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Tired of feeling/looking not put together

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am really feeling frumpy and unkept lately. I mean I guess I have been for a long time, but it is bothering me lately. None of my clothes fit well, my hair never looks right, I can't remember the last time put makeup on since it never looks right anyway. I want to feel pretty and to not look like I just rolled out of bed once in a while but I have zero dollars to spend on new clothes, makeup or even a hair cut. I've lost my baby weight, but I still can't button my pants yet so I am dieting at least to get them to fit again.

What do you do to help yourself feel put together? I have no fashion sense and have never been super trendy but I'd like to look like I atleast belong in the year 2010 I am still fairly young and I feel like I look so old and frumpy.
post #2 of 32
I eat clean and exercise, tan, (sometimes bed, sometimes spray tan) get my nails done and toes regularly, get waxing done, and get regular hair trims and colors. I used to put these things on the back burner but I just feel so much better about myself when I take some time to relax (cause let's face it, the salon is a fun place to go lol) and take care of my appearance. My clothes could sure use some work but I just had a baby a week ago so that will come as the baby weight drops.
post #3 of 32
I don't have money for any of those things, and my mom had skin cancer and dh's grandfather died of skin cancer, so there's no way I'm tanning my pasty butt.

Very rarely I can figure out how to look pulled together, but I admit all through my life it's pretty much been an impossibility. I just have never figured it out at all and I'm not a girly girl. Pulled together for me means I have something besides pajamas on and maybe even have my hair in something other than a messy half ponytail.

I have found that some days I can manage to look almost semi-decent thanks to things like one really good mascara, a shimmery mineral eyeshadow, a new haircut ($5 last time!), and keeping a small rotation of clothes that stand up to kids and pets- dark t-shirts, stretchy jeans, a good bra, a set of decent undies, and a sweater or jacket that works with everything.

But the best thing to look for is a friend who would do a "makeover" on you and help you out. Some women love to do this and can give you good pointers.
post #4 of 32
For me it is as simple as setting aside some time to spend on myself int eh morning. When I get up, instead of stumbling around the house in a daze, I make sure that I head to the shower and then from there I throw on a bit of makeup and some non-PJs. I cut my hair so its more manageable on a regular basis. I simplfied my makeup to be just some face powder to even out my skin tone and some blush and mascara to brighten up. Its really nothing fancy, but sets the tone for a much better and more productive day.
post #5 of 32
I have no money for this either so I:

1. When I do buy clothes, I don't buy jeans. I buy cords or khakis. They just look that much nicer. When I replace shirts, I try to stay away from tee-shirts and NO sweatshirts, not even souvenirs. Old Navy and Target are great for semi-workish shirts like that and pretty cheap.
2. I do an Ellen DeGeneres / Gwenyth Paltrow "uniform" (http://goop.com/newsletter/3/en/) and though it's boring, at least I look mildly put-together some of the time.
3. I wear foundation (Costco mineral makeup is a dream), mascara (ymmv, some need eyeshadow more, some need eyeliner, but I have short eyelashes), and wear tinted lip gloss that I keep in my purse and put on at red lights.
4. Ballet slippers in spring / early fall, boots in fall / winter, sandals in summer. Everything I own is black or brown leather. Nothing colored because then it might not match. Tennis shoes when jogging or walking somewhere. I don't have a lot of shoes but I do have enough to match my uniforms.
5. I do have a backpack in my car but my purse is small and leather.
6. Hair: I pull it back now. Can't afford a haircut. In the US I used to drive to a haircutting academy, but here I don't know where to go. So it's straight with bangs. Bobs usually look nice! Use a claw or a chopstick instead of a ponytail holder--they don't take much longer and they look a little nicer.
7. Jackets: I have a wool double-breasted fall jacket that just looks so much better than a hoodie. LOL! It did cost more, but that's why God made e-bay.

So that's what I do. I don't look fabulous or anything but I don't feel I'm frumpy. And it's do-able for me.
post #6 of 32
Disclaimer: I'm 37 weeks pregnant, grouchy, prone to oily hair and skin, covered in acne, bloated, swollen, and feeling pretty awful about my appearance right now. MOST of the time, which is to say when I'm not hugely pregnant, I feel good about the way I look. So this advice is based on my not-pregnant self.

