Fight the Frump: That Final Put Together Look

Fight the Frump Day 5: Putting the Look Together

It’s our last day of Fight the Frump week! I hope you’ve been enjoying taking some care in your appearance. It really can be a lot of fun—and be a great confidence booster–when we know we look our best.

In case you missed them, here are our earlier posts:

Day One: Get Dressed
Day Two: Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter
Day Three: Finding the Right Bra
Day Four: Accessorize!

And now we’re going to talk about how to put that final look together when you’re actually getting ready to step out the door. Some of what we’ve been talking about is just not looking sloppy while we’re at home. But when you’re actually going out, then what?

Here are some thoughts to consider about making yourself look all put together:


Those of you who scrapbook know that layering makes the card more visually appealing. And an odd number of elements is best. The same works with clothing. You may have a lovely top, but often throwing a little sweater over it completes the look. Add a belt, or a necklace, and a purse when you go out and you have five elements on the top half. (you don’t have to be obsessive about this, but I do find that just two elements is often not enough–a T-shirt and sweater benefit from a necklace or belt, for instance).

Here’s a simple fitted cardigan that would work over a T-shirt if you wore the cardigan mostly open, or you could wear a collared blouse underneath. Wear it closed with a belt for a different look:

Charter School Cardigan in Kelly Green from ModCloth – $34.99

from: ModCloth

Sheila Wray Gregoire speakingWhen I’m speaking I almost never wear just a top without something else–even if it’s a nice top. Adding a blazer or sweater just makes it look more like I’m “put together”. Here I’ve got a belt, a dress, and a sweater. (True confessions: I love this dress, and I STUCK IT IN THE DRYER!!! It shrunk. I’m so sad).

The whole “creating a put together look” isn’t as much of an issue if you’re hanging out at the house, but when you go out, it’s something to think about. And that’s This really doesn’t matter if you’re just hanging around the house, but think about it if you’re getting ready to go out.

Purses and Shoes

Here are two other categories that don’t matter if you’re hanging around the house, but having some “wow” shoes or purses can bring everything together.

Recently I bought the most amazing orange leather purse when we were in Turkey in the summer. After wearing brown leather purses my whole life, it was quite the change. But boy does the color pop! So I’d challenge you to choose a really bright color that can complement a variety of things and try it, like this:

Girl With Curves Bag in Red from ModCloth – $74.99

from: ModCloth

or this:

Something About You Bag from ModCloth – $62.99

from: ModCloth

If you’re more a “neutral color” gal in your clothing, and you’re afraid to go bright in your clothes, go bright in your purse! You’ll get tons of compliments. Just wearing a small pop of color looks so much more confident. Make sure, though, that you don’t choose a purse just for its color. I always choose a purse that I can fit my rather large wallet in, my phone, my Bible, and anything else I may need to stick in there (like my knitting). I need pockets, and I need big. That cute little purse may be just adorable, but if I’m forever moving my wallet around, and nothing fits, it isn’t worth it.

When it comes to shoes, you can use a similar approach when it comes to color. Everybody needs a nice pair of black flats and a nice pair of black heels to go with everything. But it’s also fun to have something with a pop of color and a thick heel (so you don’t fall over), like this:

Right Here Heel in Lime from ModCloth – $59.99

from: ModCloth

Remember, you don’t have to wear green with these heels. You could have on jeans and a brown or neutral shirt or sweater, but these give you that “pop” that make the outfit look like you thought about it and put it together with flair.

Don’t think that because you’ve never been a “girly girl” that you can’t do heels, or that heels have to be uncomfortable. They really don’t. But shoes with a thick, low heel, and you’ll hardly notice a difference. But they make you look polished!

If you’re really tall and dislike heels, then just buy flats with some interesting elements, like pointed toes, or bows, or bright colors.

So that’s it, ladies! You’ve made it. You’ve gotten dressed. You’ve chosen clothes that fit and flatter. You’ve bought a well-fitted bra. You’re wearing a bit of jewelry, and maybe some makeup. And now you’ve got a look that’s all put together!

