I would assume that the timing has its origins back to childhood when fall meant “back to school” and spring meant replacing the t-shirts and shorts I outgrew from the previous season. Even though I haven’t set foot in a classroom in years and “outgrowing” holds a different meaning today, the traditions of shopping for spring and fall fashion stuck with me.
But the paradigm of seasonal shopping is starting to shift. With retirement just a few years away, my clothing needs are changing.
I would like to think that until now, for my work life and my social life, I had cultivated a look that struck the right balance between the office dress code, what allowed me to feel comfortable and confident and what pleased me personally.
I developed a uniform of separates I truly loved, that fit me the way I wanted. Through carefully selected long sleeved shirts, sweaters, blazers, dress pants, cotton pants, jeans, shoes, and socks of all colours, it was very easy to mix and match the pieces to achieve a multitude of looks, appropriate for the weather, the occasion, and how I felt on a given day.
I also had on hand the obligatory suits for interviews, weddings and funerals.
Similarly, I knew exactly which pieces traveled better than others, which took the guesswork out of packing for a trip.
But soon, corporate dress codes will no longer be a boundary I will have to observe. Not only will I have the time and the creative freedom to write all those stories floating around in my head, but I will also be free to develop a new uniform for the next phase of life.
One of the joys of being a writer is that we can follow our calling while wearing pretty much anything we want. In movies and TV, we sometimes see mature male writers as wearing those bulky sweaters with the patches on the elbows, smoking a pipe and sipping a scotch. The scotch part sounds good, but I’m not sure that the rest is really me. We also know of some legendary writers who wrote their best work in the nude… I would assume in the privacy of their own home.
I admit that many of my blog writing sessions are performed in my jammies or in sweat pants and sweatshirt, but I don’t plan to make those my retirement uniform.
But what will be the look that will transition me from one phase of life to the other? What look will be the signature calling card to say confident, creative writer? What look will say “kick ass new writer” when I enter a room?
I will admit that there is someone whose fashion sense has always made me smile from within and think, “If I didn’t have to abide by a corporate dress code, THAT is what I would look like”. That man is Lenny Kravitz.
His head-to-toe glamourous rock and roll look is what I would be wearing today (and every day) if I wasn’t a life-long devoted public servant. His layered combinations of t-shirts, funky patterned shirts, cool blazers, jeans and rock and roll boots are the pieces to which I think I would naturally gravitate for projecting the more fun, creative side of me.
The best part is that Lenny and I are about the same age so if I can carry off the look with the right energy and without feeling self-conscious, the age-appropriateness of the look should not be an issue. And who wouldn’t be comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, living the life of their dreams in a uniform that screams “I am free from dress codes”?
For this spring, instead of heading to the malls and replenishing the elements of a wardrobe style that will likely be changing in the foreseeable future, I may as well stay home, work on the next blog posts and save my pennies for those really special investment pieces that will form part of my writer’s uniform.
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Have a great day,