20 Wardrobe Updates to Make by Age 30

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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.

Wrangler Wide Leg Long 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.

Cupcakes and Cashmere Hudson Top

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.

Who What Wear Paige Kitten Heel Sandals

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.

H&M V-Neck Camisole Top

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.

Club Monaco Split Pleat Skirt

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.

Tiger Mist UO Exclusive Hayden Halter Midi Dress

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.

BB Dakota Belted Blazer

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.

Cult Gaia Tria Earrings

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.

City Chic Cute Girl Dress

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.

Nordstrom Everyday Energizing Sheer Tights

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.

City Chic Lace-Up Sides Faux Leather Biker Jacket

12. Skip Novelty Headbands and Try Scrunchies

Anything that can be misconstrued as a piece of a costume might feel dated quite quickly.

UO Sweet Dreams Scrunchie Set

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.

Divine Heritage Wrap Miniskirt

14. Invest in Suede Pumps

Shoe trends come and go. A pair of classic pointed-toe pumps lasts forever.

Tod’s Suede pumps

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.

Who What Wear Nicola Sandals

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.

Veja Esplar Sneakers

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.

Runway Marc Jacobs Crew Neck Cap Sleeve T-Shirt

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.

Givenchy Appliquéd Striped Wool-Blend Bomber Jacket

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.

Wacoal Underwire Contour Bra

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.

Reformation Boston Dress

Opening Image: Collage Vintage


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