The 30-Something Wardrobe Edit

The 30-Something Wardrobe Edit | #fashion | SONIASTYLING.COM

While leaving a comment on this post over on Styling You, I remarked that I hadn’t owned a full length gown since my Year 12 formal.

“You never know when you might find yourself on the end of a formal invite, Sonia…” Nikki replied.

And you know what? She’s right!

It got me thinking about the other possible gaps in my wardrobe. The classic investment pieces that I’ll wear and own for years to come. So I’ve come up with 9 items every woman in her 30s (and beyond) should own…

The 30-Something Wardrobe Edit

The 30-Something Wardrobe Edit | #fashion | SONIASTYLING.COM

1. The Tailored Blazer

Oh how I love me a blazer!

Not only does it look brilliant in a corporate environment, a blazer can elevate even the most basic jeans and tee combo to Princess Kate levels of sophistication.

The effect of a well-tailored blazer is elegant and timeless, and in my opinion, you should have an entire section of your wardrobe devoted to it in multiple colours and prints to call upon for any outfit, occasion or season.

My Pick: Forever New ‘Shae’ Panel Blazer (in Navy) $99.99

2. The Crisp White Shirt

The white shirt is the quintessential piece for every woman’s wardrobe.

It’s the once piece that can create a polished and pulled-together look in one easy manoeuvre, whether paired casually with jeans or a ladylike pencil skirt.

When wearing your white shirt with a pair of pants or jeans, try the half-tuck to create an effortlessly cool vibe. To dress it up, button the shirt all the way up and add a huge statement necklace for the ultimate wow factor.

My Pick: Oxford ‘Angel’ French Cuff Shirt $74.50 (on sale)

3. The Leather Jacket

So we all rocked our denim jacket in spring and summer through our teenage years and into our 20s… and probably still do! For winter and our 30+ years, it’s time to up our fashion game with a (real) leather jacket.

A leather jacket amps up the cool factor of any outfit with a hint of edginess and plenty of style. Wear it with jeans to dress it down or over a dress to play up the pretty/tough factor. Choose a style that suits you and make sure it fits well through the shoulders.

If real leather isn’t your thing, buy the very best quality vegan leather alternative you can afford to achieve the same look.

My Pick: Forever New ‘Jessie’ Quilted Biker Jacket $269.99

4. The Cashmere Sweater

As much as I love my countless (faded and pilled) hoodies and sweatshirts, they really only see daylight at home. A step above – and out the front door – means investing in a the ultimate jumper: the cashmere sweater.

The sophisticated older sister, a cashmere sweater is super versatile. It looks just as smart with a pair of jeans and flats on the weekend as it does with a pencil skirt and heels at the office or out to dinner. It’s also a great piece to wear when travelling.

My Pick: UNIQLO Cashmere Round Neck Sweater $109.90

5. The Trench Coat

There’s something inherently chic and classic about a trench coat, don’t you think?

Movie stars and fashionistas of all generations have worn a trench coat and just like the icons of film and fashion, it never goes out of style. Another versatile piece that looks equally as amazing with a weekend denim ensemble as it does over a dress.

Your first trench coat should be in classic camel with great tailoring. A friend of mine indulged in a Burberry trench some eight years ago and still wears it to this day – and it still looks brand new. Now that’s a sound investment!

My Pick: Sportscraft ‘Miranda’ Classic Trench $299.95

6. The Long Gown

Now to Nikki’s suggestion – the long gown.

Remember all the weddings you attended in your 20s? Still attending weddings in your 30s… and 40s… and 50s…? Of course you are! You’re probably also buying expensive tickets to swanky gala balls with strict black tie dress codes. This is when you need a beautiful and classic long gown to call upon.

For the initial purchase, I’d be inclined to go for black due to its versatility, but if black’s not your bag, opt for a colour you love and know you will get a lot of wear out. Also important to consider is fit. Make sure the gown fits you comfortably through the body and invest in tailoring to ensure it is the perfect length. You don’t want to be dragging that expensive gown along the ground!

My Pick: Forever New ‘Maddy’ Embellished Silk Drape Dress ($189.99)

7. The Wool Coat

The women that never fail to turn my head – in appreciation – in winter are the ones in a fabulous coat.

