Monday, 13 April 2009

Open Call for Judgement About Auntiness

Thank you all for the birthday wishes and suggestions for Dior lippies. I'll get back to regular broadcast tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'd like to ask you for your objective help with a "problem" I'm trying to confront ... I spent the day pondering, "What makes me an aunty?" I sorted my clothes, tried to critically examine them, my body, hair and posture etc. to figure out why some older women, in their 40s and 50s bother to come up to me and tell me I look aunty or dress aunty. "Aunty" in our local terms means something like an obasan or ajuma. I am quite sure I do not totally look like an aunty nor are all my clothes aunty. Yet I do not know for sure, which part of me, is making these certified aunties/obasan/ajuma themselves come forward to tell me I look aunty. For example, a forty/fifty-something woman, who draws her eyeliner up at her eyelids and wears colourful clothes came forward to compliment me on my what she called "rugged, casual dressing", which to her was "so youthful." I was wearing a blue cardigan over a blue tank top and jeans. In the next breath, she told me I "should wear such things more often", and "not always be so aunty". I was flabbergasted. First, I was dressed that way only because the big bosses, ie. the CE, all the Directors and etc. were away at a retreat and it was casual Friday. I am working in the staffing office for the CE, and I couldn't possibly wear that outfit of jeans and tank tops daily, to staff his meetings and make presentations etc. At one point, I thought I am not frumpy or aunty ... but then I started doubting myself again. I admit, I don't like to bare skin (no tank tops-only and no miniskirts for me) and I don't want to wear colourful rainbow clothes. I also don't want to look like a middle-aged woman trying to recapture her youth in teenie-booper clothing or trendy stuff. I tend to wear dark clothes because I prefer them and I tend to go for quality rather than trends. On weekends, I wear jeans, mary-janes and simple tops. It's a tropical country ... we should dress down when in the heat ... I wear makeup but most people don't notice I'm wearing it, maybe I'm wearing it too light? I tend to think I am I wearing it natural not in-your-face colourful clown-like. So, people who know me in real-life. I am pondering a real question here and am open to hearing objective, constructive criticisms. Is it my clothes? Is it my age? My hair? My shoes? My body shape? What is it that I'm doing that makes me aunty? I don't think it's everything, but there must be something I'm doing wrong. I can't figure it out myself. So, I'm posting some stuff for peeps who don't know me in real life as well, to show you my personal preferences and I'm open to hearing your views. Here are some dresses I like to wear to work with my pumps. I post some of my pumps too (I mostly wear shoes like this). I also like to wear pants with plain tops to work with a cardigan to keep out the chilly aircon. I wear dresses because I find with a good cut, they hide a multitude of my body flaws - having given birth to a child, loving my food and not exercising, I am not slim at all. haul 006copy Image000copy week in life 012copy1copy 006copy I also post a photo of what I decided is me in a frumpy skirt and outfit ... So you can give me some criticisms about my body shape. I am going to throw this skirt away! 005copy Ok, so I wait to hear your views. I'm really feeling puzzled and cracking my head about how aunty I am ... I need constructive views, on what you feel is the aunty part about me. So I can take some action and make some changes ... I brace myself ... Thanks!! © Copyright. All rights reserved.


Jamilla Camel said...

Aichaku, boy does that sound familiar!! When I was in my 30s, I dressed very conservatively (I did work with a bunch of engineers). My own mother told me that I dressed like an old lady!

You look like you've got a good figure, and should try wearing more separates, rather than dresses, and get some edgy shoes: I suggest Geox, Prada, Tods, etc. I have bad arches and need to wear orthothics inside my shoes, but this does not stop me from wearing trendy designer shoes. You don't have to wear high heels, either.

You don't need to dress as casually as Fuzkittie, but try to get some more modern looking pieces (even trousers) and wear more accessories.

You are not an are probably dressing more conservatively than you really have to. I can relate.

Anonymous said...


i laughed when i read your post...we share similar tastes -I actually have a few demin skirts like the one you are gonna throw always in short sleeves - no tank tops/those strappy singlets, and demin skirts/jeans. i have such wide feet that i am perpetually in no heels either but i dont have a good figure like yours (am plump with a huge tummy) so i also get mistaken as being pregnant...

Anyway...i am 10 years younger than you and already been called AUNTY (and sometimes by ladies who have WHITE hair!!) before that i was always called SIR...not kidding! although it might have to do with the fact that i shopped at man's department when i was about 13...thats the only place where i could get my sizes back i shop overseas...

i think the choices you have are quite "classic" styles and will wear well over time...besides dresses, printed styles and darker shades tend to make people look more perhaps thats why?

