How can I look my age and not my shoe size?
April 6, 2012 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm 26 with a young looking face. I also tend to dress casually and don't really want to spend a long time getting ready in the morning. I used to wear some lipstick and eyeliner to make me appear older, but I want to project a more natural look. What can I do to make myself look more my age? Glasses? Darker hair? Certain hair styles? I do have short hair up to my shoulder.
posted by eq21 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It's hard to be specific without knowing what you look like now...

But those casual clothes you wear? Make sure they fit really well and are age appropriate. There's a difference between fitted-t-shirt-with-dark-wash-jeans casual and spaghetti-strap-and-short-shorts casual and baggy-free-shirt-that-you-got-at-the-fun-run-and-yoga-pants casual.
posted by phunniemee at 5:14 PM on April 6, 2012

This previous thread may help. It focuses on job interviews, but it should still be helpful.
posted by jgirl at 5:16 PM on April 6, 2012

Glasses help. Also choosing blazers and jackets instead of sweaters.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:22 PM on April 6, 2012

It actually is somewhat of a blessing in today's society to look young. It only takes longer for the individual to realize that and not stress about it anymore. It is beyond annoying if people think you're a teen until you're 35, but turns cool later in life.

Properly fitted clothes and a good haircut do really make a difference. Shorter to shoulder long hair is fine, older professional women rarely have super long hair. Maybe try to get some layers in and use some product/blow dry to make it an actual hair do. Personal grooming for eyebrows, skin complexion, nails and hair does help to look more mature.
If you have important meetings/days try to wear something businesslike. Good shoes/pumps and a ladylike handbag, subtle jewelry, just an overall polished look. I actually find that some foundation and mascara help as well.
I know sometimes it can feel like dressing up for Halloween if one is used to sweatshirts, sport shoes and backpacks but it's just something one can get used to.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:00 PM on April 6, 2012

I think you mean that you don't want to use makeup, but eyeshadow makes me look older (in a good, mature way).

Agreed about layers, hair all one length looks very young. Glasses. Darker hair might work but I don't think it would make a big enough difference... not sure. If you get your hair colored, the quality/how professional it looks means a lot.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:02 PM on April 6, 2012

I'm 27 and frequently mistaken for a teen, so I know how you feel! I think makeup can help, though sometimes I look like a child trying to dress up like a woman. Ha. Playing up one feature could work (just eyes, or just lips) rather than putting color everywhere.

A good haircut helps, in my opinion. I also think a good, structured purse is always good; sometimes cloth purses that strap across the body look really young to me.

I struggle with this, too... good luck!
posted by sucre at 7:38 PM on April 6, 2012

After much trial and error, I'm now seldom mistaken for the intern, and it doesn't require a ton of effort. Some things that helped me are:

1. Hair - long or short is less important than sleek and pulled off the face. Bangs, curls and fluffiness are your enemies.

2. Accessories - A serious purse and expensive-looking shoes establish that you are serious and successful. Heels also really help, because taller frequently reads as older.

3. A good jacket - I have several jackets that are casual materials like corduroy, linen, and even sweatshirt material, but are cut to be more structured, or even blazer-like, and they definitely help me look older.

Finally, this isn't actually appearance-related, but you also may want to consider if your voice is making you sound younger than you are. If you use lots of filler words (uhm, like, er), end your sentences with a rising inflection whether or not you're asking a question, or have a softer and more high-pitched tone, these can all make you sound young. I was guilty of all three until I worked on projecting a bit more authority with my voice.
posted by psycheslamp at 9:08 PM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Thanks for all the help!

I saw a link here to a place with pics that have pics of geek chic. Anybody have that link?
posted by eq21 at 4:17 PM on April 7, 2012

Was it Academichic? (Apparently they are no longer posting, but the archives are still there.)

I am 25 and have the same problem.

Consider mascara instead of eyeliner? I find it both more natural-looking and faster/easier to apply. I agree with the above that grown-up shoes could help a lot. Also, choose darker jeans. For hair, keep it tidy and put-together-looking. Easy updos are good, if your hair is long enough (think ibis clips, not claw clips), and depending on your hair type, either the natural curly but neat or straightened carefully look can be older-looking. If you already wear glasses, that might be something to explore. I have dark-but-not-thick frames that I think do make me look a bit older. In general, go for classic and avoid trendy looks.

But really, I've made peace with it. I like my jeans, t-shirts, ponytails, and purple runners. So there!
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:49 PM on April 7, 2012

Glasses. They made my 25 year old mug look 25 when I looked 20. Still doing the trick at 30.
posted by chrisinseoul at 6:58 AM on April 9, 2012

Yes it was snorkmaiden!

I will have to add some new things to my wardrobe this summer.
posted by eq21 at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2012

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