Post # 1
Super random – but so frustrated right now!
I’m 25, and work in a professional environment. I have a job that requires me to wear a suit or conservative/formal professional wear every day. I also look about 16. My face/body/everything is exactly the same as in high school – and I’m 5’1″. While this is great in some ways, I have a rounder face and young features – so everyone continually thinks I’m so much younger than I am!
Because I work in a conservative environment, I wear my hair up in a bun/twist every day and minimal makeup, as well as high cut blouses and long (knee-length) skirts. If I dress otherwise, I look like a teenager getting dolled up and it’s ridiculous and inappropriate for my job. But this conservative dress makes me look even YOUNGER! I look like someone who isn’t old enough to wear a low cut shirt/short skirt/long hair. GRRRR! When I walk around downtown at lunch, I am constantly asked if I work at whatever store I happen to be browsing, and one lady even went out of her way to ask if I was “evangelical” or “very religious” because you “don’t often see young girls wearing longer skirts”. I was in a knee length a-line suit skirt and blouse. Awesome.
At work, some co-workers (albeit often older women) treat me like a child when they first work with me. They normally stop being condescending once they realize I’m not an idiot, but it’s so frustrating to be judged for what would be a very “normal” appearance on a different frame/face.
Anyone else have the same experience?? What do you do?
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@misswhereami: Thankfully I never looked 16 but I definitely looked young for the first few years I practiced as an attorney. The only thing that helped was growing out of it. Other than that, make sure you exude authority and strength, it’s all about how you carry yourself.
Maybe experiment with coloring and cutting your hair as well as adding in some makeup. The closer I got to 30 the more makeup I needed to wear. If people are asking whether you are conservative I am guessing that you wear untailored suits; a properly tailored suit is not slutty and it definitely makes you look older and like you have money (you have to look like money to make money.)
My stepdaughter’s mom perpetually looked 12 because she was under 5 feet tall and had small childlike features. She’s in her 30s now and people still think she’s in her teens. But she is also very respected in her job because she works hard and wins awards all the time.
Post # 4
There really isn’t much you can do. I also look much younger than I actually am. I had a guy fixing the stones in front of my office tell me that I don’t look old enough to be working yet!… K thanks, I’m 27.
All you can do is ride it out.
Post # 5
I have this problem too. Granted I am only 19 but I am a sophomore in college pursuing Education. A course requirement is to dress professionally and observe in the school. While at the jr high a student told me I looked 16! Granted thats not too bad but I have heard a lot younger. I laugh and say my real age. I don’t let it bother me too much. I’m told I will appreciate it so much more when I am 40.
Post # 6
Just because you work in a conservative environment, doesn’t mean you need to wear clothes that don’t fit properly. You’d be amazed at how much a well tailored skirt, pants or suit will dramatically change you look. You can still wear color and nice blouses without them being low cut or inappropriate for your office.
Also, go to a store like Sephora and ask them to teach you how to do your makeup in a natural way that looks work appropriate and polished.
ETA: I manage the intern program at my company, so I continually work with people who are or look young and try to help them fit in better in the corporate environment.
Post # 7
Professional wear doesn’t mean that you can’t be sophisticated. If you get clothes with a great cut and fit (granted they’re gonna be a little more expensive), trendy jewerly and nice heels, you’ll probably look a little bit older. Get good silk blouses, pencil skirts, perfect fitting women suits and platform high heels.
Post # 8
@misswhereami: I’m 25 and in a management role. I am often asked if I am a summer student. My advice is not to let it bother you. Obviously you have a job so your looks didn’t hurt your prospects and I think it would be a lot worse to look old and haggard than young. People will make their comments when you are old, young, middle aged, whatever. Just ignore it and focus on doing your job and getting results – that’s what your boss will notice and that’s all that matters.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
@misswhereami: I hear ya. My job as a wildlife biologist is fairly informal (half the time out in the boonies doing field work, half the time in our office where there’s an informal dress code). But I hear you on looking younger and not being taken as seriously. When I meet with clients, etc, I make sure to say something offhand about my graduate degree so they can put two and two together.
Not sure what advice to give you, except that a good makeup job can go a long way (I don’t know much about that, unfortunately) and that we’ll definitely appreciate this when we hit our mid30s and 40s!
