Reader Request: How to Look Older in Casual Attire

Reader Request: "I'm a 23 year old 5ft 90lb Asian girl who often gets mistaken for a 15 year old (or an 18 year old on a good day). Can you offer any fashion advice on how to look more your age? Specifically when it comes to casual clothes. I'm in grad school in the sciences and don't have the benefit of wearing nice professional clothes."

Being the approximate age and size of this reader, I set out to illustrate her situation. I put on my "grad student of the sciences" ensemble: sweatshirt, jeans, sneaks, and a curious face. I avoided makeup and pulled my hair back into a simple ponytail. I pictured my parents nodding vigorously in approval (their mantra is: a minute wasted on makeup, hair, or fashion is a minute that could've been better spent on studying). End result - below left.

Before (left): Ready to get carded for a PG-13 movie.
After (right): A few changes make a big difference in age.
 Left: Gap hoodie PXS, A&F kids tee sz M, True Religion "Joey" kids sz 12, New Balance sneaks kids sz 4
Right: Banana Republic top PXXS, J.Crew cardigan XS, True Religion "Stella" kids sz 12, Cole Haan flats sz 5

To keep casual and grad school-appropriate (I'm picturing long treks across campus and hours studying in the library), I avoided high heels. I wouldn't call myself fashionable, so keep in mind these aren't tips to look more stylish, or taller - just more mature:
And although this isn't fashion advice - I feel that looking more mature or sophisticated truly starts at one's face. Asians, especially, tend to have young baby faces that can really be transformed with a little eyeliner, mascara (on curled lashes), and bronzer. The products I'm wearing can be found in my everyday makeup for beginners video. Huge difference:
Continue reading for more suggestions...

I decided to put together another outfit for casual weekend-wear:

Before (left): going to jump rope in the park
After (right): going to an outdoor bistro lunch w/ handsome date (yea yea, humor me)
Left: Abercrombie tee XS, A&F kids shorts sz 12, Old Navy flip flops
Right: Gap white tee sz XS, H&M shorts sz 2, Alfani sandals (Macy's) sz 6 "borrowed" from Mom, BR earrings

You'd be surprised at how many people I see around Boston donning jorts (jean shorts), a graphic tee, and rubber flip flops. What could look acceptable on a normal sized woman, though, is devastatingly childish on a tiny petite. My tips for the casual "tee and shorts" outfit:
Low wedges and strappy sandals are my must-haves for summer. I love strolling around Boston, but I don't enjoy doing so tottering in heels or flopping around in rubber thongs. I've amassed several pairs of summer "walking shoes" from Macy's and Target at decent prices.

Hope you guys found this post somewhat helpful, or at the least - entertaining! I also hope I didn't offend any grad students. I have no idea how the reader in question dresses typically, so just gave it my best shot.


Readers - please share your tips on looking or dressing your age : )

151 comments:

  1. Somewhat helpful? WOW! This post is awesome!

    Definitely saving this one and referring to it the next time I want to wear a hoodie haha

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  2. you look absolutely stunning in the "tee and shorts" outfit! i had to examine your pictures cause i couldn't believe that was you before and after. you look so young! envy!

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  3. Do you work out your legs? They are unique--so much muscle tone--lucky!!

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  4. This is such a great post! Thanks so much, PAG.

    You look so different in the "before" and "after" pictures. Much more mature and put together.

    I love the way sandals and low wedges look for summer.

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  5. In the last 'before' picture, you look EXACTLY like one of my best friends in junior high school... in junior high school. I seriously had to do a double take... Amy??? LOL :)

    These tips are spectacular. I'm in grad school myself and dress more like the "after" pictures and my friends all tease me for dressing up too much! Then again, they get asked what school they go to by high school boys on the bus, and I don't.

    Now can you do a post on what to wear under a suit? I could use some new ideas...

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  6. Gorgeous then, gorgeous now. No matter what the style.

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  7. This was so fun and interesting to read! You look adorable even in the tee/no makeup xx

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  8. This hits close to home. I was recently asked if I was here for the summer (I was shopping in a college town). I responded yes. LOL. Since I am in my 30's it is nice to be mistaken as a co-ed. Ha. A baby on the hip adds a few years. But in all seriousness, I think taking a little time to take care of yourself, putting on some make up and putting together a decent outfit will make all the difference in the world.

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  9. "and a curious face." ==> LOL!

    It's really amazing the difference slight tweeks in clothing can make! Love the before and after pics.

    Since I'm also in the sciences, I can't wear high heels everyday, which are my weekend "look my age" weapon. So at work, my secret weapon are kitten heels! They are easy to walk in, give me a tiny bit of extra height, and look adult enough to keep me from being carded at the movies. =)

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  10. wow, awesome post!! You do look a lot more mature after the 'transformation' in a good way! However, I think you still look very cute before 'transforming' heheh :D

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  11. Wow, jumping rope? LOL :D That is a funny example! :p

    Bronzer really does enhance the look of any face, especially more fair skinned gals. I never made the connection before, but from your examples, I think it's the basics of looking your age!

    You look much more mature, but still a young woman :) (you look great!) Sometimes when it's overdone, it just looks bad. I think really red lipstick makes a person look older.

