There’s something that happens in your 20s: Whether you want to or not—whether you’re even aware of it—you grow up. Everything about your worldview becomes a bit more mature, 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, at least, we never should). 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 in Glamour on the eve of her birthday, 30 is the year that officially opens the “Go Be Awesome” stage of life. Read on for 25 items you should definitely toss by the time you turn 30.
We all remember the days of Britney Spears–inspired low-rise jeans. They had their moment in the sun, but as we ladies mature and our bodies mature with us, they become less and less a viable option. Put them away, and instead reach for a pair of high-waisted trousers or slouchy boyfriend jeans.
Every woman worth her weight in gold had that period in her life when she wore incredibly distasteful suits to job interviews. It’s usually when you’re just starting out in your career and you have absolutely no idea what to wear. Instead, follow our handy guide to chic and affordable outfit ideas for interviews.
There are certain shoe styles completely inappropriate for women in their 30s to wear; saddle shoes and flat Mary Janes fall on this list. They just look a bit immature on women past a certain age—instead, reach for a sleek pair of slip-on flats.
Tube tops were acceptable when you were on the high school marching band practice field, and maybe even into uni when you were hitting up fraternity row, but past the age of 30, they’re a total no-no.
Those short denim skirts had their time to trend, but that time has long been over. Do your figure a favour and never touch one again once you turn 30.
The only woman alive who can (and has) worn body-con dresses past the age of 30 is Kim Kardashian West. For most ladies, it’s better to reach for a stylish cocktail dress with a low back and a high hem if you want to turn up the sex appeal for a night on the town.
First things first: Past the age of 30, you really should be limiting your fast-fashion consumption to only trendy pieces you don’t want to drop a ton of cash on. But if you have other items in your closet from the fast-fashion megastores of the world and never wear them, donate them.
Let’s be honest—you have never worn a bridesmaid dress more than once. (And if you have, we beg your pardon, but you’re certainly in the minority.) It just doesn’t make sense to hold on to these dresses—it’s time to accept that they are a one-and-done item. Donate them or give them to friends in need of their own bridal gear.
We have nothing against inexpensive jewellery—just make sure you’re buying it from a trusted brand that won’t negatively impact your skin. Avoid plastic jewellery coated in silver or gold paint—these are the worst offenders.
We all have items in our closets we can’t quite squeeze into but think that after a good juice cleanse we’ll be able to. That’s all well and good, but when you turn 30, it’s time to be a bit more honest with yourself. If you can’t fit into something now, get rid of it—and start shopping for your body as it is now, not for how it might be in some future fantasyland.
Themed tights are reserved for children in school plays. Should you own any stockings covered in Halloween cats, Christmas trees, or menorahs, it’s time to say goodbye.
There’s absolutely no place for a denim skort in a grown-up’s wardrobe. Period.
While we very much appreciate the practicality behind pieces that can be worn inside out, they tend to be a bit too cheesy for an adult to pull off.
The only folks who can get away with wearing novelty headbands are 22-year-olds at Coachella. It’s time to accept this fact.
For the onslaught of grown women wearing tutu skirts we’ve witnessed in the past decade or so, we blame Carrie Bradshaw. Sarah Jessica Parker you are not, and your life? Not Sex and the City. Opt for a fun circle skirt in an on-trend blush pink instead.
These are just a big no. Get yourself a grown-up pair of classic pointed-toe pumps instead.
It’s time to retire all your low quality leggings. Unless you're wearing them exclusively around the house, cheaply-made leggings are usually not very flattering.
A little bit of chunk is fine, but if you go too far with this theme, it’s not a good look. Opt instead for a pair of sleek sandals that happen to have a chunky heel.
We're sure you know why.
These aren’t really appropriate for any occasion an adult woman would find herself in, so it’s time to hang them up—for good.
We get it—your busted old sneakers have been with you through thick and thin, and you have a very soft spot in your heart for them. But they’re probably falling apart to a point of no return, and as such, you should probably get rid of them. Instead, get yourself a pair of fresh white sneakers.
Here’s the thing about cat shirts: You can own them; just never admit to it. Or wear them in public.
Once you’ve put a good eight to 10 years between yourself and your sorority days, it’s time to lay those bad boys to rest.
You are a grown-up woman now—there is no excuse for wearing bras, panties, or even socks that are in any way distressed. If they have holes in them, toss them, and get yourself a shiny new gift.
Fringe tees are bedfellows with novelty headbands—fine for young folks at music festivals, but for grown women living in the real world, not so much.
Opening Image: Collage Vintage