11 Struggles Of Trying To Make Your Wardrobe More Adult
When you're done with school and starting to move onto more "adult" things, you might feel the need to find ways to make your wardrobe more grownup. After all, you're no longer a college kid who drags themselves to class in the leggings they slept in and a pair of fuzzy slippers. You're now an adult who pays their own bills, does their own groceries (void of Lunchables, may I add), and folds their own laundry. Your clothes need to reflect that type of boss-girl mentality, which means those ironic T-shirts and booty shorts from your heydays might need to go.
Or do they? That's the struggle of making your wardrobe more sophisticated. I's hard to pin down what that word actually means. Do you need to portray the Millennial version of a '90s power suit, stepping off the train in a pair of white sneakers and a pencil skirt? Or can you still rock an Avengers tee even though your teenage years are way, way behind you?
There are a lot of gray areas to maneuver, and that's why transitions are a struggle. If you've ever purged your closet of your university gear in the hopes of making it more grownup, then you'll probably know just what I mean. Below are the 11 common struggles of making your wardrobe more adult. Can you relate to any of them?
1. Uncertainty As To What Kind Of "Adult" You Want To Be
Adults no longer fit the neat little boxes that they were put into when many of us were kids. Back then, they all seemed to have briefcases, went to work in snappy little suits, and wore button-downs on the weekends.
But the closer I get to my 30s, the more I realize there's more than just one kind of adult in this world. Which is sort of a problem when trying to pin down a more adult wardrobe.
So, what kind of adult do you want to be? A corporate one? An artsy one? A street style stompin' one? One who wears their Captain America tees loud and proud? Hello identity crisis.
2. Not Knowing If You Need To Subscribe To All The Rules
When you read "30 Items By The Time You're 30" lists, you'll probably notice that most of the articles say you need things like black blazers, pressed pants, pointed heels, and trench coats, among other things. But what if you hate those looks? What if you don't ever want to wear a blazer? What if you can't walk in heels?
Do you really need to get those things or — just as with trends — can you simply pick and choose what goes into your grownup look? Like, no one would mind if you ever bought overalls or culottes, right? Would they mind if you skipped the Oxford shirts?
3. Realizing That Most Pieces Will Be Investments
If you shopped fast fashion for most of your life, putting down $100 for a pair of work pants might make you want to lose consciousness at the cash register. When I had to amp up my work-wear for an office job, I knew the items I had to purchase were likely an investment. I realized the quality was so good I could probably pass the pieces down to my great grandchildren. But that didn't make the pill any easier to swallow.
4. Feeling Like A Fraud
The first time I put on black work pants and a button-down, I wanted to throw my mirror out the window. It felt weird — like I was dressing up in my dad's clothes, and it in no way felt like "me." Trying to make your adult wardrobe reflect your forever-a-kid personality is going to be a tricky tap dance.
5. Not Knowing What Your Uniform Should Be
Do you all of a sudden turn all Mad Men and only wear Oxford shirts rolled up to your elbows? Or can you make your uniform something more unconventional, like always wearing a certain dress silhouette or enlisting in a color palette? When you scroll through fashion articles, it might seem like grown-ups are doing all sorts of different things, which is both encouraging and confusing at the same time. Argh.
6. Accepting That Crazy Patterns & Colors Might Need To Take A Backseat
If you were a fan of going print-on-print-on-print, then moving your wardrobe towards a more mature, somber track might prove difficult. While there's no rule that says you need to mute your colorful tendencies, walking around in a neutral, classic color palette is usually much more grownup and timeless. And slightly boring.
All creativity doesn't need to die when we cross that 30 threshold, though, right? There's gotta be a loophole somewhere.
7. Being Stuck In An Uncomfortable Middle
Those pleated pants and Oxford flats might make you feel like a kid playing in her mom's closet... but then those crop tops and glitter mini skirts make you feel like a high schooler throwing her first my-parents-are-out-of-town house party.
When updating your wardrobe, you might feel like you're stuck in no-man's-land — not quite grown, but too mature for your college-inspired looks. This will be maddening, because where are you even supposed to turn?
8. Making A Lot Of Mistakes
Just think of how your wardrobe looked when you first started to seriously curate it. Before you nailed down your look, chances are there were bags and bags of clothes being donated to Goodwill each year because you took a lot of wrong turns and flopped with experiments.
That's probably what's going to happen with this new, adult look: You're going to try on a lot of different styles that won't work until you suss out just what kind of grown-up you're hoping to be.
9. Going To War With The Idea Of "Ladylike"
Unless you like that look, in which case, good for you. But for the rest of us who think of southern matriarchs when the word "ladylike" falls on our radars, adopting traditionally femme styles is usually going to be an internal war for the ages. We're likely going to desperately look for alternatives that inch us down that road, but on our own terms.
10. Getting All Nostalgic
Remember when you used to grab dinner in your prom sweatshirt and a pair of fuzzy boots? Or how you'd go out to bars in snakeskin dresses or ironic T-shirts? Aw. It was such a simpler time back then: One where clothes cost less than $10. There will probably be moments when you'll desperately miss those times, just because of the sloppiness and devil-may-care attitude of it all.
11. Realizing There's No Wrong Or Right Way To Adult
I have a 40-year-old cousin who wears Iron Man sneakers, and most of my 30-year-old friends get brunch with me in jeans and blouses I myself own in my 20-something closet. There's no real wrong or right way of adulting; and in the end, your closet should reflect your personality, not your age. You'll hopefully figure that out on your own at one point or another, and it'll feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.
But one thing that will be different is that your wardrobe probably will reflect a truer version of yourself. As you age, you might not be as likely to blindly buy fads, squeeze into outfits that aren't comfortable, or waste money on thread-bare pieces. Instead, you'll just be you. Grownup, mature, and adult-ish.