Looking too old? Better too young? Is age discrimination in the workplace really a thing? And how about my own confidence? Many women over 50 feel the pressure of being judged in a blink of an eye just based on their age in the workplace. Here are three important tips that will help you to make an impactful first impression—no matter your age, no matter your size, no matter your gender!
Tip #1: Do not try to look younger
Oftentimes as we age, we try to look younger, sometimes by wearing flashier clothing, following along with every new fashion trend, or even altering our bodies with plastic surgery. These send signals to those around us that we are insecure – about ourselves in our current stage of life. We often turn to these fads in order to hide our anxieties but unfortunately, they only enhance them!
For example, if you are 50 years old and dressing like your 18-year-old daughter, you are not representing yourself well! You will likely come off as insecure and as if you are trying too hard. This effort to latch on to a more youthful persona can be seen by others as immature and ultimately leads to them assuming you are inexperienced or unprofessional.
Don’t get me wrong, you also shouldn’t wear clothes from decades ago (more about this later). Or, in terms of body alterations, plastic surgery is not always negative! For those who make small adjustments in order to increase their confidence, this can be a very helpful tool. However, it should be used to attain BALANCE and should not necessarily be dramatic. It is important to find a balance between what makes you feel assured and looking appropriate for your stage of life.
You do not need to do any procedures or engage in any fads in order to make yourself look younger, simply embrace your age! Once you own your age and can be proud of how you have been able to establish yourself throughout your career, your natural poise will shine through to those around you. THIS is what is memorable—not your age.
Tip #2: Consider what your clothing is saying about you
As mentioned before, I know it is absolutely common to hold onto old clothing that may be of high quality or that we are emotionally attached to. However, this can also be another signal to those around you that you are not investing in yourself on a regular basis! If you are continuously holding onto and wearing these clothes, you may be dating yourself.
The same goes for wearing clothes that do not fit well or are too bulky. Often when we are uncomfortable with our “new body” or are not investing enough time into ourselves, we choose to cover up with baggy and cumbersome clothing. However, in covering up, we are not hiding our age, instead often our flaws and insecurities are amplified!
By simply wearing professional well-fitting clothes, you will not stand out for the wrong reasons. You will be seen as a professional in your field, rather than being seen for what you are wearing.
Tip #3: Don’t try to “hide” your age or insecurities with too much makeup
Makeup can add to your appearance if you use it properly; however, if you are using your makeup to cover-up your signs of age, it will only magnify it! Use of too much concealer, foundation, or powder can accentuate wrinkles and highlight the age spots we are so desperately trying to cover.
Your appearance should grow and evolve as you do, allowing you to move confidently through all stages of your life. I recommend keeping your look as natural as possible to highlight your strong features while adding a polished and professional air to your presence.
And finally, make it a point to take care of yourself! Even if you have spent much of your time taking care of your children, family, and others, it is imperative to also pay attention to your own self-development and how you are showing up for yourself. Invest in your health and appearance.
Maybe this looks like investing in skincare products, treating yourself to a massage, or getting your hair done. Or maybe this means buying some new updated pieces for your professional wardrobe in order to show those around you that by taking care of yourself first, you can better take care of others.
Not only are these going to feel good and rejuvenate you, but they will also send the subtle message of: “I know who I am, and I am proud of what I have achieved”
Regardless of your age, this will be evident during a first impression and show those around you that you have embraced who you are, and your age! It is very common as we age to feel more self-conscious in the workplace; however, it is vital to remember that we are putting more thought into our age than anybody around us is.
By focusing on the things you can control and maintaining a strong physical presence as you age, your mindset will shift to “age is just a number”. This will help you to adopt a leader mentality and feel confident walking into any meeting. So let me know above how you feel about your current age after watching this video. I’d be super interested to hear from you and see if you are ready to embrace your current age.
To get deeper into these tips, as well as some other concrete ways to own your leadership potential regardless of your age, get my book “The Image of Leadership” today and a free ebook for you that shares 130 simple ways to improve your appearance, behavior, communication and digital footprint to make an impactful firsts impression. Together, we will ensure you feel like your best self, every day.