They say your brain doesn’t fully mature until you hit your mid-20s. Because I’ve surpassed so-called maturity (just go with it), I’m running with that as justification for giving advice on how to make what many call the defining decade your best fashion years yet. Consider this What to Wear in Your 20s 101.
Scroll down for my tips, and then continue to shop some of our favourite pieces to wear now!
1. Educate Yourself
No, I’m not implying you need to enroll at a private university and go into massive student-loan debt. There are so many more ways to learn, develop, and grow besides hitting the textbooks. If you can, ask your grandparents about what the style and zeitgeist were like when they were younger. My grandpa tells me about the Great Depression all the time, and it’s fascinating.
Make a list of iconic films, and watch all of them. Visit museums, listen to music from every decade, and read classic books. Treat your brain like an endless funnel for information, and keep finding ways to fill it up. The more well rounded you are, the more interesting your fashion choices will be—trust me. Nothing is cooler than drawing on educated references for your look.
2. Split Your Money Between Things and Experiences
Let’s face it: Your style is going to change. The pieces you’re wearing in your 20s are not going to be what you’re wearing in your 30s, 40s, and beyond. Instead of concentrating your funds on a new wardrobe each season, make sure to also invest in memorable experiences you’ll take with you the rest of your life, like travelling. I spent my tax return last year on a trip to France to live and work on a vineyard, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for Céline’s entire spring runway collection—I promise.
3. Wear Whatever You Want
This is where it starts to get fun. Honestly, wear whatever you want. Not to the office (obviously), but if you want to wear a crop top on the weekend, go for it. If you want to wear Uggs to brunch, who cares? Unless you’ve gotten a hold of the fountain of youth Cate Blanchett is sipping from, your body is probably at its peak right now, so take advantage of all the adventurous and youthful trends this time in life has to offer. The only way to discover your true personal style is by experimentation, so change up your vibe as much as you want. Once you’ve figured out a lasting look, you’ll know it.
4. Get Some Perspective
We’ve all been told to embrace our bodies and be comfortable in our own skin, but that’s so much easier said than done. But truthfully, I don’t care what people think about my appearance anymore, and I wish I could’ve felt that way back in my early 20s. Don’t be embarrassed if you have to ask for the next size up, shake off any side-eye you get for wearing a hat indoors, and—most of all—just remember that it’s only fashion! Once you let it go a little bit, it’ll give back in a big way.
Shop a few of our favourite things to wear in your 20s:
You’ll get so much use out of this slip-style skirt.
Nicole Kliest is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City who focuses on fashion, travel, food, wine, and pretty much anything else that's amusing to write about. After graduating from Pepperdine University with a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing, she started her career back in 2010 as Who What Wear's photo editor and throughout the last decade has contributed to publications including Fashionista, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, The Zoe Report, PopSugar, Fodor's Travel, and several others. She also copywrites and has worked with clients such as Frame, Sea, 3x1, Intelligentsia, and others to develop brand voices through storytelling and creative marketing. She's very passionate about the ways we can improve our sustainability efforts in the fashion industry as well as cultivating content that's diverse and inclusive of all people. When she's not checking out the latest restaurant opening in her West Village neighborhood or riding her bicycle along the West Side Highway, she can be found scheming her next trip somewhere around the world. (Up next is Vienna.)