    I work in the accounting field, and I don't always dress up. Sometimes, I don't even wear makeup. I guess I occasionally look like someone who'd be getting ready to jump rope after work @ 5pm :p Someone in another dept even asked me how old I was when i went to work in (literally) jeans and t-shirt. Now, I try to sport mature-er looking pieces, such a cardigans and muted jewelry and embellished tops. I'll try that bronzer thing though :)

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  12. GOOD JOB!!! OMG this is so funny, I love the pics on the left! Totally takes me back to college and h.s. days of wearing A&F logo tees or the character tees! LOL @ "going to jumprope in park" ~ how cute!

    The last outfit ~ LOOOOVE! Where are the sandals and shorts from??

    I agree about walking around Boston. I pretty much only wear heels (unless it's cold enough to wear Uggs) so I struggled like a dumbass walking around Harvard Square and that area near Martha Stewart's house... the brick and unpaved roads are cute and all but UNPRACTICAL for wearing heels!!! Newbury St is like really the only safe place for that haha.

    Can you do a post on keeping shirts tucked into pants? LOL not sure if there's a trick for that, but that's one thing that's always annoyed me about wearing pants, so I avoid it entirely and just tuck into highwaisted skirts.

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  13. omg scratch my question about the stuff you're wearing.. I see you posted it >.<

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  14. I love this post, cause it's so me. I need to revamp myself to look more mature. I am so plain jane!! you have helped so much!!

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  15. lol i love the right side outfit more but the left side outfit is looks more comfortable :D

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  16. WOW~ I enjoyed this post a lot!
    Your blog is so amazingly informative and you are gorgeous^___^
    I am going to take all the info. in and use it.

    XOXO

    Miss. P

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  17. *Chortles* LOL!

    I definitely tend to look like the left side, especially with the hoodies! I'm trying tp phase them out currently though :P I guess it's okay for me to look like a college kid, since I actually am one ^^

    Very entertaining post, with some great tips as well!

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  18. WOW this a great post and I love these after outfits!

    I was discussing w/ Janice and I figured out that I didn't get too caught up in the tshirt/hoodie period when I was younger b/c I wore uniforms through elementary/jr high/hs so whenever I went shopping I would buy more "dressy" clothes for the weekend. I think my fashionable mom helped as well (thank goodness!)

    Also, I just found some pretty cognac sandals after seeing your previous posts (Bandolino Fortunatas)! I am currently breaking them in for my trip to LA (painful!)

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  19. hahah that is hilarious! i love it. i like the splash of color in there...green scares me but you did a good job with pairing the colors. the earrings are so cute too. <3

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  20. In response to your question on my "Olive Oil as makeup remover" post, no, olive oil is extremely gentle on the eyes. I have never suffered from irritation.

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  21. I love this post! The asian parents mantra made me laugh because it's so true. and "jorts" is a new one on me haha I love it. The "before" and "after" shots truly show how small changes like how one wears her hair and some makeup can make a petite girl look more mature. I think you did a fantastic job with this reader request. You're so thorough and make a lot of great points. Not to mention, you look really polished and put together. I love the casual weekend outfit, it's simple but chic; I love your mom's sandals haha. Great job babe!

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  22. this is super helpful! :) i wanted to promise myself never to dress like the girl on the left anymore but school does make it hard :D

    you do a great job of looking your age ^__^

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  23. This post is hilarious and I can totally relate. I graduated from UCSD and there are many girls like your "before" picture walking around our campus! LOL. What a difference makeup & clothing can make.

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  24. WOW, thanks for sharing! am planning a wardrobe makeover and this is just on time =) yeah, huge difference between the homey simple look to vava-voom outfit and make up! Love it! thanks thanks =) xoxo

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  25. I'm not tiny, but I am very thin, and well into my 30s I was mistaken for someone much younger. I'm too old for that to happen much now, but I still sometimes get called "honey" if the light isn't good! I need to work at dressing like a grown up, and I think this is a great, helpful post. Thank you.

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  26. So true! Great post. I've thought about these style elements in bits and pieces but haven't seen it written anywhere! Thanks for the tips. I've just started following your blog because it's so informative! Looking forward to future posts :)

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  27. great post! lol i often get mistaken for a teenager too, although now that im getting older its not as annoying :P

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  28. Wow! this is really a nice post! i love how you compare both of the looks.. yes, they are so different. thank you for sharing! ;)

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  29. Thanks for the post! I was the reader who asked and you actually definitely hit the mark on how grad students dress, lol. The before and after pictures really show how styling goes a long way. Thanks for sharing and I'm definitely going to put these tips into practice!

