Author Topic: I want to look older  (Read 2743 times)

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mbbored

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I want to look older
« on: March 17, 2013, 04:58:53 PM »
Not for nefarious purposes, just enough to look like my own age.

I'm a 30 year old woman, who's 5 feet tall with a baby face, no wrinkles (thanks sun screen!) and a high pitched voice. I admit, my default personality setting is "sweet." I am routinely mistaken for a college student of around 20. When I go out for happy hour with coworkers, the bartender checks only my id and often does a double take and asks me to confirm my date of birth or address to check it's not a fake. When I get a drink or go dancing on Saturday night, I am always hit on guys between the ages of 20 and 25: never older.

So far, I mostly choose to be flattered, but I often wonder if it's hindering my ability to be perceived as a professional or competent adult as people frequently try to give me "common sense advice" that they don't offer to my peers. I had a professor in my department who was taken a back to find out that the recent presidential election was not the first one I was eligible to vote in. More recently, I've been serving on a fundraising committee for a festival my town puts on. I worked my rear end off organizing a barbecue dinner recently, providing recipes and manning the grill at the event itself. I just got an email from the chair of the committee saying it was so adorable how hard I worked, that I almost came across like a "real grown-up" and I was just cute as a button with my pigtail (note, I have long hair which I wore in a braid, not pigtails!) working the grill at the fundraiser.

So, any advice for making me come across more like an adult?

Hmmmmm

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 05:05:04 PM »
I'm probably going to get slammed, but I think to look older you are going to need to cut your hair in a shorter style, drop the braid and maybe take a hard look at your wardrobe.

Elisabunny

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 05:08:10 PM »
First, my sympathies.  Mr. Bunny looked so young when he started teaching (he was 28 ::) ) that he finally started wearing a collared shirt and tie every day so he wouldn't be mistaken for a student.

Does anyone remember which season of What Not to Wear it was when they had an episode that dealt with exactly this issue?  Part of it was clothes- I'm thinking she needed to wear slightly more dressy outfits at all times (no tee shirts and ratty jeans for casual, for example) and everything needed to really fit properly. 
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veryfluffy

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 05:13:11 PM »
I'm not sure it would make you seem older, but have you thought of getting some voice lessons to drop your speaking voice lower? Very high female voices do detract from gravitas.
   

Fleur

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 05:18:03 PM »

I'm afraid I have no advice-if anything, I worry about looking older than my age.But I am shocked that the organiser sent you that rude rude email. She maybe thought she was being nice, but she was being highly condescending. I say hold your head high and let your achievements speak for themselves.

delabela

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 05:18:19 PM »
Go to a good department store makeup counter - you can get a recommendation for a tasteful daily look, or ideas for tweaks that give a more mature presentation.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 05:20:21 PM »
If you are willing to cut your hair, that might help.  No pixie cut like styles, though; with a baby face, that might just accentuate it.

More tailored clothes when appropriate and no jeans in a casual setting, like the barbecue.  Wear slacks and a collared shirt, rather than jeans and a tee shirt.

It will get better - I was always mistaken for younger but now that I'm mid 40's, being mistaken for late 30's isn't a big deal.
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JoW

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 05:29:27 PM »
If you don't want to cut your hair try wearing it in a bun. 

Dress old.  Skirts that cover your knees.  Full coverage shirts.  Pants hit your natural waist (as opposed to low-rise).  Avoid capris and shorts at work. 

KenveeB

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2013, 05:30:46 PM »
If you don't want to cut your hair, you could try a different style. Maybe a bun or a twist instead of a braid? Or just pin your braid up slightly.

Second the recommendation for going to a makeup professional -- a department store counter is fine, or a makeup store. They can give you tips to make yourself look a bit more polished without going too far. The same on clothes. Try to go for a slightly more polished look without getting too dressy. Make sure your clothes fit properly. Baggy clothes will definitely make you look younger. Since you're short, make sure you get things hemmed to the right height. If you like jeans, you can still wear those, but try to wear a nicer top and shoes with them. A button-down blouse or polo shirt and ballet flats will look much more polished than a t-shirt and tennis shoes.

