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At an event a couple weeks back I was mistaken for a 17 year old. I’m turning 24 in June, mind you, but I really do get that a lot – that I look young. It doesn’t really help that I dress young – that occasion happened to find me in a virginal yellow dress, twisted tendrils tucked into a half pony and a generous dab of baby pink lip gloss – so even more years were butchered off my “look.” But do I deliberately avoid more “grown up” options? Absolutely.

See, I skipped 2 years of school and ended up being 2 years younger than most of my batch mates. See, when you’re in your early teens, you don’t really care. But fast forward to college freshman year at 16 with your peers all legal at 18, you start to. So I felt the need to compensate by way of clothes. What I lacked in years I added in structured purses and pencil skirts.

Graduating at 19 was a different story. Finally entering the workforce at 20 was nerve-wracking. In a place where lack of tenure and experience translate to a lack of respect, lack of age seemed a red flag. So with my treasure trove of chiffon tops, collars, watches and structured bags, I paraded into the office every morning, each heel clacking manufactured maturity.

Now, with a career/life U-turn, I seem to avoid all those I used to hide behind. As I said in my last post, I seem to gravitate towards a more Junior fashion sense – tanks, cottons, character pieces, silvers versus gold, mess versus polish and laid-back versus glam.

Not that I have anything against polished fashionistas. Sometimes teens in decidedly grown up clothes (read: workwear), make me wonder if they too are trying to make a statement to their intended audience of how grown up they already are. But maybe not.

Sometimes I commit the same judgmental mistakes that made me take up (clothing) arms in the first place – referring to younger people as “kids” or feeling “old” at 23. It may be a generational thing. A lot of my (26 year old) friends drop how old they feel in regular conversation. Maybe it’s the pressure of having to perform at par or better than our higher-ups in the workplace. Maybe it’s a sense of entitlement and we falsely see our experience in light years instead of the actual count. (It can also be because everyone is getting married and feeling old is more a result of the notion of decreasing egg count or engagement ring inflation.) Again, who knows?

I’m sure when I’m 40 and look 27 (I hope my Asian skin takes more than a decade off my face), I would appreciate my looking young 100%. As of now though I think I’ll put more importance in feeling young and owning it.

With my clothes as my weapons to steer me in the right direction, I’m pretty sure I’ll get there in no time.

For now, character shirts please! Or, at the very least, those that allude to them. One can’t go wrong with Tweety though.

Top, FOREVER21 | Skirt, GAP | Flats, PRIMADONNA | Clutch, PAPERDOLLS from PD & CO. | Sunglasses, FLY SHADES

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