Author Topic: I want to look older  (Read 2767 times)

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Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2013, 12:34:32 PM »
I can also step it up wardrobe wise. I'm a grad student in the sciences in Northern California so anything but jeans really wouldn't work, but I can wear my more fitted pairs with darker wash for work and meetings, and sub out my sneakers and tees for more "real shoes" and button downs.

Back when I was a grad student (in Southern California, in the social sciences) and a TA, I was still often mistaken for a 16-year-old when I was in my mid-20s.  A mentor suggested to me that I would have more authority in the classroom if I dressed more formally on teaching days.  (At the time, I sometimes had a problem being taken seriously by some of the students.)  While my fellow grad students were in jeans and t-shirts, I wore skirts and heels and always made sure to do my makeup.  Although I stood out, soon my fellow grad students understood that I dressed up on teaching days.  It also made a big difference in the way the students treated me.

Good luck.  And believe me, in ten years you'll appreciate looking ten years younger a lot more than you do now.   :)

Amara

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2013, 01:30:58 PM »
I like your original reply, OP.

lilfox

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2013, 01:59:18 PM »
I can also step it up wardrobe wise. I'm a grad student in the sciences in Northern California so anything but jeans really wouldn't work, but I can wear my more fitted pairs with darker wash for work and meetings, and sub out my sneakers and tees for more "real shoes" and button downs.

Back when I was a grad student (in Southern California, in the social sciences) and a TA, I was still often mistaken for a 16-year-old when I was in my mid-20s.  A mentor suggested to me that I would have more authority in the classroom if I dressed more formally on teaching days.  (At the time, I sometimes had a problem being taken seriously by some of the students.)  While my fellow grad students were in jeans and t-shirts, I wore skirts and heels and always made sure to do my makeup.  Although I stood out, soon my fellow grad students understood that I dressed up on teaching days.  It also made a big difference in the way the students treated me.

Good luck.  And believe me, in ten years you'll appreciate looking ten years younger a lot more than you do now.   :)

Although I'm sure this does not apply to Sheila TAB, I do want to put in a caveat that even in a skirt, heels, and makeup, you can look "older" but not more mature.  One of my fellow TA's in grad school would dress up for teaching her class, but her clothes were all very trendy and young looking and her makeup was ... less subtle than most daytime looks.  She did look older than the undergrads, but her look was not teacher-ly, if that makes sense.

I also "suffered" from a youthful appearance and I still get that at 38, though I'm not often carded or mistaken for an undergrad these days.   ;)  It's frustrating in your 20s, particularly if you feel you're not getting the respect due your years of experience (see: patronizing email), but not so bad later on when there is less of a downside to being considered younger than you are.

I don't have anything unique to offer, other than to POD the suggestions for more tailored types of clothes and more "done" hair (a smooth low ponytail can actually be a professional look, but not high ponytail and definitely not pigtails!).

KenveeB

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2013, 02:06:48 PM »
I had pictured your hair a lot longer than what you describe.  I think a French braid with the end tucked up and under would be a good look, too.

Yeah, I was picturing longer too! I agree that French braids usually look a bit more polished than a regular braid, and pinning the end up and under is a good look.

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2013, 02:08:46 PM »
Although I'm sure this does not apply to Sheila TAB, I do want to put in a caveat that even in a skirt, heels, and makeup, you can look "older" but not more mature.  One of my fellow TA's in grad school would dress up for teaching her class, but her clothes were all very trendy and young looking and her makeup was ... less subtle than most daytime looks.  She did look older than the undergrads, but her look was not teacher-ly, if that makes sense.

True.  My clothes were leftover business attire from my days working for an Assemblyman.  I was going for a polished, businesslike look.

camlan

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2013, 03:59:54 PM »
I can also step it up wardrobe wise. I'm a grad student in the sciences in Northern California so anything but jeans really wouldn't work, but I can wear my more fitted pairs with darker wash for work and meetings, and sub out my sneakers and tees for more "real shoes" and button downs.

Back when I was a grad student (in Southern California, in the social sciences) and a TA, I was still often mistaken for a 16-year-old when I was in my mid-20s.  A mentor suggested to me that I would have more authority in the classroom if I dressed more formally on teaching days.  (At the time, I sometimes had a problem being taken seriously by some of the students.)  While my fellow grad students were in jeans and t-shirts, I wore skirts and heels and always made sure to do my makeup.  Although I stood out, soon my fellow grad students understood that I dressed up on teaching days.  It also made a big difference in the way the students treated me.

