One of the blessings of leaving the office behind is that my ‘uniform’ can change. Instead of smartly-accessorized business suits, panty hose that are sheer yet sturdy enough to get through long days, and the standard navy or black pumps (sling backs permitted but hold the exposed toes) I look forward to a new type of ‘uniform’. No, it won’t be elasticized stretch pants and a sloppy over-sized sweat shirt because a well-kept presentation is important to post-work self-esteem. So I look forward to converting some of my favorite weekend options into the retirement ‘uniform’.
The top of the list is comfortable jeans or cords that fit well and that look good whether it’s off to the park for a walk, out to do some errands, a trip to the gym, or for just sitting around the house. Coupled with the jeans I can choose from a variety of blouses, sweaters or well-filling and colorful T-shirts.
The weekend standard is washable, easy to wear, and looks good in the casual venues that I typically inhabit. It allows me to play with my cats without looking like a fur ball (cat hair doesn’t cling to the denim!). I don’t worry about spatters when I am cooking as the washing machine can easily deal with any accidents.
Second on the list is comfortable footwear. One of my yoga teachers is fond of telling us that we can’t ‘trade-in’ our feet so it best to learn to look after them — every day. Looking after my feet involves wearing shoes that fit properly and have enough room in them — especially in the toe box because swished toes make for a frown. The ideal is bare feet and this is certainly possible on the beach or on the lawn but I’m not ready to chuck well-fitting walking shoes or jogging shoes or sandals when outside of the house.
A great Canadian option is moccasins and I am fortunate to have real deer skin moccasins made to fit my feet by an Anishnaabe woman who used a tracing of my footprint to custom make the moccasins and personalized them with wonderful beading and rabbit fur. Whatever the choice, there is always the option to take off the shoes when sitting around — wonderful freedom for the toes.
And speaking of yoga, there is great yoga gear that looks just as good at home as in the yoga studio and has the bonus of comfort and enough give to the fabric to make it easy to wear for hanging out at home.
Seasonal options will also form part of the post work uniform and must allow for comfort to live your life both indoors and outdoors . Living in Canada means that there are two extreme seasons and two middle seasons and it meant that the weather is often unpredictable. The new ‘uniform’ must allow for outdoor options regardless of the weather so waterproof and windproof outerwear that is light, dries quickly, and moves with your body, My favorite is a goretex jacket that allows the addition of an extra fleece liner for winter but in spring and fall is fine without a liner. Summer is the season of freedom in Canada as no extra clothing is needed but often sun protection — long sleeves and hat are required due to the sun’s intensity. Of course, the uniform will need footwear proper to the season including sturdy warm boots for winter, galoshes for rain and a variety of shoes for the other seasons.
Finally, regardless of the post work uniform, the most essential part will be a good disposition. No frowns! If you don’t feel upbeat, you might have to fake it and get moving — socializing, engaging in hobbies, exercising, smiling at people, offering greetings, and initiating conversations.
The new uniform is more than the comfortable clothes, it is also how you learn to be comfortable in your new life instead of longing for what has passed. It is founded in gratitude for not having to put on the business suit and hustle to meet the requirements of a demanding work schedule. It is based on who you are becoming and it can be customized for your new lifestyle. Most importantly, the good disposition can be learned — more about that in subsequent blog posts.
So think about the ‘new uniform’ required for your the post work lifestyle. I’ve commented on mine — yours will be different. Enjoy!