When my husband was about to retire, he worried about what he would do. Now that I’m about to retire, I’m worrying—it’s a woman’s thing—about what I will wear. My husband sees no dilemma. “Honey, you can wear whatever you darn well please.” As well meaning as he tries to be, his answer is for the birds.
Baby boomers like myself were weaned on books such as John Molloy’s DRESS FOR SUCCESS and articles entitled “You Are What You Wear.” We were taught that first impressions counted the most.
And now you see, there are no books on how to dress for retirement. You are on your own. Of course there’s always jeans and tees or sweats. I’ve gone through that era, thank you. Besides body shapes tend to change with the ensuing years. What looked cute and perky may now look frumpy and dumpy.
Where is my retirement guru? I need help. While I await the cavalry riding in with the newest book on RETIREMENT APPAREL, I head for my closet. Maybe I can find inspiration among the denizens residing there. If nothing else I can recycle garments to my local thrift shop. Hmm, it would seem that I have a few dinosaurs in my closet: blue corduroy gauchos, long plaid skirt, and hip huger pants.
Stealing myself, I ruthlessly go through my wardrobe. Out go the power suits and business blouses. Good -bye to the coordinating separates in taupe, black, and red. I am creating a new retired me and I need a new palate and an open closet.
My weeding completed, I survey what is left: sweats, denim skirt and jumper, jeans, navy blue blazer, and two casual calf-length dresses.
Now what, I muse. I start to daydream on how I will fill my non-working hours: tennis, golfing, sailing, bowling, perhaps horseback riding. That’s it. I can build my wardrobe around my activities. I picture myself in cute, pleated tennis outfits returning a volley a la one of the Williams’ sisters. Oh dear, might have to firm up a bit to look good in the jodhpurs. Then reality sets in. What do I wear in between these sporting occasions? Going to the bank, post office, market, matinee or lunch requires something casual but smart. I want my clothes to politely say, “Hello World. I’m retired. I’ve paid my dues. I’m happy and I look G O O D!
Maybe my husband is right. Perhaps I don’t need some guru dictating fashion guidelines. I’ll make my own. With this goal in mind, I’m off to the mall to shop till I drop. Let’s see, companies are encouraging smart casual dress on Fridays. Perhaps I should start with that concept. And, if I can’t find anything appropriate? I’ve already got that covered. I shall come out of retirement and start a new career in the design field. Styles by Sheila. Just what the smart retiree wants to wear.
by Sheila S. Moss
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