Retirement Week 2 — Clothes make the retiree


Went into town today; had a couple of appointments, a few things to pick up. In one week, we are now already getting past the “so how’s retirement going?” phase.

Less often, I’m having to use the stock “So far, so good,” and am instead facing the, “You look so different” appraisal. I got that one three times today in the space of a couple of hours. One guy I do business with even candidly remarked, “You look less distinguished.”

The problem is weekdays and suits. For lo these many years, my weekday uniform has been suit and tie. Those who are used to seeing me out and about on weekdays associate me with suit and tie, in the same way they would expect to see a zebra with black and white stripes, or poodle with a silly haircut.

Mel, in his old uniform, with Terry Lake a couple of weeks ago.

On weekends, my going-to-town costume has traditionally switched to blue jeans and golf shirt. Wearing that to town during weekdays has turned the “This is who Mel is” world upside down.

It’s good, in a way, to have moved beyond the “looking forward to retirement?” conversational phase, and now even the “how’s retirement?” phase. Keeps things interesting.

But I realized something else about suits and ties today. Not only do they define who you are to those who interact with you on business days, but they define who you are to yourself.

I feel a sense of unease as I go around town in my casuals. Occasionally I instinctively reach to straighten my tie. My hand moves toward a non-existent inside left pocket of a non-existent suit jacket in search of my wallet. I suddenly become aware that this is a different me in a different time.

I have seven freshly dry-cleaned suits hanging in my closet and,  it will probably take me about seven years to wear each of them one more time. Or maybe I’ll start wearing them to town on Saturdays and Sundays.

About Mel Rothenburger (9224 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on Retirement Week 2 — Clothes make the retiree

  1. Go for the International , Green Acres look , get in touch with your inner outlaw .Bib overalls, bootcuts . So everytime you go to town , the critics don’t kick your clothes arround. P.S, really confuse them , cycling shorts !

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