How to Dress Well At Age 30

How to Dress Well At Age 30
Carly Jacobs

Welcome to the second installment of the How to Dress Your Age Smaggle Series! This is for the ladies who are out of their twenties and heading towards the big 4-0. Here are a few things you need to admit…

* Your boobs, skin and hair are not as bouncy as they used to be. But you’re still freakin gorgeous.

* You have more money now than you did in your twenties.

* There are some items you should not wear above the age of thirty.

* Comfort plays a huge part in the way you dress.

* You now have a grown-up’s job.

My lovelies turning 30 does not mean you need to submit to sartorial purgatory. You know those women who wear jeans and twin sets all the time?  They look fine and lovely and everything but to me they look like they have resigned themselves to the that fact that they are over thirty and can’t wear anything trendy. Bullshit. Utter codswallops. You can knock the socks of ANYONE with your confidence and prowess in the wardrobe. There are a few things you need to do though…

Get over yourself – Oh mother nature is a cruel wench isn’t she? More wrinkles, more cellulite, a little more gut and a lot more thigh. Care factor? Zero! It’s going to happen so just deal with it. Want to hear the good news? You are earning SO MUCH more money now than you were 10 years ago. You know what that means? Get your hair coloured and styled every six weeks and for god’s sake treat yourself to a manicure. Do divine things for yourself and you’ll glow from the inside out. Just take care of yourself chicken, and you’ll be sparkling like the rocks that J-Lo got!

Realise the worth of clothing – Remember when you were 22 and you could walk into a boutique and have a gorgeous dress to wear that night that looked amazing and cost $20? Well guess what honey, it’s okay to spend money on clothes. You are no longer a starving uni student/traveller/office junior. You now have a decent salary (or at least a husband with a decent salary…) and enough disposable income to start a wardrobe of investment pieces. Don’t be tempted by the cheap and nasties. You are far too sophisticated and classy to be seen wearing cheap and ill-fitting clothing.

Love yourself… but not too much – Just be honest with yourself. Can you still get away with that low cut top or are your boobs too saggy? Is that mini skirt just a little too short for your dimply thighs? Don’t fret my kittens! Just because you have to cover up a little doesn’t mean that you can’t look oh-so-funky. You just have to be a little more classy about it. Having said that if you spent the better part of your twenties on a stairmaster eating grains and wheatgrass then wear as little clothing as possible. You deserve it. But the majority of us spent our twenties eating cheese and drinking champagne and should dress accordingly.

Remember that comfort is key –  When I hit thirty I imagine that I will be over the whole ripping-my-feet-apart-with-stupidly-high-shoes thing. That’s the beauty of being thirty. You are older, wiser and more self assured. You have more important things to worry about than the latest Blahniks. I’m still in my twenties. I have no excuse. You can happily sit in your flowy maxi dress while the younger girls squeeze themselves into circulation stopping stovepipes and be relieved. You did that ten years ago. You are mature enough to move on.

Realise that professional attire is really important – I am usually very relaxed in my approach to dressing but I am very concerned about work attire. It says so much about what you are like as a worker and if you are a lady in your thirties trying to make it in the business world you have so much working against you (partners, families and men) that you really cannot afford to be relaxed in your attire. I know I sound like I am talking out of my arse (which I am prone to do on occasion) especially as my office clothing ettiquette is a little on the cheeky side but trust me. To be honest, if you dress in a neat and stylish way no one will notice. But they sure as hell will if you don’t. Think about it. That weird lady down the corridor who wears handmade pants and jackets in matching florals? What is your opinion of her? Or the guy that wears Bermuda shorts with knee high socks and lace-up shoes? What’s he like? Exactly.

Work Wear

A lot of women hit thirty and immediately start wearing black all the time. Why not try cream, beige and dusky pinks? Keep your main palette neutral and add colour in your accessories. Make sure your heels are sensible and that you wear classy but minimal jewellery. Ask youself every morning if your Grandmother would approve of what you are wearing. If you think you’d get a few ‘tut tuts’ then reconsider. The Grandma Guage works wonders for dressing appropriately for work.

