Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You Look So Young

Twice this week I have been mistaken for a 17-year-old. I am 27. This happens to me A. LOT. For example, a random lady at the SCBWI conference asked me if I had moved out of my parents' house yet.

"Yes," I responded, having moved out of my parents' house nine years ago.
"It must be nice not having your mom bugging you to clean your room all the time, right?" She said.

Yes, yes, I know, this is a nice problem to have, and I'll be thankful for it when I'm older. I won't deny that it's sometimes flattering.

But I am trying to start a business here. A one-person business where I basically am my brand. "Cute teenager" is not the impression I want to leave on clients. In my last office job, the average employee was about twenty years older than I was, and sometimes they could be pretty condescending. In my last class, a professor implied that I held a certain belief only because my parents told me so.

I want clients to see me like this:

Not so much this:

Any suggestions?


  1. I have that exact problem, people are apt to ask me what I plan to study at uni, when in reality I did a four year honours course and left uni in 2008. It can make things a bit tricky as a freelancer where you want to be seen as a professional person who should be treated with respect, and everyone really sees you as a child that can be walked all over; I know!
    My defence of choice is power dressing, usually with a retro twist, but that's just me. I did a series of workshops in a primary school last week, and chose to wear a military-style jacket and a military hat with feathers. And high heels, of course.
    It worked well – I didn't get any people thinking I was 17, and the kids did what I told them, but I did get four counts of 'Are you French?' (from kids and adults)... can't win, really! :P

    1. Exactly!! I'm so glad someone understands!
      I've also been trying to dress more "grown-up," blazers and high heels seem to work pretty well.

    2. Red lipstick is another favourite of mine. Quite often, the less confidant I'm feeling, the more in-your-face my lipstick is, and I swirl into places in big skirts and high heels and pretend to be arty. =P

  2. Go for the Yoko Ono look. It worked for her.

  3. I am now 50 and some people don't believe it. I had the same problem when I was 28 and selling real estate. People didn't take me serious because they thought I was too young to know what I was doing and I did the different type of clothes thing too. I ended up going in a different career direction because of that, but that ended up being a good thing. You just have to go ahead with what you want to do and thank people for the nice compliment. It will be a major compliment and appreciated more when you get my age.

  4. I had that problem in my early 30 when I started to teach in college in Korea.Students and I had 10yrs age gap at least, still they looked at me in the first day like 'Where's our instructor?'. I tried to dress up aged and wore make up rather heavily. For me big fake pearl earings and silk scarves worked well, pants suits and trench coat worked too. But as an illustrator/artist, I think looking young would be plus to a good impression to a client. Wear anything makes you feel comfortable and inspiring. I'm so jealous of your owl sweater;-)


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