8 Mistakes You’re Making that Make Your Clothes Look Frumpy - Downtown Demure

Style 101: 8 Mistakes You’re Making that Make Your Clothes Look Frumpy

8 Mistakes You’re Making that Make Your Clothes Look Frumpy - Downtown Demure

This is the third post in the STYLE 101 Series exploring easy, practical ways to improve your sense of style. To read the previous posts, click HERE.

Modest but not frumpy. That’s the goal here on Downtown Demure. If you feel like you’re queen of the frump but hate the idea of shopping for clothing that isn’t frumpy, don’t fret. You may not need to buy a whole new wardrobe; you just have to make adjustments to clothes you already own.

In this post, I will continue my discussion on the importance of mastering fit because when you master fit, you conquer the frump. Here’s one principle that will be repeated throughout this post: If you’re clothes don’t fit properly, they will look frumpy. Period. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to fix most of the fit issues discussed in this post. You just need to a) be aware of these mistakes, and/or b) know (or know a good tailor) who can help you can help you correct them.

shirt length tips via downtown demure

Photo Credit: Apostolic Clothing

1) Your shirt is too long.

Unless you are tall and skinny (which, honestly, means you can break a few style rules and still look put together), the hem of your shirt should hit mid-hip and not too far below the crotch of your jeans. This helps elongate your natural leg line (long shirts cut off your natural leg line and make you look stumpy). And no, you can’t throw a belt over a too long top and call it a day. Trust me, you’re better off finding a shorter top or hemming it.

gaping shirt tips via downtown demure

Photo Credit: Shabby Apple

2) Your shirt is gaping.

This is a simple one. Your bra should not be playing peek-a-boo through your shirts. If the buttons of your shirt can’t close properly, that means the shirt is too small. You may not like the idea of going one size up, but the larger sized shirt will actually make you look smaller and sleeker because it will fit better.

UGLY POLOY VS CUTE POLO - DOWNTOWN DEMURE

Photo Credit: Ali Express

3) The seams of your tops & jackets don’t match your shoulder.

The shoulder seams of your tops should fall along the natural shape of your shoulder. If you were paying attention in biology, the shoulder seam should fall along with acromion. If the shoulder seam falls too far below your shoulder, your top will look droopy and obviously large on you. Drop shoulder shirts, in my humble opinion, don’t look right on most women for that very reason (but, hey, I’m sure if you’re confident enough, you can pull it off).

tips for wearing a blazer and fighting frump - downtown demure

Photo Credit: J. Crew

4) Your sleeves are too long.

You shouldn’t look like a 12 year old who went shopping for the first time without momma. Make sure your sleeves stop at or JUST below your wrists to prevent from looking like your drowning in them. If your sleeves are too long, you can always resort to the fashionable sleeve roll-up method to hide this issue.

To tuck or not to tuck in shirt - tips via downtown demure

Photo Credit: Apostolic Clothing

5) You’re not tucking in your shirt.

This one simple move can transform your outfit from drab to fab instantly. If you’re wearing a knee-length or maxi-length skirt with a banded waist, I highly recommend tucking in your shirt. Why? This trick will accentuate your waist and look incredibly pulled together (provided your shirt isn’t baggy and spilling over the band of the skirt. If you have a large behind and are worried that it will be on display if you tuck in your shirt, do what I normally do: half tuck it!

Tips for finding the right jeans length

Photo Credit: Downeast Basics

6) Your pants are too long.

Proper length is important for achieving proper fit. If you’re wearing a skinnier style of jean, the hem of your jeans should hit right above or juuuust below your ankle. If you’re wearing jeans with a wider lower leg style (e.g. boot cut , flared, or straight leg jeans) the hem should fall a little lower. The sweet spot is midway between the top of the shoe and the floor. What you’re trying to avoid is your pants leg bunching up because there is too much fabric around your legs. Not only do your pants look baggy but you’re also destroying your jeans by allowing the hem to drag on the ground.

7) You’re wearing bras that don’t fit.