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  30. Your post is pretty awesome. What a big difference! Although, I don't have that problem. I always look older than my age :) LOL

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  31. Wow..I love this post !I love the way you write :) At 34 am still told that I look just the way I did back in school..well..always leaves me confused about whether to be happy or sad about it :(

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  32. This is a really great guide. I don't need help in this area, as I'm 5'4", but I do notice that when I wear sweats, dress down and tie my hair back, people assume I'm younger than when I wear a little makeup

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  33. This is a great post. I just finished grad school, but I waited to go back when I was 31, so I deliberately had to try dress younger to fit in with everyone else (I still look younger, but I couldn't wear my 'teacher clothes' to the lab).
    I laugh at the other grad students who do not seem to own any clothes that are not logo t-s, athletic attire and flip flops. We did a professional photo shoot for our lab group and the others did not have any appropriate clothes for the photographs. I had to lecture them on the importance of having one good pair of shoes.
    As for being mistaken for a preteen - I was in a cycling race this weekend and as we were lining up one of the officials freaked out and said "there's a junior lined up with the pro women" and then he walked up to me and demanded if I was indeed in the correct field "Are you a pro?". I was like 'yeah, I am. I'm 33. I've been racing for 12 years. I think I know which field to race in.'

    It's basically impossible for me to look my age at bike races - helmet, sunglasses and lycra destroy any chances of looking fashionable or mature.

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  34. Definitely good advice! I'm also a grad student in the sciences, so I know what it's like. The problem is that I work with all guys, so they make strange comments if I start to dress up. Also, due to foot problems, I have to wear sneakers because I need arch support.

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  35. Wow girl, that's quite an amazing post, I didn't realize what a difference you could make!!!

    btw - I was in Boston last week and let me say, it's a beautiful city!! I was by the Harbor (it was quite dreary, but beautiful nonetheless), the view from the building I was in was stunning, I'll post the really crappy pics soon!

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  36. I love it! You have such a mischevious expression in that first before picture (must be your curious face!). And that's totally me in college (I even have pictures to prove it!). The 'after' pics are all stunning... especially the white tee and shorts... I love that look!

    But other than to be taken seriously at work, I actually don't mind looking young for my age when I'm off duty (especially because hubby also looks young for his age). That is face-wise... but wardrobe-wise I definitely agree that the hoodie and tees days are be behind me at this age and I'm only slowly starting to learn what age-appropriate and stylish casual wear really means. Thanks for the tips and very helpful and entertaining post!

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  37. omg this is so helpful! can you please do more poss like this?!

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  38. Fabulous post, PAG!
    The "before" looks are definitely very sad and boring looking. The "after" looks are certainly very sophisticated.

    When I started my doctoral program I got rid of my backpack and invested in a notebook case to carry my laptop in. Backpacks are definitely for undergraduates and high schoolers heh. I was surprised to find that about 95% of my readings come from journal articles online.

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  39. OMG LOVE this post! You look admittedly adorable in the 'before pics' -- but some GREAT pointers on how to dress more age appropriate. Sometimes I want to steal you away as my personal fashion adviser LOL!

    Also, isn't makeup amazing sometimes? :) And I love how you 'borrowed' shoes from Mom - I do that all the time too :)

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  40. Dress/skirt and jewelry! Most people look bad in shorts, even me who has great legs!

    Take a bbq - most people think casual, right? But you can be too casual. I always wear a dress, even if just a plain cotton jersey dress.

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  41. Great post! You could even exchange "looking older" for "looking more put together" and the message would still be the same! Love it! :)

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  42. Lol, this post is frickin' amazing.

    Me in undergrad - left pic
    Me in grad school - right pic

    Man, I have sooo many Threadless tees in my closet from my undergrad "uniform."

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  43. What a fantastic and well-written post! I have only recently started to read your blog, but this was such a thoughtful post that I had to comment. I'm a 31 y/o petite Asian woman who likes to get away w/ wearing some kids clothing, but gets carded every time!

    I'm actually going to law school this fall and was wondering if you had ideas on sophisticated non-backpack options? Someone else had mentioned a notebook case, but if you have any other ideas, I'd love to hear them!

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  44. Thank you for posting this!! So many petites have this issue and don't how to fix it! I learned this the hard way unfortunately =( DRESSING the part and wearing the make-up goes a loooong way. First time I DIDN't get mistaken for a 12-year-old I was surprised lol

    For me I try to buy timeless, classic pieces, trendy stuff looks teenage.

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  45. OMG- what a difference a few tweaks with clothes and makeup does! I love seeing the difference- good job!

    I always had this issue with my business- always striving to look older so a nice fitted suit always goes a long ways for me :)

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  46. Janice, my 2 cents as a law student: I really don't agree with the idea of ditching the backpack to look more put together. You REALLY don't want to compromise the health of your back; law books are really heavy. Unless you plan to do all your readings at school and never take your books home, you need the support! Everyone at law school knows that law books are heavy. It's better to look like a student during student hours than someone with unprofessional, bad posture during networking events.

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  47. @Janice & Pauline: A few years ago, I saw a bunch of high school kids who went to school with rolling SUITCASES. This was circa 2003 though...

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  48. This is such a great post. I liked your comparison charts. And those H&M shorts are super cute! I've been looking for a longer pair similar to those

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  49. Love this. Great tips! I'm almost 29, and some people still think I'm 16. Petite + short + young face = teenager apparently. :)

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  50. The changes do make a huge difference. When I wear hoodies and logo brands, people think I'm 10, but when I'm more 'dressy' everyone assumes i'm older. I'm 17 and 5'0, but dressing up a bit can definitely pass me for 17+.

