Your twenties were all about experimenting with hair color and testing out a few different careers (and, ahem, romantic partners). But now that you’ve finally made it to your thirties, and you’re starting to hit those lifetime milestones (or not—you do you!) like buying a home or starting your dream company, it’s about damn time to start dressing like an adult. We’ve created a list of ten clothing items every woman should own by 30, from a classic trench you’ll have for years to the jeans you can wear with every pair of shoes in your closet.
10 Pieces of Clothing Every Woman Over 30 Should Own
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1. Trousers That Actually Fit
By now you’ve (hopefully) learned that jeans don’t actually work for every event. Enter the simple, well-tailored trouser. Go through the painful process of trying on a few different styles from a handful of brands and keep in mind that you absolutely should take the chosen pair to a tailor in order to ensure the hem hits at the right spot (an inch above your ankle) and that the waistband hugs you just so. Look for trousers that hit at your natural waist for the most universally flattering fit.
Shop the look: Leith pants ($55); M.M. LaFleur pants ($195); AYR pants ($225)
2. A White Button-down That Doesn’t Need To Be Dry-cleaned
Who has time to visit the dry cleaners once a week? Do yourself a favor and replace your current white button-down with one that can be thrown in the washer and hung to dry. Sure, you might have to iron or steam it, but you’ll definitely get more wear out of a white shirt that doesn’t feel too delicate to wear twice a week. Don’t feel the need to go totally classic, either; an oversize shape or an open-back blouse can actually become an easy staple.
Shop the look: Uniqlo shirt ($30; $20); Amour Vert shirt ($138); Frank & Eileen shirt ($228)
3. A Pair Of Jeans That Goes With Every Pair Of Shoes
It’s taken a few years of research, but after careful consideration, we’ve learned that ever-so-slightly cropped jeans are the only style versatile enough to wear with every single kind of shoe. Hitting just shy of the ankle bone, these guys pair nicely with basic pointed-toe heels, suede loafers, combat boots, ankle booties, heeled mules and, yes, even thigh-high boots. The color of the denim hardly matters, but the length most certainly does.
Shop the look: Levi’s jeans ($70); Madewell jeans ($128); Slvrlake jeans ($289)
4. A Menswear-inspired Blazer
If you have approximately three minutes to get dressed in the morning but need to look pulled together, keep a trusty blazer on hand. It can be worn to the big meeting with a blouse (or T-shirt, depending on how casual your office is) and dark-wash jeans. Or you can throw it on over a floral dress for a layer of warmth in the spring and summer. On weekends, layer it over a short, slinky black-tie dress or wear it to brunch with the in-laws. If you want a forever investment piece, go with a neutral khaki or simple black. But if you want a playful statement piece? It’s pink, all the way.
Shop the look: Mango blazer ($130; $80); CeCe blazer ($149); Acne Studios ($700)
5. A Cheap White T-shirt (in Multiples)
Some things in life are worth investing in: a designer handbag, the honeymoon you’ve always dreamed about, that piece of art that will look perfect above your bed, $13 salads for lunch every damn day. But you should not spend a lot of money on a white T-shirt that will inevitably attract a coffee or wine spill or develop pit stains the first time you wear it on a 75-degree day. Instead, find a cheapo white tee that hangs just right and buy it in multiples. Once you’re ready to retire the shirt, please don’t throw it out: We’ve got some ideas for you.
Shop the look: H&M shirt ($30; $12); Amazon Essentials two-pack shirts ($19); Hanes x Elizabeth and James three-pack shirts ($50)
6. High Heels You Can Wear For At Least A Few Hours
You’re too old to walk home with your heels in your hands. So stock your closet with a few trusty pairs of heels: One is reserved for events where you’ll be on your feet for hours, another pair is for wedding dance floors or upscale cocktail parties and the third should have a lower heel for everyday occasions. Put each potential pair of heels to the test (but only on a carpeted floor so you can return them if you need to!) by jumping, strolling and standing for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If your arches start to ache or you feel any discomfort whatsoever, these pumps are not for you. Return them and start your search over.
Shop the look: 1.State heels ($89; $44); Sam Edelman heels ($120); Sarah Flint heels ($355)
7. A Bodysuit That Can Be Layered Or Worn On Its Own
Sure, these can be slinky tops when worn solo with jeans, but they’re also impeccable foundation pieces. Wear a white spaghetti-strap version under your white silk button-down or try a tank style under a cardigan. Because they seamlessly tuck into pants or skirts, you’ll almost forget you’re wearing a base layer.
Shop the look: Babaton bodysuit ($48); Commando bodysuit ($74); Alix NYC bodysuit ($130)
8. A Trench Coat
Let’s guess: Your go-to mid-weight outerwear is a leather jacket. Elevate your game by adding a trench coat to the mix. Like the Audrey Hepburn of jackets, this khaki (or even black!) style is beloved by all, effortlessly beautiful and never out of style. Invest in a quality option that you’ll keep for years. After all, you’ll likely reach for it every day in the fall...and the spring, for that matter.
Shop the look: London Fog coat ($200; $100); Universal Standard coat ($160); A.P.C. coat ($520)
9. A Black Leather Skirt (yes, Seriously)
Pick your length and your leather preference (real or faux), and behold as you instantly feel like a fancier version of yourself. Rock a midi version with a turtleneck and heeled boots or a mini with a T-shirt and a blazer. You’d be hard-pressed to find a look that’s sexier.
Shop the look: Zara skirt ($50); Nanushka skirt ($365); Theory skirt ($695)
10. A Dress You Absolutely Love
We bet you thought we’d tell you to get an LBD. Think again! Of course, if you want a little black dress, then by all means go ahead. But if you feel more comfortable throwing on a sweater dress with sneakers, do that. Prefer to try a floaty floral frock with leather boots? Then that’s exactly what you should wear. The key here is to find a dress that you’ll actually wear on the regular. Don’t worry about the seasons or even the trends of the moment. This is about you feeling comfortable in your skin and in your wardrobe.
Shop the look: Treasure & Bond dress ($89); Shabby Chic dress ($128); La DoubleJ dress ($695)