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Fashion Agony: Help! I’m a fat, old frump and I want to be a foxy head-turner

Q. How do you turn a fat old frump into a foxy 55-year-old head turner?

A. This is the kind of insecurity we women need to get over. Who’s telling you you’re a frump? Is it some guy on a dating app who thinks he’s God’s gift, or the inner voice in your head? Whoever. This kind of thinking has no place in your life any more.

OK, I’m not a psychologist but what I know is a makeover can boost your self-confidence like nothing else. So banish the frump talk and take a look at your wardrobe.

Firstly, weed out any clothes you own that have unhappy connotations. You know. That jumper you were wearing when your cat died, the dress you wear because it cost a fortune but makes you feel like your nan. I don’t care what you do with them. Just don’t ever wear them again.

Then discard clothes that have been in your wardrobe forever but you can’t just find the ‘right occasion’ for them. Believe me, you will never wear them. Wave goodbye!!

Bonnie burnout kimono, £99 monsoon.com

Next, time to re-think your look. You want foxy babe. You got it.

Firstly, for day wear find a pair of jeans that work for you, then buy in black and any variation of blue you want. Then I’d like to suggest a leather-look skirt and/or pair of trousers. How sexy do these look? They make even the most baggy jumper a little bit vampy.

Add a sweater. My favourite of the moment is a leopard print mohair from By Malene Birger which I’d buy a size down as it’s quite slouchy which means your normal size will swamp you. Baggy jumpers are a no-no unless they slip off the shoulders in a provocative way, then they’re OK. Then add a pair of ankle boots, preferably ones with some kind of heel.

Peplum leather skirt, £85, top and cami, £35, joebrowns.com

Secondly a satin slip dress as sleek and slippery as the perfect skin. If you’re conscious of your curves buy a size up then add a duster coat or kimono. One Hundred Stars has some gorgeous dusters. They’re great for wearing over a white tee, jeans and white trainers for daywear too.

This dress by Sukeina from the AW 2020 collection creates shape © IMAXtree.com

Invest in a decent jacket that gives you some shape but steer clear of denim jean jackets which scream ‘I’m trendy. Honest.’ Sorry but you’re not.

You need a coat too. It’s no use having a wardrobe full of lovely tips and dresses then topping it all with one of those dreadful puffa coats. Sexy coats are made of sexy fabric. I have a jacket made of faux fur that everybody wanted to stroke. Honestly, even shop assistants couldn’t resist stroking my sleeve in the days when we could touch each other. Does it really get any foxier than that?

Five rules for looking foxy

  1. Go low

By this I mean show some décolletage. Not too much as that’s obvious, but enough. Polo necks can be worn but only with tight jeans or a pencil skirt.

  • Do not tuck in

Tucking in your jumper, shirt, whatever equals instant frump. OK, so the magazines may be filled with models wearing mom jeans and a tucked in shirt but on no account be tempted to do this look because if you’re over 40, it screams ‘Stuck in the 1980s’. And if you even have the hint of a belly it will be magnified to pregnancy proportions.

Slip dress, £187, freshalondon.com
  • Create shape

Ahh yes, the shapeless top/dress. Bet you have a few of those lurking in your wardrobe ready for those days you don’t feel ‘sexy enough’ for anything else. Suddenly you’re wearing these miserable objects all the time. It’s go-to frump attire. Buy a jacket with a nipped in waist that will create shape. Add a skirt or jeans. Try out a belt around a dress. Personally, belts make me look fatter but for some they’re an instant way to make your figure more curvy.

Coat by Bally © IMAXtree.com
  • Buy fishnets

This is such a cheap way to foxy and it’s so simple. Patterned tights are back so fishnets or maybe lacy tights are the way to go. Sooo much more sexy than opaque black tights. And if you’ve got brown or grey tights in your wardrobe build a bonfire and ritually burn them right now!

Janet Reeder
Janet Reeder has a 30-year career in journalism. She is a fashion expert who has interviewed top designers Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and many others. She also loves to travel and write about her experiences.

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