Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweater Girl

This outfit makes me feel a bit girlish, less grown up, certainly not about-to-be-*gulp*-43 (my birthday is in less than a month). The sweater paired with a full skirt, flat shoes, a headband in my straight hair, the flower pin -- I think I look more like a college coed or twenty-something admin, not a seasoned professional & expert in her field. What do you think?

See, this is why I tend to be pretty careful about what I wear to work, how appropriate I look, how traditionally goth I go, etc. It's easy for me to be judged as too young & inexperienced by virtue of my short height & round face (& some might add, the long hair). I strive to be taken seriously at first impression, because sometimes that's all you get. But there are days when I am sitting behind my computer for hours, nobody sees me, & I communicate entirely by email & instant messenger. So my looks don't matter as much.

What I'm wearing:
Black puff-shoulder sweater, H&M
Purple/burgundy velvet tiered skirt, NY & Company
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black T-strap flats, Aldo
Burgundy flower pin, random accessory store
Black & pink crystal Victorian-ish earrings, random accessory store
Chanel "Vamp" lipstick

Do you care about looking too young? Too old? Professional enough?


  1. I had to giggle when I saw this post because I wore almost the exact same outfit to work last week. I wore boots, though, because I'm in Ohio. I'm a corporate goth in my 40s, too, and I worry all the time about dressing too young.

  2. You look great, not too girlish. The sweater is beautiful. I believe that I'm dressing much younger than other of my age, but since I treat my colleagues professional and are very direct in my communication I'm not worried. The flower brooch you are wearing is gorgeous as well and makes your outfit complete .

  3. I can see where the outfit is heading towards "too-young" territory - but if you pulled your hair back in some way that would make a difference (LOVE the puffy shoulders). IMHO you look much too put-together and self-assured to be "too young". My undergrads spend most of their time in sweatpants and flip-flops, I'm not sure they could manage a work outfit even close to this.

  4. wow, I had you pegged at 32. At 45 I worry about looking too old. But I have a reverse problem. I work in a salon, and in the hair industry, looking 40s is a career death sentence. It is a fine line to balance because if you dress too young or too edgy it has the reverse effect and makes me look like the old woman trying too hard.
    One of my tricks to growing-up an outfit is to switch out the flats for heels, always makes me feel more grown-up without feeling elderly.

    Lynn Brooks

  5. I love how your flower and lip color resonate!

  6. Love that outfit! I think it's the gathers -- the ruching on the shoulders and the gathers on the skirt -- that skew "young." I'm finding that I have to steer away from ruffles or gathers as I age because they end up looking very mutton dressed as lamb, or something. I get skeeved out by my own reflection if my clothes look too young.

    Oddly, my mother in her 60s can wear more ruffly things than I can. So maybe the pendulum swings back as you get older and are no longer in the "indeterminate age" category?

  7. Heels can definitely upgrade an outfit to grown-up & professional. And I hear you on that fine line between looking a bit edgy or like you're trying too hard.

  8. Heh, I have a seemingly infinite lipstick collection for just such a purpose ;-)

  9. I love love love that sweater! Puffy sleeves are a weakness of mine. I have about 7 black sweater shirts, all with different puff sleeves (which my hubby doesn't get of course). There's just something about a puff sleeve.
    As far as it "looking too young", I'm the wrong person to weigh in on that. I look in the mirror and wonder that constantly. ;)
    I do think that the outfit looks great on you and I love how you tied in the color of the skirt with the lapel flower. I do agree with one of the above posters, maybe wearing your hair up or back would change the overall tone of the outfit? Thanks for sharing!

  10. I too worry about coming across as professional, with the added bonus of working in a male-dominated field where pitched battles of wits are a daily occurrence. The LAST thing I want is to appear too young, too girly, or sexy in any way. I go for a look I call "elegantly professional" when I'm at work. But yeah- I have many days where I'm not going to SEE anybody, just sit at my desk and deal with people via phone and IM and those days I wonder if I'm just dressing for the people I see in the hall (who aren't in my group and most of them I don't even know their names). It's a strange environment, sometimes, I tell ya.

  11. Puffs / ruffles can be tricky, as they do have youthful connotations. And yet, they're so reminiscent of Victoriana too, it's tough to balance.

  12. Yeah, it's even worse in a male-dominated field. But I like your 'elegantly professional' description!