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Author Topic: I want to look older  (Read 8490 times)

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2013, 07:55:14 PM »
Back when I was teaching we would always advise our student teachers in the middle and high school settings to wear a blazer.  It's astounding how the addition of a blazer to almost any outfit (even jeans) can age you by several years. This works for both men and women.

I think the OP has been given fantastic advise.  As a 30-something with a baby face who likes her hair long, I POD the advise to wear it in a bun when you need to appear your age.  Fake glasses also work, but unless they've got good quality lenses in them, they can be spotted as fakes from a mile away.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)


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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2013, 09:41:27 PM »
Yet another with the same problem here - and becoming more grateful for it with every passing year. My mother has always looked about 10 years younger than she is, and I've known I would have the same "problem" since I was young. When I was in grad school and TAing, it first wasn't a terrible thing - in a geology department, no one expects the TAs to wear anything other than ratty jeans or shorts. After my first year in grad school, I got a job adjuncting a summer class at a nearby community college, and I knew things needed to change. I bought "teacher clothes" - skirts to my knees, button-down shirts (short-sleeved, it was Arizona) and sandals with heels. (I'm short.) I wore my hair (which was down my back long then) half-up or in a bun or a low ponytail, and I cultivated my "teacher voice" - a touch deeper, and certainly more authoritative and confident. (My parents are both teachers, I knew from teacher voice.) It worked, and my students (many of whom were older than me) accepted me as an authority.

A few years later, I made more adjustments when I was a pre-doctoral teaching fellow at a women's college, and was mistaken for a new freshman student. I cut my hair to shoulder-length, and only wore business casual during work hours/at campus functions. Slacks, sweaters, button-down shirts - never a tee shirt, even a plain one, unless there was a blazer over it.

At this point, I'm 35 and just finished my student teaching at a high school (hooray career change). My students thought I was 22... but that's partly because they expect that age from student teachers and partly because they have no sense of age past 18. :D

I've never worn makeup, it's just not something I'm interested in, and I haven't found that to hamper my efforts to look professional.


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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2013, 07:13:29 AM »
i feel for you, OP, I am 52 and am told that i look way younger, which I don't care about but which i know makes people take me less seriously.

I think you got some great advice here on little tweaks you can do to your look. I wanted to add - i was just at a work meeting, we were about 30 people, probably 2/3 women, different ages. (I live in Israel which is probably less "formal" than the US and I also work in a non-profit which is anyway less formal. Just for example, my boss was wearing jeans and a sweater). with that, i noticed that some women looked like college students even though they are in their late 30s-early 40s - it's not *just* that they have baby faces, but that they are wearing sneakers, t shirts, not very polished hair, etc. OR very focused on the "trendy" outfits which can make you seem younger. and others (same ages) looked way more professional - they might be wearing the same jeans and tops but they wore the jeans with boots and added a blazer, had their hair pulled back to a polished pony tail, had their nails done, etc. so even if you are in a field where you wear jeans, you could still make yourself look more polished - i notice that black jeans look "better" than blue or faded, boots with a mediium heel look nice, a blazer, nails (even with a neutral color or light french manicure), light makeup, etc.

as for what to reply to that woman - I think you are being too apologetic. she was extremely rude to you. For someone to say "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." to anyone but a 10 YO girl is beyond rude.

For your reply, if you haven't send it yet I would go with something like this:

" I appreciate the thought behind Thank you for 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."

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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2013, 09:33:27 AM »
In 1967, I was 22, married, and teaching. Teachers dressed well then, so I was wearing a suit, heels, makeup, and of course my rings, and was hit on by a student. There was also an new security guard who would not let me into the teachers' parking lot until I showed him my gradebook.

We thought it was great fun, but no one was ever condescending to me. That would really have gotten my hackles up. I do agree that the email should be a little gentler as in the later suggested versions.

Good luck.


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  • Not all those who wander are lost
Re: I want to look older
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2013, 10:18:29 AM »
OP, I hope your changes help you to be perceived as an adult.

I have a lot of people who think I am in my 30's, and I am 44.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien


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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2013, 10:23:36 AM »
Mbbored, one thing I have found for myself is that wearing Dansko clogs with jeans instantly polishes up my weekend look. I bought them primarily to wear to work (I sometimes have to do a lot of walking, but don't work in a casual office at all). But when I wear them with any pants that cover the heel a bit, they look kind of like boots. The nice thing about that is the Danskos are my most comfortable walking shoes, so they're great for weekends.

Since you work in a lab and wear jeans a lot, and I'm guessing spend at least some time on your feet each day, I personally think they are worth every penny. They're not cheap shoes, but I have worn mine literally every day since I bought them 9 months ago, and they still look and feel as good as they did when they were new. Plus, they add about 2 inches to my height, which is never a bad thing if you're on the short side. :)


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Re: I want to look older
« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2013, 04:18:18 PM »
Oh, I have the same problem.  I'm also in NorCal, and I think part of it is a bit regional -- people tend to be way more casual here, so if you dress up too much, you really stand out.

I found this advice to be pretty useful:

I took two things from the advice -- one, a lot is in how you carry yourself, even when you are dressed casually.  I used to work at a company that had a jeans-okay policy, and we were in a building that had offices associated with a local college.  I was standing in an elevator (in my jeans) and asked a student to hit the button for the fifth floor, at which point she turned around and said, "Ohmygawd, I totally thought you were a student!  Sorry!"  Of course, folks younger than me knew I was older; my problem was with those who are older than me!

Two, a wardrobe upgrade is helpful, but the clothes really need to fit well.  If you are a youthful looking person in a baggy suit, you look like you have borrowed mom or dad's clothes.  I've worked to find well-fitting clothes, even going so far as to throw myself on the mercy of several helpful Nordstrom's employees. 

This is all as it relates to the workplace.  I don't really bother in my personal life, since I'm married and have a very stable set of friends.  They already know how old I am anyway!