Friday, August 23, 2013

Everyday Casual-(But Not Too Casual) On A Retirement Budget

One of the ways my sister and I are not the same is the way we prepare for the day and dress. I don't own "around the house clothes"(although I do own painting and some workout clothing). My sister throws on whatever she finds and if we decide to go somewhere (be it the store, my brother's house or out to dinner), she needs to "change" and "get ready". I on the other hand, dress for the day-whatever it may bring. Admittedly retirement allows me to stay in jammies until ten if I choose, before I dress for that day ahead.

One of the many joys of retirement from my perspective at least was the ability to say good buy to lots of clothes and makeup. Although I was in the workforce for only part of my working life, the job I had required a true dress for success wardrobe.  Add that to the fact that my husband spent much of his life in jobs that required serious entertainment, as well as multiple formal functions a year, and you end up with lots of clothes and clothing types:  formal wear, business wear, at home casual, home improvement clothes (required for people who own a 1940s brownstone), sit on the ground while watching kids play soccer clothes.  My closet was psychotic, I had required laundry and dry cleaning bills............well, you get the idea!!!

Enter retirement, and the retirement budget (and lifestyle). On the one hand I am more than happy to see most of those clothing types and expenses leave my life. For me, I'm also happy to leave almost all of the makeup behind as well. On the other hand, one doesn't want to descend to the "well, we're not leaving the house today, so...." philosophy.  Especially in the south, where the traditional shower time is as likely to be at bedtime as when one awakes.

So the challenge becomes how to be casual but not too casual, without spending a fortune.  Equally challenging is a low key routine that prepares one for every occasion. in other words, I want to be prepared for what the day will bring-but I don't want to spend a great deal of time, money or effort doing so (call me lazy at heart).  My solution has been a casual uniform of sorts (what one blogger called her "everyday casual uniform"), and much sstreamliningg-along with a few costly and or labor intensive expenses.

As I've been unpacking, I realize how easy I have made things on every level.  I like clothes, especially color. I just don't want to have to "think" about how I look, especially after dressing in the morning. Nor do I wish to shop till I drop. I don't want to look down and say "oops, I have to change before I hit the store", using the example above. My solution is to own things that go together (yes all my spring clothing does that) and to only buy a couple items a year and only if I love them. All of my pants are similar knit, yoga pant styles that can be worn with flats or flip flops.  In other words, if I got up in the dark, I probably could get dressed and go through the day. My one weakness in all this is casual jewelery. Really short hair means that you can wear almost any earring any color any time. However, since I'm as likely to take my earrings of while watching TV, most of my jewelry is neither expensive nor precious,  Just classic. finally, I keep a few clothes for painting and get rid of every thing I don't like or what is torn, frayed, broken out of size (and wear big aprons when I cook!)

By the same token, I deliberately choose personal styling that requires no effort.  I have quite short hair that is well style and only needs wash and go and finger styling. I keep it gray because it has to be cut so often (and acknowledge that I have the type of gray and the skin tone to do that).  My nails are short (as much for the requirement of my lifestyle as anything else). Fake or long nails would be lost on me and would probably be sewn through in a week or less. I have few moderately expensive skin care products and very good perfume.  My skin is so dry that it needs to be moisturized more than once a day, limiting my makeup to blush and lip gloss most days. 

Most days I arise and put on casual kit pants, bright layered tops, jewelry, blush and lip gloss and I am prepared for the day.  This will take me through dinner out at the end of the day, unless I have on shorts or sweats during weather extremes.  It's what works for me.

My retirement lifestyle is not made of routines.  Every day is very different. Some days I am extremely busy but may not leave the house except for my walk.  Some days I am in and out, some days I am out all day. Some days I am active, some days I spend much of the time reading.  Add that to the fact that I am by nature a casual person, have a sensitive and damaged knee, and prefer not to change throughout the day and you end up with the kind of uniform wardrobe you see above.

For me its the happy medium-clothing that is comfortable everywhere and looks fine everywhere. Other people make different choices. Some are jeans people during the day and dress up people for dinner (I'll say here that in Texas I wore many skirts, seeing as that they are cooler than pants-even during the daytime). Some folks cannot go out of the house without lipstick (a best friend). I guess the challenge is finding style and comfort within your budget and energy level.

Mine works for me.  And now time to stop delaying and time to start unpacking the rest of those clothes!

21 comments:

  1. Funny, we were just having the "retirement wardrobe" conversation after tennis this morning. We have tennis clothes, golf clothes, workout clothes, about town clothes (the uniform) and going out clothes. So nice not to own "work clothes" anymore.

    It's comforting to know that I don't have to think about my choices. Grab a bottom, grab a top, flip-flops, out the door. It also makes purchases easier. I rarely buy anything that won't match something in my closet. Dressy clothes being the exception. And, I only buy those on a strictly as needed basis. I can usually recycle something from years back.

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    1. Well, yes, I did forget about the swimsuit for aerobics and the golf clothes, lol. I am blessed that here in Denver for the most part going out clothes vary only a teeny bit from the uniform (different shoes, better jewelry), lol

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  2. I am still finding my way in retirement after working 30yrs. Finding my post-retirement fashion style is still a work in progress for me. I am thrilled at giving my heels to charity. Beyond that, I'm still unsure....