Good luck.  And believe me, in ten years you'll appreciate looking ten years younger a lot more than you do now.   :)

When I was a TA, I did this, too. Jeans and sneakers and my hair down for non-teaching days; skirts and heels and a bun for teaching days. This has the added bonus of making you completely unrecognizable to your students, so they don't bug you with questions if they should come across you in the library.

Maybe it would help if, instead of thinking "I need to look older," you focus on "I need to look more authoritative." Because you don't need to be older, you need people to take you more seriously.

Really, what are you going to wear to work at a grill? Jeans and a braid are perfect for that. So maybe work on the things PPs have suggested, your tone of voice, your body language. Even evaluate your vocabulary. Do you ask for things, or do you make statements? Do you defer when someone interrupts you when you are talking, or do you plow right over the interrupter? There's lots of little, subtle clues we all have that give other people an impression of us.

For a while in grad school, I had a full-time job at the university library, at the Circulation/Reserve Desk as the Evening Supervisor. I was in charge of 20-30 student workers and was the only staff person there for 6 hours a day. I always dressed nicely, in large part because of the baby-face thing. I had a reputation of being able to deal with the toughest patrons.

Then one Saturday, I had to run in to take care of a few things that hadn't gotten done during the week. I was wearing jeans, my hair was in a braid. One of the student workers came and asked me to help out with a patron. She knew I wasn't on duty, but the guy was really hassling her. I couldn't give him what he wanted, because the book he wanted was checked out. He got madder and madder and finally burst out, "I want to see the supervisor!" The look on his face when I calmly replied, "I am the supervisor," was priceless.

But I never had that sort of problem when I was dressed in more authoritative clothes, nice slacks, a button-down shirt, a jacket.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Yvaine

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2013, 04:02:10 PM »
I can usually put on my inner Stern Adult Lady if I wear solid black and shoes that click on the floor when I walk.  ;D

Slartibartfast

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2013, 04:14:54 PM »
Another off-the-wall idea - glasses.  They cover up the "baby face" aspect and they can make you older without making you look like you're trying to look sexy, if that makes sense - helpful for when you want to stay professional and have people take you seriously.  (Mine are very, very necessary, so I wear them for function, but I know you can buy frames with clear glass in them for the fashion of it if you don't need them to see with!)

bloo

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2013, 04:52:30 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.

I'm not going to slam you, Hmmmmm, it's the first thing I thought of when reading the OP. :)

I can also step it up wardrobe wise. I'm a grad student in the sciences in Northern California so anything but jeans really wouldn't work, but I can wear my more fitted pairs with darker wash for work and meetings, and sub out my sneakers and tees for more "real shoes" and button downs.

Back when I was a grad student (in Southern California, in the social sciences) and a TA, I was still often mistaken for a 16-year-old when I was in my mid-20s.  A mentor suggested to me that I would have more authority in the classroom if I dressed more formally on teaching days.  (At the time, I sometimes had a problem being taken seriously by some of the students.)  While my fellow grad students were in jeans and t-shirts, I wore skirts and heels and always made sure to do my makeup.  Although I stood out, soon my fellow grad students understood that I dressed up on teaching days.  It also made a big difference in the way the students treated me.

Good luck.  And believe me, in ten years you'll appreciate looking ten years younger a lot more than you do now.   :)

The above from Sheila is a great example of well-executed advice.

I came to this realization recently. I've always looked young for my age. When we were first married, we heard - several times - that people thought DH was my father despite our 5-year age difference. I was actually asked why I was skipping school while out shopping when I was 21. :o Was offered a kid's menu at a restaurant we went to to celebrate our first anniversary. ::) Had my son mistaken for my younger brother as recently as a couple of years ago but starting when he was 3 (he's 17 now).

Part of it is I'm short with a boyish build (athletic w/o curves). I generally wear only a little makeup because I can't be bothered with it and wear ponytails a lot because I work with food. Because I can dress casually for working, I tended towards jeans and t-shirts. I've inherited cool Hollister, A&F and American Eagle tops from my daughter and her teenage friends as they've grown out of them. When dressed like that, out and about, I've actually been flirted with by kids my son's age! That's amusing to me.

What's not amusing is that when I need to run errands and get certain things done, I need to give extra thought to how I dress. The Hollister tees and jeans will not get me taken seriously at certain places. When I wear tailored jackets and skirts with heels and my glasses in a bun, then I'm treated to closer to my age (like Camlan)! I only use the glasses for driving and they're not legally necessary but I think they make me look more professional when I need to. Same is true for when I do 'dress-casual' (think fitted slacks and maybe cable-knit tops).

