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7 Ways to Make Yourself Look Older (Yes, Older!) at Work

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Sure, there are tons of articles out there that share tips for looking younger. But what about those of us baby-faced gals who actually want to add years to our look? How do you go about looking more experienced for your first job out of college, or during an important interview? Here, Gretta Monahan, New York-based president and CEO of GrettaStyle and author of Style and the Successful Girl, shares her best fashion and beauty tips for looking more experienced in the office.

What go-to work looks should young professionals have in their closets?

It’s all about a tailored, polished look, Monahan says. A blazer or cropped, structured jacket exudes a look of power. Pair it with a sophisticated pop of color such as plum (see next question) rather than a blouse in neutrals like black or white (and even blue).

[Related: My Power Outfit With Dana Kirk, Senior Director of Marketing at Def Jam]

Which pop of color is best for accent pieces?

Go for the “power palette,” which Monahan describes as jewel tones like lapis, plum, dark green, and red. Avoid “bubble gum” or “candy” colors, she says, as they can come across as young. Also, keep shimmery pieces to a minimum.

Which styles should be avoided?

Overly trendy looks can come across as juvenile. For example, even if relaxed, baggy pants are au courant, a shapeless outfit at work can give off the impression of low confidence and trying to hide in your clothing, Monahan says. Likewise, overly casual looks can also scream inexperienced. Even if the company dress code is sneakers and jeans, it’s always a good idea to be a step or two dressier—at least when interviewing, she says.

[Related: Fashion Week at Levo: 7 Fashion Faux Pas That Need to Stay Out of the Office]

Are ponytails a bad idea?

Ponytails can make a woman look younger or older, depending on how they’re styled. A “younger” ponytail is worn high on the head (think: post-workout), while a low, sleek pony with a side or middle part can exude glamour and experience, Monahan says. Similarly, braids aren’t necessarily off-limits if pulled into a polished look like a braided chignon.

What about haircuts?

There’s a reason the “lob” is such a popular look. “If you want to go for a classic look, you can’t deny that a bob or a lob above the collarbone really gives women a crisp, professional feel—young women, especially,” Monahan says. A bob works with almost every face shape and can be worn straight or with a slight bend.

[Related: 5 Power Hairstyles That Will Wow in Any Interview]

Is natural makeup the best way to go?

Yes—remember that people want to see you, not your makeup. “What you don’t want to do is look like you’re wearing nighttime makeup during the day,” Monahan says. You can add a little drama to either your lips or eyes, but not both. Avoid a lot of shimmer, which can also make you look younger.

Are there any accessories that can add a few years to your look?

“I think glasses are an amazing addition, accessory-wise,” Monahan says. “They deliver a smart message.”

Jewelry can also add to the power look, but don’t go overboard with endless bangles and a cocktail ring on every finger. Monahan adds, “Too much sparkle or too many stones can dominate someone’s attention, and you don’t want that.”

Photo: Justin Case / Getty Images


Fashion #Beauty #Getting The Job
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Juliana Agbo
Juliana Agbo

Um no thanks. I'm proud to be where I am in my career as a 25 year old amongst a bunch of 40-50 somethings.

I'm on board with natural make-up and no ponytails at work. The worst is when you forget to wear mascara and people start saying....."you look tired".....

@Juliana Agbo - Yes! I take pride in my age & career, I'll look older when I AM older.

What about men of age 23 ?

Ann P
Ann P

For your LinkedIn profile, you can quickly test pictures at Photofeeler and know for sure that yours looks professional and capable enough.

Thank you! My husband is in the military and we got stationed in a TINY town with a depressed economy and the job pool is awful. My qualifications alone should be enough to get me a mid level management job in government agencies but two years later and nada!! I know part of it is my young appearance. Military men and women don't want to work with someone who still looks 19 😌. Finally got an interview so this will help!

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