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  3. I'm one of those girls who gave up heels LONG before retirement, blessedly.

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  4. I'm similar to Suzanne in that I have small quantities of clothes for many different activities. My at home uniform is matching velour top/bottoms, but I change if going out. My out and about uniform is usually skinny jeans with flats in summer, boots in winter, cute tees by day, slinky blouse by night. I still enjoy dressing up when appropriate! I do dress up a bit for our Lifelong Learning program, using my prior work clothes, which I 'casual down' by pairing with boots.

    I love boots. I must own over a dozen pair.

    And I always wear makeup, though fairly light. I feel very pale and naked without it.

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    1. I realized that for me, I have little patience for changing and because I am a spur of the moment person when I want to go, I go. I am fortunate the Denver is much, much more casual in terms of evening events and dining out than dallas was, and jewelry and shoes will make the difference. I attend school with "the kids" in regular classes and they already consider me dressed up, lol.

      I am not a boot person, but I expect I will need at least a pair in my new home. sigh. I never owned a pair of socks or hose except for workout wear in Dallas. Life has changed.....

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  5. This reminds me of when my mother moved to an assisted living place. I had to convince her that she could now throw away all her old work around the house and garden clothes because she was now going to become a Lady of Leisure!

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    1. Its my sister who does the home repairs and gardening. she does the outdoor work (which I enjoy after the fact) and I do the indoor work and wear large aprons.

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  6. I guess it's easier being a guy. Retirement clothes are the same clothes you wore before, just not the ones you wore to work.

    But speaking of style, I liked the larger type you used in your Serendipity post -- easier for these old eyes to read.

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    1. I dont know what happened to the font this time Tom, I agree it needs to be larger.

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  7. Great post! Reading it made me realize I'm probably by nature a slob, forced to look more presentable by working. a lot of years Now that I don't work any more, you reminded me that, even if I'm home, wearing old, stained (but clean) sweats may not cut it for days on end. This was an area I never thought about; very glad you wrote about it as I definitely need to re-assess this area of my life.

    I also agree the type needs to be larger. Much larger would help me.

    thanks!

    pam

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  8. I trust you're settling in to your new home. Isn't moving one of the big stressors in life? Interesting post about wardrobe. I have various wardrobe types and definitely have the gardening/chore clothes. I was never a big clothes shopper and even less so now that I'm retired. I do like the notion of making myself "presentable" in the morning and being prepared for the day. It's easy to fall into a slump - no need to "clean up" if not leaving the house that day. I find that I dress up a little more to just go for groceries just because it's an opportunity to do so. I, too, wear aprons to protect my clothes in the kitchen. I look for aprons as souvenirs when travelling. When I was working out of the home, I used to indulge occasionally in a pyjama day, especially in the winter months. I can see some of those on the horizon.

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    1. In texas I had long loungers that I could and did wear during the day-they were presentable enough that I could answer the door and so on. I fully admit that now living in colorado I will probably have quite a few sweats days, however, because of the style and cut of my casual clothes I can wear them further than the house MOST of the time, lol

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  9. Guess I'm the only one that is a rather neat slob. My morning uniform is always V-neck t-shirts (men's) and capris with pockets and ecco sandals (good support) (summer no socks, winter w/socks). Must wear tinted moisturizer, mascara and earrings even when staying home. But, need to change tops only if going to a nice store. Evenings out requires a complete change. I was very happy to give up my suits, dresses and heels, but will never part with my junky jewelry. Love everyone's post with ideas and may invest in a couple of aprons soon!

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    1. I use the aprons because I am a very, very messy cook. Wearing flour is part of my baking attire, lol. HOnestly, I wear the capris with sandals, I just have bright silky style ts that I wear (that are very washable). I like my big jewelry. It has been suggested that because Iam such a weather wimp, I may well spend much of the winter months in nice sweats and bright velour tops (by nice I mean the kind not gathered at the bottom)

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  10. I too start my day dressed and ready. Now that I am home full time I could run around in PJ's all day but that is left for special lazy girl winter days. My wardrobe is dresses in the summer (it helps catch a breeze in the summer) Jeans or pants in the winter with tops that can go with both. Throw on a pair of going to town shoes instead of tennis shoes and I am good to go. Saves so much more money

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    1. I probably do dress this way because I wear almost exclusively knits fabrics by necessity so really my clothing is very unstructured and comfy even for dress up. I'll admit here that there is many a day that a bra does not hit my body until I am ready to go out the door however, lol.

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  11. I wear jeans and t-shirts unless I am mediating - then slacks and a shirt with light jacket.

    No bra unless I need to be presentable. What a relief from the working years!

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    1. Must admit no bras here........that is something i put on depending on my day. I actually wish my knee would allow me to wear jeans...

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  12. My wife and I have been on a three week vacation. We both agreed one suitcase each and a small carry-on would have to do. That means the same clothes get worn over and over. But, we are seeing different people and going to different places each day so it doesn't matter.

    Like you, Barb, I am most comfortable in the same few interchangeable clothes day in and day out.

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  13. I realize the inner feelings of you. It is good to have cheap but decent clothes if you are tired of wearing same dresses again and again. My father loves Bella shirts and he gets all and all on cheap.
    http://www.apparelnbags.com/bella/index.htm

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