I know one of the challenges many of you face is money: you’d love to look more put together, but you just don’t have the cash right now. Or perhaps your sizes are changing because of giving birth, or nursing, or losing weight, and you don’t want to put too much money in right now. So here would be my priority items for making you feel wonderful, in order of importance:

1. A Good Bra. Start with that.
2. A good haircut!
3. ONE pair of jeans that fit well.
4. ONE blouse/top that fits well that isn’t a T-shirt. You can dress it up or down.
5. ONE sweater to pull it all together.
6. ONE awesome purse.
7. ONE lovely necklace.

If you get those seven things, one at a time, you will feel great. And then you can always add more pieces to it. I hope that helps, and thank you so much in joining me as we fought the frump!

I’d love to hear what your favorite tip was that you heard this week! Let me know in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Great series! I like cardigans too. And, like you, for years I had neutral colored purses, thinking they went with everything. A few years back, I bought a royal blue purse, and since then all of my purses have been colored. I haven’t found a problem with matching. I don’t constantly change my purse with outfit, but a pop of color can work with lots of different outfits.

    Thanks, Sheila!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…A Marital Intimacy PlaylistMy Profile

  2. Sheila, what a fun week! You’ve given me some great ideas and made me chuckle a few times. I’ve asked my husband a few things and now I have some ideas for myself. My hubby read over my shoulder a couple of times and smirked “Oh you girls”. I know he really appreciates this though & I’ve said to him this week as I got dressed, “I’m fighting the frump!” You’ve won a new male friend! :o) Also, I’ve read To Love, Honor, & Vacuum. It is so helpful & I recommend it to friend all the time. I’m trying to implement some things you talked about and look forward to seeing some fruit in those efforts. At the same time I ordered it, I got The Good Girls Guide To Great Sex. I just read the first chapter this morning. I sincerely thank God for you & all you do! I know you don’t know me, but you have a disciple in Indiana! God bless you! :o)

  3. I have no other comment except to say that you are making me fall in love with Modcloth!! I’m such a priss and the pictures you’ve shown are just darling and very feminine. I’m just bummed that my feet are too tiny to fit into those shoes (size 5s are hard to find)!!
    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives recently posted…Run To Your Husband. Or Maybe Not.My Profile

  4. So last night my husband comes in from work and changes into an old, big, stained t-shirt, baggy pajama pants, and tennis shoes. Can you please write a Men’s version of Fighting the Slouch? Seriously, though, I have loved this series and you convinced me to go shopping for a good bra, new shoes, and new accessories. I have been buying versatile, timeless, well made clothes for years and have slowly built up a pretty good mix-and-match wardrobe that I can add in new pieces and change up for a new look. I also have a quick hair and make-up routine that only takes minutes. I have mirrors all over my house and love saying WOW! when I walk by one. My teenage sons and frumpy husband don’t seem to notice one way or the other – so I do it for ME. I’m worth it.

    • Christina Rice says:

      This may not help you much but it works in our house. I am in charge of the laundry. My husband doesn’t seem to pay much attention to his clothes as long as there is something comfy to put on. So when a stained or torn shirt shows up in the hamper, I throw it away. I am also in charge of buying clothes so I buy him nicer white undershirts that fit well. Over time his closet will have nicer, not as slouchy clothes and he still feels relaxed.

  5. Christina Rice says:

    I have ordered new bras and took measurments to find out my body shape! I then asked my sister in law (who always looks so put together) to take me shopping and try on clothes. A kind of “what not to wear” session. :) Will have to wait until next payday, but gaining motivation :)

  6. I’m smiling because I just wrote about the need to replace a few pieces in my own wardrobe.

    I have to say- though there is much to dislike about the Mad Men era, people did value and care for their appearance. I think we could get back to a bit more of that in our everyday
    Sara recently posted…Wardrobe updatesMy Profile

  7. Kari Romaine says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I LOVED this series. The bra-fitting article was especially helpful!

    One thing I figured out this week- if I lay out my outfit and accessories the night before, I’m all set for the next day! If I don’t have a plan, out of drowsiness and laziness I’m way more likely to go “frumpy” either because I can’t find the right things or I just don’t care what I’ll look like the rest of the day. (It’s hard to be too concerned at 5:30am) But If I spend 3 minutes the night before instead of the 15 it would take me in the morning, I look cute and feel better about myself all day!


