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Retailers Want To Know: Help Us Define Frumpy Clothing

What exactly makes clothing frumpy?Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s post asking for advice for retailers of women’s fashion. I heard back from two retailers and when I have permission from them, I will let you know exactly who is listening! For now, have a look at these responses:

“I read every single comment that has been written so far and I’ll be sending this post to many people here at our office who would benefit the most from reading these comments. We take all of our customer comments to heart and luckily since we design almost all of our own clothing, we have control over the design, fit, fabrics, etc., and so many of our designs are a direct reflection of what customers are asking us for or telling us that they don’t like.”

Thanks for your post about what women want in a retailer. We’ve been devouring the responses.”

You are making a difference, ladies. Now, let’s keep it going. Several of you used the word frumpy in your comments. The retailers need our help. They need to know EXACTLY what you mean when you say their style is frumpy. Some truly do not get it. You may want to discuss fit, selection of prints, or quality of material. How is frumpy fashion different from stylish fashion?

Do you struggle with age appropriate fashion? What garments do you like to see to fill the gap? Please be specific for them. It is interesting how many different ways a women sees fashion as frumpy. We all look at this through different glasses. The more information you can provide the better. I loved last week when some discussed the size of dressing rooms and even location of bathrooms. Details always help.

This post is short because now it is your turn once again! Leave us a comment explaining to the interested retailers exactly what FRUMPY means to you. And put yourself in their shoes for a moment. If you were a buyer for a clothing retailer, how would you best avoid purchasing frumpy fashion?

Have a great week! Thanks for stopping by and for participating!

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Friday 10th of June 2016

Frumpy is when the style looks like it can double as a rain poncho or a pup tent. I have a waist. Sure it isn't as small as it once was but really give me an option. And do not bedazzle the hell out of things. If I want to adorn I have jewelry. Give me some length in my dresses so I am not tugging down and can sit down without with ease.

Linda L

Thursday 9th of June 2016

Frumpy to me is seeing styles in the store that were around two decades or more ago. Elastic waist polyester pants? Really?? Banded waist tops, pastel colors, cheap fabrics, too much floral, ughhh.....

What i would like to see: More solid colors, not pastels, not muddy. More conservative necklines. I don't want to constantly worry about my boobs hanging out or have to wear a tank under everything. I like a more substantial fabric too. I tried to find non see through white pants last night. No luck. I like a little stretch in my pants too. Comfortable doesn't have to be frumpy. I want sleeves please!! Elbow length for summer would be awesome!! Classic shapes and pieces. I really want a long simple black tank dress. I can't find one. I want my tops long enough to completely cover my tummy, which sadly is bigger than it used to be! I want my skirts to cover my knees. I want ease but not so much fabric to look like a tent. I want to look like I have current style but not like I am trying to wear something made for a teenager. I like my waistbands to be near my natural waistline to avoid muffin top. In general, I think less is more. Less, detail, less trim, less bling. Keep it simple. Add interest with seaming, asymmetrical hemlines, things like that..

I love the idea of having someone the age of our demographic be on the buying team!! Great idea! I am almost 58 and still work a full time job. I have money to spend and would like to be able to have a wardrobe of clothes I love instead if one to get by.

Thanks for listening!


Thursday 9th of June 2016

Thank you for asking this question! I am 54 and in pretty good shape but have a foot issue that keeps me in flat shoes and pants. I am interested in style systems and believe that what is frumpy on one woman could be stylish and attractive on another depending on facial and body lines. Nevertheless - I think there are some universal frump signatures that I would like to see retailers avoid. Number one is too boxy or flowing. I think even older bodies look better in clothing that at least partially reveals the shape underneath. Large, busy, distracting prints always read old to me - I would prefer solids or simpler prints. Also, head to toe looks in "older woman" trends like Safari styles, velour, etc. Too much detail and bling on the garments themselves (we know how to add our own jewelry, thank you!). As I get older I like less flimsy fabrics, clothes that are slim fitting but don't cling, more classic proportions and modest necklines.. It perplexes me why this isn't done more in clothing that resembles what younger people wear. Retailers for older women often have really distinctive looks that are completely different from other stores and I don't know why there can't be more of a nod to current trends. For example, you could probably find some nice items at Chicos, but the looks they feature in the window scream "Chicos" and look nothing like what is available for the younger demographic. Talbots sometimes is surprising in that they interpret a very current trend in an age appropriate way - I wish their color palette was more modern and not basically bright primary colors. JJill can be a good resource but the fit is quite big and I always need to size down - I do like the simplicity that their clothes convey.

Pam B

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Here are my preferences: Quality fabric that doesn't allow the outline of our undergarments to show Consistent sizing (maybe a waist size and length like men's ) Tops that aren't too low cut White pants that aren't see through Pants that don't squeeze the tops of our thighs (the worst part of my body) Mostly solid colors No plastic gold buttons! Writing on the tags in a bigger font! White blouses with pockets on the front and a little stretch in the shoulders Jackets (outerwear) that cover our bums Cardigans with a little personality


Tuesday 7th of June 2016

Yes there is plenty of "frump" out there but there are also beautiful, stylish, well fitting quality clothes. At 67 I know what I am after. Ten years ago I put out a rather large junk of money for a full length cashmere black dress coat. Its still going strong and makes me look long and lean... Which I am not. A year ago I ventured into Anthropogie. I was over the moon about a few things but sadly I looked like "mutton dressed like lamb" and ended up giving them to my granddaughter. I stick with Nordstrom, Talbots, Pendleton With a hint of J Jill and Banana Republic. Life is too short to feel anything but beautiful.... Even when I'm on the down hill slope.

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