Incorporate these fashion tips to instantly help you stop looking older than you feel.

Nobody, men or women, like the feeling of being perceived as old. We want to be cool. We want to be viewed as hip and trendy. (And with that last sentence I wonder who even uses the word “hip” anymore. Sigh.) Well, the fact is if we want to be perceived as younger, then there are some very important steps we all must take starting now! I don’t think it’s the aging part that we don’t like; I think it’s the looking older part that is distressing. I’ve read countless books and articles on what we should do and not do to preserve our youthful appearance. But did you know that some of the things we’re doing are actually adding years to our appearance?

How to NOT look older than you feel
I have to share something with you that really rocked my world. The other day I was informed that I was “dating myself.” Not because of something I said or because I still insist on rocking my “big 80’s hair,” but for another reason (if you’re over the age of 25 you might want to sit down). I was told that I was showing signs of aging because I wear a watch. A watch! Evidently with some of the younger generations, a watch is a sign of my being, dare I say it, an older woman. Why? Because they don’t use watches to tell time and never have. They simply look at the clock on whatever mobile device they are carrying around in their back pocket. This disturbed me to no end. I love watches and believe they are the perfect fashion accessory. Men have the coolest watches to choose from today. They are big and chunky and well, just awesome. In turn, what I think is awesome makes me old? What other aging signs was I missing? Are there other things we should be doing to detract from our age? You bet there are. Here are some top things, that if you’re doing, you should change immediately.

Take a good look at your clothes
Not long ago my husband came downstairs sporting a pair of old school cowboy boots and a faded jean jacket. I took one look, with my chin dropped to the floor, and said, “Uhhhh, honey? Where are you going dressed like THAT?” It wasn’t the cowboy boots or the jean jacket necessarily – it was how old and dated the styles were that just cracked me up. My handsome husband was not following the ‘how to not look older than you feel’ commandments – even though putting on his much-loved vintage clothes made him feel great! He proceeded to tell me just how cool these two antiques were and that he used to bust a move at the local line-dancing venue “back in the day.” Needless to say I was 1) mortified and 2) happy that this line-dancing venue was no longer in business.

There are two extremes we can take when it comes to choosing the right clothing for our age.

• Some people hit the age of 40 and suddenly become ultra conservative. Showing any skin whatsoever is now off limits and they start dressing like their grandparents. I disagree with this style because there is no good reason to start dressing to look older. There is nothing wrong with showing a bit of skin (in moderation) no matter what your age.
• On the other extreme, some people resort to showing too much skin. They desperately try to hold on to their youth by dressing like teenagers in the hope that it makes them fashionable. There is nothing that shows an aging woman more than a too short mini skirt and a belly shirt/crop top. Yikes.

There are fashion mistakes for gentleman, too. For example, the barely-there swimsuits that many men think are trendy. Trust me, you don’t look 18 when strutting down the beach in something that shows too much skin. If you’re still wearing the clothes from your college years it’s probably best to seek out a new look so as not to date yourself. As we age, our bodies change. Our posture changes and the clothes we once looked awesome in and thought fashionable now just make us look a bit awkward. In the case of my husband, he looked absolutely ridiculous! But, I still can’t convince him otherwise. Nor can anyone convince me that my original Guns n’ Roses concert shirt isn’t the coolest thing on the planet. Vintage, rock concert t-shirts are always cool and will never go out of style. So don’t even try to convince me otherwise. But don’t get me started on the fanny pack!

Put away the dull, drab colors
One of my favorite colors to wear has always been black. It’s dark, it’s edgy, and people say it makes you look thinner and more streamlined. But, what I now realize is that the darker and drabber the colors we wear, the older we tend to look. That’s a ‘how to not look older than you feel’ no, no. Clothes with gray undertones can really wash you out and then, just like your clothes, you too begin to look drab. Brighten up your look by introducing some color into your wardrobe. It’s most important to have color near your face. For men, think about shirt color, or better yet, your necktie. Choose a vibrant color. It will knock years off of your appearance. For women, don’t just focus on your clothing but take a look at your accessories as well. You can give yourself a youth boost by wearing a beautiful colored scarf or necklace. Try to avoid wearing too much black, grey, taupe or pale lavender colors.

Beware of comfortable shoes
I am the first to admit that I thought I would be rocking the stiletto until the day I died. But that fateful day came when I had to look for a more comfortable option for my day-to-day comings and goings. I just couldn’t stand the discomfort anymore. Well, when I thought of “comfortable” shoes I thought of nurse shoes or flats. Everything has a time and a place my friends, but our clothes deserve a fabulous looking shoe. And believe it or not, they can look very stylish. Top brands of shoes and athletic footwear now make great, comfortable, on trendy shoes in really cool colors and styles. So you can ditch the torturous footwear and replace them with a vibrant, fun option.

Surprisingly for me, I didn’t have to write off all flat shoes in a quest to not look older than I feel. I just need to spend a moment looking for shoes in fresh styles that are comfortable and fashionable. If that means extra shoe shopping then I’ll try and tough it out!

Ditch the eyeglass chain
I get it. They’re convenient. Some companies have even gone above and beyond in trying to make them look fashionable. But at the end of the day, no matter how many beads or rhinestones are involved, you still look like someone who is too old to remember where they put their glasses so you tie them to your body. There’s got to be a better way people!

If you own elastic waist pants, get rid of them
I know that most of us don’t wear pants with an elastic waistband, but if you are even thinking about it – don’t. If you’re even considering it, you may have gained a few pounds and are looking for some comfort from your clothing. I strongly recommend getting a bit more exercise and watching what you eat over the elastic waistband pants. Grandmas can wear elastic waistbands. They have earned the right to be totally comfy. For the rest of us, no way! Opt for a cute pair of leggings, long shirt or sweater and cute boots.

And just for the ladies… Burn that old bra
I don’t want to mention the obvious, but ladies, you must go through your undergarments and destroy your old bras. You’d be surprised how many women continue to wear the same size and style of bra they wore 10, even 20 years ago. Experts say that as many as 90% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. This really detracts from your look. Trust me! Get a fitting at any department store and start from scratch. As we get a little older, our bodies change. Finding your correct bra size not only can improve your posture, but will also help you to look your very best in your clothes. This one little tip alone can shave years off of your appearance. Wearing a supportive and pretty bra in the right size is a simple way to avoid looking older than you feel. You know what? A bra that fits is always a bra that is more comfortable!

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter – Director, Worldwide Outer Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife.