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A List of 25 (Aspirational) Things You Should Have By Age 30

March 04, 2016

You spent your twenties exploring career options, figuring out how to dress for work and pay your rent, and attempting to open wine bottles with your shoe. But now that you’re entering your thirties, it’s time to buy an actual corkscrew and up your game in all areas. Below, we map out the 25 things you should have by age 30. Warning: It’s an ambitious list.

Clothing & Style

1. A nice tailored coat.

You may have survived your twenties in a ski jacket, but when you hit the big 3-0, you need grown-up outerwear—especially if you work in a formal office. Start with a classic, tailored coat that you can wear with anything in your professional wardrobe.

2. A black-tie outfit.

Have you ever scrambled the week before a wedding or gala to figure out your black-tie game? It’s stressful—and avoidable. You don’t need an Oscar de la Renta gown; you just need something in your closet that can pass for formal and festive. (Tip: You can always dress up a cocktail dress with red lipstick and show-stopping earrings.)

3. Underpinnings you’re proud of.

Be honest: Do you still have a few pairs of underwear that have been kicking around since college? Get rid of them promptly, and stock up on nice everyday underwear and bras—plus a few saucy pieces for special occasions.

4. Nice pajamas or robe.

Master the art of lounging by treating yourself to some chic PJ’s that make you feel like Katharine Hepburn. While you’re at it, you might as well buy yourself a nice robe as well.

5. A sophisticated wallet.

There’s something about having a sleek wallet that will make you feel like you’ve got your act together. Go full-on luxury or choose one that’s affordable and understated.

6. A good tailor and cobbler.

By the time you’re 30, you’ve probably invested in a few great wardrobe staples. Well done, my friend! Now, keep them alive by maintaining and repairing them when necessary.

7. A versatile day-to-night dress.

You know those situations that you never feel prepared for? An unexpected interview. Meeting the boyfriend’s parents. Any occasion where the dress code is annoyingly ambiguous. If you have a versatile black dress on hand, you’ll never have to agonize about what to wear.

Home & Entertaining

8. A real bed.

If you work as hard as we do, then sleeping is probably a serious priority. If you’re still snoozing on a mattress on the floor, it’s time to step it up. Get a headboard or bedframe, and buy some sheets that make you feel fancy. (They don’t have to be super expensive.)

9. A piece of art for your wall.

If you’re still decorating with the tattered Scarface poster you’ve had since college, you must really love Al Pacino. But it’s time to get real. You don’t have to scour the scene at Art Basel to find something that will make your walls feel grown-up. Frame a vintage map, paint your own Pollock, or score something at the Affordable Art Fair.

10. A cool vacuum.

That’s not an oxymoron. I recently bought a refurbished Dyson Animal (yes, it’s called the Animal), and I actually enjoy roaming around my apartment in search of errant hairballs and unexplained piles of glitter.

11. A couch that’s not from Ikea.

Ikea saved many a living room when you were in your twenties, but now that you’re 30, you’re ready to differentiate yourself. Whether you want an overstuffed sleeper or a slim, mid-century sofa, it’s time for you to get a couch with some personality.

12. Nice stationery.

Truth: Classy people write hand-written notes. Be prepared with some nice stationery so you don’t have to hunt for a card every time you want to express gratitude / congratulations / condolences. You can go the preppy monogramed route, or choose a non-personalized design that fits your style.

13. An all-purpose chef’s knife.

Your kitchen may be far from fully equipped, but if you have one good, sharp chef’s knife, you can make almost anything. (You get bonus points if you also have a knife-sharpener.)

14. A crockpot or Dutch oven.

Oh, you’ll also need a vessel in which to cook. They’re expensive, but a Le Creuset Dutch oven is the holy grail of cookery—and you can pass it down to the next generation. Use it to make soups, pastas, risotto, roasts, and your soon-to-be-famous coq au vin.

15. A go-to recipe.

You don’t have to be Ina Garten (although if you are, I’m obsessed with you!) to have a few culinary tricks up your sleeve. Have at least one signature recipe that you can whip up when you want to impress a date or cook for a group at your friend’s country house. (Yes, now that you’re 30, some of your friends will start buying country houses.)

16. Real wine glasses (and real wine).

It’s time to stop drinking Two-Buck Chuck out of a plastic mug. Get a few nice glasses, and while you’re at it, stock up on some interesting wine that you can uncork for guests. You have a wine opener by now, right?

17. A complete table setting.

No, you don’t have to break out the Limoges. Your dishes don’t even have to match perfectly, but make sure you have plates, placemats, flatware, and glasses that can accommodate a four-person dinner party.


18. TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

If you’re a frequent traveler, there is nothing better than breezing past security lines or skipping the hassle of customs when you’re coming off a nine-hour flight. With Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, you will feel like the queen of the airport. And on that note, give yourself the gift of flying direct whenever you can.

19. Decent-looking luggage.

You don’t need to buy the full Louis Vuitton travel set, but you should have a suitcase and a carry-on bag that don’t look like they’ve been through a war. Especially when you’re traveling for business, your bags should look as sleek as you do. While you’re at it, invest in some travel-friendly styles that will hold their shape throughout your flight.

Personal Finance

20. An accountant.

Even if you’re a financial whiz and love doing your own taxes (who are you?!), it never hurts to have a good accountant to help with the money-related questions that accompany adulthood (investing, mortgages, etc.).


21. Health insurance.

Whatever money you think you’re saving by not having health insurance is negligible compared to what you’ll pay if something goes wrong it. Just do it.

22. Some kind of self-care regimen.

Whether it’s a daily meditation practice, a ClassPass membership, a fund for organic veggies, or a weekly bubble bath, commit yourself to habits that reduce stress in the short-term and promote health in the long-term.

23. SPF 50. No, really.

You know when you were younger and you practiced elaborate sunscreen application techniques—“my kneecaps get SPF 8, but the bridge of my nose gets gets SPF 15”—to achieve the perfect tan? No more. If you’re wise (or just really pale), SPF50 is your future.

24. A good doctor or a membership to a medical group.

Out of everything on this list, a good doctor is one of the most essential things to have by age 30. Find a primary-care physician you trust, or join a service like One Medical, where you can meet with a doctor on a moment’s notice.

Last but Certainly Not Least

25. A go-to karaoke song.

Love it or loathe it, you will continue to be dragged to karaoke in your thirties, and at this juncture, you might as well be prepared. Play to your strengths. Choose a short song within your vocal range (we’re partial to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”) or go for broke with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Whatever you choose, own it. After all, you’re 30 now.

Shop Pieces to Own By Age 30

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Tory Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. She spent five years as the Creative Director of Brand at MM.LaFleur (where she founded The M Dash!) and has written for New York Magazine, Fortune, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler. She loves doughnuts and inter-species friendships. Read more of Tory's posts.

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Try a Bento Box of wardrobe staples, selected by your personal stylist.
Try a Bento Box of wardrobe staples, selected by your personal stylist.
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