A wool coat with exquisite tailoring in a works-with-everything hue (which doesn’t have to be black) will be your winter saviour. It’s the perfect piece to complete your cold weather outfits with plenty of polish and sophistication.

My Pick: Review Australia ‘Theadora’ Wool Blend Coat $319.99

8. The Perfect Pant

By now we all should have nailed down the jeans that suit us best and so it’s time to do the same with pants.

The key is to find the most flattering cut for your body. I truly believe you can’t go past a slim leg trouser with a bit of stretch. It suits practically everyone. And once you’ve found your perfect pant, for goodness sake, buy thousands! Well, at least two pairs.

And don’t forget the golden pant rule – if they’re too long, have them altered.

My Pick: Forever New ‘Audrey’ Pull On Skinny Pant $69.99

9. The Ultimate Dress

To quote the great philosopher, Beyoncé: “…time to impress. Pull out your freakum dress.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, a ‘freakum dress’ is similar to the Little Black Dress, but demands one’s attention.

It’s the dress you can pull out of your wardrobe and look amazing in a moment’s notice. For everything from an important meeting to a spontaneous date night, it’s the dress that flatters your figure, makes a personal fashion statement and – most importantly – it’s the dress you feel 100% confident in.

Choose your favourite colour or print and the right cut and length for you.

My Pick: Keepsake The Label ‘Such Great Heights’ Dress $159.95

For more fashion inspiration, check out my post on how to build a casual capsule wardrobe and how to build a capsule wardrobe for work.

What gaps do you have in your wardrobe?

Which items have you invested in at age 30, 40, 50…?


  1. says

    Great picks here Sonia and I’m happy to report I have the bases covered! I’ve found the essentials which I’ve invested in for my 30s (which for me have involved a lot of time at home with young kids) have been a versatile smart casual wardrobe – great jeans, knits and flats/trainers and frocks for everyday wear. I still love my dressier pieces though and look for any excuse to wear them. x

    • Sonia says

      You’re a great example of someone who has their basics locked down and creates looks that are classic, flatter your shape and convey your fabulous personality. x

  2. Jess says

    The perfect “pant” ugh really? Do you only have one leg? Why do people insist on saying such stupid things in order to sound like fashion girls.

    • Sonia says

      Thanks for your comment, Jess and apologies that one “fashion-centric” word overshadowed what I had hoped to be a useful and helpful post.

      • says

        Ugh really? Do you only have the ability to be rude?

        Pant has been in common use since 1893 when the new style of long legged trousers became popular.

        Pants actually is a compression of pantaloons – the knee breeches that were the standard style for men.

        Over time, pants came to mean the two-legged garment both women and men wear.

        So both pant and pants are correct. Don’t like “fashion girl” terms? Might I suggest not reading “fashion girl” terms. What even is a “fashion girl”?

        • Sonia says

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you are an absolute fountain of fashion knowledge! Love it. Thanks so much. x

    • Danielle says

      I was wondering why people say such stupid things too, Jess, except I was thinking about you.

      Why do people who know they are reading a fashion blog get uppity about fashion terminology?

  3. says

    Hi Sonia, love this post! As someone a few years older (ahem!) than yourself, you’d think I have this covered by now! Alas, the perfect pant is still missing, might go check out the pair you’ve suggested as a starting point, love your work x

  4. says

    I am a recent convert to the blazer and now have three to choose from that I adore. I have also finally nailed the perfect pant situation in slim-leg ponte. Oh no, I just used the word “pant”. How offensive.

  5. Aitch says

    I have some of these covered and have just filled a few more gaps – I’ve ordered the white shirt and cashmere sweater just now. I can’t pull off a trench coat – I have tried but I always end up looking like Inspector Gadget 🙁 I have a few classic lbds that work for most occasions but I’m on the lookout for a statement dress, and of course, the elusive perfect pant.

