I bet you have said the following on more than one occasion.
“It doesn’t make me look too mumsy does it?”
“You don’t think it’s a bit ….mumsy do you”?
“I don’t want to look mumsy now”
Nothing puts the fear of god into the hearts of Irish women more than the word “mumsy”. For and outcast she will become in cosy tearooms, rustic brunches and family reunions. Cast aside to the dowdy unwanted and “over” it pile.
The oxford dictionary defines mumsy as “Giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable: HELL NO!
Oh we might spend our lives cleaning up after everyone ( after a day’s work, don’t get me started here now folks 😉 suffering from chronic tiredness, bad weather-ness and all sorts of ailments but by God we won’t be accused of being dull, or boring or heaven forbid dowdy!
So what defines a mumsy outfit? What does it look like? and how do we avoid it, given the extreme unwanted stereotype. I’ve broken this down into the 5 deadly sins and if you sin you must repent so I have also included the “fixes “if you will!
If you think your look is a bit boring it probably is. If your look doesn’t make you feel special you are more than likely suffering from the mumsy effect!
Sin 1 Thou shalt not commit OTT coordinated crimes against fashion!
Oh you know the type, matching bag matching shoes matching lipstick matching hair band, earrings eyeshadow (There is no end to the possibilities here unfortunately.) Nothing wreaks more of mumsyness than what shall be referred to as the “Co-ordinated Carol effect. (PS I know plenty of Carols who do not emulate this look so don’t get paranoid ;)!)
STOP IT. This instance. A far better way of pulling an outfit together (which is the dream folks, to make it look put together in a oh I didn’t try at all sort of way) is subtle nods to the main outfit colour choice. If you have a black dress, go for a pop of colour in a shoe and pick a bag in a print or pattern which may have a flash of colour from the shoe but has a whole heap of other colours, or go crazy altogether and stick to an outfit in the one colour (with varying tones of the same colour) and put one flash of print which incorporates a little of the colour you are wearing! Cue- Stylish Sarah—a far better look
If you struggle shopping …
Sin 2 Thou shalt not go shopping on your own and re- offend)
Pic courtesy of www.conversionsondemand.com
You know what I mean here; the – I’ll buy a similar dress to what I have at home it works, its safe.com
That’s the point isn’t it? Its safe- another attribute of the “mumsy brigade” I’m not saying that the dress isn’t cute on you, stylish even but if it’s the same as the one you have worn countless times before this is the message you are sending out to the universe. I can’t take a chance, I don’t know how to change habits, and really I couldn’t be bothered!
Repent: Most retailers find it in their best interest to dole out good fashion advice; it builds trust, brand loyalty and repeat business. I know there are the ones who say everything looks good one you but these are easily detectable, they have that desperate to make a sale look in their eyes, and they plague you to see if you need help instead of hanging in the background knowing when to intervene!
Go seek them out or I know- why don’t you avail of the services of a good stylist, I know one ahem …
- Thou shall not buy a new outfit and not update the accessories.
Picture courtesy of bostonmagazine.com
This is one of the saddest things I see, that’s why it is really important to buy in outfits rather than garments. There is no easier way to update an outfit than choosing a current accessory out there and as we know these don’t cost the earth but they can make or break an outfit.
Repent: I would prefer to see clients re-use a great dress and up-style it with new accessories, shoes and outerwear than add an outdated accessory.
- Thou shalt not stick a jacket on over a dress unless it’s interesting, has texture or adds a dimension to an outfit!
“Ah sure it’s just for the church”
“Just to throw over me shoulders”
“I’ll be cold”
Now listen, I’m all for functionality until it RUINS an outfit, the biggest mistake I see here is Blazers over dresses, they are in fact OVER dresses themselves.
Repent: If you need a jacket know your length, don’t have anything too long, it will crowd the dress, don’t have anything too short if you are too tall as it will make your body look out of proportion. If you have to do “something for the church” a nice mac, a fur stole, or a jacket with a redeeming feature like a bit of print. E.g. leopard print over a red dress.
- Though shalt not wear comfortable knickers all the time!
Oh this one, this ones sneaks up on you, you start researching online for seamless knickers and if you do this now, this instance into google and look at what types of ads come up you will know what era this is putting you into ! I noticed this one myself but thought no one else did until my Fiancé said to me 10 months after giving birth in a non-judgemental but equally pass remarkable manner “ Are you still wearing those after having Matthew! Cue drawer pulling open and firing everything into a black bag…
Repent: Black bag it!!!!
Every so often buy something naughty it’ll make up for all the sins!
Fiona is a freelance stylist, personal shopper MC and TV presenter check out her website www.fhstyle.ie, and follow on twitter @fhstyle