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  51. This is one of them most awesome, informative posts I've seen! The "curious face" photo is hilarious, hahaha. But you really know how to use make up to simply play up your features instead of changing how you look! And you've definitely mastered the art of dressing well and being casual. You look very comfortable but chic at the same time. Great job girl :D

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  52. this post is amazing! very helpful! and as always, you look gorgeous!

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  53. this was so informative! i'm also 23 and ALWAYS mistaken for a 15 year old whether it be in person or on the phone T_T so sad! i just have that darn baby face! your blog is awesome :)

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  54. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments ... I really enjoyed reading them and had several good laughs.

    Kerry - LOL! That's hilarious and I can totally picture it happening.

    Daisy - nothing compares to sneakers in terms of comfort, but my Cole Haan Nike air flats are the closest I've found. They actually have a slight wedge with support.

    Janice/Pauline - Janice I would say on "lighter load" days to carry a proportional tote. Longchamp works for me but that is too generic for some people's liking. Kate spade makes a lot of totes and I like some of Coach's plain leather ones. I agree with Pauline though, in the sense that nothing beats a backpack for your back. Messenger bags may distribute the weight a little, but nowhere near what a good backpack does! I carry 5+ lbs to work every day in a tote and I'm starting to feel the damage. Some of my coworkers do use rolly bags like Cynthia mentioned ... but I'm sure you don't want to go that route.

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  55. What a fantastic post! I get mistaken for 16 and under a LOT. The most recent story that comes to mind is when a flight attendant mistook me for an unaccompanied minor. And I was like nope...I'm 24 and married. Needless to say she was super embarrassed :p. I was incredibly amused though :).

    Anyway, I was definitely guilty of dressing like your pics of the left until the beginning of this year. I always rationalized it to myself by saying that I dressed for comfort first but obviously comfort does not need to be lazy :). I've been updating my wardrobe bit and bit and I have to say, just putting a little bit more effort and thought into styling have made SUCH a difference in my look. I don't think I've gotten any questions about my age in a while and I feel great about how I look!

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  56. WOW! what a transformation! this is such a great and helpful post for all the petite women out there (excl. ME of course:P) But I'm really liking your tips because some of them apply to me. I get carded at the liquor store sometime when I wear jeans, a hoodie, and chucks. But seriously, who dresses up just to go to the liquor store? :D:D

    www.monochromachic.com

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  57. ohhhhhhh my goodness your posts get better and better :) the transformations are so amazing! I think you look pretty without makeup too, but I can see how you look much older in the after pictures :) you've mastered the look of classy chic ;)

    and who is your photographer?! all your pictures come out greatttt

    <3jimin

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  58. One of my favorite posts so far! This couldnt have come at a better time. I'm in the process of updating my wardrobe and this is a big help.

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  59. hahah I totally used to dress like that in uni! The before and after shots are SO dramatic!! You gave some really great advice here.

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  60. @Kristy: I wear my "normal" clothes to the liquor store, which usually consists of jeans, a cami, cardigan and wedges. I don't think I've been carded there since I was 25. Hoodies and jeans just cry "university student" to staff while cardis and jeans are more grown up.

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  61. This post is so timely for me! Last week, I was carded buying wine to cook with. I am in my mid-20s, but the man at the checkout said "I'm sorry, I just don't believe you" after I presented my ID. This week, I was outside wearing a hoodie and reading a book while my son was playing, and someone said "Babysitting, huh?"

    I really appreciate that this post is focused on casual wear. I have nailed looking my age at work, but these tips are just what I need to look more mature in my free time!

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  62. This post was amazing!

    I wasn't a reader when you did the five minute face video, but I just checked it out and I really love it.. I know you said you aren't a makeup expert or whatever, (I watch Michelle Phan and Holly Ann-Aeree, and a ton of others) but seeing how you did your face was SO helpful. Their looks are really nice, but too much for me. Minimal is best for every day. Thanks PAG! =]

    And my parents and your parents would probably totally get along haha.

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  63. Holy moly! 62 comments!

    This is one of my favorite blog posts EVER! My husband has a baby face, so together we look like a happy junior high couple. XD I showed him this post and told him I want to raid your closet. LOL! You seriously have the best taste! I don't own anything but my (old) corporate clothes, scrubs, and sweats. When I run errands, I'm always in hoodies, gym pants, and Nikes. I need a new wardrobe, STAT!

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  64. can you please do more posts like this?

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  65. A little late responding, but thanks for the backpack comments! I will likely go that route, but might mix it up w/ a tote from time to time.

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  66. Wow, that's a BIG difference :)
    Love it.

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  67. Wish I had similar advice for men. We don't have the benefit of makeup, and I can't grow facial hair that doesn't make me look like a dirty 14 year old even though I'm 23.

    It really hurts my self confidence when people express shock when they find out my age. It's rude and demoralizing :-(

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    Replies
    1. I know this is a 4 year late reply, but by hubby (South Asian) always sports a beard, and still gets carded--he just turned 40!

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  68. Randomly found your blog, love it! I am definitely guilty of the child style sometimes, it's just so easy to throw that on and go to class (and speed walk around campus)!