I make time for myself--for hygiene and putting myself together--every single day, no matter what. I shower, I shave my underarms (and legs if I have time), I put lotion on, I comb my hair and do something simple with it (knot, bun, braid, or just keep it down--but brushed), I put a small amount of makeup on (concealer for the dark circles under my eyes, a faint hint of blush, a tiny dab of pretty perfume), and I put on real honest-to-goodness "leaving the house" clothes. This could be something as simple as jeans and a cute blouse, or leggings and a skirt and a tee, or a dress (with leggings or without) and knee-high socks with knee-high boots.

I don't spend the day in my pajamas. (Yoga and exercise pants count as pajamas, IMHO.) Even if I'm not going anywhere in particular, I always dress as though I am. This does WONDERS for my self-esteem and energy levels.

I don't skip showers.

I don't buy clothes that aren't on sale. I buy cute cheap trendy things from Ruche (www.shopruche.com) or Urban Outfitters (www.urbanoutfitters.com) when I want a wardrobe boost but can't or don't want to spend much. I do occasionally buy classic wardrobe basics from high quality shops and designers because well-made clothes last forever and if you'll wear them frequently, they end up being a much better value than even the cheapest things that only last for one season. But that's rare. Mostly I just buy or make inexpensive things to spice up an outfit. Learning to crochet (and I'm taking a knitting class next week) has been HUGE for this. I don't need to buy a cute hat or scarf or handbag or sweater poncho or capelet when I can just make it myself from an $8 skein of yarn.

My one girly "splurge" is to have my eyebrows professionally shaped--waxed and plucked. This is a monthly luxury that costs about $10-15 with tip and can make a huge difference in your appearance. It's really not as painful as it sounds and does wonders for your looks. And waxing lasts ages. But if you don't want to pay for it, learn to shape your own eyebrows and keep them plucked. Unruly eyebrows look so frumpy!

Anyway, you don't need money to look good. It helps, yes, but it's not strictly necessary. What you do need is the desire to do it and a little creativity. Don't worry about aping a certain look (unless that's your thing, I guess)--just go with what works for you--your budget, your body type, your comfort level. Combine things you wouldn't normally wear together just because you can. Don't worry about labels and brands. Just make an effort every day and eventually it becomes second nature (and very easy) to look put together with very minimal effort.
post #7 of 32
Oh, and I forgot- I pluck my eyebrows and upper lip. With tweezers. While my children draw on the walls.
post #8 of 32
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
I don't have money for any of those things, and my mom had skin cancer and dh's grandfather died of skin cancer, so there's no way I'm tanning my pasty butt.

Very rarely I can figure out how to look pulled together, but I admit all through my life it's pretty much been an impossibility. I just have never figured it out at all and I'm not a girly girl. Pulled together for me means I have something besides pajamas on and maybe even have my hair in something other than a messy half ponytail.

That's so me.

That being said, there are a ton of great ideas on this thread. I like the "uniform" idea and need to look into that for SURE. I DO have a low-level makeup routine (mineral powder with a tiny bit of blush on cheeks and upper eye/brow bone with some lip coloring--but my skin is SO bad without going to the chiro that the powder isn't doing MUCH).

And really, if I weren't being lazy, there IS time for me to take some time for myself in the morning. I've done it. I make sure that every day I at least get to brush my teeth and wash my face. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's an improvement over "before".
post #9 of 32
I make sure to bathe every day to start off... the bath is my getaway place ( shame shame, but I love to read in the tub). I bathe at night when the kids are in bed.
Secondly I have a routine where I make sure to get up and do our outings in the morning. We live in a small community and the post office is a couple of km walk into town. Since I am out and forced to face people ( getting a bit of exercise too which makes me feel more high energy ) I have to get out of the sweats and get moving! I wash my face, put on a muted lipliner and a bit of lipbalm, and a quick swipe of mascara( a thingy of lipliner and a tube of mascara last me far longer than I would like to admit, for under 10 bucks). I have a few really quick hairstyles that look nice and put together ( I have long hair and have some hairstick styles that literally take seconds to put up and look fancy)Youtube has lots of good ideas for nice quick ways to do your hair without fussing and mussing with products or styling tools, as well as self trimming instructions if you feel brave!There are always former hairdressers around who may be talked into a haircut for some sort of trade. . Honestly, I am known for being able to get up and out of the house in 5 min, completly ready ( the kids on the other hand...!). I have changed sizes lots over the years... it is always a good idea to have a few outfits that fit you well, whatever size you are. I personally thrift shop for clothing, or go to consignment stores for special items( and trade things that don't fit or that i am unlikely to wear again) I have also hand knit kids hats with thrifted wool to trade for consignment store credit. It sucks to not fit your clothes properly. Nothing adds to the frumpy feeling than a poor fit!
We have been low income for our entire parenting life and I know what it is like to not have the funds for trendy clothing or makeup or haircuts!... well, in all honesty , none of that really is even on my radar or list of desires these days anyways! There can be ways around a lack of funds though. Sometimes it takes that extra bit of energy that is a bit hard to come by! Maybe pamper yourself with some home made bath products, or scrubs, or hair treatments with things you probably already have around the house. Good luck mama!
post #10 of 32
I used to feel the same way, and though I still do from time to time, lately I have REALLY tried to make an effort to not let myself go, and I've been feeling much better about myself.

