The years spent in our 20s can totally change how we think about everything. There are shifts in your teens, and 30s, and 50s, but arguably, the years spent between 20 and 29—arguably when we’re figuring everything out—felt especially telling of who we are and what’s in our future. Everything about your worldview may shift, 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. 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.) Scroll down for 20 of these 30-year-old-woman style upgrades to consider!
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 purely trend-driven, fit. We suggest a pair of classic high-waisted trousers or slouchy, loose-fit jeans.
Available in sizes 24 to 36.
JOB INTERVIEW SUIT
When just out of college, it's not uncommon to buy your first real-world, 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.
Available in sizes XS to M.
Saddle shoes and flat Mary Janes tend to skew a bit long. 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 a bit more polished.
Tube tops have a time and place, sure, but for everyday layering, we think a slinky tank is a more elevated choice.
Available in sizes XS to M.
SHORT DENIM SKIRTS
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.
Available in sizes 14 to 24.
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.
Available in sizes 0 to 10.
UNWORN FAST FASHION
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.
Available in sizes 0 to 12.
JEWELRY THAT TURNS 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.
POORLY FITTING CLOTHING
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.
Available in French sizes 34 to 44.
Save them for a special occasion, but reach for a simpler decorative print if you’re looking for something a bit more timeless.
Available in sizes S to M.
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.
Available in sizes XS to XXL.
Anything that can be misconstrued as a piece of a costume might feel dated quite quickly.
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.
Available in sizes 10 to 22.
PATENT LEATHER PLATFORMS
Shoe trends, like these, come and go. A pair of classic pointed-toe pumps lasts forever.
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.
OLD, TATTERED SNEAKERS
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. Upgrade to a sleek pair of fresh white sneakers that can be worn with everything in your closet.
Cats, or any novelty internet personality, have a special place in our hearts. But in our everyday work wardrobe, we prefer something a bit more artful and elevated.
Available in sizes XS to XL.
YOUR SORORITY SHIRTS
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.
Available in sizes L to XL.
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.
Available in sizes 30D to 36D.
Fringe tees are fine for folks at music festivals, but we like to avoid going over the top with this trend. We fully support a modern, more grown-up and equally cool variation on the theme.
Opening Image: Collage Vintage
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.