Post # 10
@misswhereami: I also look really young & I’ve found that your hair, makeup, & outfits really do have quite a bit to do with it. Shorter hairstyles unless extremely structured such as an a-line aka reverse mullet generally make me look super young, while longer flowing hairstyles make me look older. I look younger with my hair up than down, so I usually always wear it down or to the side in a bun/braid/ponytail. Not the same for everyone, it depends on your features & facial structures. When I use minimal makeup I look very young as well, so I’ve started putting it on a little thicker for work than I would on weekends (little more blush, eyeliner, darker colors in the crease, & lipsticks which I NEVER wear).
I second the PP about having tailored suits. The fit really does matter. When I buy suits straight from the store I almost always have to have something about them tailored, or I look like I’m playing dress up in Mommy’s clothes. If you get it tailored to your body it shouldn’t look or feel like that at all, and I can notice a difference in the age I look with tailored vs. non-tailored clothing.
If I’m wearing a knee-length skirt I try to pair it with a more fun top- something not as conservative as the skirt. I work at an attorney’s office and my rule for clothing is the same as makeup- Play up one feature/item and let the other one take a backseat. My skirts are never below my fingertips- which was the dress code at my conservative christian high school, if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for work! So If I’m wearing a shorter skirt I’ll wear a more conservative plain top. Just because your office is conservative doesn’t mean every piece of clothing you wear must be too. Try mixing it up along with your hair & makeup and you might find a combo that makes you feel and look older, and feeling like you look older is half the battle!
Post # 11
I had a grandma at the daycare I work at ask if I was 13 or 14…. ten seconds after the mom noticed my engagement ring.
I get that I was in a t-shirt and khakis, minimal makeup, and hair only brushed… but come on. I take care of babies, and we just had a conversation about my wedding.
Post # 12
Thanks so much for the tips – I am a sporty tomboy and outside of work, I pretty much live in Lululemon and flip flops. So of course, I have no idea when it comes to makeup/hair, and my work clothes are kind of just whatever fits and is comfortable. I also have a very awkward body type for suits (I am quite muscular) so I often have to buy suits a size up to fit in the shoulders/arms, and then have them tailored in the waist. Same with pencil skirts. A 25″ waist and 22″ legs (EACH) do NOT make for stock proportions. Even with tailoring they kind of look funny, so I am often stuck with A-lines. Separates and cropped blazers work well on me, but they just don’t look as good as a full mathcing suit, which I find nearly impossible to buy.
I am going to spend some money on a few custom tailored suits soon, and hopefully that will help. They are just SO expensive!!!
I think more makeup will help too – I never bother with eyeshadow or lipstick, and I think even in neutral shades, this could help.
Thanks again for the tips!
Post # 13
I agree on being results focused. I got some great work from some of the senior partners where I work for doing well on some projects, so I know eventually my work will shine through. Even if one of those partners did catch me climbing on the cupboards to get the book I needed. Hey – there was no footstool and I really needed that book!! He now just has a running joke about getting me a ladder – but he takes my work seriously, which is all I care about.
Post # 14
I will try going somewhere to help me learn how to do makeup. Past mascara, I’m pretty much clueless!!
Post # 15
@misswhereami: i would suggest wearing a bit more makeup; eyeliner and mascara will make you look a bit older.
also, i am not sure what the clothes you wear look like but if they are too old for you, you may look like you’re wearing your mother’s clothes. the fit of clothes is important too.
skirt lengths with suits:
the pic of the 2 ladies shows 2 different skirt lengths. the longer skirt is much more mature looking and the one just above the knee looks more age appropriate for you but still looks very professional.
don’t try to look too mature. dress your age in a professional manner and be confident. the second pic shows some great trendy but professional attire.
Post # 16
@misswhereami: Exactly that. I don’t care what my girls wear, if they have make-up on, or if they are wearing clothes they bought at a thrift shop. So long as they are dressed appropriately for work, all I notice is whether or not they deliver.
I don’t feel you should change and start wearing make-up unless it’s something you want to do. I never wear an ounce of make-up and I’ve held several management roles. It really is not what matters so long as you don’t go to work in a club dress or jeans.