How to dress in your 20’s
“Ahhh, to be in my 20’s again.”
I know you’ve heard people say it. Come to think of it, I think I’ve said it before!
But being in your 20’s isn’t easy for a multitude of reasons- not the least of which being fashion related.
You’re in this weird transition point in your life between college and ‘real life’ (aka: working). You have the body to dress however you want, but you need to look respectable at some point (like…when you’re going to work). Striking that balance isn’t easy. Oh, and bonus points: you probably have no money.
Given all that, how do you dress in your 20’s? How do you look professional without looking frumpy? How do you buy career clothes? How tight is too tight?
No worries 20-somethings! I have you covered. Here are the top 3 things you should focus on when it comes to clothes in your 20’s.
1. Focus on the basics
Think about what you wore in college. Sweatpants and baggy t-shirts to class? Skin tight dresses to clubs? Those clothes might have been comfy and convenient, but were they really you, or just what everyone else was wearing? Did they actually look good on you, or was it just the current trend? I can’t even tell you how many outfits I wore that were ‘the cool thing to wear’ which looked absolutely horrible on me.
It’s time to start thinking about what actually looks good on you, works for your lifestyle, and sends the message you want to send (see #3). Depending on the job you have after college, you may feel like your wardrobe is starting over from scratch. That’s okay. This is the perfect time for you to get back to the basics.
Here’s how to start upgrading your basics without spending an arm and a leg:
1. Think of your current lifestyle (your job or future job, daily activities, etc.) As you go through your closet, put everything that works with your lifestyle in one area. Put everything else to the side. (Example: Let’s say you are an entry level employee at an ad agency. The clothes you would wear for work are the ones that ‘work with your lifestyle’. The clothes you never really wear anymore are the ones that get put aside.)
2. Go through the clothes that work for your lifestyle/job. What pieces do you dislike? Does that button down shirt pull at the chest? Do your dress pants fit horribly (because you needed something for the interview…TODAY!)? Do your jeans all have holes in them? Make a list of the items that are in the ‘okay for my lifestyle’ pile, but that you aren’t really wild about.
3. Reorder your list so the items you wear most often are at the top. When you have extra money, only shop for things on your list, from top to bottom! This allows you to efficiently upgrade your basics and start building a foundation for an amazing wardrobe (not just a weird mish-mash of all the trends from the last 4 years).
Not sure what basics you need? This e-book has the top 20 basics everyone needs (and it even tells you what styles will look best for you body type) no matter what sort of ‘lifestyle’ you find yourself in!
2. Play up your youth!
You may be dipping your toes into the professional world, or spending your 9 to 5 acting like you’re older than you are…but don’t forget your youth! You’re still in your 20’s which means you can get away with a lot more than other age groups. The key is knowing how far to go, and WHEN. You can still wear those skin tight dresses out to clubs, but be sure to put them away before heading to the office. You can wear the newest leopard trend to work, but choose a leopard button down shirt under a black suit for a refined look. (Want to see all the new Fall 2018 trends plus great outfit ideas?? Click here)
You don’t want to look back at your 20’s and think: “Man, I looked like I was a stripper at work” OR (equally as bad, IMO) “Man, I looked like a 60 year old at work. I wish I had been a little more adventurous with my style.”
If you’re a little unsure about what items in your closet are appropriate in what situation, see the handy chart below:
3. What message are you sending?
For many of you, your 20’s are the first decade of your life that you get to make all your decisions about who you are. During high school and college you probably tried different lifestyles, trends, and even jobs, but as you get older, you start getting more comfortable with who you are as a person. You start understanding what you like regardless of what those around you like.
AND, here’s the biggie: you start thinking about how you want the world to perceive you.
Do you want people to think you’re professional? What about fun, intelligent, or carefree?
In our 20’s we start thinking about our reputation beyond the walls of our hometown or our college campus. What do we want our boss to think about us? What about our customers? What about future friends? What message do you want to send to these people?
You know how you only get 30 characters or something to write a description on your Instagram profile? That’s pretty much what it’s like getting dressed every day in your 20’s. You have a message about yourself, a description, that you want to tell the world. How you do your hair, makeup, the clothes you choose, and even your body language act as that 30 character description. It’s the first thing people see and it’s how they decide what kind of person you are…before they even look through your Instagram page.
So, when you go shopping or get dressed, think about what message you are sending. Is it the message you really want to be sending?
I know that’s a lot to think about, but don’t worry- you’re young and have plenty of time to mull this one over.
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TLDR: Start building a wardrobe of clothes that look great on your body type and send the message you want to send! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to have some fun.