If you’re around 30 years old and you haven’t quite hit your stride yet, don’t worry. There’s a lot of crappy information and advice out there that seems to shame guys into being something or someone they aren’t ready to be. But, at around 30, you should be thinking about the type of man you want to become, and the following five things every man should own by 30 will help.
But, let’s be realistic: You don’t need these things to be a good man or craft your legacy. They’ll only help, and you can definitely do it without them (I know that’s a shitty sales pitch for an affiliate post, but I believe in you guys).
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Table of Contents
- A Reliable Watch
- A Quality Pocket Knife
- An Adult Wallet
- A Suit and Dress Shoes
- A Good Pair of Work Boots
- Some Other Things Every Man Should Own by 30
- Final Thoughts
- Things Every Man Should Own by 30 FAQs
A Reliable Watch
Chances are, at 30 years old, you’re starting to take a different role in life. Instead of being the new kid on the block at work or a carefree bachelor, you might be in a supervisory role or raising a family. And whether it’s getting the project delivered on time or making sure your kid makes it to their baseball game in time to warm up, a good watch will keep you on track. It’s definitely one of the things every man should own by 30.
And, as a bonus, wearing a watch shows people that you’re reliable and you value time. Their time, your time, company time, or family time—it all matters.
The good news is you don’t need a Rolex to get your kid to gymnastics on time. You can do it just as easily with a Seiko or a Citizen that cost just a couple of hundred bucks. Sure, there are cheaper watches that will play the part, but remember that this watch means something, so don’t be afraid to invest up to $300 or $400 on a good timepiece. You can spend a LOT more, but here are some of The Graying Area’s favorite choices:
A Quality Pocket Knife
At around 30, the challenges you face change as well. Not only are you expected to handle your own shit, people also start looking to you for solutions to their problems as well. In those types of jams, one of the things every man should own by 30 is a good, sturdy pocket knife.
You never know when you’ll need a knife. If you have kids, they almost always need something cut loose from a package or sliced open. You might need to cut open packages at work. You could be driving home from work and come across an accident and need a sturdy tool to help someone in need. The uses for a knife are seriously endless.
With that said, the following knives are some of The Graying Area’s favorites, and there’s something for almost any scenario:
An Adult Wallet
I swear, if you’re still using a velcro wallet, you’re a freggin’ legend. Don’t change. Not for me, not for anyone. You’re a beautiful bastard just the way you are.
But realistically, it might be time for an upgrade. If you’ve got yourself a Costanza wallet in your back pocket, bro, I’m telling you, your back will hate you in your 30s. If your wallet is tattered and shitty looking, you’ll embarrass your children and your wife.
There are a lot of ways in which we’re supposed to embarrass family, but none of them include when it’s time to pay the bill. That’s why a good wallet is one of the things every man should own by 30.
I’ve been using two wallets for the past year: The Vera Forma Leatherworks Commodore and the Ridge Wallet. The Commodore is perfect for almost any situation, whether you’re wearing blue jeans or wearing a suit. The Ridge is IDEAL for hitting the trails on a mountain bike or going for a run. It’s also nice in really hot weather when you can’t avoid being outside.
A Suit and Dress Shoes
I’m pretty much a blue-collar guy, so I don’t love dressing up. You might feel the same way. But regardless of how you and I feel, wearing a suit is rarely about us. The situations in which we might consider wearing a suit are about other people, so get over yourself. A suit is really one of the things every man should own by 30.
First, wearing a suit to a funeral is a sign of respect for the departed. I’ve actually broken this rule a few times, and, to be honest, I’ve almost always regretted it. Next, if you’re heading to a wedding, it’s because someone cared enough about you to invite you on their special day, or someone special wants to spend that day with you. Put a suit on.
I’m not a woman, but there’s probably nothing worse than spending days looking for the right dress, getting their hair done, and putting on makeup only to show up with a guy who thinks an Under Armour golf shirt makes the grade. It doesn’t.
There are a lot of online retailers where you can order a suit, but I don’t have any first-hand experience with them. My suggestion is to head to a real tailor and let them steer you in the right direction. They’ll help you decide on materials, fit, and budget. I know, it feels awfully vulnerable to walk into somewhere blind in today’s day and age, so I put together these resources for you:
A Good Pair of Work Boots
Regardless of how you make your money, a good man shouldn’t be a stranger to a hard day’s work. And, if you’ve ever done a hard day’s work in a shit pair of boots or sneakers, you know how much you’ll pay for it after the sun goes down. That’s a good reason why a quality pair of work boots is one of the things every man should own by 30.
There are tons of great work boots out there. Some of TGA’s favorites include Golden Fox Boots and Thorogood (two totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to cost). The Golden Foxes won’t last quite as long, but they don’t take much time to break-in. The Thorogoods will last longer, but there’s an additional upfront cost to cough up, and they’re not as wear-ready (though they don’t take too long).
