Help Me: Ms Red’s Mission to be Less Mumsy

OK so here is a new blog concept from me, that occured after a little chat with the lovely Ms Red of Red’s Beauty Blog via Twitter. Oh how I love Twitter for it’s random conversations with strangers and helpful comments from strangers too. Anyway, I responded to Ms Red’s call for help as I used to do a bit of personal shopping and also worked in a high end fashion store where I was constantly dressing ladies who were stuck for ideas. Here’s Ms Red’s letter to me, her call for style help!

Also can I take this opportunity to say, that I’m doing this because I love to help people and certainly not because I think I know more than they do, or that I’m more stylish than them, because I wouldn’t classify myself as stylish at all! I just thought it would be a nice thing to do, to put my fashion experience to good use and add a news aspect to my blog.

I have this issue with choosing clothes to wear, I live in plain black jeans and cotton V necked tops, but I feel they are very ‘mumsy’ looking.

I’m an size 12 hourglass shape with a little bit of loving round the old handles which I like to try and hide to the best of my ability.

I prefer bright colours/or black, nothing pastel as it just makes me look ill.

As for style icons, has to be the classics for me (Audrey Hepburn etc), I’d love to look chic and timeless… I’m not overly interested in being bang up to date. Just not mumsy.

 How can I be comfortable yet not look ‘mumsy’?

I need help Aunty Jayne.

 Hopelessly Dressed, Ms Red.

Should I be super tacky and start my response Dear Hopelessy Dress Ms Red?

No, I’ll be sensible…

Dear Mumsy Red,

Your call for help really resonates with me, I totally know how you feel, despite not being a mum myself and therefore mumsy shouldn’t be something that I can be classified as really. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut with clothes, whether it’s because you hate shopping, don’t have the money or that you don’t have the time. If your wardrobe isn’t refreshed very often it does get boring doesn’t it? But you should feel like you need to constantly buy more, or that you need to follow fashions!

Anyway, to the point, to dress is a way that is stylish and comfortable may be dismissed as impossible, but there are many ways that you can refresh your look without spending a lot of money and without having a complete image overhaul, which would cost a fortune!

I find that having a wardrobe of basic shapes in a range of exciting complimentary colours is a great place to start, personally I struggle with the fit of things so when I find an item I love, I stock up and buy it in a few colours, this way you’ll always have something simple to brighten up an outfit. I’d recommend places like Zara, New Look or H&M as they have a great range of basics in lovely seasonal colours, they are also very reasonable priced and decent fabrics. For comfort I always try to opt for 100% Cotton, as it’s easy to care for, natural and breathable. Although, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find this blend. Simple block colours will always look stylish, and a bright colour will always bring a smile to your face.

An hourglass shape, in my opinion is by far the easiest and most lovely shape to dress, especially if you’re interested in the vintage look. I always find it inspiring to look at old fashion photos and find vintage style icons and look at how women used to dress, you can get a lot of ideas by finding some style icons. For an hourglass shape you should certainly research the ladies in the 50s and how they dressed, ultimately feminine, flattering and practical.

The top tip and probably the obvious tip for an hourglass is to draw attention to your waist, it’s your narrowest part, waistbands that fit to the waist are most flattering and skirt shapes that skim the hips are the best! Have  a look out for the 50s circle skirt, which fortunately are in fashion at the moment and therefore available on the High Street, alternatively if you’re a bit crafty, they are a simple thing to learn to sew. V necks and scoop necks are great if you are busty hourglass, as they will also draw the away from your hips, which are usually the difficult area.

For trousers try looking for some wide leg styles, ones that are high waisted and skim the hips, this are also extremely classy and timeless, and will flatter an hourglass shape. Nice trousers are difficult to come by, so many of the high street shops opt for low rise styles which in my opinion, no one looks nice in! There is nothing worse than seeing someone constantly hiking up their trousers because their butt crack is showing. I wish shops would realise this and offer more alternatives. So because of this, I would say good trousers a worth an investment, try shops like Jigsaw, Hobbs, Jaeger, Laura Ashley and Kew who cater to a (usually older) and more classic lady and therefore offer the classic cuts. They may be out of your price range, but worth the investment, or a sale trawl! If you want to get away from the Mumsy look, why not try some tailored trousers in cotton or linen for a change from jeans? Or invest in the perfect pair of jeans, the staff at Levis stores are usually incredibly helpful at finding you the right fit.

I find that if you stick with well tailored clothing in simple, block colours you can’t go wrong. You can inject some personality into it with quirky and fun accessories. I love browsing sites like Folksy or Etsy for lovely unique, hand crafted pieces, or failing that keep and eye out in antique and charity shops for vintage costume jewellery.

I think I’ve written too much now, hope I haven’t overwhelmed you Ms Red? If you have any more specific questions, do let me know!

Here are a few smaller brands that you might not have heard of, but might appeal to you:

Freddies of Pinewood: 40s/50s style jeans, great for an hourglass and a nice way to do the vintage look without being over the top.

Tara Starlet: Some cute blouses to go with your jeans as an alternative to t-shirts.

Heyday: Vintage style but casual, would mix and match well with modern styles too.

Hope I might have inspired you, let me know if you need anything else!

Bestest Wishes,


Co-Creator @wearefoodscouts & @KitschInc. Digital Marketing & Creative Direction. Illustration, writing, creativity & style. Fan of films, TV, cartoons, colourful hair & clean beauty. Blogger since 2009.

6 thoughts on “Help Me: Ms Red’s Mission to be Less Mumsy

  1. Many thanks Aunty Jayne, I’ve checked out those websites and seen some lush items, now to save some pennies and buy them.



    1. This is the problem! The nicest clothes cost extra money! If only the high street shops would sell more than just trend lead designs. I always find nice things on the high street, but you have to search and sometimes the things aren’t as nice as they should be. Hate seeing horrid fabrics being used on higher price points.

  2. Great blog Jayne. You’ve got a fantastic knack of knowing what suits people. The shoppers of Leeds miss you! x

    1. And I miss you too! Hoping this will become a series of blogs helping others out with their fashion and beauty dilemmas so please feel free to send me a email with any questions that I could answer via my blog.

  3. I was, “in the right place at the right time,” and despite Ms. Red claiming to be the “most unfashionable person ever”…I tweeted to Ms. Red and Jayne that I was sorry to disagree, but that honour would go to me! 🙂

    Jayne, I love all the advice and tips you have given to Ms. Red. It is especially helpful that you explained exactly how you came up with your suggestions, and then gave Ms. Red specific places as to where to find these items.

    Ms Red you have helped many people with the same issues by sharing. Jayne, it was so well written and I thoroughly enjoyed your post! My thanks to both of you.


    1. What a beautiful comment! Thanks so much, very kind words! Will be answering some more style dilemmas very soon!

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