I was on disability for the last 20 years of my working life, most of which had been spent as a college professor where I worried about student as well as colleague expectations and how they might affect evaluations. I became officially disabled in 1998, but worked part time since 1994 in the hopes that I could recover from my illnesses enough to try again, but that never happened.

With my lowered income I had to be very economical in my clothing purchases, tho I did try to observe the “wear something different every day” rule when I did show up for work. I would have different outfits for each day of the week, and then start all over with the same ones the following week.

Once I retired from the work scene, I found myself in a basic uniform: dark pants [often jersey knit or even dressed up sweat pants [especially useful in the cold climates of Rochester, NY and Madison, WI] with a variety of colored or dark jersey knit tops and a few blouses. I also occasionally wear loose fitting long jersey knit or cotton dresses when it is hot or when I’m out of clean pants [or even underwear ;)], but I tend to avoid them and wear dressier pants instead because I hate wearing pantyhose. I also have a few pair of shorts, also jersey knit, two denim, for hot weather.

I gave up bras in favor of camisoles, adding comfort while still respecting modesty. Lately I buy all my clothing at St. Vinnie’s. There’s a store a few blocks from my doctors’ offices [where I go as much as 2x a week to biweekly for various conditions], so it’s easy for me to check in to see if there’s anything new and appropriate for me.

I am grateful for the fact that I don’t have to impress anyone anymore. I’ve still worked a bit, doing freelance editing, but that has all been online.

I’ve always emphasized comfort with my clothing choices. My waistbands are always stretch, as is any denim I wear, because otherwise nothing fits. I’ve “grown” quite a bit, largely due to medications I’ve had to take. I have never worn a heel higher than 2", especially after I acquired foot problems [a Morton’s neuroma that was only partially improved by surgery, for instance]. I now won’t buy any shoe that isn’t flat and doesn’t have a memory foam insole!

Some of my pants I’ve had for more than 10–15 years, and they are getting a wee bit worn from wear and washing. I’m having trouble replacing them because the jersey knit pants of which I am so fond appear to have gone out of style, apparently, even in the thrift shops. I may have to resort to pulling out my sewing machine [I used to make nearly all my clothes.] The cotton jersey knits [no polyester or other fake fabrics, thank you; cotton breathes in a way the manmade fabrics don’t, and that’s another aspect of comfort].

I have a few pieces for dress up if needed. One very nice cocktail dress. A couple of dresses and skirt outfits. But I haven’t worn them in years. They are classic style, however, so I can probably still wear them if need be.

My clothing budget is now somewhere around $300 per YEAR.

As usual, necessity is the mother of invention.

--

--

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Georgia NeSmith

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.

More from Medium

Dreams 5/17/2022

Wind of Change

Photo by Antoine GIRET on Unsplash

Words Unsaid

THE EFFECT OF THEORIES ON ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING