Q&A: How to Dress to Look Older

October 21st, 2008

Q: I’m 22 years old and only 5 feet tall. I also have a very young looking face, so whenever I go out, people ask me how old I am.  It’s an odd request, but how can I dress to look older when I go out without trying too hard?


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by Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: It’s an odd request, but it’s a valid one.  Looking more mature will not only reduce the "how old are you?" questioning, but it’ll also help you to be taken more seriously at work.  We have a few quick tricks to add age to your look:

Balance out your Round Face:
  I’m guessing that the youthfulness in your face comes from a round shape; the rounder your face, the younger your look.  To counterbalance the roundness, look for geometric shaped earrings, pointed collars, and more angular clothing.

Wear Structured Clothes:
  The more structure in your clothes, the more mature the look.  I’d recommend building your wardrobe around tailored garments and accessories - double breasted coats, belts, blazers, and other fitted items.

Drape Yourself in Jewel Tones:  Bright primary colors are youthful looking, but deeper jewel tones like emerald or turquoise are more refined.  Neutral colors will also add to the maturity of your outfits.

Wear Makeup:  The key here is to wear makeup that’s not too heavy.  Try makeup that’s sophisticated, like a soft smoky eye for evening.

Slip on a Pair of Heels:  Since you’re only 5 feet tall, you’ll also benefit from a couple of inches of extra height.  Height will help you add years to your look, especially if the shoe is in a sophisticated style.

Last but not least, exude confidence through your posture and smile - act as though you absolutely belong where you are (which you do!).  Carriage reflects maturity, and this will take you further than anything you’re wearing.

Have a great tip about how to dress to look older? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Ready Made Outfits, Women, Women's

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mimi  |  October 21st, 2008 at 8:48 am

    an updated, sophisticated hair cut does wonders. A lot of younger women are still wearing their high school hair. A fresh change makes you see yourself in a new light, and that’s a confidence booster, too.

  • 2. Trisha  |  October 22nd, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Great tip, Mimi. A fresh haircut really does make a difference!

  • 3. Vanesa  |  December 29th, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the great advice Coleen. Great post!

  • 4. Krystal  |  May 28th, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I’m 22 going to be 23 and I get mistaken for 15-16 all the time. Unfortunately it’s in my genes and I can’t afford make up, sophisticated outfits and hair cuts. What can I do?

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