Your 20s is one of the most pivotal life stages. You feel like you're just trying to survive and figure things out—whether you're fresh out of college or simply looking to find out what you want from life. This uncertainty also translates majorly into the fashion choices we make in our 20s. At 28, I've experimented with so many styles and trends it would probably make your head spin. As I grow older, I'm always fine-tuning and switching up my personal style.
Nearing ever so closer to the big 30, I've learned a lot about which places hit the sweet spot of being affordable, on-trend, and high-quality. As much as I'd love to splurge on the latest Prada bag or Cartier bracelet, the reality is I have student loans to tend to, which is why it shouldn't surprise you that many of the stores I prioritize are also relatively budget-friendly. On the flip side, I'm still open to spending a bit more if I can justify the cost per wear, and for that, I've been loving mid-tier jewelry brands for entry-level investment pieces. To create a more conclusive list, I asked a few of my 20-something friends for their input on their favorite places to shop as well. Ahead, I present the brands and stores that came out on top.
Scrolling through ASOS almost feels like a full-time job. There's so much to see and shop. The website is like the ultimate millennial and Gen Z fashion emporium, carrying its own size-inclusive in-house line among other brand favorites like Topshop and Nike. What I love most about ASOS is that you can find a pantsuit for your next job interview right alongside a trendy party dress for your next (socially distanced!) event. With a free shipping coupon code in hand, one can really rack up.
From seductive going-out tops to wedding-guest dresses that turn heads, Reformation has it all. The environmentally conscious brand creates timeless styles with a vintage-inspired edge that's never boring or frumpy. You'll definitely spend more here, but for its sustainable practices and quality materials, it's worth it.
3. Who What Wear Collection
As a young adult with maturing tastes, you're probably ready to graduate from frivolous fast fashion that's outdated after one week. It might be too early to fully invest in full-on designer pieces, but that doesn't mean you have to skimp on quality. That's where Who What Wear Collection comes in. The direct-to-consumer brand boasts luxury-level pieces without the huge associated costs. It's a great resource for staple pieces with a slight trendy edge yet are still timeless.
If you're anxious to try out the latest trends but want to stick to a decent budget, try the Spanish-based label. It's often one of the first stores to carry the big seasonal trends before they filter through the fashion ecosystem.
5. Lisa Says Gah
Style in your 20s is all about experimentation and fun, and no other store lives up to that ethos better than Lisa Says Gah. I think this is the best place to shop for independent designers and discover new brands. It's guaranteed that any of its pieces will garner all the compliments.
This store simply oozes cool. After asking a few of my 20-something friends about their favorite designer shop, Ssense came out the clear winner. Although most items are designer and thus will run you a pretty penny, its selection of indie and emerging brands is unmatched. Even if you're still on a budget, you can scoop up plenty of amazing limited Nike and Adidas athleisure pieces for less than $100. Another tip: Don't sleep on its expansive sneaker selection.
For minimalists everywhere (or those who just love well-made basics), you'll want to keep Everlane on your shopping short list. Most items are under $100 and will last for seasons to come.