    Since summer break started I've been doing some shopping to change my style. I threw on a tee under a blazer, skinny jeans and flats...STILL got a shocked look when I said I was 20 D:

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  69. I'm late, but I love love love this post and your humour! I am also an Asian grad student. I always dress up in a professional style to teach, which my fellow grad students make fun of me for doing, and even so I get asked by my undergrads, "Are you a junior or a senior?" And "What's your major?"

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  70. This is brilliant. Thank you for posting this! I didn't even realize that the "before" and "after" shots were the same person at first. Like everyone else on here, I'm tiny with a baby face. I get so sick of people saying "Oh, you'll be glad to look younger when you're 50!" I know they mean well, but it strikes me as sexist-- like for a woman it's more important to look young than to be taken seriously? Argh.

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  71. LOL omg wow! I LOVE this post! Sadly though I still get carded as a 13 year old even with makeup on. *sigh* Oh well, look to the future right? :P

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  72. Love this post! I am 27. I notice I'm more likely to get carded at the liquor store/restaurants when wearing jeans than my nice work clothes. However, I work in a school district - and last year when I went in to the high school, the main office secretary asked me if I needed a pass to class. (Um, no, I work here).

    When I was 21, and working as a counselor with 12-18 year olds at a shelter. One of the 15 year old girls staying there did not realize I worked there and asked me which room I was staying in! I'm pretty sure that was the moment I decided I would wear heels and get dressed up for work.

    I'm told I will appreciate this when I'm older.

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  73. Great post! Looove your style!

    I always try to look older during work so that my clients will not look down on me, which I was able to achieved by putting on simple makeup (eyeliner + concealer + blusher) and dress professionally/modern.

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  74. great post! as a very petite med student i find myself feeling the same way. i can definitely waver between those two looks depending on the day! i'd say going for "neater" in general always helps with the age thing. you do such a great job looking mature without looking frumpy.

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  75. thank you!!! This is one of the best things I've found online about dressing "older." I'm 5'2", 100lb, and I'm so sick of being talked to as if I just went jump rope in the park. I've been getting a little more of a clue on how to dress more sophisticated, but this really helped me hone in on some details I was missing!

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  76. More posts like this! I'm a 20yo Asian who is dating an older man. I don't have his expensive lifestyle budget, but I make due with what I have. :) He thinks I'm cute, but I want to be beautiful and sexy. Please help! I will forever be carded and treated like a little girl...

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  77. This post is a must-see for any college grads navigating the weekend social scene or even summertime happy hour scene. (petite or not!)

    I think a few hipster or menswear-inspired outfits can also lend maturity and sophistication to a weekend warrior.

    Pairing a well-constructed, fitted blazer or thin sweater with well-tailored fitted jeans, cords, or slacks can amp up the maturity factor of an outfit.

    Investing in a big girl purse--something structured and almost luggage-like, rather than cutesy and slouchy suggests a put-together and older woman.

    Like other readers, I need to wear sneakers or flats due to a foot arch issue. Wearing fitted straight-leg or wide-leg work slacks or trousers with a fitted monochrome tee or acceptably adult-ish graphic tee works well with muted low-soled sneakers, flats, or ankle boots.

    I recently swapped my chunky New Balances for a retro-looking, unobtrusive sleek pair of Pumas, and the maturity factor of my weekend outfits (as well as the coolness factor) went through the roof! Now I def look my age when I'm roaming the city or trolling the Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

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  78. Holy crap... So THAT'S why I got charged a child's fare on the city bus... Hahhahaha. This is amazing!! Saving this. Thanks sooo much!!!

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  79. This is such a great post! I am 26, 5 feet and am often assumed to be a teenager. I mean, at times it is flattering, but it also can get very annoying. I was at work a few years back, dressed up too (although I do not wear makeup or do my hair much) and was asked if I was there with my mom!
    You look great in the before and afters too.

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  80. just found your blog and you're absolutely hilarious. i totally relate! I'm a 23 year old petite graduate student and even when I try to look older I get these quips about my age all the time. Thanks for the tips!

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  81. Wow!You look so different in the "before" and "after" pics.I really enjoyed this post. And welcome to visit true religion uk!It may give you a surprise!

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  82. I like your blog.welcome to my home page!Looking forward to your visiting.

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  83. I came across your blog while looking for extra extra small blazers. I love your blog... it touches on all the fashion issues that frustrate me. :p I'm Asian, 26, 4'11", and weigh 85 pounds. I often get mistaken for a 13 year old (and will often be able to fit into a 13 year old's clothes so I'm left with shirts and other simple tops). I find it very hard to find "mature" clothes in my size and I hate buying expensive clothes that don't fit me and risk having them altered wrong. What are your top shops for extra extra small clothes that are very affordable so I can build up my wardrobe? :)

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  84. This is a great post but I'm going to have to disagree that flared jeans make you look younger. Flared jeans with SNEAKERS make you look yuong, but with a pair of heels or wedgess, it makes all the difference.

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  85. How would you achieve the oversized sweater look without it being too frumpy or overwhelming on the petite frame?

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  86. Hello, could you give some tips for someone who is short and pudgy frame?

