Happy Birthday To Me: New Rules for Dressing in my 30s

Last year at this time, MB and I were prepping for our birthdays by shopping for the perfect dresses to fit our body types (see Body Type Matters). This year though, things seem different to me. My body is far from where I want it to be after baby number two and as the big 3-5 rolls in, I’m finding myself replaying all the fashion choices I’ve made over the last 10 years. Choices that were made without a whole lot of consideration for what would actually “flatter my figure” or “make the best of my assets.” Instead it was all about what was trendy and cheap. And that mantra served me well in the past, but these days I need to be more thoughtful about the choices I make and the items I put on my body. And, even though, it kills me to say it, I do need to consider what flatters my figure. So with that in mind, I am setting some new guidelines for myself as this milestone birthday approaches.

New Rules:

1. Show some skin-

My 25 year old self says: Show it all. Legs, shoulders, cleavage…all at the same time.

My 35 year old self says: Not happening! Pick one and accentuate that particular body part. For me it’s my shoulders. If I can focus the attention upward, it draws attention away from aspects that I don’t particularly love, like my legs (still a work in progress).

2. Accessorize-

My 25 year old self says: The more the better. Big earrings paired with a chunky necklace and about a dozen baubles on my wrist. Oh and don’t forget the big gold watch.

My 35 year old self says: Pair it down. I try to pick just one statement piece these days and keep everything else minimal. I tend to wear the same tiny earrings and delicate necklace every day and focus on the wrist candy. I like to layer my watch with a few small gold bracelets and leave it at that. Especially with a new baby in my arms all day long, I can’t have too many things he can gets his hands on to pull!

3. Form v. Function-

My 25 year old self says: Form trumps everything. Who cares if I can actually sit down in the pants or bend over in the skirt without flashing everyone. I even chose my shoes with a mind for fashion waaaaaaaay over their comfort or function. I remember so many nights coming home to swollen loaves of bread that were my feet.

My 35 year old self says: I can no longer afford to chose pieces that are only trendy but that don’t actually allow me to live my life! I have to chase around a toddler and sling around a little meatball all day, so my choices need to have a bit more function built in. But that doesn’t mean that I left form go out the window. Instead I just chose pieces that incorporate a little of both. For me, that means choosing longer hemlines in bold colors or on trend prints and opting for sandals and wedges over toe-pinching heels.

4. Rethink the Jeans-

My 25 year old self says: Low-rise and super skinny.

My 35 year old self says: Try different cuts. I love a good boyfriend jean that has a higher cut and a more forgiving fit. I can still work in the rips and embroidery that is the trend right now, but I don’t have to worry about hiking up my pants every time I bend over to pick up toys off the ground.

5. Investment Pieces-

My 25 year old self says: Quantity over quality. I would have much rather come home with 10 cheap items from Forever 21 than one or two quality pieces that would last longer than the current season.

My 35 year old self says: This is a work in progress for me, but it really is my new goal for shopping in my late 30s. I want to look for pieces that I know will stand the test of time, like one expensive bag or one really quality blazer. And just be okay with that ONE item. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still always looking for a great deal to stock up on the fun stuff, but I want to learn to balance those pieces with a little more quality.

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One thought on “Happy Birthday To Me: New Rules for Dressing in my 30s

  1. This is great advice! I probably erred too much on buying quality pieces and ended up having an entire wardrobe of workwear and then my mom jeans and t-shirts. I’ve just started “splurging” on some more trendy pieces again!

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