When people I’m meeting for the first time learn that I am 31, they are usually shocked or comment on how young I look. Mostly, they assume that I’m in my mid to late 20’s, which is quite flattering. However, I was recently at my younger cousin’s bachelorette party, surrounded by girls in their early 20’s, and one of them thought I was nineteen. My old ass was mistaken for a teenager! I could have taken that as an awesome compliment to my apparent slow aging, but instead, it made me entirely self-conscious. Why would a 24-year-old believe me to be five years younger than her? Were my jean shorts and tank top too skanky for my age? Does my quiet, reserved personality reflect that of a child? I have not been able to stop thinking about this, and since then, if anyone comments on how young I look, I immediately become embarrassed.
My friend, Kate, had a similar experience recently. While working in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom, a student told her that she looked more like a sister than a mom. She jokingly pondered whether or not she should update her “mom” wardrobe. This sparked a conversation between us, where she enlightened me to the fact that some women cut their hair short for the sole purpose of becoming a mom. That just boggles my mind! The “mom haircut” is no secret, but I had always assumed it was a style that trended amongst the women of our parents’ generation as they aged. I never thought of it as a purposeful style trend today. Sometimes I like my naturally wavy hair long and flowing, and sometimes I like it in an above-the-shoulder bob that I blow dry straight, but I’ve never decided my hair’s length or style due to any outside factors. I’ve always gone with what makes me feel cute and confident at the time.
Ever since I was told that I looked nineteen, I have begun to evaluate my attire. As I’ve mentioned, I like my clothes to be comfortable and sensible. This means that my go-to outfit is jean shorts and a cotton tank top during the summer and jeans with a sweater/long sleeved cotton shirt during the winter. While I admit, my shorts’ hemlines are pretty high and close to the crotch area, I can assure you that my butt is entirely covered, and I don’t believe anyone is thinking that they are inappropriately short. (or maybe they are, and I’m kidding myself like those 40-year-old “Forever 21’s” you see at the bar) The length and tight fit of my shorts does give me reason to pause sometimes. I am 31 years old, you know. Is it time to transition to shorts that run halfway down my thigh and hang loosely off my hips?
Basically, here’s what I really want to know: Is there an age appropriate look I should be going for, and if so, when is it time to update my clothing? Or is there really a time that one has to change their look? I don’t want to be one of those older women dressing like they’re 19, but I also don’t want to lose the sense of being me. It’s probably not necessary to start integrating blazers into my attire just yet, but all those, “You look so young!” comments are really getting to me. If you have any thoughts or feelings regarding this topic, please feel free to share them!