How to Dress in Your 20s

Three Parts:Covering the BasicsFinding a Style that Suits YouTaking Budget into Consideration

Your 20s are a time when you are finally becoming your own person. Your sense of fashion should reflect that. Unfortunately for some, the question of how of how to dress remains a mystery. There's often a pull between wanting to be seen as professional, and wanting to be seen as a unique individual. Knowing how to dress during these youthful years comes more easily for some than others, but there's always something you can do to make yourself look better.

Part 1
Covering the Basics

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    Dispense with your teenage clothing. At some point, everybody needs to grow up. This idea should apply to your wardrobe as well. If you want to dress well throughout your 20s, you should probably think about throwing some of the clothes you had as a teen away. You are a different person than you were then, and the fashions have definitely changed.
    • It's a better idea to donate old clothing rather than throwing it out. Chances are someone else will get good use out of it. Consider giving your old clothes to a consignment store.[1] When you're there, you can pick out clothes that better suit you.
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    Clean your clothes regularly. Even if you have the best set of clothes, you'll be giving off the wrong impressions if you don't take care of maintenance. Wearing clean clothes makes you look more desirable and professional. Make a regular habit of using the washing machine or hitting up the laundromat. Staying clean is a good look regardless of the style you choose for yourself. Make sure to wash clothing according to their type. Check labels if you're unsure.[2]
    • This is especially important if it's hot outside. At higher temperatures, you're bound to sweat more, and this can leave stains and an unpleasant odour.
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    Keep shoes in mind.[3] Although girls already tend to put an emphasis on what they wear on their feet, guys often see shoes purely as a thing of comfort. This shouldn't be the case if you want to dress well. Although shoes may not have been a big thing in high school, everyone from potential dating prospects to employers will judge you in part based on footwear.[4]
    • Generally speaking, you should have at least two pairs of shoes. One should be casual (such as sneakers), while the other should be more aesthetically based. While one is worn primarily for comfort, the other prioritizes fashion. While many people try to get by with the comfort wear alone, shoes can make or break an impression in social settings.
    • Shoes are especially important if you're the athletic type. It's recommended you get a few different pairs of shoes to serve different purposes and situations.[5]
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    Diversify your wardrobe.[6] At this age, you'll need to prepare for a wide range of possible scenarios, both formal and casual, for business and pleasure alike. Men should consider buying a full suit. Women should buy a few dresses that would fit a formal occasion. If you're going to be on the lookout for work soon, you should buy clothing for the interview, as well as a few sets of clothes to wear at the workplace itself.
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    Dress to suit your occasion. When you were younger, you could slip by in casual wear for most every circumstance. As an adult, things are a bit different. You can't rely on a single style or outfit to get you through every circumstance. Rather, a really well-dressed and self-aware individual will dress himself based around the situation he's planning for.[7] It goes without saying that you should dress well for a funeral or a wedding, but the same goes for less formal social situations as well.
    • There is also a risk of overdressing for a relatively casual occasion. Although it's arguably not as bad as coming underdressed, you'll still end up sticking out in a bad way.
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    Enlist the help of a tailor. In your 20s, it's a good idea to make connections with people who will make sure you look your best. Many people have years-long relationships with these fashion professionals. The sooner you start, the sooner they'll have you looking good, and the quicker they'll know exactly what you're looking for in a style.[8]
    • The same advice should apply to finding a hairstylist. Hair is an important part of any fashion, so it makes sense to invest in it.[9]

