ou cannot put adult fashion into a box, because there are so many different types of people. Finding your own sense of adult style is important, because that is what growing up is all about. But, there are a few things that all adults should be able to do and have in their wardrobe to get them through, professionally, personally, and in everyday life. So, let’s dive into it!

Buy an iron or a steamer

Ever wonder how your family kept you looking put together for school every day? It was because they were ironing your clothes for you. This is the very first step to dressing like an adult. Wrinkled clothing is a thing of the past. Irons are on their way out because they can be dangerous, especially when accidentally left plugged in. So, opting for a steamer is probably your best bet. Look for one that is easily portable so that you can pack it in a suitcase and take it on the go with you if you ever need to travel with it. 

Man fixing his tie
Curating your own capsule wardrobe will help make your morning routine quicker and easier.

Create a capsule wardrobe

Creating a capsule wardrobe will be the easiest way to curate the closet best fit for you, that has timeless pieces that will last you a lifetime (if you treat them well, that is). A capsule wardrobe is a mix of all of the basics you could possibly need, but it also helps you to remain minimalistic and not clutter your closet. 

The point of a capsule wardrobe is so that you could pick any pieces in your closet and wear them together. This helps you to look put together, no matter what outfit you choose to wear that day, but also it ensures that you do not have to think that hard when getting ready in the morning. As an adult, your schedule tends to get busier, so having something like this to create ease in the mornings for you will make your transition into adult life much easier, as well. 

Clothing store with people shopping in it
Finding a way to remain stain free is one way to make yourself look more put together.

Remain stain free

Maybe this one is a given, but really making sure that you are free of stains when you go to work, out for dinner, or wherever you may be going is one sure way to allow people to see you are dressing like an adult. Understandably, many people are messy eaters, and this can be hard for some. One easy way to combat this is to carry around a portable stain remover, just in case. This is easy to keep in your bag, pocket, or in your car. The most common portable stain fighter is the Tide To-Go Stick, but there are other options as well. 

Looking clean in the literal sense is very important and will instantly make you look more put together. If you have clothes with stains on them, consider taking them to a dry cleaner to get them professionally removed, or if you don’t feel particularly attached to that item anymore, just let it go. Decluttering can help take a weight off of your shoulders, as well. 

Man in a suit holding a cup of coffee
Avoiding distracting clothing is something that will make you look more mature, especially in places of work and professionalism.

Avoid distracting clothing

Although statement pieces in your wardrobe are always fun to wear, avoiding excessively distracting clothing in your everyday wardrobe is a good rule of thumb, especially if your job is in a more professional setting. It is perfectly fine and acceptable to play around with bright colors and things of that nature, but you want to avoid flashy jewelry or a lot of clothing with images. Graphic tees are one thing that is coming back in style at the moment, and this is something that most adults would not wear. 

Two women in suits standing in front of a white board, smiling.
Finding a reputable tailor that you trust to fix your clothing can make a world of difference to your wardrobe.

Go to a tailor

You do not have to buy expensive clothing by any means to look more like an adult. But, tailored clothing will always look more expensive and unique than that of something that was purchased off of a rack at Forever 21 or H&M. Go shopping and find a nice dress or a suit that you really like– something professional, but it does not have to be expensive. With the money you saved while purchasing an inexpensive clothing item, take that item to the tailor and get it tailored to your body shape. This will make that item look more curated and it will look like you spent a great deal of money on it, even if you didn’t. 

Two women standing in the snow laughing wearing gray coats
Investing in good outerwear can make an outfit look more mature and elevated.

Invest in a good coat

Eventually, you will have to stop wearing a sweatshirt as a coat like you did in college and trade it in for actual outerwear. Investing in one or two great coats will elevate your outfit, make you look more mature, and keep you warm throughout the winter. What kind of jacket you choose is completely up to you, and it does not have to be something that breaks the bank. Just something that makes you look a little more put together, and a little warmer than what you already have. This is a staple piece that will last you a long time, so even if you do spend a little more money on it, there will be a return on investment. 

Mens dress shirts hanging on a rack
Becoming an adult means learning how to properly dress for each occasion.

Dress for the occasion

One thing that many people struggle with (including people who have been adults for a long while) is dressing for the occasion they are attending. T-Shirts are not acceptable at nice restaurants. Shorts are not acceptable all the time, even if they are dress shorts. You may go through life thinking that things like that are fine until you are not let into a nice restaurant because your hem line is too high, or you don’t have a suit jacket over your polo. These are things that many people are not taught in high school or college, but important to know when going into the real world. Sometimes you have to read the room when it comes to the way you are dressed. A good rule of thumb is that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. 

Man holding a newspaper and brown brief case
Retiring your beat up college book bag will elevate your outfits and make you look more mature.

Throw out your old book bag

Book bags are great when you are in high school and college. They help you to carry a lot all at once, and they are easier on your back. But, you need to retire that beat up Jansport when adulthood rolls around. Can you envision yourself walking into your nine to five office job wearing a suit with it on your shoulders? Now's the time to invest in a more professional looking briefcase, messenger bag, or backpack.

Leather is a great way to make any accessory a little more professional -- whether it's a traditional briefcase or a leather duffle bag that you can take to work straight from your morning gym session.

Not ready to give up the book bag life quite yet? That's okay -- your back will thank you. And when you upgrade your bag with a sustainable laptop bag from a responsible company like Day Owl, you can feel good about doing something that helps the planet, too. The sleek designs are the perfect addition to any office outfit -- whether you go for a classic black or jam red bag, or even a pop of color with one of the more vibrant offerings.

Two women and a man stand over a computer, pointing at it
Try to refrain from mixing and matching different patterns together.

Don’t mix and match patterns

As much as you might want to feel “edgy,” mixing patterns is not the way to do it. It is great to play around with personal style and to try out different patterns, but you do not want to choose things that are going to clash against one another. Not only will this make you look less mature, but it will have people wondering if you were actually completely awake when you put together your outfit that morning! Keeping it simple is going to go a very long way when it comes to adult style, so steering clear of mixing patterns and mixing random textures with one another is one big thing to keep in mind. 

Woman sits at her desk behind a laptop with an unhappy face
Wear what makes you the most comfortable, because that is when you will seem the most mature.

Overall, what makes you most confident and comfortable in your own skin is what is going to make you look the most mature. But, growing up is about finding different versions of yourself, so experimenting with new fashion is perfectly normal. Find what works best for you, and incorporate that into what you are already doing now. Chances are, you likely already look like an adult, you just need to start feeling like one now, too.

Mar 29, 2023