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  87. LOVED IT I´m almost 25 but look around 19 or 20 and I´m bit tired of been talked to like a kid by people my own age. Do you have any advices for curly hair?? I wear it long and don´t really wanna cut it, so it would be great if you could recommend a fancy long hairstyle. I am quite short and thin but not really skinny

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  88. Whoohoohoohoo! I stumbled on this post & your keen fashion sense hit a bullseye on my habits of "s'habiller." The first picture especially is token of my default look (New Balance shoes, flared pants, bare face, sweatshirt or outdoor performance outerwear, and a t-shirt). You even have the phantom backpack hunch!

    I'm a 23 year old, a wee under 1.5m, Asian woman with a gymnast body who gets marked as 12 year old by my younger sister's college friends. I intern/ fellow at environmental non- profits which means that sometimes my fashion for the field dips even below your sample.

    Since my senior year in college (less lab time + a very caring, yet fashion conscious roommate), I've been slowly transitioning from slob to looking more put- together. My mom, sister, and aunts have all given me the talk of polishing my appearance. Finally, I started to absorb the value of their interventions-- taking care of your outward appearance is partially indicative of overall, healthy self- esteem.

    Believe me, I've made progress. I don't wear billowy t-shirts from high school sports paired with basketball shorts over- sized cotton spandex (which can be interchanged with baggy khakis from Gap Kids (Boys section)). At least now, I ditched the basketball shorts over faded stretched out spandex combo. When I'm not outside, I've incorporated bright, earthy- feminine pieces into things I can throw on after I roll out of bed.

    Still resisting the march towards looking grown- up and professional though.

    PS. I'm from the Boston area too!

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  89. Loved your post. I'm pretty short myself, only 4'9" with a tiny frame. I cannot go out without heels, don't wear shorts even on hot summer days :(

    Will definitely look at the stores you've mentioned for good professional outfits.

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  90. What size are you? I often find it hard to find my size (1-3) in adult, mature clothes like this.

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  91. Wow! Really helpful! Thanks a lot!

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  92. Hi! I LOVE this post!!! I am mixed race, with a young looking face and I am also petite, 5'3' and 110lbs - I definitely find I have to put more effort into my casual clothes so I don't end up looking like a child. I am so envious of my girlfriends who can throw on jean shorts, t-shirts and flip flops and look awesome and their own age. And while I love heels, they just aren't always practical. So, great post! Thanks!

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  93. YES, YES, YES, YES!! Thank you! I'm 4'10 and have basically no curves, so this is a life saver! :)

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  94. AWESOME! I'm also petite and an Asian. I would definitely come back here to learn more tips from you.:)

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  95. I'll keep this in mind when i have money to shop for clothes
    I'm also petite and look 5 years younger
    I'm happy I've found your blog I'll make sure to come back to read more tips from you

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  96. thank you so much for introducing me to the world of petite blogging! i can relate being a little under 5 ft myself (my drives license says 5'1 though ;-) and always being told i look like im 12/14 at my 22 yrs of age. these tips are really helpful to avoid future misconceptions!

    fashionfirecracker.blogspot.com

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  97. Hi there, do you mind doing a post on how you did your hairdo in these photos?
    I currently sport the flat ponytail in your "before" pictures. :( 23 and people think I'm 15. :\

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  98. I recently stumbled across your blog and I'm hooked on catching up on all your posts! When I wear the wrong clothes, people often think I'm 15. I am a college-grad working in my first professional full-time job (which I love) and it can be hard to find professional clothes that flatter my tiny frame. Thanks for being an inspiration to the petite women out there!

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  99. Love it! What about colder season older look? Will coat add more charm? Or it is possible to wear sport coat as well? Thanks =)
    PS: would love have more examples =)

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  100. i love this... its so helpful... next time I go shopping I will keep this in mind. I may blog about my attempts to look older. What i'm getting from this is that it starts from hair and makeup. I never knew light washed jeans looked childish.

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  101. How do you look older when its cold out? I live in indiana, you can't dress like that all of the time.

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  102. LOVED this post! Always end up getting asked 'what grade are you in now?'
    this definitely helped :)

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  103. awesome post and inspiration! I'm a bit older than you and always have to do the opposite! Trying to dress more age-appropriate, (rather than shop in the same stores as my teenager nieces haha)

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  104. Oh. my. Gawd. My parents have the same motto. So frustrating to me!!

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  105. great! we really saw the difference!

    http://blowarainbow.blogspot.com/

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  106. Looking younger than you actually are can be nice -- but there is such thing as looking TOO young! It's hard to be taken seriously when you look like you're 13. I'm always seeing things on the internet and in magazines that tell you how you can look younger -- and I'm like, if I look any younger, I'll look like I'm 8. Thanks, but no thanks.

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  107. really good suggestions!! I am a Cantonese girl that just fit the situation you proposed. It is important for me to look more mature. Thanks so much!!

    susanlyt

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  108. this is a great post! thanks jean!

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  109. this post made me realize how much i have to step up my casual clothes game, lol. i don't have a problem with looking too young but i definitely do feel sloppy at times.

    Love this post.

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  110. So cool! Ive been looking for something like this but not totally to look "older" lol. Anyway, I really love this post :) very useful thanks much :)

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  111. So great and cool, your looking is really gorgeous and you are deserve for it while look like very inspiration. click here and i love this post.

