This is a guest post by Andres Herrera.
I look young — oftentimes too young — and it bothers me a lot.
I’m a 26-year-old grown man with a baby face. If I choose the wrong outfit it’s easy look like a teenager.
And sure, looking young is great as you get older but I don’t want to be treated like a kid in business meetings or job opportunities.
I’ve been in meetings where no one included me in the conversation because they assumed I was an teenage intern or assistant and therefore didn’t have something valuable to say.
To their minds, I was too young to have the experience they felt was needed.
So if you’re like me and look young for your age, believe me –
What you wear can and will make a difference.
When I got out of college I started to care more about my wardrobe and how it affected the impressions I made on people.
I noticed that if I dressed in more traditional, conservative business clothes people were less likely to dismiss me automatically. A few adjustments to the way I dressed and my hairstyle had people taking me much more seriously.
How to dress older within professional settings
Here are 14 style tips for young men on how to dress older within professional settings:
- If you’re going to err, over-dressing is better than under-dressing. It won’t make the same lasting bad impression, and in a pinch it’s usually easy to shed a necktie or some hang a jacket up to dress your look down a bit. People will take you seriously if they see you are well dressed and groomed. If you are unsure about what to wear to a job interview or meeting check out this Stylish Office Dress Tips.
- Avoid anything like T-shirts with cartoons or crazy patterns. Dressing in more conservative yet stylish ways will make you look more traditional and thus serious and older. Go for solid or stripped shirts and always tuck them in. This way you´ll look more neat. T-shirts in general are good to stay away from if you’ve got a young-looking face.
- Ties can give you a more classic and formal look. Depending on the occasion, you can definitely wear them without a suit or tuxedo. If you are unsure about how to match it with your shirt, go for a solid tie. Sometimes I carry a tie in my briefcase just in case I need one or feel the need to upgrade my look. Being prepared is always a plus.
- Observe how older men dress and see what you can learn from them. My grandfather is 96 years old and he still wears dress pants and a shirt everyday, even if he´s just at home. Older men usually dress this way because they learned it from their fathers. It´s a comfortable look and people will respect you more because you look mature and well put together. Just remember that dressing like older men doesn´t mean you should let go of your personal style and freshness.
- Wear clothes that fit you correctly. This is crucial. Wearing clothes that don’t fit make you look like a kid in his father’s clothes — the opposite of what you want. I used to always make the mistake of not trying on my clothes when shopping for them. Try everything on (at the store!) and if you are able, learn your measurements so you can know your size no matter the brand or body type the clothes are built for.
- Don´t be afraid of using light colors like pink, orange and yellow. Dressing to look older doesn’t mean you should look boring. Having a variety of colors in your closet can help you have more options when choosing your outfit. You´ll find it easier to match things and you will be able to dress for different weathers.
- When choosing pants, go for khakis or dress pants instead of jeans. They look great in any office work related occasion. You have different choices of fabric when it comes to dress pants: cotton, wool or polyester blends. If you go for the khakis, they have the advantage that they can look casual or formal, depending on what you pair them with. They are also more easy to take care off and wrinkle resistant.
- If you decide to wear jeans, go for dark jeans. No washed out jeans or baggy jeans. The most traditional cut for jeans is the straight cut. They are great for any occasion and should fit you comfortably. A good way to make wearing jeans more elegant is to pair them with a sports jacket or a dress shirt and necktie.
- For your footwear, leave your sneakers for the gym. Leather shoes or boots can make you look more grown up and not like a college student. Make sure they are well polished and in good shape.
- Avoid hoodies or any clothing with the name of your favorite team or school. It´s good to be proud but it doesn’t make people take you seriously when you are in a work-related setting. If you need to wear layers, go for a solid v-neck sweater (that way you can show of you shirt).
- Your hairstyle is important. More conservative cuts instead of spiking, long hair, or alternative styling won’t necessarily make you look older but more importantly, they won’t make you look younger or alienate you from your seniors. If you want to learn more about haircuts and hairstyles, check this great guide that will make you look like a pro with your barber.
- Accessories are a key to looking serious. A masculine belt that matches your shoes is a must. It may seem like a thing to overlook but it matters. If you can´t master the basics you will probably fail when taking out the big guns.
- Leave bracelets, necklaces and rings (unless you are married) at home. Male jewelry usually draws the attention off your clothes and into your face/hands. You want people to see your face, not be distracted by your accessories.
- Always use a leather briefcase or a traditional messenger bag, do not use backpacks or sports bag to carry your notebook, laptop or whatever your taking to your meeting/interview.
Finally – Walk With Confidence
The way you carry yourself will definitely influence how people see you and treat you.
Be confident and own your look. Remember that no matter how old you are you can intentionally
Remember that no matter how old you are you can intentionally choose clothes that will make you feel more secure and powerful. For a quick visual guide of how to dress for the occasion, check this out.
As men, we all want to be taken seriously and with respect. A new, mature look can give you that and more. The idea is that you can feel both comfortable, sharp and look your age, no matter how smooth your baby face is.
This is a guest post by Andres Herrera – a journalist from Chile who now lives in Ecuador.