I realized that I need to dress my age if I wanted to be treated my age. I breezed by Coldwater Creek a few months ago and didn't see much I liked, but I definitely think I'll be treated more age-appropriately if I shop there.

I also liked the advice on working on your voice. That might really help!

turtleIScream

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2013, 05:12:09 PM »
If you do decide to change your hair, please don't make the same mistake I did. When I was 28 or 29, married with a small child, I got tired of being mistaken for a teen mom, so I went to the salon and got a more "grown-up" haircut. My sister said I looked like a 40 year old trying to look 35. It was not a flattering look.

I agree with the advice to step up your casual look a bit with dressier options - fitted blouses, jackets, dark wash denim, no tennis shoes.

jaxsue

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2013, 05:45:42 PM »
I keep picturing Bernadette from Big Bang Theory, though I notice not many people on the show mistake her for a little girl even though she does have a small, higher pitched voice (unless she's yelling) and is on the shorter side. 

She does dress as a pp suggested, with cardigans with either knee-length dresses or knee-length skirts.  Course you could also go with slacks. 



I've gotten this as well as I'm 34 and in the past often got mistaken as being at least 10 years younger.  I credit good genes...and the fact that I am short at 5'2".  :)  Though I think in the past I might have given off an air of being insecure and unsure of myself.  About 3 years ago we were in Home Depot and one woman who worked there talked to me like I was a small child, even though I was with my kids.   I went back there a year later, saw the same woman and she spoke to me like I was another adult and I think it might have been partly due to my having grown up a great deal and perhaps it showed? I dunno. 

I wasn't dressed any differently! LOL!

I thought of the same character!  :)

jaxsue

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2013, 05:48:52 PM »
I know it's tiresome, OP. I have always passed for much younger. I was carded into my 30s. Now that I'm 51 (yikes!), it's a plus. My voice is not high - it's average - and I'm taller (5' 7"), and I'm not excusing people treating you as if you're a child. Let's just say that I'm at a point where I'm thrilled when people think I'm younger than I am!  :)

lady_disdain

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2013, 05:50:58 PM »
As for the email, I've decided to send the following reply:

"I appreciate the thought behind your email, however it came across as being patronizing. I know it may be hard to see me as such, but I am an adult, not "almost a real grown-up." It can be very discouraging when at every turn my youthful appearance is remarked on ahead of anything else about me. It makes me feel as though I am viewed as a child unlike other 30+ year olds that find themselves in a different body. And, even if I wasn't an adult, my contributions to the barbecue stand on their own.
I don't want this to turn into drama, but I need to share with you how I feel. I'd like to just move on from here and continue on as colleagues, with the mutual goal of benefiting our community."

I think your email is way too apologetic and I think you are putting your feelings a little too much on display. I would go for something much more direct and, yes, a little insulted:

"I am glad the event went well and that my contributions to the barbecue are appreciated. However, as a 30 year old, it is rather startling to be referred to as 'almost a real grown-up' and being judged by the criteria used for a teenager. I am sure this will not be a problem in the next events - I look forward to contributing again."


Sophia

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2013, 06:54:59 PM »
People have answered the question for the professional setting, but what about men? 

I'm reminded of what my best friend's niece would sometimes wear when they were out and about.  She wore a t-shirt that said "I am 12."  She developed early and was very pretty.  She wasn't trying to look older and didn't wear more than flavored lip gloss (like a 12 year old)  But, men were constantly hitting on her.  When she'd tell them her age, they'd turn pale and run away, so they obviously thought she was older.  The T-shirt solved that. 

I can't think of an older version, though.  A "Class of" t-shirt looks pathetic when the year is in the past. 

PastryGoddess

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2013, 08:09:26 PM »
People have answered the question for the professional setting, but what about men? 

I'm reminded of what my best friend's niece would sometimes wear when they were out and about.  She wore a t-shirt that said "I am 12."  She developed early and was very pretty.  She wasn't trying to look older and didn't wear more than flavored lip gloss (like a 12 year old)  But, men were constantly hitting on her.  When she'd tell them her age, they'd turn pale and run away, so they obviously thought she was older.  The T-shirt solved that. 

I can't think of an older version, though.  A "Class of" t-shirt looks pathetic when the year is in the past. 

Doesn't work on men. 

I'll be 30 this year and still get asked what's my major and if I'm looking for an internship when I go out to dance