I know I’ve mentioned before that prior to being disabled, I loved fashions. When I worked, I could afford to shop for clothes that I loved. That doesn’t mean that I always adhered to the current trends, though. Rather, I pretty much stayed with classic styles. A well-made jacket or blazer could accompany various slacks or skirts. My closets were organized by type of clothing, and yes, sometimes by color. Even though many teachers had abandoned the professional outfits in favor of more relaxed and casual styles, I preferred looking like a person who fit their role. True, if I had taught younger children, I may have succumbed to clothes that allowed me to get down and dirty. However, as an upper-grade teacher, I liked dressing in more business-like attire. My first principal told me that I looked as if I just stepped out of a band box. At the time, I wasn’t sure if that was a positive, so I checked and sure enough, she was commending me on how I dressed. That’s all it took to make me continue, and I went about dressing up for work. The next principal asked me to encourage others to dress more professionally, but I refused. That was her job since she said that many of them looked as if they were off to do farm chores. Through the years, and the many principals I encountered, I always tried to look my best in whatever I wore.
As a principal, I was always “on display,” so I wore many suits and at times, I wore heels for the entire day. Once, another principal came to my school for a mini-meeting concerning a conference. In my office, she asked if I always dressed that way, and when I told her I did, she said that maybe she needed to review her daily wearing of slacks and a sweater. The thing is, I just felt more professional and in charge when I dressed nicely. Except for informal meetings, dress down days, or field events I never wore what I called a “sporty look.”
It amazed me how quickly I changed that attitude once I went away from the workforce. Almost immediately, I began to wear jeans or sweats every day. Much of it was due to my depression, I know, but it also showed me how much I enjoyed my job! I evened things out by wearing nicer slacks and better sweaters when I went to visit my mother or when I attended meetings. I always went back to my suits and blazers for church each Sunday, and I felt good about myself.
Now, I have difficulty getting into (and out of) my clothes, so I just wear what I’m able to dress in easily. I haven’t worn a blazer or jacket in quite some time – and forget about high heels. Since I still go to see mother nearly every day, I wear nice sweaters. On Sundays, I just wear the same and put a coat over it. My buttoned, zippered, or hooked slacks remain in the closet, and I wear the same easy pull-on ones all the time. I need new things – after all this time, my duds are wearing out – but I hate spending money on me. I read in another blog that the author goes “Goodwill hunting” this time of year because she can always find nice things at dirt cheap prices. I’m thinking about doing the same. If someone I knew from a former life happens to see me, so what. That’s my attitude now, and I won’t care. No more high-end department stores or cute little boutiques for me; now it’s simply a matter of necessity. Thrift stores, here I come!