7 Ways to Avoid Looking Mumsy

ways to look younger

Olivia Palermo looking effortlessly chic

A concern often raised by my clients is how to avoid looking mumsy and finding ways to look younger when they shop and/or put outfits together.

The dictionary definition of “Mumsy” is  “giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable or ” having an  old-fashioned appearance, like that of a traditional mother”.   Most of us aspire to look chic and effortless in our appearance but as our lifestyles change from being perky 20-somethings with no cares or responsibilities to women with kids, careers, houses and partners in our 30’s, 40’s and beyond; sometimes the wheels fall off the way we look and we start to lose our way a little with how to dress to best effect, bearing in mind the demands of children, work and limited leisure time to shop and sort out our oufits.

As a result I have compiled an easy list of 7 top tips to keep you looking chic and effortless whatever the day brings and also 7 things to stop doing to ensure there is no risk of looking Mumsy!!

7 Top Tips TO DO

  • Express your personal style e.g. wearing chunky jewellery and bangles, wearing a scarf, always rocking heels, wearing bright colours, sporting your jeans rolled up a certain way etc. In other words develop your signature look. For those of you who have met me you’ll know that my signature look revolves around chunky beads and bangles…if I haven’t got my jewellery on I’m not ready to leave the house.
  • Ensure everything you put on fits well, and makes you feel good about yourself, even if all you are doing is spending the day pottering around doing chores or in the garden. How you look and how you feel internally are entirely intertwined.
  • Look for timeless prints and patterns e.g leopard print or stripes. They are always on trend, always look good and always add a little interest to your outfit
  • ALWAYS accessorize. Just putting on a brightly coloured scarf against a simple dark coloured outfit can make you look 100 times better. Wearing neutral staples with a burst of colour from accessories is the easiest and most effective way to dress.
  • Dress to your strengths. If you’ve got great legs or a great bust show it/them off and don’t draw attention to a lesser feature.
  • Wear and buy classic items as the staples in your wardrobe e.g. ballet flats, breton tops, straight leg dark wash jeans, leather jacket, trench coat
  • Add currentness to your look by buying inexpensive items that are on trend for a season. Pairing them with your classic staples with show you know what is going on in the fashion world and aren’t afraid to experiment, but also that you are not a slave to fashion and know what suits you. An example of this, this season. would be a fringed bag. Not a timeless look but a £20 tan fringed bag from H&M is fun for this summer and would look great paired with navy jeans and top and co-ordinating sandals/heels.


7 Top Tips NOT TO DO

  • Avoid clothing that is entirely out of fashion e.g. boot leg jeans. Even if they suit your figure well as they do with bottom/hip heavy body shapes they date you
  • Avoid anything that is overtly Bodenesque e.g. a pattened A-line skirt. Boden does some great stuff, notably swimwear and kids clothing but if you want to avoid looking mumsy a lot of their items are off the agenda.
  • Never wear flat shoes with dresses or skirts with the exception of maxi skirts and dresses
  • Always consider your proportions; a loose top should be worn with tighter fitting trousers or skirt or vice versa
  • Shops like Joules, Fatface, The White Stuff, and Seasalt are found in all the upmarket UK destinations like Southwold, Aldburgh  Salcombe,  Newquay,  Burnham Market etc and are targeting middle class working mothers like ourselves but the look is very casual and often very patterned and unless you are very careful can make you look Mumsy in one stroke… I find it easiest to just avoid these kind of shops.
  • Ask yourself if your mum would wear it. If the answer is yes don’t proceed
  • An item has to be attractive and flattering as well as useful. It is definitely possible to combine usefulness with attractiveness. A prime example of this is wearing an anorak just because it’s raining or windy etc. Wearing a stylish khaki parka will offer the same protection against the elements but will look attractive instead of making you look like you are about to go hiking.


One last overall tip would be think of someone whose style you really like and who you think always looks good…my style icons are probably Olivia Palermo and Jessica Alba. When getting dressed or shopping ask yourself would so and so wear or buy this? If the answer is no then possibly you shouldn’t wear it either. It’s a tongue in check guide but when in doubt I find this can be a useful reference point!



For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook page and subscribe to my monthly newsletter on my homepage.