Regardless of which boots you wear, make sure they fit you correctly (and you know how to tie them). A little bit of leather conditioner never hurt, either.
Some Other Things Every Man Should Own by 30
Those items above are the basic things every man should own by 30, and they’re a great start. But, there are a few other items worth considering as you turn 30. And, if you invest in quality models, you’ll have them a very, very long time.
Cast Iron Pan
There are a lot of reasons to own a good cast iron pan, but my favorite is versatility. You can use them on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, or even over an open fire. You can even start something on the stove and move it to the grill or oven without transferring it to a new pot.
TGA’s favorite cast iron brand is Lodge, as they’re thicker and heavier than some other pans used. And yes, you can certainly buy one on Amazon, but it’s my understanding that if you purchase an older model from a thrift store, the quality is even better.
Good Work Gloves
Remember that hard day’s work we mentioned earlier? It gets a lot harder without a good pair of quality work gloves. And who the hell wants your grubby hands touching them at the end of the day? Good work gloves are certainly worth considering as one of the things every man should own by 30.
In my opinion, when it comes to things every man should own by 30, it’s hard to beat a good pair of leather gloves, but there are a lot of synthetic options as well.
The Right Sunglasses
We get it: expensive sunglasses are a big ask, and they really aren’t one of the things every man should own by 30, but they’re worth considering. Plus, this is more about buying the correct sunglasses for your face rather than a specific brand. Sunglasses bring symmetry to your face, which makes you more attractive. Sure, you could invest in a pair of Persols, but you can find relatively affordable glasses, as well. It’s more about the style. For me, aviators are the way to go.
By the time you hit 30, you’ll notice that your free time becomes way more scarce, and thus, more precious. You might want to start capturing those moments with a good camera. You don’t have to go over the top, and photography is definitely a rabbit hole (and a badass skill), but a quality camera like a DSLR or mirrorless can be a blast. If you’re really into the old school, you can’t beat a 35 MM.
The Canon EOS 2000D/Rebel T7 DSLR Kit on Amazon for $569.00 is a great start.
They don’t make blankets like they used to (unless you get a wool one). A wool blanket will last a long time, is light but insulates well, and can even keep you warm when it’s damp. They fold relatively small so you can throw them in a weekend bag, and they’re way more masculine than a frilly comforter.
You can’t go wrong with a Pendleton or Woolrich, but you can also save a bit with this blanket from Chubbuck (avaiable on Amazon for $89.99—TGA’s personal favorite).
There are times when you want to look sharp but don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. For those times, you might consider grabbing a sportcoat. Blue’s the classic color choice, but a black and white herringbone pattern looks good as well.
I found mine on Ebay and tailored it myself.
Classic Casual Boots
Around 30, you might start frequenting places you’ve never been before and experimenting with your style. You might not be feeling the loafers or oxfords yet, but you also know that a pair of basketball or running sneakers won’t make the cut either. For those times, a classic pair of casual boots might do the trick.
Classic casual boots give off a rugged but thoughtful vibe. They’re rough and tough enough to look cool without being dressy, but nice enough that they don’t look like they were rolling around in the back of your work truck all day. In your 30s, this is likely a style you want to capture.
Classic boots can be expensive, but Golden Fox’s service boot is nicely priced for the value it offers. And, chukkas might’ve gotten a lot of attention in the last 10 years, but they’ve been around a long, long time—doesn’t get much more classic than pre-WW2.
In your 30s, you’re probably starting to make big moves. You might be buying a house, applying for a business loan for a side hustle, or making other investments. Rather than walking out of the bank with a wad of papers rolled up in the pouch of your hoodie, consider a briefcase. You don’t have to spend a lot, but you can if you want to.
For a budget-friendly approach, consider:
For a more high-end approach, think about something like this:
Your 30s can be tough, but they can also be the decade where you really hit your stride as a man. You don’t need anything on this list, but they can help give you a more masculine, mature feel and look as you find your way.
What are your thoughts? Anything you’d add to the list? Agree or disagree? Got a question? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys, and it really does make it worth it for me.
Things Every Man Should Own by 30 FAQs
Q: What are three things a man needs?
Realistically, a man doesn’t need any things to be a good man or prove himself. But, in my opinion, if a man can only choose three items, he should choose a watch, a knife, and a pair of workboots. With those three things, he’ll have almost everything to be reliable, capable, and hardworking.
Q: What should I do as a man?
The most important thing you can do as a man is be useful. Learn to be an asset rather than a hindrance. Be someone who other people can rely on. The things every man should own by 30 will help, but they aren’t the only answer.