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How Can I Be Less Frumpy?

By M. Chambers
Updated May 21, 2024
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Many people strive to be less frumpy and more fashionable. The term "frumpy" is used to describe a person, generally a woman, who wears old-fashioned or dowdy clothing, doesn't style her hair, and wears little or no makeup. Someone who just has a homely, drab appearance overall may also be called frumpy. Both young and old individuals can be frumpy, but these qualities tend to be more common in older persons. There are several ways one can combat frumpiness and achieve a more fashionable and hip look, but it will take effort and a more style-conscious attitude.

An individual's choice of clothing is one of the most important aspects of achieving a stylish look. Frumpy people tend to choose outfits that are outdated, poorly-fitting, or just plain unfashionable. Clothing that is too big or baggy can also make a person appear frumpy, even when this was not her intention. To avoid giving this impression, it is best to choose outfits that are up to date and sophisticated. Outfits should fit the body and should be neither too big nor too small.

Someone who is style-conscious will take pride in her appearance and will put effort into choosing her daily outfits. It is often easier and more convenient to throw on a pair of sweatpants and an old tee-shirt to run to the grocery store, but doing so often results in a sloppy appearance. When an individual does not put any effort into her appearance on a regular basis, she may be seen as frumpy and may be assumed not to care about how she looks. For those who want to avoid looking plain or dowdy, it is therefore important to dress fashionably and put effort into clothing choices.

A person's hairstyle can also make her appear unfashionable or dull. Although not everyone has the time or patience to spend hours fussing with a hair style, it is best to at least groom the hair so that it looks polished and tidy. Hair that is unkempt, frizzy, or otherwise sloppy can make a person look outdated or lazy. In addition, old-fashioned haircuts and styles can make a person appear unstylish. For this reason, many who strive to be less frumpy often choose more modern haircuts.

For women, the use of properly applied makeup can enhance the appearance. Not everyone needs to pile on loads of makeup to look fashionable, but using a small amount of foundation, powder, blush, and mascara can brighten up the face. It also shows that a person takes pride in her appearance, which is important for those who want to look stylish.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Drentel — On Feb 17, 2015

I have to agree with the part of the article that talks about the importance of makeup for women. Being a man, I don't fully understand the importance of makeup, but boy it is amazing how a little makeup can almost totally alter a woman's look. My wife looks great either way, but there is a difference.

By Laotionne — On Feb 17, 2015

When I think of frumpy I don't only think of the clothes and the lack of makeup. I have friends who seldom if ever wear makeup and they wear loose fitting clothes that don't show their shapes in the least, but they are anything but frumpy. If you take care of your body and exercise then this shows through regardless of the clothes you are wearing and regardless of whether or not you have your face made up. Physical fitness is a big step in avoiding that frumpy lifeless look.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 16, 2015

I will be the first to admit that I could do a much better job of taking care of my appearance on the weekends. However, in my defense, I work in an office for three to five days a week, and I have to dress appropriately and present a modern lively appearance. On the days when I do not have to go to the office, and I am planning to be at home most of the day I automatically revert to my sweat shirts, sweat pants, shorts, oversize T-shirts and those other comfortable clothes.

By Animandel — On Feb 15, 2015

I was running my daughter to soccer practice last weekend when she told me I looked frumpy. Granted, I had just hopped out of bed and into and out of the shower before throwing on a pair of old jeans and one of my husband's old shirts, but I was still a little hurt to have my little girl tell me I looked frumpy. I didn't even know she knew that word. No one wants to be the frumpy mom.

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