you know some thing is “out dated”….is it just because it is no longer being sold in the stores? What are “out dated” sneakers? Purses? Shoes? I am afraid to wear anything any more as I will be viewed as frumpy, old, matronly, or out dated. Maybe that is why many women just give up! Thanks for the discussion.

  56. Hi Lee! Don’t give up! Join us here for ideas. Fashion is cyclical…few things go completely out of date. My goal here is to help you dress with confidence and a smile!

  57. Pam,
    Frumpy to me means careless, ill fitting, over sized. I want to feel confident in my clothes-not to stand out, but to feel comfortable, coordinated, put together, whether I’m going to the market or out to dinner. BTW, that Eileen Fisher aqua outfit looks GREAT on you! The color is a bit of a surprise compared to your autumn palette, but it’s really fresh and pretty with your hair and skin tone, love the coverage, the fit. It’s beautiful on you! My nephew is getting married this spring in a formal evening church and country club setting. I’ve ordered a few long dresses and have struck out. I’m the matriarch of the family now, and I’ve decided to wear the 17 yo $$$$$St John’s Evening long skirted suit I wore to my daughter’s wedding. I feel beautiful, confident, elegant in it. DONE! Turning around the v neck tank for a bit more chest coverage and I’m done!

  58. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said neither of the dresses above fit you. If the shoulders are too wide, the waist too high or the hem too long or short the garment will not be attractive. If something doesn’t fit the right lumps and bumps it looks frumpy. The same with something looking too young, often these looks are slim and lacking any details to fit a woman’s body.
    I am catching up after helping my mom settle in back home after having fallen and breaking her hip so would also like to comment on the rehearsal dinner dress you posted. It looked very nice on you however I thought it was very much what you would have chosen before you lost your weight and before your holiday. I would also add that having had two boys I remember vividly what I wore to the weddings, both dresses still hanging in my closet, but for the life of me I can’t remember what I wore for the rehearsal dinners. As the hostess I remember the place, the food and the lovely time we had for each one but not what I wore.

  59. So sorry to hear about your mom. Both of our mothers broke their hips. I know how difficult that is for the entire family. Thanks for your comments Linda!

  60. IMHO; regardless of one’s style the three categories you mention could describe ‘a lack of self-awareness’ as well as ‘one’s effort’ from the tip of one’s head to one’s toes, with an attitude of “this will do”. -Brenda-

  61. Well, frumpy is in the eye of the beholder, for sure. I use the adjective strictly for women of a certain age. A young woman might be sloppy, but not frumpy. My mother loved nice clothing and was frequently complimented on her appearance. She always wore good shoes and carried a nice bag. She favored trousers, solid colored blouses and a blazer or Chanel style jacket, usually in a neutral. She owned and wore understated, real jewelry. She favored fewer, better items. That to me is current, not frumpy. I did not find your MOG dress to be frumpy because of the simple cut and nice fabric. I didn’t think the poncho looked current because of the lace, lack of shape and coverage.

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