The Five Items I Need to Have in My Closet When I Turn 30

Because if you have the right purse, you magically turn into a grown-up, right?
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Kelly Dougher
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Because if you have the right purse, you magically turn into a grown-up, right?

At the age of 25, sometimes I feel like I'm still trying to get my life started. Have you ever seen the classic movie 13 Going On 30? When it came out, I was only 14 years old. My sister and I loved to chant Jenna's catchphrase: "Thirty, flirty, and thriving! Thirty, flirty, and thriving!"

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But I didn't really relate to it. Who wants to be 30? Ugh, so old. 

Well, I've certainly changed my tune now. I can't even watch 13 Going on 30 without getting unreasonably cranky because I'm so jealous of Jennifer Garner's dream job and apartment. (And she gives it up to go back to junior high and marry some dumb boy. What an idiot! Sorry for any spoilers I guess.) 

Now I'm dying to be thirty, flirty, and thriving. Everyone tells me lately that your 20's are difficult and often crappy, but your 30's are when everything starts to fall into place. I can only hope that that's true, and in the meantime I sometimes let myself daydream about what my thriving 30's will be like. 

I think about what city I'll live in, the job that I'll kick ass at, all the cool ways that I'll decorate my apartment, and all the fluffy brothers and sisters that I'll get for my dog Doug, if he's cool with that. 

My favorite thing to think about, though, is 30 year old me's wardrobe. I like to think that on the eve of my 30th birthday I'll finally have the money to dress like a successful woman. Everyone has a different image of that in their heads: some of you might picture a lawyer/businesswoman type get-up like Olivia Pope or The Good Wife's Alicia Florrick, or Amal Clooney if you want a real person example. 

Personally I picture Meg Ryan in my favorite rom-com of all time, You've Got Mail, with a dash of Anne Hathaway post-makeover in The Devil Wears Prada whenever I feel the need to impress my Miranda Priestley-like boss. 

Too many pop culture references? OK, let's just get to the clothes. 

Here are the items that I need to have in my amazing walk-in closet the day that I turn 30 or else I'll refuse to do it. Turn 30, that is. I'll just be one of those annoying people who insist that they're 29 every year. 

 A Badass Leather Jacket that is NOT from Forever 21 

 I wrote about my cheap pleather jacket here. It's just a $20 jacket from Forever 21 because, as a poor 25 year old freelance writer, I couldn't afford something better but I still really wanted a leather jacket. I could probably look for a better version at another fast fashion store but I don't want to keep dropping $20 or $50 or $75 on pleather jackets. I want the perfect leather jacket that I can wear for life, and I'm willing to wait until I have the money for it. 

These three jackets are top contenders:

L-R: rag & bone Arrow Leather Jacket, $1,295, shop.nordstrom.com; Alder Leather Biker Jacket, $650, allsaints.com; Vince Camuto Women's Leather Moto Jacket, $240, amazon.com

L-R: rag & bone Arrow Leather Jacket, $1,295, shop.nordstrom.com; Alder Leather Biker Jacket, $650, allsaints.com; Vince Camuto Women's Leather Moto Jacket, $240, amazon.com

I'll probably go for classic black, although I've always wanted a dark green leather jacket ever since I saw Veronica Mars wearing one. Alternatively, if someone could just get me the customized Acne leather jacket that Jessica Jones wears that'd be cool. 

Let's just acknowledge that my style choices are way too intertwined with my pop culture obsessions and move on. 

The Real Version of this Celine Bag (NOT a Knock-off from Forever 21)

I kept seeing this Celine bag on Instagram and Pinterest and whatnot, and became convinced that it was the only bag I need in my day to day life. I'm much more a shoe person than a bag person so I hate switching up my daily purse to suit my outfit. I like how this bag is simple, classic, and goes with everything. 

Celine Classic Box Bag, $3,795, fashionpile.com

Celine Classic Box Bag, $3,795, fashionpile.com

The only problem is that it's almost $4,000. I still had to have it though, so I took to Google until I found this Forever 21 knock-off: 

Forever 21 shoulder bag (sold out now). Right image by Josh Kirby. 

