How To Dress Your Age - 30's

June 01, 2015

From our great friends at GQ magazine and Nick Carvell.. We bring you the 'How To Dress Your Age' series.. A brief guide from 20 to 60 and beyond of how to dress your age, look great and feel even better.. 


You've spent your 20s experimenting with your style - now's the time to lock it down. By the time you hit this decade you know what you like when it comes to clothes, however what's key with how to dress in your 30s is coming up with a list of go-to labels that fit both your personal aesthetic and your body. Let's face it, as you inevitably move into a higher paying job heading a team - and perhaps even start a family - you will probably have less time to spend picking out matching things before you head out every morning, let alone shopping for them in the first place. When you know exactly what to get from where you'll be able to save time by getting basics delivered straight to your desk through the magic of the internet. This decade you need an arsenal of clothes at hand so buy well and buy in bulk.

And while jeans and (smart) trainers will still feature heavily on a weekend, suits will become increasingly important this decade as, unless you work in an industry with a strict uniform, your workplace and off-duty wardrobes will begin to merge. While last decade was about being smart when you needed to be in the office, this because is about being smart 24/7 - who knows when the CEO will call you into his office or those clients from Japan need entertaining at the last minute?

It's also a time to take a more 360 approach to your grooming regime. Grooming isn't just about getting your haircut anymore - start thinking about your skin too.

However this is also a decade to start giving back to yourself. You got the basics down in your 20s, so use your 30s to invest in the occasional item you use all the time that's going to last you - and look damn good doing it. Trend-led items like designer trainers are a great addidtion to your ouvre, but make sure you also set some funds aside for classics: a beautifully-made everyday bag for work, a go-anywhere overcoat or an umbrella you didn't panic-buy in a sudden downpour.

In short, it's time to grow up - just a little bit. Here's how to do it in style...

How to dress in your 30s: 5 golden rules

1) Get to know which labels work for you
Come up with a core selection of shops that stock staples that fit without the need for altering them - whether that's T-shirts from Ted Baker or button-downs from Eton. Then start buying in them in bulk so you always have enough on hand in the morning. If you have time, head in store and make sure the size and cut suits your shape best. If you're strapped for time, order online and get it sent to your office.

2) Make suits the backbone of your wardrobe
You bought your first decent suit in your 20s, now's the time to get a few more options in. Invest in good quality grey, navy and black blazers at the very minimum, then expand into a few bolder colours, materials or patterns (tweed and checks are particularly versatile) as well as different weights for winter and summer. Remember: a jacket isn't just a staple for the office, it can be worn casually with denim, chinos and T-shirts, not to mention jackets or trousers from other suits. Make sure each item is tailored so it works in its own right (if you wear your trousers slightly slimmer casually, get your suit trousers tapered similarly to ensure you wear them outside of the office too).

3) Get your head around Casual Friday
Casual Friday causes a dilemma: you don't want to turn up to work underdressed, but equally you don't want to be overdressed when everyone else is dressing down - especially important when you're leading a team of your peers, but are also still trying to seem professional to your superiors. As a general rule, avoid a suit at all costs - with smart shoes it will look like you've forgotten your tie, with a T-shirt and trainers it will look too casual. The best thing is to come up with a uniform made from well-fitted separates - smart indigo jeans or flat-front trousers, a wool blazer, an unbuttoned button-down (with a thin crew or V-neck jumper over the top if it's cold), and a pair of smart brown shoes (ideally double monk-traps or loafers). Start with that, then inject personality with your accessories (such as colourful socks).

4) Master warm weather in style
Gone are the days of whipping your shirt off and lying in the park in a pair of jeans - you should still look like a grown-up in hot weather, whether that be on the beach or a sudden heatwave on home shores. First stop is a decent pair of swimmers that can also double as actual shorts at the bar (Ted Baker or Hugo Boss are both solid options‎). After that look our for shirts, suits and trousers in cotton or linen-cotton mixes, and summer-appropriate loafers for smart events. Leather sandals or suede espadrilles make ideal alternatives to flip-flops - and are far more pleasing on the eye if you have hairy toes (you know who you are, guys).

5) Invest in standout items
Now's the time to start adding items to your wardrobe that are going to last you a lifetime. Start out with items that you're going to use a lot, and invest in the best you can buy. We're talking about those kind of items that you only really need one of such as bags (whether that be for work or a weekend away), a go-anywhere trench coat, silver cufflinks, a proper umbrella (such as those from Ted Baker) or a high-end leather wallet. This is also a good time to start expanding your shoe collection from your basic few pairs to others that suit your fancy, whether that be sleek trainers or various varieties of smarter shoes like loafers, Derbies or Oxfords.