This following is a guest post by Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend.
Consider this all too familiar scene for me:
Out to dinner, with a table full of friends, the waiter goes down the line taking our drink orders. When my turn arrives, I ask for my beverage of choice (either an IPA or a vodka soda depending on how my day has gone), bookending the request with a polite “please” and “thank you.” Almost without fail, the waiter pauses, shifts uncomfortably and says, “Gre-e-e-a-a-t…can I see an ID?”
I used to get mad. I used to demand the waiter explain why he hadn’t carded anyone else at the table but me, knowing full well the reason. It’s because, while my body chugs along in the upper 20s, my face froze at some point in the upper teens.
It’s fine. I mean, it’s fine. I’ve been told many times that, in thirty years, I’ll be glad to have a “youthful-looking” face. For now, though, the issue forced me to consider how to dress my age even when I don’t look it.
The rules I follow work for guys as well. Whether your issue is a baby face, or you feel like you just aren’t being taken seriously at the office, there’s plenty you can do with your wardrobe to shake off the “kid” vibe you give off.
Know your size
The quickest way to look like a little kid is to be drowning in your clothes. Us ladies do not want to think of our little brother wearing hand-me-downs when we look at you. If your shirt is too long, or your pants are too billowy, we will notice. Find clothes that fit. Wear. Repeat.
Tuck your shirt in
If the shirt you’re wearing is long enough to be tucked, tuck it. Dress shirts. Polo shirts with long torsos. Oxford shirts. Really, the more grown-up your closet, the more tops you’ll have that are supposed to be worn tucked. Don’t worry, you will not automatically become your father. You will look nice. And handsome. And grown-up.
Have a “thing”
Oh c’mon, don’t make it gross. I just mean, be that guy that wears blazer to work even though he doesn’t have to. Or a pocket square. Or wingtips. Notice the trend?
Grown man clothes are the best kind of clothes for having a signature style move. Wearing sweatshirts all the time is not a “thing.” It’s being lazy. Wearing dirty, untied sneakers is not a thing. It’s being schlubby.
For me, I try to wear lipstick whenever I can, since there’s not many tweens walking around sporting a bold red lip (and if they are, their parents should probably re-consider how they’re raising them).
Keep a muted color palette
I love pink. As much as I fought it growing up, I came around to a bright, cheery pink somewhere around the time I realized I could never wear it out of the house. Why? Because it makes me look like I’m auditioning for a reboot of Punky Brewster.
I don’t want to quash your color dreams, but if you’re worried about looking like a kid, you might have to give up the primary colors. Not to say you can’t do accents, but I’d avoid a big pop of color on top. If the shade comes in a Crayola box – one of the little, ten crayon packs – avoid it as a solid in your wardrobe.
Skip the sneakers
When I want to look dressed up in a grown-up way, I throw on as tall of a heel as I can manage. Wearing heels is something I never did as a little kid (I’m no Suri Cruise), so wearing them now reminds me that, yes, in fact, I am of legal drinking age and pay into a 401(k).
Even if your lifestyle allows for a permanent rotation of Vans, Chucks, and workout sneakers, step out of the sneakers every once in a while. I’m not even saying go straight to a dress shoe. Start at a desert boot and work your way up from there.
Got other tips to avoid looking like a kid in your clothes? Leave ’em in the comments!