Mother Frump dreams in Cobalt blue

I don’t shop for clothes often.  The joy of clothes shopping left long before I started buying things with Xs and Ws on them.  The loss of that joy dates way back, even before I gained these curves that identify me solidly as Woman!  (Perhaps not so solidly in some areas.)

But I did take my two eldest girls shopping for undergarments the other night, then let them browse in the juniors dept. with their Christmas gift cards burning holes in their hot little hands.  While they looked at t-shirts and baby-doll shirt/dresses, I headed over to the dept with all those Ws and Xs on the tags.  Sale! Sale! Sale!  I found two sweaters on sale and just bought them—no trying on or nothing.  (I still haven’t learned the lesson the hard economic lesson that sale + not trying on = an item you’ll wear once, hate, and then donate to Goodwill once it is solidly out of fashion.  Perhaps this time?)

I didn’t realize why I was sort of dissatisfied with my purchases before I even tried them on until this a.m.  I was cruising the websites I sometimes frequent and headed over to Olinka’s site and saw on her blogroll Vilnius Street Fashion.  For some reason, it piqued my interest.  I clicked and found myself not only in a literal foreign land, but a fashion foreign land, as well.  I’ve never been a particularly hip dresser; not that I didn’t try, but it was the 80s, I was young, fashion was bad, I had a rear end when fashion dictated that young women should not, yadda yadda.  But I realized as I was looking at all the happy faces in Vilnius this a.m. that I am a particularly boring dresser.  I never wear patterned dresses; I never wear cobalt blue tights; I never wear skulls; and I would never even think of buying, let alone trying on a cute green coat like thisI’d never even try to pull off a look like this.

I’m a BORING dresser.  My sale items bear that out: red sweater; blue sweater twin set.  I wear black pants or skirts most every day (because of that rear end that grows ever more in need of dark draping as I age less than gracefully).  I look like a contestant on that game show with all the briefcases with money in it.


I don’t see a way out of it, really.  I try to dress funky and I just feel wrong.  I’m most comfortable in a black suit with a decent heel when I’m at work–except in the summer when I must remove layers because of the humidity and the heat (both external and internal–another blessing of being a WOMAN) and I feel incredibly uncomfortable with skin showing.  Casually, I’m most comfortable in a dark pair of jeans, a jacket-y type shirt that covers my midriff, or a sweater that does the same, and Land’s End clogs–or any clog that covers my dumpy, short toes. I know even this look, jeans and a jacket, can be funky, but on me it just screams Midwest Mother Frump!

I’m not trendy.  I am so typically American; so typically fearful of fashion, of difference, of color.

It’s good to leave the country every once in a while, I think, even if it is only on my computer.  Good to see what people elsewhere are wearing, are comfortable in, are LIVING in, and remind myself that clothing sometimes needs to be something other than functional, other than safe, other than a solid, dark, backdrop.


About TinaLBPorter

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12 Responses to Mother Frump dreams in Cobalt blue

  1. laimikis says:

    it was so interesting to read
    your comments on Vilnius street style –
    thank you for the opportunity to have a look
    at lithuanian everyday from a new point.

    from time to time experimenting with my friends’ styles,
    i have found, it’s important just to stir some playful attitude;
    and watching FRUiTS photos, made by Shoichi Aoki in Tokyo, it became clear,
    that the experiments with forms and colors are more brave
    as you feel a kind of personage (some anime hero, for example) 🙂


  2. ollka says:

    No no no, this wasn’t a veiled accusation, no need to be sorry! You see, ollka is a short version of Olga (and I just like the lowercase better graphically). And Olinka is a Russian pet name for Olga, which is why I was amazed that you used it.


  3. uuMomma says:

    Sorry, ollka—I don’t see as well as I used to, but if you like Olinka, I’ll keep it.

    And everyone–I do love the scarves!


  4. ollka says:

    Hi. I think there’s no need to abandon your preferred colours and styles, or to call yourself frumpy for wearing dark and/or classical garments. However, a fun way to ease yourself into colour is to accessorize:) A bright necklace or scarf looks gorgeous on a black backdrop.

    Also, two linguistic notes: SHLUMPADINKAS is a delightful word, thank you MIME! And uuMomma, I’ve never before been referred to by such a cute name by anyone in the English-speaking world. Once again, a new emotional experience, thanks to you.


  5. Marcia says:

    I’m trying to get past the frump. When I look with a real eye, I realize that turtlenecks, at least ones that aren’t slightly fitted, and “mom jeans” really aren’t even approaching being in anymore. I too, am short & not thin, and almost always wear solid colors, but I’m trying to break out a bit. I like jackets, and am willing to try a little more variety in them. I’m wearing forest green cords and browns more. Slowly, but surely.


  6. MIME says:

    I watched an Oprah show this week and her whole show was dedicated to shlumpadinkas – women like us whose clothes are BORING and dated.

    I got a kick out of watching people just like me get transformed so I was inspired to go out and buy myself new undergarments this week. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll get out and shop for something other than the usual mom jeans or the same black dress pants and shirts. The truth is, I care for a week or two, then I don’t!


  7. What Karen said – Yeah, my 20 yo daughter can wear anything & look hip. She is, after all, 30 years younger than me, about 5 inches taller, and 20 pounds lighter. She also has the lean, toned legs I once had when I walked everywhere, as she does now. I’m short & a bit pudgy. Short legs, short torso. Tough to look sleek, my uniform is jeans & a turtleneck (nice slacks and a turtleneck if I’m in a professional lady disguise). I love scarves, though – and funky jewelry.


  8. Karen says:

    I feel moved to point out that all these non-frumpy dressers are smaller multiples of eleven than we are. It’s not just that they’re in foreign lands – they’re young! I also want to point out that we don’t have to be slim and sleek to be non-frumpy. Of course, I have a uniform too, comprised of jeans and basic shirts/sweaters. I feel boring too – as well as bored. Maybe we should go shopping together, and start out with a couple of colorful items each?


  9. jacqueline says:

    We were watching the DVD extras on the last season of Gilmore Girls yesterday and they said something telling: when you body is beautiful clothes look great. So, I too am frumpy. I try, but that extra weight is, well extra. My uniform, jeans and simple white blouses. Sigh… a uniform.


  10. mskitty says:

    I’m in that X and W category too, Momma, and tend to wear the same things all the time. I have about three things that I wear to preach and it’s a good thing I only preach twice a month, or my folks would quickly get bored with my look. I don’t wear a robe, only sometimes a stole and then, of course, it’s important to wear something that looks decent with the stole. YiYiYi. But I watch “What Not To Wear” sometimes and am appalled at the looks that those two force on their victims. But I watch anyhow! I’m too old to go very mod and too chubby to go very sleek. Oh well.


  11. uuMomma says:

    Actually, watching the Project Runway reunion show the other day, I got a sense of that it was okay from Michael Kors, with his black t-shirt/jacket look. He showed how he funked out in the 80s (and it was equally horrendous), so now he has his uniform, too.


  12. I read this book on workplace dressing and found out that I’m a “uniform dresser,” which means I basically wear the same sorts of combinations over and over (black pants, sweater on top. But fear not! Some of the most fashionable people are uniform dressers, like that horrible Anna Wintour and other fashion mavens. So perhaps it’s not so boring.


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