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Balancing style with maturity
Dressing appropriately for your age – what exactly does that mean? In this guide, we’re going to explore how to dress appropriately for your age–and more importantly, for how you want to be perceived
If you're past the age where your mom picks out your clothes, you finally have the chance to shape your own style and wardrobe. You can get away with pretty much any look at this age, but if perception matters to you, now is the best time to start building a wardrobe that works for you, rather than against you. You may not see the point of dressing up, but if being taken seriously is important to you at this age, consider doing it more.
At this age, you can take advantage of your youthful appearance to experiment. On the other hand, you want to be taken seriously as a newly-minted adult. Unless you're going to a job interview, or a wedding you don't need to throw on a jacket and tie. Instead, here are some tips to successfully mixing youth with maturity-boosting style.
♦ Experiment: At this stage in your life, you can take bigger risks while looking for a style that really resonates with you.
♦ Start having your clothes altered: Your body shape will likely change in the future, but now if the time to start learning about fit. Almost any garment can be improved with alterations. To learn more, check out our alterations guide here.
♦ Start learning to put your own style preferences first: Regardless of the look you like, now you are an adult you should learn to dress for your own purposes rather than for other people's, including your family and friends. Unless you're not adhering to basic rules of decency and etiquette, don't let mean-spirited comments about your style change what you wear.
♦ Keep your pants well-fitting, modern, and simple: Chinos, dark wash denim, and cords will make you look mature but still youthful. Avoid fit extremes such as super-tight pants and excessively baggy tops, which will make you look insecure. Experiment and learn what cuts, colors, and fits flatter you the best.
♦ Button down shirts are your friend: Particularly in checks, plaids, and stripes, which are youthful patterns that will help balance out the more mature silhouette of a button down. Tuck it in for a more mature look or leave it untucked.
♦ Skip the rips, tears, paint splatters and acid washes: If you like those kind of details, our style probably isn't for you, and they will make you look younger than you are.
♦ Buy your first watch: Nowadays, watches are fun accessories rather than necessities, but they will make a youthful appearance look more mature in an instant. Check out Timex, Fossil or Nixon, but make sure to keep the case size proportional to your wrist. We recommend 42mm and under, and smaller if you have thin wrists. If you want to wear something more youthful, consider a chronograph or sports watch, even if you'll never use it.