How To Dress To Make Yourself Look Older

Hello Heather,

So, I’m a girl and my height is 4’10. I’m okay with it, but the problem is that I don’t know how to dress to look my age. I’m 22-years-old and I need to dress like I’m 22. Everyone always tells me I look very young and that’s hurting me. I want to look older but I have no idea what to wear to do that. Please help!


As a fellow short girl (I’m 5’0!) with a baby face, I feel your pain. Looking like you’re younger and being shorter than everyone else can make looking older really difficult. But you’re right – the way you dress and present yourself can make a big difference in how people see you. Although there isn’t a clothing item out there that will make you magically look 22, there are more mature ways of getting dressed that can make you look your age or older. Here are my tips, as someone who is still going through this:

1. Get a tailor and/or make sure your clothes fit properly. The biggest issue for short girls is that clothes often don’t fit us correctly. Clothes that are too big (long jeans, sleeves that cover our hands, etc.) can make us look younger. That’s why it’s so important to start getting your clothes fitted. Just because something is your size doesn’t mean it fits the best it could. If you’re not comfortable hemming or taking in your clothes, find an affordable tailor. Tailoring your clothes makes a HUGE difference.

2. Wear heels more often. You don’t have to wear heels every single day, but I have found that heels (even a small heel) makes me look more mature, more put together, and older. Jeans and a shirt with sneakers is a MUCH different look than the exact same jeans and a shirt with pumps or heeled boots. Stilettos are unrealistic for every day, but items like heeled boots, wedges, or kitten heels are great.

3. Opt for classic pieces over super trendy, cheap pieces. I love shopping in Forever 21, but I know that a lot of their clothes are very “young-looking.” If you’re trying to look older, opt for classic pieces of clothing rather than trendy ones. Spend a little bit more on a nice blazer you’ll wear a lot, black pants that fit well and feel comfortable, and solid colored shirts. Buy a fitted button-down over that funny graphic sweatshirt with Spongebob on it. Choose a fitted print dress over a skater skirt and crop top. Or, pair your crop top with high-waist pants rather than denim shorts. Get it?

4. Invest in good accessories. Your clothes aren’t the only part of your outfit that can make you look older. If you go out in a nice dress, but you’re carrying a bag with a cartoon character on it, that ruins your whole look. It’s worth buying a nice leather handbag that will instantly pull your look together. You could also get some classic jewelry that is simple instead of flashy, like a watch, stud earrings, or a pretty necklace.

5. Stop wearing bummy clothes in public. Here’s what I mean by bummy clothes: baggy sweatpants. Sweatshirts that hit at your knees. Uggs. Graphic tees with stains on them. Sweats with words on the butt. A Northface fleece when it’s cold. Here’s what to replace them with: Instead of baggy sweats, wear leggings when you want to be comfortable. Instead of huge sweatshirts, opt for a cozy knit sweater. Lose the Uggs and wear a pair of knee-high boots instead. Save the graphic tees for when you’re hanging around your house and wear a solid-colored top, a button-down, or a blouse. Even a plain white tee is a better option. Instead of sweats with words on the butt, go for cropped yoga pants. Save the Northface fleece (or any fleece) for another time and get yourself a fitted winter coat instead. It’s fine to look like a bum sometimes, but if your end goal is to look older, that is not the way to do it.

6. Use makeup wisely. Makeup can change everything. Swiping on the right shade of red lipstick can do wonders for you. Wearing subtle gold or brown eyeshadow instead of blue glittery shadow can instantly make you look more mature. Shaped and neat eyebrows instead of messy ones can do a lot. Chipped nail polish looks bad – a nice manicure with something more subtle is better.

Remember: always make sure you feel comfortable and pick clothes that YOU like. One of the most important parts of looking more mature is to feel confident. If you’re wearing something uncomfortable that makes you self-conscious, it’ll show. So, choose wisely! Good luck!

take care,

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