30 Buys Everyone Should Own Before They Turn 30

Your 20s are an adventure — your time to explore. It's a decade of firsts: first legal drink, first job, first long-term relationship, and first grown-up apartment. And, all these new experiences prep you for the next chapter of your life. So, you need a wardrobe that'll keep up with your ever-changing lifestyle and hold its own when you officially hit the big 3-0.
We heard your comments on our recent feature about dressing for your age loud and clear: You asked to see more finds for your roarin' 20s. So, we crafted a list of 30 essentials to own before 30. The best part? Everything ahead is under $250. Now, you just need to figure out how you're going to store it all in your studio apartment.
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The Trench
A sophisticated 9-to-5 look could skew disheveled with the wrong jacket. But, if toss on a classic trench, you’ll look instantly put-together.
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The Crossbody Bag
There’s no reason to lug a massive tote everywhere you go. For those days when you know you’ll need both hands (read: 2-for-1 happy hour), go for a crossbody. We’re not talking about one of those cloth, fringed styles you used in high school — think a more grown-up one in buttery-soft leather.
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The Wear-Everywhere Booties
Your outfit will likely change a few times a day, as you go from work to the gym to drinks. So, you need shoes that go with everything — like a sweet pair of booties.
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The Staple Studs
On those mornings when you can’t even think about getting dressed — let alone accessorizing — unique studs upgrade your look like that.
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The Any-Occasion Dress
Once you hit 25, your inbox gets filled with friends' wedding invites. It's smart to invest in a quality dress you can wear to a casual or dressy affair.
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The Perfect-Fit Jeans
Those $20 jeans won’t cut it anymore. Spend a little more on a pair that fits you like a second skin. Trust: There’s a reason designer styles cost what they do.
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The Bra That Fits
What’s underneath your clothes should feel just as great as what you’re showing the rest of the world. That starts with a well-fitting bra — no more of those all-purpose styles you used to buy in bulk.
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The Midi-Skirt
The miniskirts you donned at 19 don't bode well for most offices. A midi is elegant and will show your boss you know what you’re doing. To keep the vibe cool, go for one in pastel leather.
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The Heels You Can Walk In
There’s no reason to teeter your way through a cocktail party in stilettos — these chunky heels look just as on-point (and festive).
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The High-End Wallet
A nicer wallet will put the frayed, nylon one you used throughout college to shame.
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The Tailored Blazer
A blazer keeps you effortlessly sophisticated, even if you’re just not feeling it that day.
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The Warm Scarf
Let’s face it, that pretty, paper-thin scarf you scored on the street isn't actually warm. Try one that will actually keep your neck from turning blue.
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The Leather Jacket
There's nothing cooler — or more classic.
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The Laptop Case
A grown-up needs a grown-up laptop case. Choose one in a fun print, and use it as a makeshift clutch for happy hour with your coworkers.
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The Oxford
Your 20s are all about building a foundation for your wardrobe, which starts with a classic oxford you can wear a million different ways.
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The Loafers
For us, getting through the next, well, forever, without a good pair of flats is like getting through the day without coffee — impossible. Go for a quality, slightly pricier pair that won't fall apart.
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The Cropped Sweater
You’re supposed to have fun in your 20s. Embrace it with the winter answer to a crop top.
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The Weekender
Between weddings, college reunions, and last-minute getaways, your weekends are likely booked with travel. This requires a functional, yet stylish bag that's a step up from the old duffel you used growing up.
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The Upgraded Umbrella
It may seem silly to spend a bunch of money on an umbrella, but there’s a reason some are more expensive — they don’t turn inside out in an instant. Plus, buying all those cheap ones and losing them can add up.
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The High-Waist Pants
These instantly elongate your legs. To avoid coming across dowdy, pair 'em with youthful pieces like a tucked-in patterned blouse or cropped sweater.
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The Smart-Looking Watch
A watch is the one accessory you’re going to wear every day, so it’s okay to spend a little extra on a nice one.
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The Micro Backpack
For those nights when carrying a clutch just isn’t an option, a micro backpack is perfect. And, it's much chicer than the huge one you schlepped around in college.
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The Functional, Yet Sexy Underwear
Lace briefs are the best of both worlds.
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The Graphic Sweatshirt
You’re all about the cozy life right now, which requires an awesome graphic sweatshirt you can wear while lounging around the house. You can also dress it up for drinks with polished extras.
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The Fancy Sweatpants
You’ll roll straight from bed to brunch more than once in your 20s. That’s why not-for-the-gym sweats are key. Just pair them with a put-together top, and you're ready for mimosas.
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The Fashion Sneakers
High-concept sneakers may reign supreme this season, but that doesn’t mean you should slip them on for your first job interview. Save 'em for a casual Friday with an evening out after work.
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The One-Step-Up-From-Canal-Street Sunglasses
There’s a reason those $5 shades are so cheap — they’re poorly made and not too protective. While you don’t need to spend $200 on a designer pair, a slightly pricier version will last you longer.
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The Initial Necklace
A customized, personal piece of jewelry could very well become your calling card.
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The Cozy Sweater
Whether you’re snuggling with your first long-term S.O. or snuggling by yourself with a glass of red, a cozy sweater will make things much comfier.
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You can’t possibly get through the decade (or beyond) without a quality LBD. Sure, spending more than $100 may seem a bit steep for a starting salary, but if you choose a classic silhouette, you'll throw it on at least once a week. Just think about that cost-per-wear ratio.