You’ll be happiest with your style when you’re 33, survey says

MArks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer

In your teens or twenties? Feeling like you’ve yet to develop your own style, or that nothing you wear really suits you? Don’t worry: just give it a few years and it’ll all work itself out, because according to a new survey by Marks and Spencer, most Brits don’t really feel comfortable with their style until they hit the age of 33, while 24 is the age at which we feel the least stylish.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? We tend to take these surveys with a very generous pinch of salt, but although we could quibble with the exactness of the ages quoted, the general principle does make a lot of sense. For many people, the formative years are a time either of experimentation (Which is a necessary part of developing a style, of course, but which always creates a few fashion casualties along the way) or of trying desperately to fit in, even if it means wearing clothes that don’t suit us, or which we don’t even really like in the first place. Sometimes we experience both of these conflicting desires within the space of a few years (or even, confusingly enough, at the SAME TIME, wanting to stand out, but still fit in. Growing up is hard, isn’t it?) which can make the teens and early twenties something of a style wilderness. We all have those photos we look back and cringe at, don’t we? DON’T WE?

By the time we hit our 30s, though, we’re hopefully not just older, but perhaps a little wiser, too. We’re more settled in our lives and careers, and we’ve also had time to accept who we are, to learn what we like and don’t like, and to learn from our past fashion mistakes. (All of those photos have to serve SOME purpose, no?) We’re also less likely to feel the need to use labels or trends to impress people, or to feel like we MUST keep up with the Joneses at all costs: we might not be in line for any “Best Dressed” awards, but we are, at least, happier with what we see in the mirror, and more comfortable with our sartorial choices.

That’s the theory, anyway. Is is the reality, though? At what age did you start to feel most comfortable with your style?



  • November 8, 2013


    Oddly enough, according to the latest data 24 is around the age when your brain (more or less) finishes with the changes that have been going on since adolescence (I am grossly oversimplifying that, but it’s the gist). And 24 is when a lot of people start proper careers, or families, or both. I’d bet it being fashion-crisis central has a lot to do with being on the cusp of “adulthood”, psychologically speaking; all the clothing you used to look and feel comfortable in suddenly seems juvenile, but you don’t really know where to being when it comes to shopping for grown-up clothes that are still true to your style. By 33 I imagine you’ve got the hang of it.

    And I say this as a 24 year old who, yes, feels a bit of despair looking at her closet sometimes. There is, of course, the added horror that most of us don’t have enough money to make significant changes to our wardrobes, so we have to live with things we no longer like, sometimes for a very long time indeed.

    Older adults might start to feel less comfortable and confident as they age out of beauty norms (and, eventually, have to change their wardrobes again to grandma clothing!), but then older adults tend to be a lot more confident and comfortable than people in their 20s so it’s probably not as extreme a transition.

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  • November 11, 2013


    After 40, actually. With 33, I had a toddler and there is nothing so impossible as being stylish with an active little one around (and you have other priorities, too).

    Actually when my teenage daughter started to get all the attention I was used to receive (this happens over night), I sort of dug myself out of a style rut of mom jeans and boxy, comfortable tops, because then it was either reinvent myself or take the shortcut towards granny style.

    The added body confidence one gets with age, a generally better understanding of almost everything (except of teenagers *gg*) and a better padded wallet help a lot, of course.

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