Get out of FRUMP


Identifying the Frump Factor

I can identify a frumpy look when I see it, but I find it hard to articulate what frumpy means. So I thought I would take a bash at isolating the aspects of a person’s style that are particularly susceptible to frump.

  • Fit: Clothes that are too large can look frumpy. Unstructured clothing can look frumpy.
  • Length: Skirts and dresses that are too long, regular length trousers that are too short, and leg shortening capris can look frumpy.
  • Hair: I find this element the hardest to explain, yet it probably is the strongest contributor to an overall frump factor. An outdated hairstyle can look frumpy, but it’s not just that alone.The colour, the length, the way it curls, the way it lies flat, the way it’s layered, or the way it’s tied back can make hair look frumpy too.
  • Footwear: There is something about the silhouette of a shoe that can increase it’s frump-factor. Sometimes it’s the colour, the fabrication, the height of the vamp, or the shape of the heel. Sometimes a shoe does not look frumpy on the shelf, but it does look frumpy on our feet.
  • Accessories: Dated eyewear and watches can look frumpy. Often it is not so much the accessory itself, but how it has been styled and what it has been paired with in an outfit that increases it’s frump-factor. When worn in a certain way, scarves and necklaces can look particularly frumpy. Yet style those same accessories differently and they look fab.

My list describes where frump often comes in, but it still isn’t definitive about whatexactly makes something frumpy.

Why is this so hard?

Well, first of all, frump often depends on the wearer. There are people who can look very stylish in something that might look frumpy on the rest of us. For example, we just recently discussed how bad fit can look cool. And wearing vintage and retro items, although dated, has it’s stylish appeal. Clearly what looks frumpy on some does not look frumpy on others.

And second, frumpy today can be trendy tomorrow. As I have said before, things can look frumpy right up until the point that they look fabulous. When midis first started trending, midi apprehension was rife because of the frump factor people associated with the length. Today, midis are more on trend than ever. Wearing socks with sandals and flat oxfords used to be very frumpy, but not anymore


That’s why I find it impossible to create the “how not to look frumpy” guidelines. I’m afraid I’m going to have to stick to the I know it when I see it approach for now.

Over to you. You know frumpy when you see it, so what is it about a look that makes it frumpy? How do you decrease the frump-factor? Do you ever feel frumpy, and if so, how do you take the frump out of what you are wearing?

“Life shows us clues as to what our passions are, and although our creative visions may not always lead to fame and fortune, or may not even be the main source of income, our visions imbue us with a life force and a vitality that keeps us engaged and passionate on a daily basis.”

Shelley Klammer ~

Emergency Bible Numbers

– When you are sad, call on John 14

– When you don’t feel loved, call on Romans 8:38-39

– When you have sinned, call on 1 John 1:8-9

– When you are facing danger, call on Psalm 91

– When people have failed you, call on Psalm 27

– When God feel far from you, call on Psalm 139

– When your faith needs encouraging, call on Hebrews 11

– When you are scared, call on Psalm 23

– When you are worried, call on Matthew 6:25-34

– When you are hurt, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you feel no one is on your side, call on Romans 8:31-39

– When you are seeking rest, call on Matthew 11:25-30

– When you are suffering, call on Romans 8:18-30

– When you feel you’re failing, call on Psalm 121

– When you pray, call on Matthew 6:9-13

– When you need courage, call on Joshua 1

– When you are in need, call on Philippians 4:19

– When you are hated because of your faith, call on John 15

– When you are losing hope, call on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

– When you are seeking peace, call on John 14:27

– When you want to do good works, call on John 15

– When you want to live a happy life, call on Colossians 3:12-17

– When you don’t understand what God is doing, call on Isaiah 55:8-9

– When you want to get along with others, call on Romans 12:9-21

You may also enjoy reading:

Meet a 4-year-old girl whose IQ is just 1 point shy of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. Legos first, the theory of relativity next.

Heidi Hankins, from Winchester, England, is the newest kid on the block to join Mensa, the intellectual organization, with an IQ of 159. At the age of 2, Hankins was reportedly already reading at an 8-year-old level. There are no standardized IQ tests for children under the age of 10, so the toddler was psychologically evaluated.

Back in 2009, Oscar Wrigly joined Mensa at the age of 2 with an IQ of 160 to become the youngest child to ever join the organization. The average IQ in the general population is said to be about 100.

Mensa only recruits members whose IQs belong in the top 2% of the population. According to the Toronto Star, Heidi is one of approximately 90 children under the age of 10 who belong to the British chapter of Mensa.

“She will remember times and events and things you wouldn’t even notice,” Hankin’s father told the Star. “She has a really good memory for times and places and details.”

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at@ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.


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