Our 20s can totally change our perspective on life. Everything about your worldview may shift during this critical period of time, and your style evolves along with it. While much of this evolution happens naturally, we all have those wardrobe pieces we stubbornly cling to, even though we probably never wear them or have figuratively outgrown them.
And as always, we’re here to help, because when it comes to clothes, every woman can use an occasional nudge toward adulthood from time to time. (After all, as Olivia Wilde put it in her open letter for Glamour on the eve of her birthday, 30 is the year that officially opens the “go be awesome” stage of life.) So without further adieu, scroll for 20 style upgrades you should make by age 30.
We all remember the days of Britney Spears–inspired low-rise jeans. They had their moment in the sun, but now you may lean toward a silhouette with a more classic, less-trend-driven fit. We suggest a pair of classic high-waisted trousers or slouchy, loose-fit jeans.
2. Replace Basic Pantsuits With Trousers and Pretty Blouses
Right out of college, it’s not uncommon to buy your first serious, professional suit. It’s only later on that you might realize “professional” attire doesn’t need to be so one-note. By 30, whether in a job you love or not, give yourselves some room to be a bit more relaxed and creative when it comes to office attire. A relaxed staple, such as high-waisted trousers, is a great place to start.
3. Invest in Sleek Shoes
Saddle shoes and flat Mary Janes tend to skew a bit young. If you love them, don’t toss them, but we also suggest looking into a sleek pair of slip-on flats. They’ll be just as playful but also a bit more polished.
4. Skip Tube Tops and Buy Camisoles
Tube tops have a time and place, sure, but for everyday layering, we think a slinky tank is a more elevated choice.
5. Invest in Midi Lengths
It’s not that we don’t love a short hem, but we prefer keeping a wardrobe of multi-function, multi-occasion pieces, and super-short denim skirts are not usually that.
6. Replace Bodycon With Backless Dresses
We find a cocktail dress with a low back and a high hem even more interesting if you want to turn up the va-va-voom for a night on the town.
7. Donate Your Unworn Fast Fashion Items and Invest in Quality Basics
In building a wardrobe that lasts, we wouldn’t rely heavily on mass-produced pieces that only survive a season or two. If you have items in your closet from the fast-fashion mega-stores of the world and never wear them, donate them.
8. Avoid Jewelry That Would Turn Your Skin Green
We have nothing against inexpensive jewelry. Just make sure you’re buying it from a trusted brand that won’t negatively impact your skin. Avoid plastic jewelry coated in silver or gold paint; these are the worst offenders.
9. Avoid Poorly-Fitting Clothes and Invest in a Tailor
We all have items in our closets we can’t quite get into or that don’t exactly fit as well as we’d like. Trust us: A quick trip to the tailor can change everything. Adjusting a tiny bit at the hip or a tweaking a hemline at the ankle can salvage a beloved piece and make any item look so much more expensive than it is.
10. Skip Festive Tights and Wear Sheer Tights
Save them for a special occasion, but reach for a simpler decorative print if you’re looking for something a bit more timeless.
11. Avoid Reversible Pieces
While we very much appreciate the practicality behind pieces that can be worn inside out, they tend to be a bit too cheesy. You deserve more.
12. Skip Novelty Headbands and Try Scrunchies
Anything that can be misconstrued as a piece of a costume might feel dated quite quickly.
13. Replace Tutu Skirts With Wrap Skirts
As much as we love the Carrie Bradshaw piece, we think a fun circle skirt in an on-trend blush pink instead feels more au courant.
14. Invest in Suede Pumps
Shoe trends come and go. A pair of classic pointed-toe pumps lasts forever.
15. Ditch Ultra-Chunky Shoes
A little bit of chunk is fine, but if you go too far with this theme, it may be cumbersome. Opt instead for a pair of sleek sandals that happen to have a chunky heel.
16. Get Rid of Old, Tattered Sneakers
We get it: Your busted old sneakers have been with you through thick and thin, and you have a soft spot in your heart for them. But they’re probably falling apart to a point of no return. Upgrade to a sleek pair of fresh white sneakers that can be worn with everything in your closet.
17. Skip Cheesy Prints and Sayings
Cats have a special place in our hearts. But in our everyday work wardrobes, we prefer something a bit more artful and elevated.
18. Replace Sorority Shirts With Collegiate-Style Pieces
By all means, don’t throw them away. But, if you’ve amassed a good eight to 10 years between yourself and your sorority days, chances are that old sweatshirt is more a wear-at-home kind of piece.
19. Throw Away Holey Underwear and Socks
Plain and simple: If they have holes in them, toss them and get yourself a shiny, lacy, bold new set. It can make a world of difference in your wardrobe.
20. Skip Festival-Season Clichés
We like to avoid going over the top with festival trends like fringe. We fully support sleek slip dresses for concerts instead.