How to dress in your 30s? While there should be zero limitations to what you wear whatever your age, there are certain milestones that have the potential to shift your fashion perspective. For many, this particular decade is definitely up there as a big one.
Changing requirements, emotionally maturing, juggling priorities, finding your sartorial comfort zone—these are all things that can shape, hone and perfect your wardrobe. And that’s a great thing. But we realise it’s not always the easiest thing to navigate through. So we enlisted the assistance of a few super-chic women who have passed the 30 mark and found fashion happiness to reveal what they discovered or reaffirmed about their style when they reached their 30s. Get ready to start incorporating their clever, confidence-boosting mantras.
As she is one of our favourite fashion Instagrammers, there are countless style lessons we can learn from Franny, who happens to have an excellent eye for vintage pieces. Looking back, she muses that she found her style confidence when she reached her 30s. “That was the age when I finally found my style, and I’m so happy I did. I just embraced it. I’ve developed a rather effortless, classic taste that I love and that makes me more confident because I’m truly myself,” she says.
“My style hasn’t changed greatly, but when I was younger, I was still looking for myself. Turns out, it wasn’t what I wore that changed. It was me and how I viewed myself, which is now more positively,” she adds. “Come to think of it, I’ve always had the sort of look that’s now trending on social media—a minimal palette of beige, brown, black, navy blue. It’s only been a few years since I decided to add more prints, colourful dresses, etc. to my wardrobe.”
“What I’ve learnt is the most important thing is to be yourself and wear what makes you feel good, without following the trends that don’t speak to you. Finding your style can take time, but it’s so rewarding when you do. That’s when you’ll look good in whatever your wear. Just being in your skin will fulfil you,” she says.
“I experimented more with trends in my 20s that, in turn, led to some questionable outfit choices,” says stylist and Instagram maverick Emma Rose Thatcher. “But I think that’s time to do it. I bought too many clothes, whereas now I’d rather have fewer items but better quality. Now that I’m in my late 30s, I feel like I truly understand my style. I’ve found my formula, which helps when deciding what to buy and helps when putting outfits together.”
The pieces Emma gravitates towards now differ greatly from what her 20-something self would have done, too. So what’s the one thing she would never have expected to love? “Probably the Chanel dad sandals—I really wasn’t sure at first but love them now and have worn so much over the last year!” she says.
For those looking to rediscover or switch up their sense of style, Emma has this advice: “I’m a huge fan of mood boards. Whenever I feel in a bit of a rut, I take the time to scroll Instagram and Pinterest, saving the looks I love. Do this, then go into your wardrobe and see if you can re-create some of the looks. You’ll work out where the gaps are in your wardrobe. You might need to add a few pieces, but it will help when it comes to pulling outfits together and making the most of all the pieces in your wardrobe.”
“I’ve always been confident when it came to dressing, and my style is super eclectic,” shares model and fashion muse Eunice Olumide MBE. “Now, however, in my 30s, I understand more acutely what it is I actually like, so it’s much easier deciding what to wear.”
“Although I took more risks when I was younger, they didn’t always turn out right! I make a lot of my own clothes. I recycle and reuse them. Now, I’m not as scared of just being myself—elegant but with a street style edge,” she adds. As for the most significant change in her fashion preferences? “The most satisfying shift I’ve made in my 30s is wearing more flats,” reveals Eunice. “I live in kitten heels and sandals, which is a welcome change from being trapped in stilettos before!”
“Style is all about how you feel! Don’t be afraid to take risks with colour—it can often dramatically improve your mood, and that’s key! If you feel amazing, you look amazing, too, and you send out brilliant energy,” she says.
“What I’ve learnt is that age shouldn’t define your style,” professes stylish influencer marketing manager Claire Wakeman. “I don’t think you hit a certain age and all of a sudden have to start ‘dressing the part.'” We couldn’t agree more. So did Claire feel any sort of sartorial shift when she entered her 30s?
“I feel like I’ve always had confidence in my style and how I want to dress, regardless of my age. I’ve always loved fashion. I just know now, more than ever, what I like and what works for me. I maybe experimented more in my 20s, but I do wear very similar outfits now. That said, I’m probably less likely to jump on trends nowadays and do find myself dressing more for comfort,” she says. “I rewear a lot more now than I did in my 20s, too, and work on a rotation basis with pieces, but I’m not sure that can be attributed to age. Maybe just more of an understanding of the impact my fashion choices have on the world. I also invest more in classic longevity pieces. I tend to look at what is already in my wardrobe, creating outfits around these pieces. When I buy something, I always ask myself, What will this go with that I have already? It’s a simple trick, but it works.”
For anyone who feels stuck in a style rut, Claire has this to say: “Wear what you love and feel comfortable in. It’s now so easy to be influenced by trends you see on Instagram and on celebrities. But ask yourself, Do I really love this? Will I get sick of it? Will it still be in my wardrobe in a few years? And a reminder that you can have fun with fashion—don’t restrict yourself!”
This piece was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. Next Up, Autumn/Winter 2021 Trends: The Only Fashion Looks You Need to Know