After decades of wearing blouses and suits, retiring means you never have to dress up again if you don’t want to. Not sure where to start when it comes to downsizing your wardrobe? The image consultant Lynne Glassman, also known as the Doctor of Dress, offers some of the tips she gives her recently retired clients to help them go from all business to a closet of casual.
Get a head start, but don’t get ahead of yourself
It’s never too early to start getting rid of your career clothes, especially if you have an extensive closet. Going through your garments in increments can make the process seem less time-consuming. However, Glassman said she usually tells her soon-to-be retired clients that they should try to dress professionally up until their last day, so don’t get rid of everything just yet.
To toss or not to toss
As a rule of thumb, if the item hasn’t been worn in over a year it should be placed in the donation pile, Glassman said. Clothes that no longer serve a purpose, like job-specific uniforms or things with company logos can also be removed.
Don’t keep anything that is too big or too small, with the anticipation that you’ll be able to wear it in the future. Glassman also adds that if an item needs to be tailored it should also be removed from your closet.
Save your feet
You can finally free yourself from the pain of uncomfortable work shoes. Glassman recommends for women to keep a couple of basic, easily matchable heels and plenty of comfortable shoes. The rest of your business heels can go with the rest of your old clothes: to the consignment store. She suggested for men opting to do something similar by keeping a just a pair of solid color loafers to wear for fancy occasions.
Finding a new purpose
Sometimes you don’t have to get rid of your entire professional suit. Glassman often tells her male clients to keep one piece of their suit to repurpose. If you keep a jacket, you can wear it over a causal shirt then match it with a decent pair of pants for a post-retirement outfit. A nice pair of slacks can also be worn with a less-dressy shirt.
Learning to let go
Just can’t seem to part with that varsity lettermen jacket from high school or those cargo shorts from two decades ago? Why not donate them to a homeless shelter? That way it can go to someone who will probably wear it more than you do, and you can receive a tax credit for donating. The doctor of dress also said that her clients can take their old clothes to second-hand or consignment stores, if they’re looking to make some extra cash.
Where to shop for seniors
After you purge your closet of anything and everything work related, it’s time to find clothes that fit your new lifestyle. Glassman has found that it’s not rare to find large retailers that offer age-friendly casual wear but she prefers to support smaller-owned local boutiques. Everards and Upstairs on 7th in downtown D.C. are some of her favorites to take her clients. But, if you’re on a budget, she also recommends Nordstrom Rack and Eileen Fisher.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Having a second opinion never hurts, especially when it’s a specialist. Hiring an image consultant like Glassman can help you see your clothes in a different light and create outfits that you’ve never even considered.
Lynne Glassman can be found at www.doctorofdress.com/.