I’m 42 but look much younger than my father did at his age. And I’m sure that he looked younger than my grandfather did at his age. This is an interesting article about why.

There’s a meme that makes the rounds every so often. It’s a group shot of the cast of 80s sitcom Cheers, with the ages of each actor displayed on the image. Every time it comes back around, people express surprise and disbelief that this group of what looks to be middle-aged folk are actually in their twenties and thirties. With his greying moustache and receding hairline, John Ratzenberger looks far older than what we might now imagine a 30-something man to look like – current 35-year-old actors Michael Cera and Nicholas Braun, for example, look significantly younger in comparison.


While factors like diet, skincare and aesthetic procedures can make us physically look younger – hairstyles, make-up and fashion also play a role in how youthful we appear. While someone with 2023-esque micro bangs may scream young to us, we associate photos of 80s hairstyles and big shoulder pads with being older, even if the person in the image is the same age as us. This is partly because of how we consider trendy hairstyles and fashion of that time to be outdated.


Today we might be obsessed with preserving our youth, but this wasn’t always the case. In past decades, popular trends often existed to make young people appear more sophisticated and bold. “The dramatic nature of [80s] hairstyles often conveyed a sense of confidence and authority, which could be associated with older individuals,” hairdresser Gwenda Harmon says. “Certain hairstyles of the 1980s actually made some youth appear older due to their bold and sophisticated nature.”

Source: Why did people in the past look so much older? | Dazed