35 Clothing Choices That Are Making You Look Older
Thinking of tying a silk scarf around your neck? Think again.
Whether you’re 25 or 55, your clothing is an essential part of your look, especially when it comes to determining your age. Sure, glowing skin and luscious locks and a flawless physique can indicate you’re in a certain, enviable age range. But an ill-fitting blazer or an outdated pair of “mom” or “dad” jeans can instantly date you—and, in many cases, it’ll do so unfavorably and incorrectly.
Yes, if you’re of the mind to either look younger or just actually look your age, streamlining your wardrobe should be step number one. Here, to offer an editor’s eye of what to curate and what to outright cut, are all the clothing choices you’re inadvertently making that are instantly tacking years onto your age. Get your Marie Kondo on, friend.
You’re wearing shapeless blazers.
Streamlining your figure isn’t doing you any favors—and yes, this includes those oversized blazers that you love so much. More than anything, those formless blazers leave you with no silhouette—with no way to show off that body that you’ve worked so hard to maintain over the years. So, instead of reaching for your beloved blazer, turn to a more fitted blazer with colorful accents.
You don’t tailor your clothes.
It’s a fact of all clothing: professionally altered digs look better than unaltered ones, always, no matter how vaunted the sartorial pedigree. In other words, yes, a tailored $300 Men’s Warehouse suit will look infinitely better than a fresh-off-the-rack Hugo Boss one. Now, a high-quality, bespoke tailor can of course get expensive. But, for simple alterations—to, say, get your shirts darted or jackets taken in—the in-house one at your local dry cleaner will do the trick. It depends on your city and even neighborhood, but alterations like that shouldn’t run more than $20 to $35 a piece.
You wear the same clothes repeatedly.
It happens to everyone: you fall into a dreaded sartorial rut. To stay excited about your wardrobe, keep in the habit of alternating out the staples with the hidden gems in your closet. Just one statement item a day should do the trick. And, if you’re willing to invest in a wardrobe that makes you feel great, purchasing clothing on a regular basis will boost your confidence as well as your wardrobe.
You wear drugstore readers.
While, yes, with age comes the burden of weakened eyesight, it doesn’t also have to come with ugly drugstore readers. If you’re truly looking to purchase readers, steer clear of skinny, cheap frames, and opt for bigger, more bold frames to highlight your face.
You dress too revealingly.
Though you should still take pride in your figure, showing it off through sexy clothing will only make you look like you’re trying too hard to find a younger version of yourself. Instead of celebrating your body through a series of crop tops and tight dresses, find clothing that complements your features in more appropriate and adult-worthy ways.
You only wear black.
Attention all city dwellers: your city’s dress code might seem to warrant a wardrobe of black from head to toe, but doesn’t mean that you need to follow suit. Have fun. Infuse some color—or even some grayscale patterns—into your daily getup.
You wear retro clothing without a modern twist.
If you’re of the older set, attempting to wear the same clothes that you did back in the day is only going to immediately age you. But if you’re a fashion-forward younger person looking to hark back to the days of your, simply shopping at the bargain bin of your local thrift is a huge no-no. To nail the retro look, you’ll need not retro clothes but retro-inspired clothes. Otherwise, it just looks like you’re playing dress-up.
Your skirts are too long.
No matter your age, you should have the right to flaunt your legs proudly in a colorful skirt. Or a solid-black one. Your call. No need to wear something that goes inches past the knee.
Your bra doesn’t fit.
If you’ve come this far and you’re still wearing the wrong bra size, then you’ve missed out on decades of comfort and support. Not only that but finding the right bra size can be transformative for your wardrobe, which will finally be perfectly suited for your figure.
Your jeans have too much stretch.
While wearing super-tight skinny jeans isn’t always the most age-appropriate staple to keep in your wardrobe, the opposite option, baggy, loose jeans, can prove to be even more devastating to your figure. Opting for form-fitting jeans will keep your look fresh and streamlined.
You wear jersey fabric.
Wearing jersey fabric—the kind of draping fabric made out of wool, cotton, and synthetic fabrics—has the ability to accentuate every curve and inch of your body that you may not want to enhance.
You wear turtlenecks.
Even if you’re feeling the need to stay warm during the colder months, a turtleneck only tells the rest of the world that you’re attempting to use the extra inches of fabric to hide something. Not only that, but the turtleneck streamlines your look, creating a straight line from your head to your toes.
You avoid wearing shapewear.
Along the same lines, it seems that you’ve been avoiding wearing any kind of clothing that forms to your figure. To avoid this, give your figure a rebirth of sorts by wearing shapewear like Spanx, that can essentially smooth over the lines of age and time, allowing a clean figure to show through anything you wear.
You wear chunky heels.
Unless you’re attending a black-tie event, wearing chunky heels will only make you look like you’re attempting to turn back the clock. Not only that, but this can make the bottom half of your body look heavier. For occasions that require a heel, it’s best to stick to those with a point to keep your look proportional.
You tie a silk scarf around your neck.
Especially if wrinkles and lines have already made their way to your neck, a scarf tied around your neck will only draw attention to these imperfections. And, as we’ve already discussed, will work against streamlining your figure, making your top-half look heavier.
You’re wearing the wrong size.