But i think its more likely that they are much more use to people dressing like those taiwanese starlets with cutesy short puffy skirts in bright barbie pink! With loads of crystals on long finger nails...that's young and stylish to them?

What I am trying to say is
1) things arent that bad for you (compared with me being younger and being called aunty + pregnant + SIR and having to shop at the male department since i was 12)

2) just wear what you are comfortable with --> you could go out and spurge and try and change stuff but i think in the end since the weather is crap, you will end up with what you are comfortable in the end

3) ignore what people are didnt sound impress with that "aunty's" dress sense so why should you be bother with her talking about your dress sense??

4) ultimatedly be comfortable with what you are wearing...people will always have different view points (EG. my staple jeans n shirt is seen as boring and old lady by some of my aunties (real life aunties) & the reason why i cant get a bf...but there's a guy i know who says i scared guys off cos i dress too high class???)

5) whats best for you is when you pull on an outfit and think god i look great...then who cares what people say/think?


ps: sorry for the long reply!

~Mel said...

hmm... i think u look great for having a baby already.. i definitely love the dresses u post up.. as for the pic, hmm.. you might want to wear something that shows off ur curves a bit more to avoid being referred to an aunty.. i know what u mean tho.. that word doesn't sound so flattering.. the jean skirt is down to your knees and the cardigan doesn't give ur body much shape... i'd prob wear a flowy skirt with ur cardigan or a dressier top with the jeans skirt.. but yeah it's hard to figure out fashion sometimes.. hope this helps! =)

fuzkittie said...

I have a question, how do you usually do your hair? To be honest, since you're open to constructive criticism in this post, hehe, the hair in that particular outfit photo looks "aunty" to me... Now, if you did the same hair bun, but upped the volume on top, or did a puff, or made the bun up higher, it'd look much less aunty.

That particular outfit is a bit frumpy but not too aunty, the dresses are a little aunty... haha. I like the peep toe shoes tho! I think a good way to rid of auntiness is to "mix and match". If you did "elegant" style all over, like sundress with flower pattern with pearl necklace, pearl earrings, and "elegant" looking shoes, that to me, is aunty... but if you mixed it up... like pairing sundress with gladiator sandals, jeans with heels, and chose more edgy accessories, then the outfit will look much younger...

Yumeko said...

to be honest i cant tell from that pic cos u look like u have a nice figure in it. way better than me

and from ur clothes descriptions..i kinda sound more obasan really.

maybe i'll find out when i see u??

and wats this abt ppl not noticing ur makeup. we going shopping and testing milady!!

dodo said...

When I first look at those dresses and shoes, I do think they look kinda frumpy, except the peep toe heels. But If you pair those dresses with some accessories, such as necklaces(not those tiny pieces), bracelets or earrings, those dresses would look fine. You should keep a few high heels in the office, heels would make you look slim and elegant. Your body shape looks like a coworker of mine. She has kids, in her late 30s. She always dresses Banana Republic, BCBG, J Crew. People always think she's in her mid twenties and she loves it..haha. Another suggestion for you is to find a well-dressed celebrity with your body shape, learn from her style. Or you can post your outfits on the blog more often and let us think about how you can dress. I would always love to offer my opinions as long as you need help!!

Laura L said...

how about wear more and try out more colors?
and also makeup is important as well.
from the picture, u can wear a jeans, or u shorten your denim? i think by doing this at least u can reduce the aunty obasan taste

XXX said...

i think ur clothes are ill fitting/frumpy!

ur figure dont look too bad for someone who has gave birth!

yes, i agree with fuz that hairstyle makes a huge difference. straight hair will makes u much younger.

the shoes are okay. but the dress are too long. knee length is OKAY, but not anymore. so yes pls dump that skirt asap.

dont dress is baggy clothes! they tend to make u look fatter. opt some slim cutting tank top! that cardigan is no no. lack of waist cut. either have it short or long but with waist cut.

waist cut is very important.

izumi said...

i definitely agree w/ fuzkittie's comment~

i don't think your outfits are necessarily auntie but they are more conservative than what you probably need to be wearing xD a good reference is

she wears conservative clothes but makes it more edgy. color doesn't hurt!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm in my very late 20s. I wear a lot of dresses for work too. But most are plain black, with a cardigan. And I still have people saying I look like I just graduated and I'm a new staff!

1. Hair
I used to have long straight hair. But now I have a cut just above my shoulders, coloured reddish brown. No center parting please. Have a side fringe that lays flat and crosses more than half the forehead. Many aunties said I look so much younger now.

