08 Jan 2021
Street styles

How to Dress in Your 30s

The combo of a beige suit with black stilettos, black turtleneck and black bag

Despite what the eponymous company might claim, the unfortunate truth is that staying forever 21 is not an option. When you’re around that age, there’s quite a lot you can get away with, sartorially speaking. In your early and, sometimes, mid-20s, you are fit and stretching no matter what. Even the most ill-advised outfits, worst comes to worst, come across as failed style swerves. However, once you celebrate your 30th birthday, these swerves, be it mismatched patterns or unflattering silhouettes, start looking a lot less acceptable than they were before. Like it or not, you’re a grownup now, so it is time you start dressing like one. 

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What You Don’t Need Anymore

Clothing pieces that are best to avoid in your thirties

Cheap Wallet

Ideally, you should have more financial stability in your 30s than you had in your 20s. That means it is high time to toss that velcro/nylon wallet into the bin. You might not like it but first impressions always last and nothing says that you’re not well-put-together like a low-quality pocketbook. Playing it safe, plain black or saddle brown leather wallets are always acceptable go-to’s. But if you want to make an impression, going the designer route and springing for Mont Blanc or Hermes will let you immediately project your adult status.

Budget Cotton Camis

Figuring out how to be an adult takes time. In general, that time usually sits somewhere between 18 and 30 years of age. When you haven’t even graduated from college yet, no one will blame you for paying less than 20 quid for 5 cotton camis. However, in your early 30s, the general consensus is that you should have more sense than that. In this case, more sense implies a more expensive camisole, something that’s slinky, silky, and/or lacy. Sure, you spend more initially but, as long as you treat it right, this one piece will last you years.

Overly Versatile Heels

Possessing heels that do double-duty is convenient and easy on the pocketbook. Having said that, double-duty heels usually look not quite appropriate enough for business and not necessarily relaxed, sexy, or comfortable enough for going out. With that in mind, we recommend drawing a clear line between work heels and going-out heels. Disagree all you want but the latter should look like a completely different breed from the former. With office heels, make sure to keep them at the kitten level. And animal prints? Well, we’d say those aren’t the best for everyday wear, but when you want to amp your glam, why not. 

 What You Do Need

Well-Fitting Jeans

Low-rise, loose-fit jeans are young women’s game. You can play this game with them but, apologies, you will lose. What you need instead is well-fitting, high-waisted blue jeans. Hugging the hips, these silhouettes do not create muffin tops and, when the fit’s right, can highlight feminine proportions about as well as low-rise jeans. A solid choice would be pairing these cropped jeans with a vest top, tan mule shoes, sunglasses, and nice jewellery (a gold ring or two won’t hurt). With this fashion-focused outfit, you’ll look laid-back and put-together at the same time. For an autumn look, try wearing boots with jeans - a big trend of this year, ankle lace boots will let you be ahead of the fashion crowd. 

Bespoke Blazer

Nothing says that you’re an adult quite like a bespoke blazer jacket. In regard to fashion, your 30s should be primarily about limiting fast-fashion consumption and investing in smart, timeless, long-lasting pieces. And what’s smarter and will last you more than a good blazer? Practically nothing. The safest choice would be black but, a beige blazer like this one will work wonders as well, especially with bootcut jeans, white trainers, a brown shoulder bag, and maybe a pair of vintage sunglasses. Provided your accessory game is on-point, this is the business casual outfit that will serve you faithfully week in, week out. 

Trouser Suit

Dressing for the job you want and not the job you have sometimes means looking a little less provocative and a little more strict. We can dislike it all we want but people will always judge us based on what we wear. And some might make an ‘uptight’ judgement when they see you wearing a trouser suit but, at the very least, people will usually take you seriously, more seriously than they would if you were wearing a skirt anyway. On that note, look towards this grey blazer with stirrup trousers, a high neck jumper, white heeled court shoes, black tote bag, and square-shape sunglasses. Rocking this look, your associates will know that you mean business the moment you enter the room. 

Straight Black Dress

Your early 30s is the time to say goodbye to bodycon dresses and skirts. Fortunately, it is also the time to replace them with form-flattering cocktail dresses. Chic yet comfortable, these straight dresses fit formal and semi-formal occasions alike, be it a wedding, work holiday party, everyday office scene, even jury duty. A straight black dress will always go a long way but you can also extend its proverbial path with transparent embellished court shoes, long earrings, and classy accessories like silver rings and bracelets. 

Comfortable Heels

In your early 20s, you can hit virtually any scene wearing minimalist or, at times, even chunky trainers. The same sentiment (and fashion sense) cannot be extended towards your 30s though. No, at this age, you should own a pair of comfortable but, at the same time, dressy heels. You don’t want heels that will make you look like you barely care but you also don’t want a pair that will kill your feet by the end of the day. As an example, these beige court shoes will do the trick and, as long as you have the right figure, will even let you pull off a burgundy bodycon dress with a nice white bag. 

Versatile Bag

Owning a dozen of bags may seem/sound appealing in your young adult part of life but, trust us, you will want to replace these cheap bags with a few more premium but also more versatile options later on. Though less affordable, these bags will not start showing signs of wear and tear after a couple of seasons. In your 30s, a tote bag similar to this one should become your closet essential. Wearing it with a grey plaid trouser suit, court shoes, and aviator sunglasses will always be an available option but you can also experiment with less formal pieces. 

In closing, from a fashion perspective, your 30s is the best time to start taking things a little more seriously. Nobody is saying that you should stop having fun altogether but dressing a little more age-appropriate will not hurt your professional or social chances one bit.