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  112. You look absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the great advice...I work as a teacher and am Asian so it's nice to have some advice so I don't not to look like one of them lol!!!

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  113. Hi, I love your blog. I'm 4ft 8in, and not Asian, but I am short and petite, and wear size 5 shoes. I'm 47 years old now, but the advice still applies. If I'm not careful, I can still look like I am thirteen, though my face isn't as smooth anymore. I'm wondering if you would do a post on finding small shoes. Shoe shopping has left me crying in the store. My "old" feet can't wear heels anymore, but I'm not ready for "grandma" shoes. I'd love it if you'd add some companies that have size 5 shoes available.

    And thanks! When I was younger I was looking all over for a site like yours, and you weren't old enough yet to have it up and running, and I wasn't brave enough to start my own sites. (Blogs didn't exist yet.)
    Barbara

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  114. Hello! Your tips are very good, but my problem is a bit different. As in I often get mistaken to be a middle schooler, when I'm a university student. Just this past Thursday, at a Thanksgiving dinner, an older lady thought I was about 12 or 13 years old. And I was wearing salmon colored skinny jeans, a black top with tiny flowers and dots printed on it, with two slits on both sides of the shirt going up a few inches (though showing no skin from underneath). My hair was half down and half up, held together by a black claw hair clip. I had on dark brown Ugg slip-ons. I was also wearing small rose earrings, a silver necklace, and a silver Anne Klein watch. I am 5' 4".

    So I think the problem for me is my face, but I would really rather not put make-up on, as I find it terribly time-consuming, and a money eater. Is make-up really the only other option I have left though?

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  115. Hello! So i really wish there were more post like this. I am a 22 year old african-american girl and I will be graduating college soon. I am about 5 feet tall and 105 pounds. A while ago I was at church and we eat food after church and this random old man kept trying to give me more food telling me i needed to "eat so i will grow" and I found that extremely rude. That was a tangent that I felt like mentioning because I am annoyed about it but anyway... I need more tips on dressing older because wen doing job interviews and things i want to make a good first impression. I really wish you could come and shop with me and help me buy things lol. I also shop in jr's clothing alot but i feel like i shouldn't because i graduate next week lol.

    Also even when i dress up, i still think i look young.

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  116. Thank you so much for posting this! Although I am not 90 pounds, I am about 5 feet as well. As a 24 year old professional, it gets really annoying when you're the only one in your group of friends to get carded. I think I do a good job at my makeup, but maybe I'll watch some Youtube videos to make sure :)

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  117. Pictures are worth thousands of words. I'm 4' 11", 133 pounds -and 59. My daily 'uniform' is often hoodie, jeans, a solid color tee and sneakers. I want to dress more appropriately & with a personal style, but standing in a store faced with racks of clothes that aren't going to fit without tailoring has always been overwhelming. Your blog is giving me the tools to see the best choices for me out of all the possibilities and this well-thought-out post is particularly helpful. Thank you so very much.

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  118. "What could look acceptable on a normal sized woman, though, is devastatingly childish on a tiny petite."

    Beautifully said! My taller friends just don't understand why I dress like I'm in my late 20's. They don't know he embarrassment of being confused with a 15 year old, or the rage in being undermined for percieved lack of experience.

    This post was brilliant.

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  119. this is so helpful i'm part Asian but very little and it affects me a lot. i have slightly hooded eyes very petite baby face.nothing fits me and people mistake me the youngest 10 and 18 on a good day. i work at a law firm and on causal Friday this one lady thought i was a lil kid she was like what are u doing here you work here ? its a total insult.
    i love my style i see people my age wearing the latest trends and when i wear them i look like a 14 year old.

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  120. I can so relate to this!
    I'm 5'1 and 105lbs at 22 years old. Needless to say to people think I'm around 15-18 too.
    I find that wearing makeup really does make you look older. And also as a petite girl, I always wear wedges/heels. They give me a boost of confidence and they make me look older.
    Another tip is to stick with basic colors and designs. I live in NYC so I stick with the whites, greys, blacks, khaki colors. It does make me blend in more.

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  121. Your post rocks! I really like the effort you take to answer the questions, complete with before/after photos and lists of do's and don't's. You are the best!

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  122. Hello! I am so blessed to have found your blog. I am 5'0'' and wear a size 0. I am also in graduate school in the sciences. It can be difficult to be taken seriously when you are a petite female. ;) This blog has been such a help.
    My parents also wonder why I spend so much time and money on fashion, but it can be difficult to feel confident when you look young or sloppy.
    I've usually throw on a suit jacket over any outfit to make me look older. Also, wearing heels helps. Although I can't always wear heels on campus because of all the walking.
    I usually look about 16, but in heels people guess me age more around 18 or 19, which is an improvement. (I am 24).
    I love your blg and will be following along.

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  123. LOL
    I absolutely love this! And being Asian and having a similarly young face when I was at Grad school...I can definitely identify with this post! I had a good laugh and learned some useful tips, thanks ;)!!

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  124. So helpful!! I'm neither short nor petite, but I've been told since highschool that I have a sweet "baby-face".