Forever 21 shoulder bag (sold out now). Right image by Josh Kirby

Honestly, say what you will about the difference in quality and the ethics of fast fashion knock-offs, but I have to admit that my $20 version of this bag gets the job done just fine. (As you can see on my blog I wear it with almost every outfit.)

Still it'd be nice to actually have the real thing someday. And I swear I wouldn't need any other purse so it would sort of be worth the money! OK, probably not. 

All of Everlane's Silk and Cashmere Tops 

Because nothing reads more "successful adult" to me than having a closet full of cashmere and silk. Right now basically all of my tops are polyester. 

The Modern Silk Point Collar, $78, everlane.com; The Cashmere Crew, $110, everlane.com; The Cashmere Turtleneck, $170, everlane.com

The Modern Silk Point Collar, $78, everlane.com; The Cashmere Crew, $110, everlane.com; The Cashmere Turtleneck, $170, everlane.com

I also really like Everlane's business M.O. They offer high-quality wardrobe basics at reasonable prices and with complete transparency about where they were made and how much they cost to make. In a world of troublesome fast fashion ethical issues and overpriced designer goods, it's refreshing. 

Sadly their prices are still out of my budget for now, but hopefully in a few years I'll be able to fill my wardrobe with simple but beautiful Everlane pieces and finally fulfill my dream of looking like Kathleen Kelly

The Ankle Boots of My Dreams

I remember when Hannah wrote about Chelsea boots recently not all of you were into the style. Personally, I love all kinds of ankle boots equally, but I particularly love ankle boots that have a much higher heel than typical Chelsea boots. There's just something about stomping around in a high-heeled pair of black leather ankle boots that makes me feel like a badass. 

Plus, they go with everything. They're perfect with jeans, they can toughen up a cute dress, and you can even pair them with most work outfits if you have a fairly casual office. 

I can definitely picture my 30 year old self taking New York City by storm in one of the boots below: 

L-R: Acne Studios Orbit Leather Buckle Booties, $620, saksfifthavenue.com; Alexander Wang Gabi Notch-Heel Leather Booties, $675, saksfifthavenue.com; Kate Spade New York Glitter-Coated Booties, $398, saksfifthavenue.com

L-R: Acne Studios Orbit Leather Buckle Booties, $620, saksfifthavenue.com; Alexander Wang Gabi Notch-Heel Leather Booties, $675, saksfifthavenue.com; Kate Spade New York Glitter-Coated Booties, $398, saksfifthavenue.com

I'm only half-kidding about the Kate Spade Glitter Booties, by the way. 

 A Dress that Makes Me Feel Like a Million Bucks

And here's where things start to get a little deluded. 

L-R: Allusione Sheath, $288, anthropologie.com; Balmain Double-Breasted Tuxedo Dress, $4,790, saksfifthavenue.com; Valentino Short-Sleeved Landscape Print Dress, $4,500, neimanmarcus.com; Alexander Wang Chain Strap Bustier Dress, $1295, saksfifthavenue.com; Valentino Jewel-Neck Half-Sleeve Capelet Gown, $7,690, neimanmarcus.com

L-R: Allusione Sheath, $288, anthropologie.com; Balmain Double-Breasted Tuxedo Dress, $4,790, saksfifthavenue.com; Valentino Short-Sleeved Landscape Print Dress, $4,500, neimanmarcus.com; Alexander Wang Chain Strap Bustier Dress, $1295, saksfifthavenue.com; Valentino Jewel-Neck Half-Sleeve Capelet Gown, $7,690, neimanmarcus.com

Is it likely that I'll have $8,000 and an occasion to wear a floor-length Valentino gown in my 30s or, like, ever in my life? No. 

The point, however, is that every grown woman should have at least one dress in her closet that makes her feel both hot and powerful. It's sort of like the idea behind the LBD without actually being a boring LBD. I don't know exactly how fancy my life will be in my 30's so I chose a few different examples above to show what I mean. I'm holding out hope that my life will be a floor-length Valentino gown level of fancy though!

OK, your turn!

  • Do you hope to have a particular item in your closet before you're a certain age? 
  • If you're already 30 or beyond, do you agree with anything on my list? And can you assure me that my 30's will be flirty and thriving?