And now, some thoughts on how you might shop today for tomorrow’s retirement. Working, I used a fair amount of my salary to buy stuff for stress relief. I think one is allowed indulgence. But with a little forethought, that indulgence becomes investment.
Over the last 20 months since I stopped working I’ve gotten rid of a lot of clothes. Mostly those that were neither comfortable enough nor special nor enough “me” to keep.
The best of the last group I saved for my blog sale. Thanks everyone!
Then off to the American Cancer Society went Monique Lhullier, Giorgio Armani tunic and pants, a shiny raincoat, Toast jacket, some Stuart Weitzman net pumps and several pairs of Beautifeel shoes. To Goodwill I brought J. Crew bootleg corduroys (bootlegs have to be fitted to look good, so these were neither comfortable enough for staying in nor edgy enough for going out), a black Costco peacoat, numerous t-shirts, and lots of exercise clothes and casual shoes.
What Did I Keep In Retirement That I Bought For Work?
From my last office, which was very casual, I have kept two Isabel Marant tweed jackets, a Dries van Noten dress, an All-Saints motorcycle jacket, Dickers boots, the J. Crew field jacket, and Gravati brogues. From previous, more formal offices, I’ve got a Chanel jacket, a Brooks Brothers button-front, navy linen Giorgio Armani pants, and a gray silk and wool Luciano Barbera pants suit. You know, in case I ever have to speak in front of a business crowd again.
If you’re still working, here are the type of pieces you might buy with an eye to retirement.
- If you never wear it on the weekend, you are unlikely to wear it in daily retirement.
- Office basics are not investment for retirement. Office “special” pieces however, if they can stand alone for a special occasion or dress up a casual outfit, are.
Just make sure that your investment pieces hit your your sweet spot in color and silhouette. I keep wishing I had the perfectly cut aubergine Marant jacket in black instead.
What I’ve Bought Since Retiring
- Outerwear: Blue Max Mara jacket, white Costco peacoat
- Shoes: Birkenstocks, both gray and white, Vince sneakers, brown and black New Balance for city walks, puffy pink and white Nikes for workouts
- A Lotta Pants: Citizens of Humanity boyfriend jeans, white boyfriends, J. Crew drop crotch khakis.
- T-Shirts: Costco white lace, Target b&w striped, Jigsaw gray and white stripes, UNIQLO lavender, gray, and white
Kind of like this.
- If you buy special pieces in your best colors and silhouettes while you’re working, you can play with t-shirts, shoes and other casual gear once you retire.
- Learn how to use jewelry and/or scarves, it’s a useful investment of your time.
On The Hunt
I’m now looking for pieces that are edgy, but not so much they require emotional bandwidth to wear. I want my clothes to up-level me ju.u.u.st enough that they don’t hang me out to dry. Always in Polished Tomboy. Tricky, work in progress. Ordered this, sent it back, too weirdly cut at the neck. Still looking for :
- Comfortable yet sophisticated top to wear with drop crotch khakis, so I don’t look like a street denizen. Turns Jenna Lyons can pull off ultra-baggy, it’s a little harder for the rest of us. But they are so comfortable, (see Most Important) that I’m going to try.
- Dark capacious casual jacket, with a modern edge. When I wear a black tee I don’t like to wear a light jacket.
- Blue tees to replace the ones that have developed “jean button” holes at the waist.
- Flannel pajamas in something other than Must Be PJs Plaid, or Breakfasts I Love Print. Finding jammie bottoms in a sophisticated ikat, or a tonal photoprint — anything that could make less evident that I’m my pruning front yard roses in sleepwear — would elevate my retirement style exponentially.
A few possibilities. Except for discreet flannel pajama bottoms because I’ve not found any.
None so far. Am staying in the moment where lessons are lived as learned.