Part 2
Finding a Style that Suits You

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    Scope out fashion for ideas. As a general rule, the fashion ideas promoted in magazines should be seen as a springboard for your own decisions, rather than a total authority on what you should or shouldn't wear. With that said, it doesn't hurt to look at a few magazines and see what kind of stuff is considered hot these days.[10] Although you're already familiar with seeing other people's outfits in your day-to-day life, it's less common to see people who really know how to bring out the best in their features. Fashion magazines are perfect for this, and looking into one or two will set you on the right path.
    • Some fashion magazines specialize in a certain type of fashion. If you already have an inkling where your tastes lie, don't be afraid to make a more specialized choice.
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    Aim for form-fitting clothing. For most people in their 20s, this will be the best physical shape of their lives.[11] It's a good idea to dress so as to maximize this fact. Clothing should be all about decorating and showcasing the body. Choose clothing that is going to flatter your shape. Depending on your gender, you probably fall into a common body type. The clothing you choose should try to even out your figure.[12]
    • Clothing with patterns will attract the eye to the area with the pattern. If you have a part of your body that looks particularly good, you can use patterned clothing to emphasize that part of you.
    • The tightness of clothing should ultimately decide on your body type. However, really baggy clothing has never been a good look on anyone, and will add unwanted years to your look.
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    Plan outfits by colour-matching. The colour wheel is familiar to every fashion designer. Some colours complement others better than others. If you want to have a truly impressive sense of style, you need to factor colour into consideration when planning out your outfits. The colour wheel offers an easy visual representation of what generally works and what doesn't.[13]
    • On the other hand, you can intentionally try to match colours that normally conflict with one another. Ultimately, each outfit plays by its own rules, and you can experiment to your heart's content if you so choose.
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    Accessorize your look. Whether you're a boy or a girl, you can say a lot about yourself through accessorizing your look. A single piece of jewelry can say a ton about someone. The same goes for a pin or a small tattoo. Small additions to your clothing can be a big help if uniqueness is important to you.[14]
    • Look into getting patches and pins for clothing like handbags, backpacks and jackets. Something simple like a band patch could be enough to strike up a conversation between you and a future friend.
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    Evolve your style over time. Fashion changes fast. Although you should never try to keep up to date with all of the trends, you shouldn't hesitate to switch up your style from time to time. If you notice a new trend you think looks good, you should try to work it into your appearance. If something in your wardrobe is getting boring, you can set it aside and switch for something else. This will keep you feeling refreshed in your fashion decisions. What's more, people who see you on a regular basis will be giving you a renewed look if your style's always in flux.
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    Wear what you want.[15] Ultimately, your youth is a time that should be about doing what you want and expressing yourself. At the end of the day, you should dress as you see fit. Though you may have to make concessions in some cases like work, you should always try to work a bit of yourself into whatever outfit you choose.

Part 3
Taking Budget into Consideration

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    Host a swap party. Many people in their 20s unfortunately don't have much money to work with. This is why a swap party can be useful. A swap party is a gathering where people bring clothing they don't wear much anymore and trade it with other people for their used sets of clothing.[16] You can spruce up your wardrobe with fresh things at no cost to yourself besides things you no longer wear.
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    Visit a consignment store. Consignment stores are essentially trading posts for clothes. You can sell your old clothing and buy clothing used. While it may sound less-than-desirable for somebody who is wanting to look their best, you might be surprised what sort of finds you can fish out in a consignment store. Consignments are especially good if you want to be fashionable on a budget. Better still, you can sell old clothes you don't use as a discount for your new batch.[17]
    • Alternatively, there are thrift stores and bargain clothing shops you can visit for similar finds.
    • Not all bargain clothes shopping is necessarily used. Outlet stores often emphasize sales, and you can find unworn clothing at a discount by visiting.
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    Keep an eye out for sales. If you're young and running on a tighter budget than you'd like, it can help a lot to wait for great sales. Big department stores will usually have at least a few great sales a year where they try to sell as much product as possible. Sometimes you can get new clothing for as much as 50% off. Being a smart shopper will save you bundles in the long run, regardless of the age you are.
    • This rule applies to online shopping as well. Sales such as Cyber Monday are specifically catered to the online marketplace. While you should be wary of size issues when it comes to getting clothes online, you can get a wider variety of clothes more conveniently than by shopping in person.


  • Dressing well is one thing, but that doesn't encompass your whole appearance. Keeping up with good hygiene and using positive body language can arguably do more for your image than a new skirt or jacket.


  • Don't get too hung up on fashion trends. They tend to die out quickly. You're better off finding something that says something about who you are.

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Categories: Fashion Styles