Gumbysqueak

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 05:38:17 PM »
If you want to look older... Makeup. As someone who comes from young looking short people, putting on makeup ages you about 10 years. Kick out braids for any work/charity function. Do an up-twist. Takes 1/10 of the time of a braid.

camlan

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2013, 05:52:16 PM »
Trust me, in about 20 years, you'll be grateful for your "baby face." But I grant you, it is frustrating in the meantime. I'm 53. I just started going to a new dentist and had a slight disagreement with the dental assistant who was taking my information. She was sure I was about 44.

I used to french braid my hair and tuck the long braid portion up under the part that was braided down the back of my head. It stayed in place with one hairpin. Or a bun. Never could figure out how to get a twist to stay up. Ponytails are out, I'm afraid, except in your off time.

A little makeup should help.

But clothes help the most. I started wearing suits at one point, not because I liked suits, but because people took me more seriously when I wore them. These days, maybe not a suit. But a jacket, a button-down shirt and dark wash boot cut jeans. A button-down shirt and a pencil skirt. A twin set (cardigan and shell) and nice slacks. Check out what the current fads are and don't wear them at work.

In general, I have found wearing a top and a bottom plus another layer adds a bit of authority. So tee shirt, khakis and a cardigan. Button-down shirt, jeans and a jacket. Try adding that top layer to some of your favorite outfits and see if that helps.

Also, look at your jewelry. For the times when you want to project a more professional image, avoid the costume jewelry. No big, dangling earrings. Get a pair of pearl studs and some simple, basic gold or silver hoops. Maybe a small button earring. But make sure they either are or look like gold or silver and real gemstones. A wristwatch. Only one ring, in addition to your wedding set if you have one.
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Amara

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 06:10:04 PM »
I think you've gotten some good suggestions about appearance, but I was appalled at that e-mail you received. Here might be an opportunity to show your maturity and professionalism.

Quote
I just got an email from the chair of the committee saying it was so adorable how hard I worked, that I almost came across like a "real grown-up" and I was just cute as a button with my pigtail (note, I have long hair which I wore in a braid, not pigtails!) working the grill at the fundraiser.

 I would write her back and let her know that it was your pleasure to be of assistance in this matter and that she is free to contact you at your office if she has any follow-up questions about your part in the event. Oh, and as a side note you are a a "real grown-up," thirty years of age actually, and that your braid was to ensure that your hair did not contaminate the food rather than as an age statement. Keep this face  >:( in mind as you write so your words are not phrased as "cute" but rather as a professional statement.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 06:16:46 PM by Amara »

Erich L-ster

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 06:13:54 PM »

I'm afraid I have no advice-if anything, I worry about looking older than my age.But I am shocked that the organiser sent you that rude rude email. She maybe thought she was being nice, but she was being highly condescending. I say hold your head high and let your achievements speak for themselves.

Yes, it would be inappropriate and rude for a woman of any age over 12.

Bijou

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 06:52:14 PM »
I was absolutely thrilled when I got carded to enter a bar when I was 40.  I still treasure that memory. 
Maybe you can look at how you present yourself (not looks).  You said your default is 'sweet'.  I don't know what that means or what behaviors it causes you to have, but you might look at whether they could come across as babyish or girlish.  Sometimes we respond to people in the way they seem to expect, and don't even realize it. 

As for cutting your hair, if you love it, don't cut it.  I know so many women with long hair and it doesn't =young, at all.  It's just another way of wearing your hair.  And there are do's you can wear that are not plain and down long (I haven't cut my hair since 1964 and I always wear it down.)
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Sophia

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 06:55:36 PM »

I'm afraid I have no advice-if anything, I worry about looking older than my age.But I am shocked that the organiser sent you that rude rude email. She maybe thought she was being nice, but she was being highly condescending. I say hold your head high and let your achievements speak for themselves.

Yes, it would be inappropriate and rude for a woman of any age over 12.

I would have been livid at that age.  It wouldn't work for you, but what I did in my 20's was to try to talk to people on the phone first.  I have a very professional, adult phone voice.  That put "adult" in their mind before they saw me.