The 11 Things Every 20-Something Should Have in Her Wardrobe

The secret behind any impeccably dressed woman is a well-stocked closet. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can start crafting the perfect wardrobe right now.

In your 20s, that means shopping the essentials and investing in great basics — because, let’s face it, you accumulated enough trendy tees, minidresses, and cutoffs in your college years. Now’s the time to shop for the kind of denim you might just get away with at the office and a silky button-down you can wear well beyond your 9-to-5. You don’t have to spend a ton, but definitely spend where it counts, and keep an eye out for the pieces you’ll wear from season to season, year after year. Just consider this your 20-something starter wardrobe, and start shopping all the key items right here.

Attention 30-Somethings, This Is Your Wardrobe Checklist

The Jean Jacket

The ways to wear a denim jacket ($78) are endless — and you know what? It’s never going out of style. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to act; just look for one with a classic wash (read: no bleached or acid-washed finishes) without embellishments or studs. It’s those kinds of extras that will go out, buta clean-cut jean jacket never will.

The Striped Top

It’s no wonder fashion girls worldwide have a striped tee like this one ($50) in their arsenal. It’s classic and easy to dress up with a statement necklace or down with your jean jacket or anorak.

The Cocktail Dress

Unlike the LBD, this is the piece you should have a little more fun with. A printed version, like this Clover Canyon number ($280) is one you can wear for wedding events, on dressier date nights, and any kind of cocktail function. The key is a great, flattering fit and a wow-factor element. It doesn’t have to be an all-over print, but look for a brilliant color that flatters your complexion — anything but white or black — or a hint of lace or colorblocking. Special details will help distinguish this piece from the “party dresses” you owned in college.

The Classic Skinny Jean

We gravitate toward Frame denim ($189) because they craft a pared-down style and a perfect fit. A pair like this is worth the investment. They’ll last, flatter your figure, and work with heels or flats — and you don’t have to be embarrassed about embellishments, rips, or holes. Think of these as “grown-up jeans.”

The Anorak

As far as layers go, the anorak is about as cool as the come. This jacket ($148) isn’t just functional — a multipurpose topper that’ll serve you well from Spring through Winter — it lends a quintessential cool-girl vibe to everything from your brunch gear to a Spring dress.


No 20-something should be without the all-important LBD. Opt for one like this classic DVF silhouette ($398) that’s sexy without revealing too much. It’s the kind you’ll wear with tights and boots during Winter, wear to the office with a belted cardigan, and take out for your dressier events all year round.

The Blazer

There may be no other piece in your closet that can lend instant polish the way a great blazer ($395) can. Don’t just wear it to work; adding it to skinny jeans and pumps is an instantly sexy, sophisticated look for drinks after hours, too.

The Staple Trousers

Remember when mom said you need a pair of good work “slacks”? Well, you don’t necessarily need that pleated, wide-leg pair she picked out, but she wasn’t wrong. You do need a pair of slim, skinny black pants ($325) as an alternative to jeans. You can wear them with your blazer as an alternative to a suit, add them to a silky blouse for cocktails, or dress them with a button-down for something pulled together. They’re a piece you’ll rely on season after season, year after year, so make sure you pick a pair that really fits you.

The Date-Night Top

Forget your sexy college “party tops,” and look for one that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in front of your parents. That doesn’t mean it can’t show a little skin, but opt for more luxe fabrics and pretty details, like this Cami NYC top ($128), that feel more expensive. Trust us, your dates will approve, too.

The Everyday Cardigan

A cardigan ($50) in a neutral color is going to go with just about everything in your closet. It’s a light layering tool that’s polished and classic and perfect for everything from the office to dinner out with friends.

The Button-Down Blouse

You could actually wear a one of Equipment’s signature blouses ($208) every day if you had to — and you might just want to. It works as a work blouse, going-out top, easy brunch button-down, and fits just about every other occasion, too. How many tops can you say that about?


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