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If 50 is the new 30, then 30-year-olds are practically adolescent. But chances are that your new life means that you've kissed the gossip girl life goodbye and you're ready to stride confidently into the crescendo of your youth. But what to wear while you stride? There are few rules in fashion (just ask Lady Gaga about that steak dress), but if you want to be taken seriously, and if you don't want to look like that 50-year-old trying to look like you, there is such a thing as dressing your age.
Fashion is a playground without a lot of rules. And just because you're 30, the morning alarm isn't the death knell of your youth. However, there are some helpful guidelines. Style expert and author Bridgette Raes says that when she works with clients who turn 30, she usually tells them that "it's time to let go of their first interview suit, toss the old college clothes and start buying more grown-up investment pieces. Around the age of 30, most people are starting to excel in their career, they've moved beyond the entry-level position and they need the wardrobe to match these successes." Investment pieces are clothes that you can wear for years, such as tailored black or gray slacks, a classic cardigan, a work blazer cut in appropriate lines and the versatile crisp, white shirt.
It's All About the Confidence
Perhaps the biggest change between dressing your 20-year-old bod versus your 30-year-old one is that you need to wear clothes that are an outward expression of your inner confidence, no matter how you've shaped up or shipped out. You can rock that mini if you've stair-stepped to Hades and back to get those legs. Or if you've got some girls to show off, be proud of your femininity -- just keep the girls in hiding on the job and let them play peek-a-boo when you're on the town. The key is knowing what pieces fit your personality and what you want to project at any given moment, whether it's at the office, on a date or out with girlfriends to scam a date.
Whether you have a friend who commits the fashion sin of shiny disco shirts with matching eyeshadow at work or you are the friend who wears shiny disco shirts with matching eyeshadow at work, faux pas such as these should become le passé. The fact that you run with the big girls by day doesn't mean you shlump into sensible shoes and clothes. When you stumble forward and wear staid, matchy-matchy outfits, you age yourself almost as fast as a woman with a dual nicotine-sun worship addiction. A stylish animal-print pump and a smart statement necklace and bracelets add personality to a tailored work ensemble. And for fashion's sake, don't wear anything that is too tight or too big, even if you need to sneak up a size or two. Just right is the fashion mantra for your thirties.
The Power of Five
There are a few must-have wardrobe pieces that may be missing from the power buys in your twenties. Whether you're a minimalist or in maximum overdrive with acquisitions, think of the power of five when building a wardrobe. According to Raes, president of the Bridgette Raes Style Group of New York, each 30-year-old woman should own "a nude or tan pair of heels which will go with everything and elevate the look of most outfits; some interesting personality-defining accessories; wardrobe pieces for work that are considered investment pieces; a good trench coat; and a good handbag."