    Now as a mid-twenties adult I'm striving to be taken seriously and respected in a male dominated work place. I chopped off my hair recently, so now it's super short. I think I like it.

    Your advice and striking examples are tremendously helpful and applicable to everyone. I hope this article is featured on a major fashion site for the rest of us.

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  125. Loving your blog - follow it daily/weekly. I'm 5'2", 105 lb and am 47. But I'm constantly being compared to a 12 year old. I know how it feels. Good job.

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  126. You're hilarious! This my first time visiting your blog, and I'm really enjoying your sense of humor!

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  127. This was exactly the same learning curve I went through! Except at 26 and working as a doctor, you get pretty tired when patients ask if I am 18, and their kids ask if I am 15! Have you got any advice on what to wear for a date/ evening dress? I am South Asian (Indian) at 5'1, skinny, flat-ish chest and long black hair. Also any tips for the hair style? Below shoulder length?

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  128. Its a unique post and also reverse of today's fashion. Each and every body always search the ways of look young and you suggestion is the contrary of such.

    buy status quo t shirts

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  129. Definitely bookmarking this! I swear countless of times I have been asked for ID etc because I'm 5" and have a baby face lol hope I can put these tips to good use!

    http://melbmissmisc.blogspot.com.au/

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  130. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  131. This is genius! Sometimes it's hard to see the effect certain pieces have until someone really points it out. Although I am not as petite as the poster who asked the original question (I'm 5'3") I do find that certain things make me look like a teenager again, especially as I generally use minimal make up and only wear heels on special occasions! Thank you so much! Your entire blog is wonderful!

    See my own clothes alterations at http://andhavingwritmoveson.blogspot.fr

    I'm only just starting out so tips are welcome :)

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  132. Shorts are the perfect summer staple, but not all styles flatter all figures. Selecting the perfect pair depends a lot on your height, your assets and any problem areas you wish to downplay and the given material for women fulfills all my mentioned features.
    http://www.apparelnbags.com/athleticwear-athletic-shorts.htm

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  133. it's such an old post, and I regret I haven't come across it earlier. these tips are so helpful, but sometimes one wants to wear sneakers ;) and i I just lol'ed at your "ready to jump rope" picture, thank you

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  134. Love this post Jean, great work as always

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  135. I like the before/after comparisons.

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  136. As someone with this EXACT problem, who doesn't wear makeup, and is reluctant about the idea of incorporating something I dislike into my daily routine...this post is incredibly depressing to me.

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  137. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! As a 5'0" 100 lb female graduate engineering student who works in a laboratory setting with only men, I encounter this problem daily! I can't wear heels or dress up everyday without being mocked for the sound my heels make or being gawked at for looking totally out of place. I've been looking for advice on this for years.. I can't wait to try out your suggestions! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. That's awful Kristin... :( Don't let a group of misogynistic jerks make you feel silly or wrong for wearing exactly what you want to wear and being as fabulous as you want! Just because they can't imagine that a woman can be smart and sexy or feel intimidated by it, they think they can mock you and make you feel ashamed and force you to dress in a way that makes them comfortable. I think that's just freaking wrong. Stand up for yourself and be proud of your femininity and your brains!

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  138. Love this post! I am about your size and 26 years old. I'm a pharmacist and my patients are alllllways telling me I look 16. It's been this way my entire life. I love your ideas here and am going to try to find a way to incorporate into my work clothes.

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  139. OMG. You are hilarious!!! The sentence about your parents and the time wasted on makeup vs studying --- brilliant, and true for me too. Great blog.

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  140. Great post and great site!

    I am also a small framed little lady with asian ancestry, and as such I am so inspired by the magic you work with your style!

    I am getting to that crossroads with my wardrobe where I want to look more mature and put together. I’m a musician, so for years and years my style has consisted of stretch jeans, or mini skirt, (altered/fitted) band shirts, and a hoodie. But now that I’ve crossed the threshold of 30, I feel comfortable with it being time for me to retire my punk mini skirts and move on to a more sophisticated pencil skirt. I can still look edgy while stepping up the class, right?

    Your tips in this post are so great to keep in mind for that kind of style transition. It is all in the details! A little bit of makeup, careful attention to hair, and subtle changes in clothing choices (hoodie to cardigan/blazer), really makes all the difference. It’s also amazing how getting the right fit can take an outfit from frumpy to fabulous. I’m guilty of wearing things that just don’t fit right and my husband (lovingly) tells me I look like a hobo. It is just so hard to find clothes off the rack that fit my narrow shoulders and small frame without shopping in the kids/juniors section, and I’m too old for that. Although I do enjoy browsing Plato’s closet…

    Again, you’re lovely and inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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  141. This post is perfect for me! I just graduated college and am currently looking for a job and looking old and professional has definitely been a challenge. I feel like people don't take me as seriously. I have a question..I'm 4'11" feet, 90lbs and I am really self conscious about my calves…they are 12" which is fine on tall person, but being so short they are gross! And because of it I have shyed away from tall heels..do you have any suggestions on what kind of shoe or other ways to make your calves look slimmer? Esp during the summer time when I wear more shorts and skirts and can't hide them in my jeans!


    Thanks and great blog!

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  142. Very nice post and also very helpfull.

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