Nikki’s Inbox: A Fresh Start For a Thirtysomething

I’m 34 years old now and I’m still wearing clothes like I’m a teenager, like a discreet and shy student. I would like to enter in my 30s with some fresh, elegant and cute style, and gain self-confidence, but I don’t know how to begin. Thank you! :3

Rebecca, 34/France


Hello, Rebecca, and thank you for your email! Don’t think that you’re the only woman in your 30s who’s stuck in a fashion rut. It can be difficult to get out of one’s comfort zone, and it’s easy to use the excuse that this is your signature style, so why change?

Why indeed? You said it perfectly: You want to enter a new decade of your life looking fresh, elegant and cute. You also want to be more self-confident. Noble ideals and, yes, perfectly doable!

Accurate Measurements = Smarter Fashion Sense

First, make sure to measure yourself. If you’re one of the extremely lucky humans whose body measurements go through little or no changes at all, good for you. But please, do get your measurements properly, not only the usual bust, hips and waist, but also your shoulders, inseams, calf and thigh circumferences. This is to ensure that all the clothes you wear fit you in all the right places. This is the true characteristic of a really good sense of style — not just wearing designer brands or showing plenty of skin. It’s not just about dressing your age, but also dressing well.

Are you ready for a big change?
Bag: Chlo.D.Manon – Oversized Bow Neoprene Handbag

Essential Tops

Once you’ve got your measurements down, make sure to check your closet for collared shirts and blouses, especially structured pieces such as those with darts and seams at the bodice. With the right foundation garments, a structured top can enhance your natural curves so your upper half looks shapely. Soft fabrics such as chiffon blouses give a more feminine impression, and small visual cues like lace, embroidery, pleats and bows play up that effect. Having these make it easier to pair with seasonal pieces like sweaters and vests simply through layering. Of course, you can still wear your favorite T-shirts and sweatshirts but choose them with care.

Basic Bottoms

I don’t have to tell you that jeans are essential. Forget distressed denims for now and opt for classic straight-leg styles and even some wide-leg versions. Wide-leg pants became popular last summer and continued their streak all the way through fall and winter. Denim versions give it a trouser style, and you may even get away with wearing them at work. If you like to keep your skinny jeans, that’s perfectly fine. Having a few pairs in several colors aside from black, blue and white will give your wardrobe a lot of mileage. Just take your cue from the Duchess of Cambridge who likes skinnies too. For something a little dressier, I promise you that flat-front trousers will never ever go out of style so it’s always worth having at least two pairs in your closet.

Skirts can instantly make you look more feminine, cute or sexy. Choosing the right length — a mini, midi or maxi skirt — can give your outfit more impact. Should you wear an A-line skirt or a pencil-cut? That really depends on your taste and the occasion but these two are timeless and are quite easy to pair with anything else, whether it’s for daytime casual or evening glamour.

Dresses with Distinction

A great dress with the right fit and cut enhances all your best features, and sometimes needs little else to look beautiful. Whether it’s a simple polo dress for summer so you can look and feel breezy and youthful, or a versatile shift dress that takes you from the office to a romantic date, dresses instantly convey your personality and mood to others, and that influences their impression of you. A-line dresses are my favorite and I always highly recommend them simply because they suit most if not all body types, and are so easy to wear and style with accessories and shoes. For winter, a finely knit sweater dress can cover up to your neck and yet show off curves, while a mini dress makes you look playful and in the mood for fun.

These are just the basics, Rebecca, and please take them as suggestions. Everything depends on you — your measurements, your personality, your favorite colors, and especially your self-confidence. Chin up! This is the new you!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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