If your teens are all about rebellion and your 20s are for "finding yourself," there's an assured confidence that comes with dressing in your 30s. Something almost imperceptible happens at the stroke of midnight on your 30th birthday: whether you want to or not (and whether you're even aware of it or not), you grow up, and your style evolves along with it. While much of this evolution happens very naturally, that isn't always the case with our wardrobes. No longer solely a means of self-expression, our clothes take on new meaning as we get older. We tend to give more thought to where they come from and aim to make sounder long-term investments.
If that sounds like your life right now, then luckily, we're here to help. When it comes to clothes, everyone can use a nudge towards adulthood from time to time. And trust us when we say that "mature" isn't shorthand for "boring." For this reason, we've come up with 20 pieces you should own by the time you're 30 that will make getting dressed easier and leave you more time to do, well, grown-up things (and look incredibly chic in the process).
Style Notes: There are few pieces in a wardrobe that work as hard as jeans do. A great pair of well-fitting jeans can take you from day to night, from work to drinks and everywhere in between. The current jean du jour? The straight-leg. No matter which denim trends come and go, high-waisted, straight-fit jeans will always be in style.
We all remember the days of Britney Spears–inspired ultra-low-rise jeans. They had their moment in the sun, but for a longer-lasting option, reach for a pair of classic straight-leg jeans in a suitable mid-blue wash.
Style Notes: A dress that can go from day to night is a worthwhile investment. Whether you're pairing it with trainers or elevating it with heels, a great midi dress is a true staple that will stand the test of time.
Style Notes: We love you, knee-high boots, but the easiest way to elevate jeans or a dress to evening status is with a trusty pair of ankle boots. A good pair of black leather ankle boots is a forever piece, and if you're looking for a contemporary spin, try a square toe over an almond toe.
Yes, there are thigh-highs, knee-highs and everything in between, but trusty ankle boots will be the most loyal. Get a great pair, and you'll wear them many times. You'll make endless trips to the cobbler's because that's what people in their 30s do.
Style Notes: Jewellery instantly adds polish to any look. Take, for example, a simple white shirt and jeans: With gold accents, the outfit can be transformed into a considered look with a carefully curated feel.
Style Notes: To help limit fast-fashion consumption, invest in pieces that will last for years to come. Case in point: the black blazer. We wear them throughout autumn and winter with blue jeans and white tees, and we choose between daytime loafers and evening sandals depending on the dress code.
Style Notes: A classic beige trench coat is one piece that you'll consistently wear all year round. In spring, it's the perfect light layer for every day; on summer evenings, it's ideal to wear over your shoulders; and in autumn, it looks particularly good with a chunky turtleneck. Just think of the cost per wear.
Style Notes: We don't know anyone who has ever regretted buying a pair of these. Not only do they work for the office, but with trainers and a white T-shirt, they're great for weekends. Honestly, tailored trousers with a flattering silhouette are the holy grail and might just replace your everyday jeans.
Style Notes: It goes without saying that every wardrobe needs a pair of flat shoes for everyday wear. Choosing the right pair simply comes down to personal style, but we find that ballet flats, mules and chunky loafers add the most modern and elevated feel no matter what they're styled with.
Style Notes: Instead of buying everything simply because it's on-trend (ahem, minidresses), opt for pieces that flatter your figure and are a comfortable wear. Enter: the maxi dress. There isn't a person who this simple yet dramatic style won't suit. It's the easiest way to turn up the drama for special occasions and evening events.
Style Notes: You might not wear a statement piece every day, but in times when you just don't know what to wear, introduce a printed skirt. Paired with a simple knit or oversized shirt, it will help solve sartorial dilemmas with minimal effort and does all the talking for you.
Style Notes: Yes, you read that correctly. The luxe jogger has become ubiquitous amongst the fashion set and those of us who still predominantly work from home. If you style them in the right way—with a white shirt or blazer, for example—they can look less teenager and more grown-up. But if you want a nod to your '90s youth, the cargo is having a moment, too.
Style Notes: If summer taught us anything, it's that short skirts aren't off limits, but a good pencil skirt will work for many more occasions. It looks best with a sleek shirt tucked in as part of your workwear uniform, but you can also keep it casual with a tee and knee-high boots.
Style Notes: If anything is guaranteed, it's that when you hit your 30s, you will be invited to an abundance of engagement parties and, of course, weddings. Make sure you're prepared for any soiree that shows up in your calendar by having that one "wow" dress you can bring out again and again.
Style Notes: Okay, they might not be the sexiest thing on the list, but they are a wardrobe essential. While we're in the colder months (or simply preparing for sudden downpours), a great pair of tights can make your spring and summer outfits feel autumn and winter appropriate.
Style Notes: Your younger self may have reached for a pair of six-inch open-toed, stacked stilettos, but the versatile black heel is here to save the day. These go with everything, will never date and will create a confident posture rather than a "wobbling on heels for the first time" look. They're a no-brainer.
Style Notes: We'll concede: The roll-neck is the most versatile piece of clothing (second only to the white shirt, of course). And that's what we need in our lives now: easy-to-throw-on pieces that always look incredible and feel comfy.
Style Notes: It's the one you've been waiting for and the ultimate wardrobe must-have in your 30s: the humble sports shoe. Trainers are a timeless staple that can be worn with everything from tailoring to floaty dresses to miniskirts to leather trousers. We don't know where we'd be without the easiest shoe in our closets. They're beloved by everyone at every age.