Dilemma: how to change a wardrobe that suited my working life to fit with retirement?
This is Part 1 of a weekly set which will show how my wardrobe has been developing since I left work and began the new phase of my life in retirement. I hope to publish a new post on this topic each Monday.
In 2014, I officially retired from my position as a school librarian. As I had been off work for some time with illness, this was the obvious next step. Over the subsequent weeks and months, I began to realise that I needed to make some changes in my clothing to fit with my new life.
- I was (and still am, of course!) short, but reasonably slim, varying from around 8½ to 9¾ stone, and a size 12 most of the time. I have a long body, not very curvy, with short legs (sounds great!).
- In my last post I wore smart skirt or trouser suits, neat separates, low or medium heeled shoes or boots, neat earrings or necklaces, no bracelets (they got in the way when using a desktop PC).
- Whilst most of my clothes and shoes were fairly inexpensive (think Marks and Spencer and John Lewis), my Mum had developed a nice habit of treating me to some higher end stuff when I visited.
- A lot of my clothes were black, navy, blue, grey, with turquoise, purple and loads of other colours. In fact just about every colour under the sun was represented in my wardrobe – I love colour!
- Jewellery was either cheap and cheerful or slightly more expensive but high quality.
- I wore simple makeup on most working days and as my grey hairs came in, I had my hair professionally dyed a lighter shade than my natural mid-brown.
- At weekends and on evenings when I got home from work, I would mainly wear jeans or jogging bottoms with t-shirts or jumpers. A lot of the tops would be older ones, downgraded from my working wardrobe, so could be rather tatty with the odd hole or pull. I used to call it my “slob gear”.
- At night I would wear old baggy t-shirts and ancient leggings in bed and sometimes slob around in these at weekends too.
- When going out, I would wear some of my work clothes or one of my few smart dresses with high heels.
- But most of the time my family would only see me in tatty clothes and I saved my best looks for work.
But then everything changed with illness and retirement!
- Now that I have been taking shed loads of meds, including steroids, for many years, my body and hair have changed. My skin tone and hair are fading with age and, although I still dye my hair, I cannot bear the feel of makeup. Colours like black no longer suit me.
- My weight fluctuates from around 9½ to over 11 stones and (boo hoo 😭) I have developed thinning hair, a steroid moon face and too much of a tum! Gulp!
- I spend a great deal of the day either in bed, or sitting in the lounge watching TV, or reading. I cannot go out most days and when I do the trips are pretty limited to hospital visits, the garden centre for cups of tea, the doctor, the hairdresser and very rarely for shopping or the cinema. I cannot make longer journeys, so holidays are out of the question.
- So, I realised that I did not need smart suits, work trousers or skirts, neat jackets and so on.
- What I did need was clothing that would fit with my new lifestyle that would also make allowances for weight gain and fluctuations in both weight and shape.
- I also needed clothes that would help me to feel and look good for myself and for my family. Nice pyjamas would also be on my list!
- I needed to be able to buy things either online or from shops that I would see on my very limited trips out of the house.
As I spend a lot of time on my iPad, I started to read blogs about fashion and lifestyle. It was a distraction from my stress and anxiety and helped to ease my mental anguish at the time. One blog and forum lead to others and I found a range of sites that spoke to the older, “mature” me. One such was The Vivienne Files – I cannot recommend it enough. Janice, the writer, shows numerous ways of developing interesting and colourful wardrobes that fit a range of lifestyles. This really appealed to me and so began a real change of direction.
New life, new me
With all the above in mind, plus all of the reading, I had a look at my wardrobe. Over a few weeks I tried everything on and put clothes into three piles: keep, charity shop or bin. Then everything that I wanted to keep went back into my wardrobe, I stepped back and looked…
To be continued…
Images from Flickr
The “anne” of the first image is not me!