27 Wardrobe Basics You Need in Your 30s, From Someone Who Knows

I'm going to turn 37 at the end of the year, and while I have curated my wardrobe staples over the years, I think I've finally settled on a capsule of the below 27 items. Now, well into my 30s, I think it's safe to say I'm happy with these pieces and I would never switch any of them out for anything else. Yes, newer additions come and go, but these are the ones I wear regularly. I've not included items like skirts or wedding guest dresses because as I've mentioned, this is about getting dressed daily, rather than for those special events. 

This list isn't about items that are nice to have. This list isn't about trends, either. This list is all about pieces that will last in your wardrobe, and whenever you wear them, they will make you feel good. I own all the items I've featured below (and where that wasn't possible, I've found something very similar), and they are my fail-safe options when it comes to getting dressed quickly and chicly. They enable me to get ready without having to think about it—a life hack that can never be underestimated.

wardrobe staples for women in 30s: elinor block wearing a black jacket, white shirt and blue jeans



Of course, that's not to say that anyone outside of their 30s can't have all these items in their wardrobe and rely on them as much as I do, but I've definitely gotten to a point where having classic outfits I can reach for every morning is my preferred way to function. So then, keep scrolling to see the items I've selected. Even if you just had these to wear over and over again, you'd be very happy. Trust me on this. 

1. White T-Shirt

I've never met a plain white T-shirt I didn't like. My personal preference is a loose-fit soft tee that doesn't feel too stiff. It needs to feel like you've worn it forever, and it's like your second skin. I found the perfect white tee from Monki about six years ago, and I still wear it today. 

2. Black T-Shirt

Another colour I swear by is the black T-shirt. While I don't usually like V-neck tees, I make an exception when it's black. I like that you can tuck it into a pair of high-waisted jeans, throw on some gold jewellery and a blazer, and you've got yourself a perfect outfit for going out, work or even a date. 

3. White Shirt

I'm a big advocate for shopping in the men's section, and a few months ago, I found the ideal white shirt from Arket. It's just the right loose fit, and the material is thick but not too heavy. 

4. Vest

Whether you're wearing this with a pair of joggers or jeans, this top will get endless outings. 

5. Oversize Jumper

You know when you just want to feel warm but don't want to look totally slobby? This is the jumper you need. I can personally vouch for Weekday's knitwear as being great for the high street, but if your budget can stretch, take a look at brands such as &Daughter. 

6. Smart Jumper

The opposite of the slouchy, oversize jumper, the smart jumper is what you have to put on when you're working, having a meeting, or going out and you want to stay warm. 

7. Cardigan

I can't survive without cardigans. Despite the fact that they've seen soaring popularity over the past few years, this item has been a constant in my wardrobe. I love this L'Agence thin-knit cardi, but thicker ones also get my vote. 

8. Black Roll-Neck

By itself or as a vital layering piece, this is one item that I can't stress enough will save you again and again when it's freezing. 

9. Smart Trousers

Chuck these on with sandals, boots or trainers, and you'll look chic. 

10. Smart Joggers

Just because you're lounging or working from home doesn't mean you have to wear your tattiest trousers. Invest in some smarter joggers you can wear outside the house. 

11. Blue Jeans

I can't stress enough how important finding the right blue jeans is. I discovered a great pair from Uniqlo last year, and they're easily one of the best I've ever worn. Smart, reliable and chic when paired with any of the above tops.

12. Loose Jeans

Controversial, in a way, as not everyone likes wearing looser jeans, but sometimes straight-leg just won't do. Best for wearing in the summer. 

13. Leggings

According to Who What Wear Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi, these leggings are the ultimate black leggings. If you want to mix up your look a bit, try a pair with stirrups or side slits. 

14. Black Ankle Boots With Heels

Black boots with a heel are the kind of boots that never go out of style and are great for working or going out. 

15. Stomper Boots

Remember all those walks you've been on recently? Now think back to all those walks when you needed great boots to keep your feet warm. Time to invest in a pair that you love but are also practical. 

16. Sneakers

I love trainers, and finding a pair that's cool and looks great with everything in your wardrobe is key. 

17. Sandals

I'm very easy when it comes to sandals. I like them fairly chunky and black, preferably with two straps as well. This formula means they magically go with everything in my wardrobe. 

18. Gold Necklace

The way to add instant polish to your outfit is to add a necklace. Anything gold, in my opinion. 

19. Gold Earrings

Similarly, you'll suddenly look super chic with gold earrings. 

20. Black Jacket

The oldest trick in the styling book. If in doubt, add a black jacket to give your outfit some sophistication. Well, it works for the French. 

21. Puffer

While puffers haven't always been cool among the fashion crowd, there's no denying they're the best for keeping us warm. This past year has proven that everyone needs a decent version of this coat in their wardrobe. 

22. Wool Coat

And when you're done with the puffer and just want to look smarter, the wool coat is always a vital staple to keep on hand. 

23. Floral Dress 

Perhaps the most "outrageous" item on this list, the floral dress just makes the cut as being a wardrobe basic. Pull it out for weddings, summer events or wearing over the top of a roll-neck and boots in the winter. 

24. Black Dress

It doesn't have to be an LBD to make the cut. But a black dress that you truly love is such a great thing to have in your wardrobe. It will save you on so many occasions when you just don't know what to wear. 

25. Perfect Knickers 

Our underwear is just as important as our outerwear. Find the knickers you love and stick to them. It will make you feel great. 

26. Comfortable Bra

Trust me on this: Paying a bit more for your bra will be one of the best decisions you've ever made. If you can't get fitted right now, try out our bra size calculator

27. Hat

Not everyone is a hat person; I recognise that. But I recently found a leopard-print bucket hat that I can't seem to stop wearing. And it makes me feel fancy every time I put it on. 

Next up, the biggest autumn 2021 fashion trends to know to know right now. 

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

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