We don’t know any woman who will purposely wear something that makes her look wider or taller or shorter than she desires. However—you’d be surprised to know how many women willingly wear styles that make them look older. It’s a bit of a curious thing, isn’t it? If you don’t feel old on the inside, why would you want to portray an aged image to the world?
Here’s our list of the top 10 fashion and beauty choices that can make you look older:
- Tweed. While some fabrics have an inherintly youthful vibe (like denim), tweed seems to do the opposite because it’s associated with matronly suits and vintage British hunting garb. If it’s a menswear look you are after, opt for pinstripes, navy or oversized houndstooth instead of tweed.
- Reading glasses. Sure, you may need them, but no woman ever looked younger with little reading glasses perched on the end of her nose—unless they are the right shape of frame. Look to fresh, up-and-coming brands like Warby Parker for an updated take on the optical accessory. Who knows, you may end up looking like a sexy librarian rather than an out-of-touch alien. (We kid, we kid.)
- Gray hair. We might get in big trouble for saying this, from all the women who opt for gray hair, but the truth is that gray hair does makes you look older. There’s definitely a certain look and a certain style of woman who can make gray hair look chic—just look at Nicole Richie. Better options than going gray in middle age are colors that are flattering to your skin tones.
- Cardigans. Sad, but true. Although it seems like an ideal layering piece, cardigans can be unflattering for heavier women because they lacks shape and structure so lumps and bumps show. A better choice is a jacket or blazer with some construction (set-in sleeves, seaming, a collar) because it offsets middle-age spread. And whatever you do, don’t tie the cardigan around your waist because it never hides hips, only makes them look bigger.
- Sensible shoes/comfort shoes. Want to ruin a perfectly good look? Wear comfort sandals with it. There are too many cute shoes in the market that are comfortable without the clunky soles and features of so-called comfort sandals.
- Mom jeans. Peg-leg jeans with a high waist – a.k.a. mom jeans – are unflattering and outdated if you were around the first time they were in fashion. It’s true that brands like Topshop, Reformation, and Zara are all reviving this look from the 1980s and 90s, but it’s one best left to those in their 20s and below.
- Any color that washes you out. One thing that will instantly make you look older is to wear a hue that drains you of color. For many, that means avoiding mauves and yellows; your colors may be different. The right colors (almost everyone looks pretty in the right shade of red or blue) can brighten your skin and make you look younger.
- Old lady handbag. Are you still carrying that logo bag from 15 years ago? Handbags have been a driving force of fashion for the past decade and still carrying an organizer bag (or worse) can add years to your age. An updated option would be a cute crossbody bag or a fun leather bag.
- Too much or too little makeup. Garish blush and lipstick can be just as aging as no makeup at all. If you’re not sure what still works for you, go to your local department store or Sephora and get a free makeover with the latest products. New eyeshadows are sheer and luminescent, as are lipsticks and glosses. Learn how to apply pretty colors with a light hand and you’ll be on the right track to wearing the perfect makeup in middle age.
- Socks and sneakers with anything other than workout clothes. Let’s be clear, there’s a certain way to wear sneakers, or tennis shoes, outside the gym. Superga ‘Cotu’ sneakers, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars and Vans are all perfectly acceptable to pair with jeans on the weekend—depending on your personal style. Running shoes and joggers however (especially paired with outdated boot-cut jeans) are certain to date you a bit.