The 20s are a time of transition – particularly for your wardrobe. These are the years of milestones–when you get your first job, or maybe go to grad school. Transitioning from a college wardrobe to one that is more versatile, professional even, can be a lot of work. So to help you with that, I’ve put together a list of the 20 essentials you’ll need in your wardrobe to help you fashionably get through your 20s.
1. A steamer
I’ll start with a rather unconventional choice: a steamer. This is one investment that I’ve held onto through the years. It can get rid of wrinkles in minutes in the morning, and wrinkle-free clothing immediately upgrades any look. While wrinkly tees may have been acceptable for college, a crisp tee will make you feel and look more polished.
2. A good bra
That a good foundation is necessary goes without saying. If you still have a hard time finding well-fitting bras, now is the time to go to a lingerie boutique and get an expert fitting.
3. Silk blouse
A silk blouse is another indispensible basic that can get you through class or meetings. You can dress is up for brunch with a statement necklace, or keep it simple in a professional setting. Invest in a high-quality silk blouse, and make sure you wash it under a “delicates” setting.
4. White tee
Probably not much needs to be said about white tees. They’re like the bread & butter of any closet.
5. A pair of tailored jeans
Being a petite gal, I’ve had jeans tailored before. They make all the difference if it is hard for you to find jeans that fit off-the-rack. Tailoring is not that expensive for jeans, and will transform the way the jeans hug your body.
6. Professional skirt
Something that you can pair with your silk blouse – so think more high-waisted than low. Look for materials that won’t cling to any tights you might wear underneath.
7. Black dress
LBD. Enough said.
8. Wrap dress
Wrap dresses are great for every shape. They are super comfortable and can seamlessly transition from day to night with a few well-placed accessories.
9. Cashmere sweater
A good-quality sweater that will last you through many winters is a better bang for your buck than cheaper sweaters that pill after a few wears. Choose thicker cashmeres over the thinner ones. Or, wools if cashmere isn’t your thing. Make sure to also wash these in the delicates cycle. I prefer to air dry mine on a rack (don’t hang them by the shoulder as that will stretch them out) over throwing them in the dryer.
10. A blazer
A fitted blazer is again one of those versatile pieces. If it is hard for you to find a blazer that fits your body perfectly, a tailor can also come in handy here – although tailoring blazers is going to be more expensive than jeans (usually).
11. A trench coat
A trench coat – preferably water-proof or water-resistant – is a great coat for the late summer-fall months. One of the easiest and cheapest tailoring tricks you can do is to move the belt hooks to where your natural waist is.
12. Wrap coat
A good wrap coat for the winter months is one of those investment pieces that is worth splurging for. Consider price-per-wear if you are going to be wearing it most of the winter. Choose natural fabrics like wools and cashmeres over synthetic ones.
13. A leather jacket
Think less hardware rather than more. Keep it simple.
14. A work bag
Think about what you need to carry with you on a day-to-day basis. Will you be bringing your laptop or tablet with you? Work from the measurements of your largest
15. Cross-body/shoulder bag
Cross-body/shoulder bags are great everyday bags – I like that they can keep your hands free as you go about your day.
16. Work appropriate pumps or heels
Choose ones in a basic color – nude or black is a great starting point if you don’t own any pumps or heels.
17. Ballet flats
This is probably an item you already have in your closet. Ballet flats are great for slipping in your bag for when your feet hurt from heels.
18. Fancy clutch
A fancy clutch is perfect for those nights out or nice evening dinners.
19. Silk/wool scarf
A silk scarf is great for chillier summer or autumn days, while a wool/cashmere one will keep you warm in the winter.
20. A statement accessory
Accessories can transform any outfit. It could be a belt, necklace, or even a brooch. A well-curated collection of accessories can pull your wardrobe together season after season.
Hopefully this list gave you an idea of missing pieces you could add to your wardrobe. Let us know what your essentials are in the comments below!