Whether you’ve been the same size for the past twenty years or you’ve recently received some unexpected numbers on the scale, working to find the correct size for your frame is incredibly important. Wearing ill-fitting clothing will only make you look frumpy, and therefore, age your look.
You don’t wear belts.
Even if your pants or jeans don’t require the addition of a belt, adding a stylish belt will draw attention to your waist and add shape to your outfit. In fact, for the days you feel daring enough to slip on a maxi dress or miniskirt, a belt can have the same effect.
You wear the wrong silhouette.
Every body is built differently, making it essential for you to find the clothing that complements your figure. For example, if your body is more pear-shaped (meaning heavier on the bottom), then you should work to slim the bottom half of your body by wearing slimmer pants in darker shades.
You wear the wrong colors.
Similar to an understanding of the clothing choices that complement your body shape, it’s essential to know which colors can brighten your complexion. To find out what colors you look best in, following guides, like this one, created by the experts at InStyle, will help you accentuate your natural skin tone.
You wear pearls.
Regardless of whether or not you’re hosting multiple dinner parties a week, you should avoid dressing like a Stepford wive, as one pearl necklace has the ability to age you significantly. Instead, opt for chic silver accessories that prove to be timeless.
You wear clothes with glitter.
This should go without saying, but wearing any article of clothing made of glitter is only going to give the impression to others that you’re attempting to dress younger and sexier. This desperation to access your younger self is sure to age you more than you may realize. In short: steer clear of glitter at all costs.
You wear large prints.
Unfortunately, loud, large prints should be reserved for a younger generation who can pull of this look. As an older adult, wearing these large prints can overwhelm your figure and draw attention to the part of your body where they reside. However, if you still feel the need to bust out those floral leggings, then tone down the look by pairing the leggings with a neutral color like white or black.
You wear store-brand logos.
Wearing brand logos that are usually associated with teens, like Hollister and Abercrombie, will only make it appear as though you are trying to access your younger self. As a rule of thumb, while it’s perfectly acceptable to wear clothing from teen brands, you’ve crossed a line when you proudly display a brand’s logo on any of your clothing.
You don’t dress proportionately.
Failing to dress proportionately can draw attention to parts of your body that you didn’t intend to showcase. In order to dress more proportionately (and age-appropriate), follow this rule: when wearing a flowy top, opt for a more skinny silhouette on the bottom half of your body—and go for the opposite effect as well when wearing a more constricting top.
You wear the wrong underwear.
Just like wearing the wrong bra size will only misrepresent your body’s proportions, refusing to wear underwear that fit or correspond to the outfit you’re wearing (like black underwear with a semi-sheer dress) will only age you. Even worse, wearing “granny panties” or worn briefs will do you no favors once the clothes come off.
You wear tweed.
Even if you’re attempting to pull off the professor look, wearing tweed is never a great idea for those under the age of, oh, 80 (especially if it’s equipped with elbow patches). Not only that, but the fabric can add inches to your figure, making you appear heavier than you truly are. So, rather than slip on a tweed suit, opt for a linen-blend or 120s-wool pick that slims and streamlines your appearance.
You wear cardigans.
Along the same lines as tweed, throwing on a cardigan to finish your look can instantly age you, as it’s normally an article of outerwear designated for older men and women. So, to avoid adding another decade to your appearance, opt instead for a nice denim jacket or a fitted blazer.
You only wear sensible shoes.
No other accessory adds more years to look than sensible shoes. And, while flats can be a useful pair of shoes to keep around, add more dimension to your outfit by opting for stylish boots, heels, and loafers.
You wear “mom” or “dad” jeans.
While these retro jeans may be in favor with a more younger crowd, they only make it look like you pulled these jeans from the darkest corners of your closet (which you might have, right?). For women, if you’re craving a high waisted look, opt instead for slim-fitting jeans that hit somewhere in between your belly button and hips. For men, on the other hand, steer clear of baggy dad jeans that can make you lose your shape entirely.
You constantly wear socks and sneakers.
While the occasion day clad in socks and sneakers is perfectly acceptable, pairing this combination with nearly every article of clothing in your wardrobe is definitely a fashion faux-pas. Even worse, pairing your sneakers with tall socks makes you look childish and well out of your age-appropriate fashion repertoire.
You wear too many accessories.
While wearing a few staple accessories can be a chic complement to any outfit, piling on multiple (and different kinds of) accessories can make your look seem unorganized. In fact, this accessory obsession is sure to instantly age you, since the cluttered look only works to hide your figure.
You wear floral prints.
Even though floral prints can prove to be chic in moderation, in excess, they only make others think that you’re trying to access a younger version of yourself—one that would have gladly worn large floral prints from head to toe. When the chance to rock a floral pattern seems too good to pass up, simply keep the pattern in check by adding outwear or other accessories in complementing colors.
You wear boot cut jeans.
Repeat after me: boot cut jeans are never a good idea. The shape of these jeans only work to make your frame appear more short and squat—two things that will only work against you in your older age. Instead, sticking to slim-fitting denim in cooler colors will work to slim your figure and keep eyes away from your legs and focused on to other parts of your body that you want to showcase.
You wear cargo shorts.
No matter how old you are (or how much you love the idea of pocket storage), wearing cargo shorts breaks every fashion rule in the book.
You wear square-toed shoes.
Just…no. This is an absolute faux pas, always, all times.