As a 20-something, it can be hard to define your own sense of style. It’s likely that you’ve moved into your first apartment, have your first “big girl” job, and are navigating the complex social scene of young professionals on the weekends. You still don’t feel like a fully-fledged adult, but you have far more responsibilities than you did as a college student. So what does that mean for your wardrobe?
It’s time to toss out the rhinestone pocket jeans and graphic T-shirts. It’s time for your sense of style to grow up, even if you work in a casual office environment. Check out these tips on how to turn your teenage tastes into elegant adult outfits.
How To Turn Your Teenage Style into Elegant Adult Outfits
Invest in Versatile Pieces
Alright, it’s time to stop buying $10 tops that unravel after two cycles through the wash. Whether you like it or not, you’re an adult now, so it’s time to invest in items of clothing that will last you through the next several years (at the very least) of your professional career. A solid jean jacket is a great staple piece to add to your wardrobe that can dress up or dress down any outfit. While the price tag might seem scary, the use you’ll get out it will make the dent in your wallet well worth it.
Pro tip: some other versatile pieces for adulting-up your closet include:
- A cashmere sweater
- White button-down skirt
- Black pencil skirt
- Dark-colored blazer (such as navy blue of forest green)
- Plaid wool trench coat
- Straight-leg dark wash jeans
Keep a Cocktail Dress Handy
We’ve all heard of the magical Little Black Dress. As a contributing member of society with a 401(k), it’s time to step your evening attire up a notch.
A cute cocktail dress (or two or three!) should always be ready to go at a moment’s notice. As you start out in your career, you’ll probably be invited to classy networking events that require a dress code. Don’t get locked out because all you could scrounge together was a jean mini-skirt and crop top! Not to mention, your dating life will probably skyrocket during these years, so it never hurts to have a jaw-dropping outfit at the ready for when Prince Charming comes along.
A few ideas: get a cocktail dress that accentuates your body type. If you are curvy, a bodycon style will accentuate those fabulous hips. If you’re narrower, an A-line dress will add a bit of flirty volume to your figure. Remember to keep the hemline professional—right above the knee is typically the perfect length.
Select Shoes that will Keep You Going
Sure, stilettos and high-heeled boots might look runway-ready, but between work, running errands, going to the gym, and seeing friends, you need footwear that can carry you through it all. Pick up pairs of shoes that are comfortable on your feet.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to sacrifice form for function! Women’s loafers are incredibly cute, comfy, and stylish, and they go well with casual jeans or a professional pantsuit. Basically, any shoe without a high heel–from a mule to a ballet flat—can spice up your college-age closet.
Don’t panic: if you still want to wear heels, go for a wedge shoe that won’t put excess pressure on your heels as you go about your busy day.
Remember, Trousers Aren’t Just for Boys
When you think of bottoms, your mind probably goes straight to jeans or skirts. But don’t forget about trousers! These dark horses of the female fashion world are ideal for 20-somethings who are looking to age their wardrobe up a few years. If khaki pants sound boring, there are plenty of amazing striped trousers that will add a fashionable flare to any standard 9-5 getup. Simply pair it with a neutral top, cardigan, and some cute flats, and you’re good to go!
Fit recommendation: get trousers with a straight or wide-leg cut. While the skinny fit looks good for jeans, most trousers are made from materials that look best when they float over your leg line.
Growing up can be a pain, but your sense of style shouldn’t suffer with you! Use these tips to transform your teen fashion into a groovy grown-up wardrobe that gets you noticed in both your professional and personal life.