9 major fashion lessons I learned in my 20s, and will carry into my 30s.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m young. I am. But what I lack in life experience and marriage and kids and what the laundry symbols mean on a garment’s care instructions, I make up for with years of questionable fashion choices.

As I approach my third decade in life, these are the things I’ve learned about the love of my life – fashion – during the best chapter so far, my 20s.

Sometimes less is more (and sometimes it’s not).

Being someone who works in fashion and owns far too many clothes, I’d always suspected this phrase was just a big load of BS; there was always room for an extra beret, pair of sparkly socks or necklace. These days, I’m a touch more simple in the way I dress, yet I haven’t quite figured out whether it’s because I feel a bit weird in my old crazy-person clothes, or I just can’t be bothered anymore. Occasionally though, I visit my highly-styled outfits of wardrobes past, and like the little girl on the taco ad, I think, “why can’t we have both?”

LISTEN: Why #clothesmyhusbandhates is our new favourite fashion movement. (Post continues…)

Black accessories don’t actually go with everything.

For a long time, I owned exclusively black shoes because, well, they’re black! They go with everything! Turns out they don’t though, and I’ve since figured out there are actually some instances in life when a statement bag or nude shoe works better.

Nobody cares if you forgot to wear eyeliner or mascara.

As a 22-year-old, it was horrifying to catch your reflection and realise you forgot to apply eyeliner and mascara that day. You looked so weird. Or sick. People asked if you’re OK. But as you get older, you embrace being au naturale. Hey, you might’ve even ditched the eyeliner or mascara on purpose (much to the horror of your younger self).

You really shouldn’t walk to work in heels.

Walking to work in heels is all fun and games in your first “real job”. That’s until your hamstrings are so tight you can no longer touch your toes, you suspect one leg is shorter than the other and the podiatry limit on your health insurance becomes very important. Suddenly, wearing your runners with your corporate attire doesn’t look so bad after all.

Do you, no matter what anyone else says.

I have to admit, I’ve always kind of followed this advice, but the difference now is how other people’s comments affect me. When I was 21 and wearing whatever the hell I wanted (see item #1) I received many a funny stare, and the occasional comment, from my friends. In the back of my mind, I always thought it was rude to insult someone’s personal style, but I still couldn’t help feeling a little bruised. Now, I see it as a compliment (or pick out something about their outfit I dislike, which is both immature and helpful).

fashion lessons
I can say the past 10 years was extraordinarily fun. Image via TV Land.

An “investment” shoe or bag can make your whole outfit look expensive.

I bought myself a designer handbag for my birthday a couple of years ago and swear it has the ability to make even my op shop finds look designer. Lucky, because op shop finds are all I can afford since purchasing the bag. (I plan on learning about finance in my 30s).

It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

It’s a cliché as old as the grandmothers that passed it down to us, but it never rang true until I was much more experienced in the embarrassment of turning up to a party way too dressed up. In your early 20s, people stare at you. As you get older, people think you’re stylish.

Sneakers are the best trend of the decade.

Can I get a hell yeah for the best trend of the decade, no wait – of all time? Timing really had my back with this one: just as I was done with the platform heel, in walks the love of my life: the sneaker. I especially love how the sneaker is suitable for all ages, styles, occasions and budgets. I hope they never die.

Fashion is fun in your 20s… and beyond.

Looking back at the clothes that have passed through my wardrobe – some cheap, some expensive, all with a memory attached – I can say the past 10 years was extraordinarily fun. There were glittery shoes and double denim and sunglasses as big as my head. But that’s just it: it doesn’t stop being fun when you leave your 20s. Your fashion choices are your personal style, and that is just a part of you that never leaves.