I know my readers aren’t necessarily in the same boat as I am right now, but I’m hoping everyone can learn a bit from my experience. I’ll have little to say about fashion per se today – hope that works for you!
In about a week I will be retiring for the second time. The immediate future will be very busy because Kate and her husband are having a baby (you can follow her progress on Instagram) in a few weeks and moving a few weeks after that AND R and I are moving 2500 miles from the Bay Area to Knoxville, TN.
Yes, I am stepping off a cliff. No, I don’t know what the future will look like. R has been retired for a few years and he has been quick to find a million projects to keep him, and more particularly, his brain occupied. In short, he cannot understand why I choose the expression “stepping off a cliff” to describe how I feel at the moment.
Maybe this is the way I should feel – stepping away from a career that I never envisioned in the first place and in which I had way more success than I ever thought possible. I’m still the same person as before, but just one stripped of my professional credentials and accomplishments. It doesn’t bother me that others will categorize me as old because I retired – I dealt with that shock when I first used my Medicare card! But it is more that I call fall in the “former”/”ex” category.
I’ve taken an inventory of who I am today and I am determined to focus on the positive dimensions of the inventory spreadsheet and maybe that’s all I need to do until we get through the baby birthing, the packing and the move. I also have a written list of things I want to do in this new stage of life and I can keep adding to that over the next two months.
So for now I am this: humorous, curious, intelligent, grateful, pretty good partner and wife, lucky all my life, pretty good mom, fit and determined to remain so, well-dressed, interested in the world, travel and many, many topics, organized, full of love, a Quaker in my core values, a lover of beauty, gardens, man made beauty and art. That’s what I’ll hang onto until all these life changes have happened.
P.S. AND the whole process of change has taken a different slat because I took a bad fall last Friday at my daughter’s house. I fell on and hurt my right hip and won’t know for a few days what will be required to get better. Until then, I’m basically immobile and useless. This definitely was NOT the plan.
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It has been a full year, you guys, that we have been writing this crazy blog! We’ve had a great time and we pay much more attention to how we dress than we did before we started! We hope you can say the same thing as you’ve read along.
We’re starting our blogiversary week by picking out our five favorite outfits for the year. Jeanne is going first.
Jeanne says: I’m not sure there is any rhyme or reason to my choices. I’ve picked more pants than skirts and on two of these occasions I’m wearing tops with messages on them –- hmmm. It is fun to look back and to reflect on how we’d improve outfits we wore six months ago. What do you think of my favorite choices for the year?
What We Wore: Logo Tees
Jeanne’s Retirement – Or Maybe Not
What We Wore: Peasant-Style Tops
What We Wore: Orange and Pink
What We Wore: Tweedy Jackets
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I am returning to the full time work force after being retired for about four months. It’s not that having my days free to do what I please were bad; I really enjoyed my time off. But I got a wonderful job offer that I simply could not refuse and now I am excited again about getting up early and marching off to work every day.
I thought my need for work clothes and the corresponding accessories was a thing of the past. Many of us have moved in and out of the workforce as we had children, moved, returned to school, or simply took a break between jobs. So maybe you can relate to what I’ve learned wardrobe-wise as a result of my four-month vacation.
- No matter what we may say ahead of time, it is really hard to get dressed and put on makeup every day when you don’t have to. My mornings often consisted of drinking coffee, catching up on the news, email and blogs in my pajamas. Then, when I really started to feel guilty around 1:00 PM, I put on workout clothes, walked to my gym, worked out, and walked home. Some days, I just got back into my pajamas for the rest of the day. LESSON LEARNED: I need to have sleepwear and workout separates I really love.
- I had no need for dresses or skirts. When I did get dressed, it was always in jeans or pants. I found out that skirts and dresses really are just for work and dress up. LESSON LEARNED: When you stop working, you only need a small collection of dressy dresses. for weddings, fancy parties, etc. Otherwise nice pants or jeans cover everything.
- On the subject of shoes: if I didn’t have to wear high heels, I didn’t. Sometimes my outfit demanded heels and I happily wore them. But if I could get by with flats, I did. However, at the same time, I missed being the stylish one in the killer heels. LESSON LEARNED: High heels are an integral part of my fashionista persona.
- You might ask what happened to my hair while I was spending my days in my pajamas and workout clothes. Well, I relied heavily on having short hair that required little maintenance and I got it trimmed a lot. LESSON LEARNED: A great wash and go hairdo is even more critical when you retire because you won’t want to spend time on your hair any more than you spend time on your makeup.
Now I have work clothes on my shopping list again. Let me close by showing you just a few of the great things I’ve bought in the past few weeks to liven up my much-reduced work wardrobe:
1, 2, 3
4, 5, 6
Do you agree or disagree with my “lessons learned”? Any additional insights into retirement dressing?
Kate and her husband Eric are on vacation this week and, as you know, when the cat’s away, the mouse will play. Their vacation happens to coincide with Jeanne’s final days of work before – wait for it – retirement. Well, at least her first retirement. R, Jeanne’s husband, keeps reminding her that this is just the beginning of another chapter of their lives. And Jeanne keeps wondering who exactly she will be without the career woman identity she has had for decades. So perhaps this will be retirement or a breather between jobs. Only time will tell.
But let’s turn to the dimension of retirement that is related to fashion and style since that is the raison d’etre of Two Take on Style. How will Jeanne make the adjustment to dressing for a different lifestyle?
Jeanne says: I has taken several steps over the past year to prepare – steps that could be useful for anyone making a dramatic lifestyle change – making the decision to leave a career to raise children full time, shifting from a formal workplace to one that is very casual, etc.
1) First of all, as I purchased clothes over the past year, I have thought about the role they could play in my new life. That meant for me, fewer “work-like” dresses and skirts and more clothes that could dress up AND down. One example: I still bought several cute jackets, but thought carefully about how they would go with jeans or casual pants before I laid down my credit card.
2) Second, I gave away or donated clothes that I knew would no longer get much wear like dressy work pants and those work dresses.
3) I enhanced my jeans and trouser wardrobes because I knew they would get more use in the future, still sticking to more basic jean designs because of their versatility.
4) I upgraded my fitness wardrobe. No matter how much I try, I’ll probably end up wearing activewear more often and at least I will look good when I do!
All this sounds sensible and orderly. However, I couldn’t be totally practical – so boring – so I have continued to splurge on accessories and SHOES. On the shoe front, though, I amnbuying fewer work shoes – like pumps – and instead am having fun buying more fanciful shoes and many pairs of boots.
There is no way to know what the months ahead will bring for Jeanne as she heads into uncharted territory (although we’ll be sure to let you know!) but you can be sure whatever she is doing she will be chic!
* Jeanne wore the outfit above to a little retirement dinner held in her honor.
PJK tee, tulle skirt via eBay (similar), Target Earrings (similar), Zara shoes (similar), Asos belt (similar)