2. Dresses
I think the dresses are ok. Such patterns look more mature, but you can match with bold accessories like a long, chunky red necklace. I think it will instantly jazz you up!

Or you can wear dark colours match with a shocking pink cardigan. For the cardigan, try to get those which are not longer than your waistline. Short = cute = young!

Or you can get some pastel colour dresses. That would make you look very feminine.

I think I'm a size or 2 bigger than you are. I always wear dresses which are A line with a fitted bodice. They fit better and looks younger too.

When buying clothes, try to choose brighter colours.

3. Shoes
Your shoes looks servicable. But to look younger, you have to get more frilly, frivolous stuff. If you work at Raffles Place (or know where it is), you can try out this shoe shop at the Arcade. Its called Alegra. Its beside the chinese desert shop on the first floor. There are lots of nice shoes which had very modern design but can be comfortable as well. Ask the young lady boss for help. She provides really good service.

Btw, I'm not affliated with them. I just shop there a lot during lunch time. hehe...

4. Makeup
Its ok that your makeup is not overdone. Over-doing the makeup makes one looks like an auntie trying to look youthful desperately. Avoid red or plumish lipstick, instead opt for light colour lip gloss. Usually I have neutral colours on my eyes and Benefit Dandelion as blush but I only use a lip moisturiser.

Hope this helps!

v said...

sorry but i thought the 2nd dress will really age you.
you could go for classic styles since you are more conservative? you should invest in dresses, pants and shirts with a good cut.
my mum isn't young but she loves shopping at zara, topshop etc. even if their target audience may not be you, there will def be something for you. a rule of thumb when my mum shops: dresses must be above the knee, look younger than you actually are and slimmer!
i guess being open to the choices avaliable helps and ignore those people.=)

pinky"the-middle-name-is-princess"beanie said...

Hihi, I did a think thru. Email you shortly :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm no fashion guru, but here are some suggestions.

Maybe you can try more faminine materials, like chiffon, silk or satin. I think that would give more of a "taitai" look rather than "aunty".

I find the first dress really pretty! Maybe you could pair them with a pearl necklace or pearl stud earrings. That would give it a more sophisticated look =)

Try playing with colours. I'm not sure if your work place dress code allows you to wear more "happy" colours.. Black is slimming but wearing black all week is kinda dull. My work place is pretty conservative, but I try to wear peaches or pastles more often. It's less harsh and makes you look younger =)

Accessorizing is important. Colourful scarves or hair accessories will make a difference =)

I would recommend that you drop by Southaven. It's at wisma. Their clothes are suitable for work and are pretty feminine. Not aunty at all.

As for hair, maybe you could colour/highlight or try different methods of tying up your hair. Like as Fuz says, you could try a puffy do =)

Anonymous said...

I have very little knowledge of what is in style to wear to the office because I only wear scrubs to work! XD

But what I thinks looks good on other people in the office setting is nice dress pants (like black editor pants/ and pants with cute pinstripes)
I love the clothes from Express clothing:

And now that it is spring/summer even white pants are dressy and cool looking^^

Hope that helps, although I'm not too good XD Haha~~

Tine said...

I had a bit of a laugh reading this post, not because I think you're an aunty (not even close), but I'm on the opposite end of the stick where I tend to dress more like a student than what I am. I'm in my late twenties, and I'm constantly in my jeans, polo tees and loafers. Tsk tsk.

Sometimes I think that ladies who are afraid to look old (who isn't, right?) tend to go a little too extreme to look younger by dressing too young. You know what I mean? You can still look young and elegant without going too far.

I like the first dress. I'd even wear pearls with those (thin and short strand), and wear it with high-heeled pumps. And by high, I mean HIGH.

I'm not keen on the second dress, I'm afraid. As for the last photo, lose the cardy. The skirt is a tad long. If the denim was darker, you would be able to pull it off.

I've done the whole bright-colours thing, and at the end of the day, dark solid colours work best for me, not just to hide the unsightly bulges, but also I know I cannot go wrong with staples pieces. A crisp white shirt, tucked into tailored trousers or pencil skirt. Short-sleeved waistjackets are also my favourites. Not those Korean-inspired stuff, which are too short, and does nothing for the figure.

You can look young without going to the extreme end. I'd rather look elegant and well-groomed than a teenager anytime :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm the first anonymous poster. hehe...

I thought I will give you some pictures so that you can see what I meant.





Cropped Jeans with flats

Cropped Jeans with heels


I hope this helps!!