Being frumpy, Denim and Christmas decorations

As you can see, I have a beautiful new header on my blog thanks to Werkhaus Design Studio. I am delighted and I hope everyone likes it!

David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell image from Huffington Post

I have idly been watching news stories of an affair involving General David Petraeus, the head of the CIA and his biographer, author Paula Broadwell.  Spending years together, as they did in both Afghanistan and the US, could definitely lead to a strong bond forming between them, whether sexual or not. Apparently many biographers have fallen into the quagmire of bonding with their subjects to such a degree that they can no longer be relied upon to produce an unbiased account of their lives. As I watched the story unfolding I wondered about both of their spouses and what had triggered the affair. Did they have a spark, an intense connection when they first met or was it just that they spent years together and became close. As I was verbalising my thoughts someone said ‘his wife Holly is very frumpy’ which started me thinking.  The affair, what makes people have affairs and apportioning blame is not a road I want to go down and I am certainly not suggesting that if someone is frumpy then their husband will have an affair but I’d like to explore the concept of frumpy.

What makes someone frumpy. Is it an attitude, a resistance to change, an approach to fashion, how you see life or an exhaustion and disinterest with everything that makes you stop trying. Are woman specifically so tied up with seeing to the physical and emotional needs of their family and children that they just loose themselves and years later when they have more time, can’t find their way back? Do they stop seeing themselves as desirable individuals with aspirations, dreams and goals and just become mothers or wives. Does that become their only identity. With family being a primary focus, do woman forget about how they look, and how others see them. Is it ok to throw on old tracksuit pants to do the school run in the morning and stay like that all day. I think every now and then you need to step back and really look at yourself. Is your hair cut and colour flattering or has it been the same for the last 10 years. Have you changed your make up in the last 5 years or are you still wearing the same colours as back then. Do you only wear flats these days because they are more practical, sensible and comfortable when really you like how you feel in heels but couldn’t be bothered to wear them anymore. Have you been wearing the same boring and practical underwear for ever. Maybe it’s time to reassess how your look and to make  small changes to it all and maybe rediscover yourself along the way.

In fashion terms it may be an insecurity about how you see yourself that makes you resist fashion changes. I knew a lovely woman a few years ago who had been in her prime in the 80’s and was still very attached to her shoulder pads! She could not see herself as being attractive without them. The silhouette had changed from the 80’s but I think she related to the person she was when she had the shoulder pads and did not feel comfortable with moving away from them. Maybe we get stuck in a look if it reminds us of a time when we liked ourselves the best.

It may be that as we get older we feel we need to dress more sensibly and are worried about looking like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ so we go overboard and over react in trying not to dress like our daughters and weirdly that is even more aging. How you present yourself shouldn’t really matter but it does. I think really that frumpy is a tired attitude to life that gets reflected in your appearance. It is a fine line to embrace new trends in fashion and changes in life but not to loose common sense or your moral compass along the way. Not everything suits everybody and not everybody can get away with wearing everything but we need to consider trying something new occasionally. A new length skirt, new colour lipstick, new haircut, bolder accessories, brighter or perhaps more muted coloured clothes, prints if you usually wear plains and plains if you always wear prints. Try something new.


Jenna Lyons in cream satin and a denim jacket image from

I have been thinking about denim a lot this week. After looking up Jenna Lyons and browsing through images of her I noticed how much denim she wears and how, as I mentioned last week, she mixes it with more luxurious fabrics. I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t think that denim has an ‘age group”. I think young and old alike can wear it in appropriate styles. Denim in fact gets better with age and wear . I have a denim jacket that I love that has actually got holes in it now it has worn so thin in places! I think I need to start looking for it’s replacement. As I wandered around the city today, I noticed denim on lots of people. Obviously most commonly as jeans but an enormous number of people were also wearing jackets and shirts. They go with literally everything and are light enough to wear during a mild summer.With that in mind I explored denim shirts and jackets. I also tried out a few outfits of my own in keeping with this theme and like the look, especially for the cooler weather we are experiencing at the moment.

Jenna Lyons in pink satin and denim at the Met ball image from

I realise this is not a look that everyone might go for but there is something about it that I find really appealing.

Amanda and Jenna Lyons image from Memoir of a missus

Jenna Lyon image from

Denim shirt from Zara, olive silk skirt and a collection of old wooden and brass necklaces from central Africa

Denim jacket image from J Crew

Denim jacket image from

J Crew, Image from

Calvin Klein Pale denim shirt at Meyer

Calvin Klein sleeveless pale denim shirt at Meyer

True Religion denim shirt at Meyer

Topman Pale denim jacket at Topshop

There were two girls trying this jacket on when I went into Topman. There were also a few amazing men’s denim shirts. If you are wearing a denim shirt with fitted printed pants, a mans shirt that is slightly baggy and longer may look better than a more fitted woman’s shirt.

Short sleeve denim shirt from the Levis store Chatswood Westfield Mall

Denim shirt from the Levis store Westfield Mall Chatswood

Studded jacket at Zara

Denim jacket at Zara on line

Levis Ladies denim shirt, seen on line

Levis ladies peplum jacket as seen on line


One of my daughters recently moved in to a house with 3 uni friends and has become very excited at the thought of decorating it for Christmas but obviously they are all on a strict budget and are starting from scratch. With my passion for Christmas, decorations and shiny things, I sympathise so I have dug out some of mine for them to use. I thought I would also try and make a few inexpensive decorations for them.  So without trying to be a very bad Martha Stewart segment, here is what we did to make wire cone and tinsel trees.

Cones, wire and stars from Riot Art

Wrap the wine around the cone for shape then glue on stars or sequins.

The start of a tinsel tree. Rub gel medium over the cone and wrap it up with tinsel.

Christmas display using the wire and tinsel trees

Paper snowflake curtain

We also made a paper snowflake curtain as part of the Christmas decorations. There are lots of lovely tutorials on how to cut paper snowflakes on Pinterest.

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4 Responses to Being frumpy, Denim and Christmas decorations

  1. Angela says:

    As always your blog is interesting to read. It’s the only one I enjoy seeing in my inbox and reading right through. You provide such useful and helpful information that’s right on target! I also like the frequency that you deliver. It’s quality information worth waiting for, and I’m sure it takes a lot of time to put together. Thank you.

  2. Another great post.

    Love the denim thing, an English man told me about five years ago that females of a certain age (and I think he meant over 35) shouldn’t wear “jean jackets” (his term). He was about 60 at the time.

    I bought a new denim jacket the next day and racked him up in my memory as annoyingly clueless.

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