If you’re still rocking a bra you’ve had for over a decade, it’s time to let it go. The sad truth is bras stretch over time, and that process is accelerated greatly when you put your bras in a machine washer and dryer. Wearing a loose bra that no longer provides proper support makes your upper half look sloppy. The same goes for too tight bras that create noticeable body roles through your clothing. You’ll look sleeker if you avoid poorly fitting bras.

IMG_1394

8) You’re wearing a muumuu.

I know none of my darling readers own one of these, but if you just so happen to have one in your closet, just…don’t. Ever.

If you commonly experience any of these issues, I have one piece of advice for you: FIND A GOOD TAILOR. I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to find someone who is capable of doing both the less extensive alterations and the custom tailoring jobs. Most people think $$$ when I mention tailoring, but I haven’t paid more than $12 a pop for my alterations.

OR…you can get clothing that’s actually custom made for your body with your unique measurements on eShakti. I can’t rave enough about this awesome site. To learn more click the banner below or view my eShakti dresses HERE and HERE.

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I hope these quick tips were helpful for you! What are some of your go-to techniques for beating the frump? Share with me in the comments below!

You’re Also Going To Love:

If you loved this post, you’ll also love these posts FULL of more wardrobe building tips.

      6 Tips to Find Modest Workout Clothing How to Build a Stylish & Affordable Modest Wardrobe  Modest Brand Spotlight: A Review of my 1st eShakti Dress

Linking up with: More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express // Style to Inspire // Manic Mondays //Mix It Mondays // Pink Sole // Still Being Molly // Turning Heads Tuesday // Style Elixir // Garay Treasures // Pleated Poppy //Because Shanna Said So //Stylish Housewife // The Wednesday Pants // Style Me Wednesday // Happiness at Mid Life // The Red Closet Diary // Mix Match Fashion // Thursday Fashion Files // High Latitude Style //Friday Favorites // Birdie Shoots // Pumps and Pushups // Because Shanna Said So // Favorite Fashion Friday

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The Comments

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth
    09/05

    Great style tips! One of the things I want to really learn with sewing is how to do alterations! There have been so many times I couldn’t wear my favorite piece of clothing just because it was a little too long or a little too short or one size too big. And another thing about sewing your own clothes, is that you can have the measurements tailored to fit YOUR body, not someone else’s 🙂

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Elizabeth
      09/05

      Agreed! Learning how to sew well enough to make intermediate-level alterations (beyond basic hemming) is on my list as well! It would save so much money too (no more poor fitting clothes or paying for alterations by a professional tailor).

  • Avatar
    Sam Gould
    09/06

    Great Post, love the tips some I will need to keep in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing.
    Sam Gould recently posted…Time just gets the better of you!My Profile

  • Avatar
    Rachel G
    09/06

    In general, I struggle with picking clothes that really fit. Lengths I understand well, and I’m really picky about the length of my jeans–but apparently, when I was growing up, my mom never bought me clothes that fit, always sized up so that I could grow into them, and then people always told me I won’t be slim forever, and I want to have babies….for so many reasons, I always decide to buy my clothes slightly too big, assuming that I’ll gain weight and I don’t want them to be too tight later. Of course, I’m the girl who hasn’t grown or gained weight between the ages of 12 and 24, ha. I need to accept my size and stop buying too-big clothes!
    Rachel G recently posted…Angelisms, Part 10My Profile

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    09/07

    I must admit that I’m guilty of committing a few of these fashion faux pas. Since I am getting older I am working on this so I can look more polished and put together. These tips are a great starting place!

    Xoxo,
    Amanda
    trulyyoursa.com

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Amanda
      09/08

      We are all guilty of breaking some of these rules (I’ve only recently become more diligent about finding proper fits with my clothes). Sometimes you just don’t have the time to make the necessary adjustments, but they truly transform your outfit. Thanks for stopping by, Amanda!

  • Avatar
    Alecz
    09/07

    Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how much of a difference tucking a shirt into a skirt makes! SUCH A DIFFERENCE! Really makes the whole outfit look completely different in a classy, wonderful kinda way.

    https://forsevenseasons.wordpress.com

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Alecz
      09/08

      Thanks, Alecz! I actually thought of you as I wrote that tip! Your outfits are excellent examples of the wonders of tucking.