Casual Wear

Don’t think that just because you are thirty you can’t experiment with colour. Just add the dirt factor. Sounds gross I know but if acid yellow is the colour of the season try something mustard. Or if it’s bright orange try a burnt orange. Just mute down the colours with a little dirt and this will help you avoid that whole ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ thing. Try wearing patterns. I find patterned dresses look much more stylish on more mature women rather than young girls. Keep your accessories simple and scarce. And add a funky bag that doesn’t quite match. Come on, live it up! You’re still young.

Evening Wear

Again the use of a neutral base is key. Also it’s probably time to start raising the neckline a little and wide shouldered dresses are a perfect transitional piece. It’s good to aim for vertical gathers because they elongate you. Consider the beautiful combination of dusty blue with cream. And instead of jewellery why not try a beautiful headband or hair clip? At this age you’re a little over following trends so just wear things that are beautiful rather than fashionable.

To wrap it all up just remember to be honest about these three things…

* Your age

* What you should keep covered

* The fact that you aren’t dead yet

 Tune in next Friday for How to Dress Well – 40’s.

Love Lady Smaggle xx


  1. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Oh I will most certainly follow up this series with an Investment Dressing piece. I do agree that some ‘classics’ date but I’ll try to help out on this one.

    It’s really difficult to aim a post at eveyone in an age group so go forth and prosper with your perfect chest skin! No matter what advice I give I always promote the ‘if you’ve got it flaunt it’ principal. But only if you’ve got it. 🙂

    Curly hair and high forehead is not a problem with head bands at all! Just make sure you don’t scrap all your hair back into at once leave curls out the front like this.

    The secret is to keep hair around your face.

  2. Gervy 14 years ago

    Well Lady Smaggle, I may be your only reader in the 30s demographic. So let me respond to your excellent fashion advice.

    Yes, I have more money now than I did in my 20s. And a husband who makes lots of moula. So I guess I should think some more about “investment dressing”. Maybe you could do a post on this – specifically, what pieces are really worth investing in. I find that some so-called classics actually date really badly.

    Haven’t worn shorts in public since I was about 20. My big sister told me I had cellulite when I was 6, but I resisted the urge to cover up for another decade or so…

    However, the skin on my decolletage is perfect, if I do say so myself, so no raising of necklines for me.

    I love the idea of headbands, but I don’t think they work with my curly hair and high forehead. Please advise.

    I’m probably less concerned about comfort now than I was in my 20s and, I can’t bear to admit it, my teens. In hindsight, I should have worried about comfort less, and flashed a lot more skin, particularly when I had fabulous 18-year-old legs.

  3. Gervy 14 years ago

    That headband looks fab on you. I will try and experiment with this look… but I think I am scared about adding volume to my already large head and big hair!

    I will await your investment dressing piece with impatience

    x Gervy

  4. Lady Smaggle 14 years ago

    Gervey – I have a massive head and massive hair too but thankfully I these lovely child-bearing hips to balance it all out. I’ll get to the investment dressing soon! xxx

  5. Pallavi 11 years ago

    physical dress up is important but do we need to dress up our minds too with age?

  6. Skreebit97 10 years ago

    There are some assumptions made in this blog that do a disservice to the variety of the human experience. Being thirty does not mean you will “have a husband with a good job”, nor that you yourself will be employed. It also does not mean that you will look uglier or gain weight. These things are assumptions and on behalf of my sister and my friends, I must reassure people that they are not true for everyone.  Wear whatever you want. Life is short. You are in charge, not blog writers, not fashion magazines, not celebrity worship culture, not the mean idiots who whine about what other people are wearing as though this matters at all…
    You decide. And please understand that what is written in blogs is just someone’s opinion. In the case of this blog, it is also just wrong.

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