Some women just can’t seem to get it right. No matter how much one may age, some things manage to remain stagnant, the most obvious being choices in wardrobe.

Nothing says “perpetual teenager” like a grown woman wearing clothes ten to twenty years younger than she is. Even worse, when upscale and sophisticated is mistaken for sexually charged and loud. If you’re at the point where it makes more sense to be seeking a life-mate instead of a hookup, enjoying a glass of Merlot over Patron shots, and paying more attention to stock options instead of Nicki Minaj’s latest dating pranks, then it’s time to put on your big girl britches. Even if you are doing the latter, and you’re over 25, it’s time to step out of the naivety of girl-dom and move into womanhood . . . at least as far as you’re appearance is concerned.

As we all know, style speaks volumes. And nothing says trying too hard than a thirty-two-year-old taking fashion cues from barely-old-enough-to-drink pop stars. But even seasoned pop starts are guilty of this offense (Mariah Carey, much?) Crotch-length cutoffs does not an adult make. It’s time to let go of the trappings that truly hold you back, and embrace where you are in life, both inside and out. Although certain priorities can take more time to realize, it doesn’t take much to make a few tweaks here and there, and turn your look into something that exudes confidence and maturity.

Just Because It’s Tight, Doesn’t Make It Right

There is a difference between something that is fitted and something that resembles a second skin. Fit can be the determining difference between looking polished and looking trashy. Straight-leg jeans are a more refreshing and classic bottom, and come off as much more subtle, than a skintight skinny jean or legging. They’re also universally flattering, especially in a medium-to-dark wash.

Labels Are For Kids

Head to toe Baby Phat is only acceptable if you’re a freshman in high school. No woman should expect to be taken seriously in any setting should her outfit consist of nothing more than a melange of audacious logos. Instead of investing in cheap, brand-heavy, throw-away clothes, pay attention to pieces that communicate quality rather than affiliation. Not only will you get more wear out of them, but they’re interchangeable, allowing for endless variety. A simple, 100% plain cotton scoop-neck tee can be dressed up or down and everywhere in between.

Tone Down

Hot pink, neon green, electric blue . . . colors more befitting of a tween bedspread set than a grown woman’s closet. Drawing attention to yourself by wearing colors on this end of the spectrum is not only dated, but tragically juvenile. A more neutral palette, using base colors such as navy, taupe, heather grey and olive, draws attention in a different, more mature way. Bright colors can be done right—in the form of rich jewel tones and subtle pops.

Less Is More

Over-accessorizing is a quality indicative of the kid who doesn’t know when enough is enough. Piling on extraneous bracelets, necklaces or earrings only looks as though you’re trying too hard . . . or that you just couldn’t make up your mind. To dress like an adult is to understand moderation and balance, and when it comes to jewelry and accessories, the less, the better. If you’re going to wear ornate earrings, keep everything else simple. A bold statement piece doesn’t need to compete with something equally ostentatious.

Most importantly, modesty will always be your best weapon. If you’d rather not come off as a sex object, the best thing to do is not dress like one. Save the tarty clothes for the pop tarts.

– Princess Glover

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