Rethinking Your Closet in A New Season of Life

Rethinking Your Closet in A New Season of Life

Whenever the seasons of your life change, chances are your wardrobe will need to change with them. Whether it’s going from working at home to working in the office again, going back to school, or retiring (at any age), change can feel abrupt and foreign. Here are some tips on rethinking your closet during these times and turning this into a fun opportunity.

Culture Shock

Heading back to the office if you have been working from home for a long time can feel like culture shock. There is commuting, figuring out new hybrid schedules, adjusting to changing health and safety requirements, and getting used to in-person meetings again. Oh, and if your idea of casual Friday has morphed into pajama day (audio-only meetings are so handy), you will need to dress like a grown-up again.

Maybe the Dress Code Is More Flexible Now?

Think of this as a fun opportunity to wear some clothes that have probably just been sitting in your closet for a while (and buy a few new things!). Gauging if and how the office dress code has changed might be a bit tricky. When in doubt, go by the “old rules” and notice what people one or two levels above you in the organization are wearing for inspiration. But keep your eyes open. Many of us have learned to work in different ways in the recent past, and that includes dress codes. Ease into it, but if jeans used to always be okay on Fridays, perhaps you could try a great pair of women’s jeans with a women’s white blouse ensemble on a day that isn’t Friday. If you have specific client-facing responsibilities, this may not be an option, but if not, and you use good taste, chances are the sky isn’t going to fall.

Business Casual Yet Comfy

Even if general expectations for proper attire haven’t evolved, make sure to go comfy. Perhaps your favorite cotton cardigan will be your new go-to third piece instead of a blazer. Keep in mind that black dress pants and neat looking women’s yoga pants aren’t a world apart in terms of cut or color, so they might be interchangeable on some days. Maybe you can’t wear pajamas to the office, but with the right choices, you can be just as comfy.

Going Back to School

If you have decided to go back to school, yay you! Formal education used to have a hard stop at age twenty-two for most of us, but no more. Whether you want to change careers, spiff up your resume, or just enjoy the intellectual stimulation, going back to school can be a great way to do that. This could be all online (with or without video), but it also may involve being on campus or meeting other students and instructors face to face.

If it’s been decades since you have been on campus, no worries! You have your own style and great life experience to boot. If your wardrobe needs a little changing up, think about what your activities will be. Is there an official dress code, or is this more “college student casual”? Think easy mix and match separates (especially as you may be extra busy and will want to keep laundry simple). Go for clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Do you have your go-to favorites like women's tunic tops in colors that make you look and feel fantastic? Put those on your list. See how early you can learn about any activities or events that you will be expected to attend. Perhaps there is a cool conference that will require full-on business attire or an opportunity to meet professionals who are already working in your future field. Make sure that your wardrobe can flex for those occasions.

Retiring Early (or Not So Early)

Retiring means having more time for yourself. If your life used to be planned around the kids’ schedules, traveling was something that you had to get approved in advance (and was impossible during the “busy season”), and working on the weekends was just expected sometimes surprise! Things are different now. Embrace this new season of your life and all that it can bring—including the comfiest of clothes. Have you ever felt constrained by needing to wear heels with skirts or had the urge to indulge your inner hippie with some beautiful tie-dye? You can do that now. Feel free to throw out the old playbook and start with what you will be doing each day and what you want to wear (we know—what a concept, right?). You’ll be glad you did. You and your style are still evolving.

Through all the seasons of your life, choose the clothes that will make you feel comfy and confident.

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