  • Avatar
    Mandi
    09/07

    As someone who works in fashion I agree with all of this. Thanks for posting!

  • Avatar
    amy
    09/07

    Good tips. Fit is so important when tried to avoid looking frumpy. However, when a lot of people have tummies or a thick waist, tucking in their shirt or wearing a belt just makes it look worse. Just my experience.
    amy recently posted…Fashion Over Fifty: Pretty Tank, Distressed Denim, and NEW SHOES!My Profile

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > amy
      09/08

      True, tucking doesn’t work for all body types (particularly apple and oval shapes), but I know a few people with that body type and thick waists that have learned how to work belts and tucking. It’s all about proportions, and it’s so important every woman to test different methods to see what works for her body. Thanks for reading, Amy!

  • Avatar
    Autumn
    09/07

    I have a pretty short waist so I feel like tucking in can be a pretty hard thing because it makes my waist look shorter. For me, I’ve found that it just means I start avoiding things that look better tucked in.
    Autumn @ Stay gold Autumn
    Autumn recently posted…a quick trip to KentuckyMy Profile

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Autumn
      09/08

      Oh yes, short-waisted girls should typically avoid tucking in shirts and blouses into high waisted pants and skirts. I’m actually writing a post about that later in the series! IT’s good that you already know what does and doesn’t work for you. I’m thinking you can still try the half-tuck into mid and low rise pants.

  • Avatar
    Joy
    09/08

    It’s so interesting…
    In college, I knew and held to all these rules. My fashion and fits were on point. Now, though, I catch myself breaking nearly ALL these rules! I think I don’t spend enough time trying on clothes. I just buy it if it ‘seems’ to fit. Oye! Thank you for reminding me of all these silly mistakes. I’m embarrassed that I’ve been so guilty! haha!
    Joy recently posted…You’re busy…. and no one cares.My Profile

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Joy
      09/08

      Oh, Joy, you definitely are NOT alone. I’ve also become less diligent about finding proper fits (mainly because I just don’t want to take the time to try on clothes). Blogging and creating this series helped me to shape up a great deal. Thanks so much checking out this post and leaving some love!

  • Avatar
    Adriana Renee
    09/11

    Great tips! I always have to tuck in my shirts because I feel so frumpy and weird having them loose.
    Adriana Renee recently posted…Swim A Little DeeperMy Profile

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Adriana Renee
      09/12

      I completely agree! I have to do some kind of tuck with my shirts, oversized or not. Thanks, Adriana!

  • Avatar
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    09/11

    I am definitely guilty of having that gaping look. I need to get some more high waisted skirts (and loose a little of the belly fat so I can tuck my tummy in the skirt)
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted…6 Great Places to Get Your Grub & Drink On in Syracuse, NYMy Profile

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth
      > Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
      09/12

      Haha, I have the same belly fat to tuck into my high waisted skirts as well, Chanel. It’s definitely doable and (depending on your body type) I highly recommend it!

  • Avatar
    Rebekah @ Surviving Toddlerrhood
    09/13

    Hmm, I actually like some of the pictures that you are describing as wrong. I must be a fashion illiterate person. I HATE tucking in shirts…hate, hate, hate it. I never tuck them in, but maybe if they were the right length I would be able to. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Rebekah @ Surviving Toddlerrhood recently posted…{Free Printable} Fall Scavenger Hunt for Toddlers and KindergartenersMy Profile

  • Avatar
    suits alterations New York City
    01/05

    Aim for a slim, flattering fit wherever possible, but ensure that the suit isn’t restrictive in any way. You should focus on clean lines that flatter your body shape and allow you a free range of motion. After all, if you’re not comfortable then you won’t appear confident, which is arguably the key to pulling off any clothing.

  • Avatar
    Sarah
    05/17

    I do agree that the typical muu-muu looks bad. But is there a way to make it look okay? I really like the look of an ‘abaya’. Is it possible to get a muu-muu to look beautiful and elegant in that way?

    I am always wanting to be dressed modestly and do not want to show off my body, yet I don’t want to look like I threw a tablecloth on over myself and sewed it shut! Looking for that fine line that you seem to have mastered so beautifully!!