  8. Hey, I don’t know if any of you have heard of the site balancing beauty and bedlam, but I wanted to share because she often posts thrifty fashion finds. Here is a link to her newest post: Her style isn’t always what I would choose to wear for myself, but she has good tips about thrift shopping for people who can’t always afford to spend lots of money on clothes. In this post she is wearing a few different outfits with a jacket and jewelery just like Sheila mentions! I hope this can be of help to someone!

  9. I found your blog through another, and I’m going to be a lifer now! I’ve loved this little series, and have found myself being really excited to check it daily. Best thing – your website for the…not so well endowed. Those bras are beautiful, and it’s nice to see a model with a tiny chest like me so I know it’ll still look ok without a D cup! Or C…or B…you get the point. Thanks for the new addiction!!

  10. This has been a great series. You’ve inspired me. :) My husband calls me beautiful no matter what I’m wearing, but I’ve found that I’m a lot more confident if I wash my face, put on a little moisturizer (coconut oil, thank you very much!), and makeup in the morning, and take two minutes to pick out a nice outfit. I’m hoping to go through my closet this weekend and get rid of my “frumpy” clothes (or at least most of them) and bring the nicer items to the front so I wear them more.

    Thanks for the inspiration this week! And I took the bra-fitting quiz…for the most part, the ones I own already fit quite well. But now I know what kind to get next time I have money for a new one. :)
    Jaimie recently posted…The Antidote to Worry, the Source of PeaceMy Profile

  11. Thanks for this series this week. :-) I’ve been inspired to try a little harder with my appearance. My jewelry wardrobe in particular needs a SERIOUS update. I have pieces dating all the way back to junior high! I can’t throw anything away. I’m sentimental like that. But I should put all the stuff I have just for the memories in a hope chest or something and do something fun organization-wise with what I do wear.
    Melissa recently posted…Trauma at the Hand of FictionMy Profile

  12. Shiela,
    Thank you so much for this series! As a mom who just had baby #4 six weeks ago, it is so timely! I especially enjoyed Tuesday’s post on dressing for your body type, and I used your suggestions when I went clothes shopping yesterday. (I found one pair of slacks and two jeans!)

    Today, I was just at the point where I was wondering “what next?” when you gave us seven priorities to start with. Perfect!

    Thank you SO much.

  13. Thanks for sharing this (and introducing me to ModCloth!). I already lived by these ideas, but this is one of my favorite messages to share. When I was in college, I worked at a pre-school. The director would always ask us to dress nicely. She’d encourage us to resist the temptation to wear sweats to work (knowing we’d be covered in mess) because “kids love pretty things.” She was so right….and beyond kids, men love pretty things too. Even if they say they like us just like we are, they could probably handle a little bit of fancy too (when done modestly and gracefully – not obnoxiously).
    Mrs Annonymous recently posted…Dad’s AngelMy Profile

  14. Of all the things you wrote about this week, I am the worst about accessorizing. I didn’t even know the “rule” about odd numbers of things! I wear two pairs of earrings (one gold, one silver), use two purses (one spring/summer, one fall/winter) and wear a black skirt and black clogs almost every day. Yikes – just writing it makes me sound like a frump! Guess I need to step out of my accessories “comfort zone.”
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy recently posted…Healthy Eating 101, Part 4 – Let’s Get Started!My Profile

  15. Sheila,
    I wasn’t able to participate in Fight the Frump last week but I’m doing it this week and I just wanted to tell you that I woke up this morning and felt totally unmotivated to face the day. I wanted to just stay in my pjs! (I’m a stay at home mom so I do that quite a bit or just change into pajama-like clothes). But I got dressed in not-so-frumpy-clothes and put on some makeup and that totally changed my mood! I felt more confident in my ability to do what I needed to do and have a good mood! I just wanted to let you know! Thanks for writing this series and giving some great tips!
    Sarah @ The Biblical Family Blog recently posted…Home School BluesMy Profile

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