I was pretty frumpilicious, though -- I wore ratty and hole-y sweatpants out and about, I wore my frumpy and plain hair that hadn't been cut in YEARS up in a boring 'ole bun. I ate really bad and gained weight. I just didn't care.

This past summer, I REALLY buckled down and realized I am not getting any younger, I need to embrace my younger years and really take care of myself. I started running again, and have worked my way up to running 3 times a week, I lift light weights, I FINALLY got my haircut and colored and actually try to style it every now and then, I try to at least throw some mascara on every now and then, I eat much healthier, I just bought a few new items of clothing on sale, and they actually fit my new after-2-kids-body which has made a world of difference. Sometimes something as simple as painting my nails makes me feel a little prettier and put-together. I also moisturize after every shower now (surprisingly helps you feel better mentally as well as physically, basically like I am being pampered a little).

All these things have helped a lot. But, if I had to choose what seemed to have really made a difference--it would be diet and exercise, hands down.

Maybe start an exercise regimen? Change your diet? Pamper yourself a little here and there? I assure you, as soon as you start changing just a few things, everything else just starts falling into place.
post #11 of 32
I make time to do some sort of exercise, the 30 DS (20 minutes) is amazing and keeps you motivated. I find I have more energy and am all around happier.

As far as makeup goes I do make time to do that almost every day because it makes a difference in my attitude and shows my hubby that I am making an effort for him as well. I just dot some concealer under my eyes and then put a nice highlighter color (something with a bit of sparkle) under my eyebrows and in the inside corner of my eye and then add mascara to my upper lashes, thats it!

Clothes... those can be tough but slowly collecting pieces that fit and look decent is what it takes I think, shopping ebay is a great idea and having a few pair of comfortable yet fun shoes is important. Getting dressed is a MUST it is too hard to feel put together without being in real clothing even if that is leggings and a fun tunic top (which feels like sweats but doesn't look like it!).

I am adding that getting a haircut is a really good idea, I keep my hair short, I don't have time to blow dry, look around for a beauty school near you.
post #12 of 32
Here we have clothing swap parties. They are so much fun, and called "Naked Lady Parties" : Basically you get all of your girl friends and their girlfriends to clean out the closet. Take stuff you know you aren't going to wear.

Bring it to the party. Have drinks, food, etc. And then everyone dumps their clothing out, and you all go through it together, trying stuff on, seeing what looks good. Bring accessories, etc.

Its a *blast* and you can get some new clothes for FREE!

Burts bee's lip gloss is a good (not so nasty) way to make up a little. I don't like the chemicals in makeup, so I don't really wear it. But the lip gloss is nice. Maybe find a bath bomb and have a little spa treatment at home!

Olive oil and sea salt makes a nice scrub.

And then get a hair cut! If you do it every 6 months or so it is worth every penny.

post #13 of 32
I have to thank you for this thread! I've been feeling much the same way. I finally went into my closet and pulled out some things that were too small a few months ago, and I found a few key pieces that actually fit: 3 nice jackets that fit perfectly, a nice 3/4 sleeve dressy shirt, as well as some colorful scarves, 1 pair of cords and a few pairs of sporty khakis. I didn't find a pair of jeans that fit just the way I like, but I did find one pair that I can work with. :-) "Finding" these things in my closet makes them feel "new." I'll be hitting up thrift and consignment stores, as well as sales to eventually have a more complete wardrobe. I think feeling put together as a mom, especially a SAHM, is so important.

