In the beginning you keep all your going-to-work clothes, telling yourself that you won’t lower your standards just because you are retired. You still plan to go out every day, and you can get just as dressed up for the people at the grocery store as you did for your colleagues.
Once in a while you go out to dinner or to the theatre, and you want to look nice. You like to dress well for family gatherings, too, so you need to keep a few skirts around. You remind yourself that you can wear a blazer to keep warm just as easily as you wear a cardigan. A skirt still looks good on you and you really like the pants that cost you an arm and a leg.
The blazers are the first thing to go.
A local charity makes an appeal for interview clothes and you think, “Why not?” It will be much better to have them used by people who are job-hunting than to keep them hanging in your closet, and you get to feel noble into the bargain.
A bit later on you look at all the skirts and dress pants and realize you haven’t worn any of them for a year or so. You don’t get rid of them all right away, though, because you still go out every other day. You throw away the lined knee-length skirts first because you only ever wore them to work. Then you take to the thrift store all the dress pants that seem a little bit tight all of a sudden.
You are spending more time going on walks, to yoga classes, and to tai chi these days, so you have to buy more jeans, sweat pants, and workout tops which take up precious space in your dresser. Something has to go, and that turns out to be the Victoria’s Secret’s undies and bedroom delights that haven’t seen daylight in almost five years.
The dress-up shoes go next. You have a closet littered with about thirty pairs of shoes, and twenty of those pairs have heels. Retired people wear heels only about five times a year, so most of them have to go. The good news is that now you can see the floor in your closet, and you no longer have to pretend that two-inch heels are comfortable.
Accessories are the last things to go. Ten years after you retire you will still be cleaning the jewellery that went with the work outfits because, after all, you still go out a couple of times a week. As you look through the jewellery box you notice brooches (brooches!) that you only wore for one special event each, necklaces that are really fiddly to put on, and six single earrings whose partners never reappeared.
On a top shelf in a storage box are the decorative scarves that became the Twinkies of your wardrobe. They never get old and you never throw them out. They don’t take up much space and you never know, you might have a craving for one of them one day.
So, then you are left with mostly jeans and Twinkies. It’s all downhill from there. You’ll be in Walmart and notice a food stain on your t-shirt, and you won’t even care.