  6. says

    Awesome list Son. Happy to report I’ve got most bases covered apart from #3. I’ve been on the lookout to invest in a black leather jacket for a couple of years but yet to find the perfect one. I love the biker style but also like something with a softer look. I just can’t decide. Its such a big outlay, I’ve gotta get it right 🙂

    • Sonia says

      I totally get it. A leather jacket is a big investment and one you want to get 100% right. Keep trying on different styles, brands and sizes so you can be totally certain when you find the perfect jacket for you.

  7. Leah says

    Yes great list Sonia! I think I have most of these covered too except I can’t do the white shirt.. Some women look amazing in them but I just can’t do it! Funny cos they look weird on my mum too – must be our frame! And I reckon the trick to losing the inspector gadget look (hehe) is wearing it open with a good thick scarf – can’t go wrong!

    • Sonia says

      I find being busty, I have to go for a “different” style of shirt. A chiffon/flowy blouse style works well, as does a relaxed fit shirt. Great tip about wearing a scarf with a trench to avoid looking like a super spy!

  8. says

    EXCELLENT list! And point in terms of a gown – I’ve got a few long length bridesmaids dresses lurking around but probably nothing I’d really go to for an on-a-whim formal occasion or a ball! Eyes are peeled – any excuse will do, right!? 😉

  9. Sally says

    Sonia, love this post. I’m mid forties and I can tick off most of this list. Whilst on holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam I had a blue blazer, light grey wool coat, favourite black pants copied plus three dresses, much cheaper there and they all fit perfectly (recomend Bi Bi Silk best tailor in Hoi An). Also picked up a great trench coat here in Temt for $60 which you don’t have to dry clean. Have off white shirt as this suits my skin tone better. Keep up these kind of posts.

    • Sonia says

      I only just recently added a white shirt to my wardrobe (as in, a couple of months ago) – but it’s more of a relaxed fit style, which is kinda cool!

      • says

        I own two white shirts – one because it is a Witchery OCRF White Shirt Day fundraiser – I happily paid retail and that almost never happens.

        One because it is a Dion Lee for Cue limited edition shirt (cut out back to die for) that was a total opshop bargain and cult classic. Perk of opshop volunteering? You pay the same but you get first pick!

        I’ve worn both of them exactly once each!

  10. says

    Great post. For me this season in my 30s I invested in two really really incredible pairs of boots. Most of my wardrobe staples are ticked off although the trench coat and my bust line are just not compatible.

  11. SUZie says

    Enjoying your blog Sonia! I’m finding all my fav Blazers, pant/s, trenches etc at Zara, well priced, well made and classic keepers. As someone in my 50ish (how time flies!) they cater for a wider age group and are always on trend.

    • Sonia says

      Zara is brilliant. I love shopping there, as does my husband. It’s a win-win when we go there – he shops in his section and I shop in mine!

  12. Pat says

    Keep coming back and reading this post. Thanks Sonia, just what I need. I always buy whatever looks pretty and catches my eye but end up with tons on the same stuff (tops are my love) whilst I need to get the basics right first. Blazer will be my first priority followed by the elusive perfect pant !

    • Sonia says

      Thanks so much, Pat – that’s so lovely of you to say! I struggling for a long time with pants until I worked out that a pull-on style works best for me. I own the Forever New pants featured in this post and absolutely love them!

  13. says

    Fabulous picks Sonia…love the blazer and its super powers of adding the perfectly polished layer to any outfit!!
    Love your work too x

  14. says

    Absolutely spot on! I definitely did the ‘now that I am 30+’ wardrobe cleanse and have most of these staples. I had to buy a formal gown for a ball earlier this year, it is navy, comfortable and pretty timeless, I hated spending money on it, but it is there now for when I need it.

    Love this post Sonia!
    xx Jenelle

    • Sonia says

      Thanks Jenelle! I’m finding the further I get into my 30s, the more I’m loving the “staples” – the classic colour palette, great tailoring and the silhouettes that flatter my shape. There’s got to be an upside to getting older, right?!

  15. ali says

    This post is fantastic!

    I was wondering if you have any recommendations on where to get some good quality long sleeve tops from. I’ve been trying to find some for work, but haven’t had much luck. They’re either the ‘skin tight’ style, super expensive or not ‘work appropriate’. My poor arms are getting a bit cold 🙁

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