I noticed that you just had a baby under 2 months ago! Congrats on losing your baby weight! I, too, lost my baby weight fairly soon, but my prepregnancy clothes still didn't fit until at least 4 months post-partum, at which time they were snug. Over the summer, however, they fit rather nicely and I felt confident. But I continued to lose weight (not trying) until my prepregnancy pants all hung on me. Up until the point where I just ransacked my closet, I was down to 1 pair of cords that fit okay, but were slightly big, a few tank tops and 2 sweaters. I didn't even want to go out of the house because I felt like I was always wearing the same thing! I don't currently have a ton of options, but I at least feel better knowing that I have a few options that I *feel* good in.

I second the idea that it's good to get yourself ready first thing in the morning. I'm a fan of wearing yoga pants occasionally, but certainly not everyday, and certainly not pajama bottoms or my husband's too-small boxers with big, baggy T-shirts and sweatshirts! Can we say FRUMPY! (I've been SO guilty of these things!) Getting ready first thing in the morning is a mood-lifter in itself, even if you shower/bathe the night before and simply wash your face, apply makeup if you wear it, brush and possibly style your hair, and get dressed in clothes that make you feel pulled together. If I'm honest with myself, I have time to get ready in the morning, but I put it off until I've felt frumpy most of the day, and when I do "get myself ready" it's not in clothes that make me feel confident.

Exercise helps. It's a general mood lifter, confidence builder, and it's just good for you. For a while my husband and I were walking together (several miles and several times a week). I found that this was quality, bonding time for us. We would talk about our hopes and dreams, and I always feel so close to him during these walks. I really want to get back into walking together.

Concerning not feeling frumpy, I didn't learn to dress for my body type until I was over 30. I'm 34 now. But I'll tell you the website that helped me TONS: http://www.missussmartypants.com/ She taught me to dress for my body type, to wear colors that compliment me, to build a wardrobe around a few basic pieces, to choose 2-3 complimentary colors and to build your wardrobe around these colors, so that everything matches everything else. She taught me how to wear one thing several ways, how to effectively pair accessories with outfits, how to pull together a "put together" look. You do have to pay for this fashion advice, but in my opinion it's money well spent. She's talking to real women with real bodies. Anyway, I think it's about $10 for 1 season of advice or $30 for the whole year. I'm not currently subscribing, but I will in the future. Even though I know my body type now and how to shop for it, she shares the fashion trends of each season and how to effectively incorporate 1-2 new pieces in order to stay current without breaking the bank. But by just paying $10 for one season you'll learn to dress for your body type.

You can do complete homemade facials for very little money. You can do your own manicures and pedicures. Mostly it's just finding the time to do these things. I need to get better about this. We need to remember that it's when we take care of ourselves, that we can be our best and take the best care of those we love.

I'm starting a spin-off thread of this one, a support thread for dissing the frumpy and taking better care of ourselves. Maybe we can go list the things we've done in a day or week to improve our self-images or what not. I believe a LOT of women, especially those of us who stay at home, need encouragement and support in this area.

Good luck!
post #14 of 32
Here's the link to my new Stomping Frumpy Out thread if you're interested: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...7#post15909567
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the replies, keep 'em coming.

It seems like a tiny bit of makeup is going to be the easiest place for me to start. I've tried a couple different mineral makeup and wasn't too impressed. 1 was really cakey looking. Anyone want to share the brand name or where you got it? I've seen lot of people selling them on Etsy.
post #16 of 32
My mineral eyeshadows I got as free samples at a concert.

I can look up the name. But I also don't use face powder/concealer usually, so I don't know if that is what you're looking for.
post #17 of 32
I use Costco's Kirkland signature brand and it's the best I've tried in my entire life.
post #18 of 32
Originally Posted by ednamarie View Post
oh, and i forgot- i pluck my eyebrows and upper lip. With tweezers. While my children draw on the walls.
post #19 of 32
oh yes, me too!

painted toe nails!

I haven't had a haircut in over a year and am starting to love my long long hair

I have been in hUGE clothes rut. Like all of you I just don't have the money. I am going to start though. My new rule is that I will only buy things that feel like ME..that I truly LOVE and feel SEXY in.

Many days around the house I wear black or grey yoga pants and bright tanks or tees. I feel cute like this. I do switch to jeans before leaving the house, however.
post #20 of 32
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