Although many articles discuss how to look younger, not as many focus on those of us who want to seem older. If you’re a young woman trying to establish yourself in the workforce or during an interview, follow these tips to help you look more experienced. Gretta Monahan, president, and CEO of GrettaStyle and author of Style and the Successful Girl based in New York 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?
Monahan believes that a tailored and polished look is key. Wearing a blazer or cropped, structured jacket shows power. To complete the outfit, add a pop of color like plum instead of opting for a blouse in neutrals such as black, white, or blue.
Which pop of color is best for accent pieces?
Go for jewel tones like lapis, plum, dark green, and red to give off a powerful message. Monahan suggests avoiding “bubble gum” or “candy” colors as they can make you appear younger. It’s also best to keep shimmery pieces to a minimum.
Which styles should be avoided?
Monahan says that trendy looks can make you come across as unprofessional and inexperienced. For example, even if baggy pants are stylish right now, wearing them to work can give others the impression that you’re not confident and trying to hide your body. She suggests always being a step or two dressier than what is considered casual for the workplace–at least when interviewed.
[Related: Fashion Week at Levo: 7 Fashion Faux Pas That Need to Stay Out of the Office]
Are ponytails a bad idea?
Depending on the style, ponytails can make a woman look younger or older. A “younger” ponytail is worn high up on the head (e.g., post-workout), while a low, sleek pony with a side or middle part can give off an air of glamour and experience, Monahan says. Similarly, braids are not always restricted if pulled into a sophisticated hairstyle like a braided chignon.
What about haircuts?
“The ‘lob’ is so popular for a reason,” Monahan says. “A bob or lob that hits right at the collarbone gives women a classic, professional look–especially young women.” This style 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. Monahan says, “You don’t want to look like you’re wearing nighttime makeup during the day.” You can add a little drama either to your lips or eyes but avoid doing both. Also, stay away from shimmer as it tends to make one 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.”
If you want to add jewelry for a more powerful look, make sure not to wear too much. Monahan warns, “Wearing too many bangles or cocktail rings can take away from someone’s attention.”