The Clothes Off My Back

The average American spends around $200 a month on clothes. That’s a lot of money on an annual basis (over $2000). So for a family that adds up to a considerable amount over the year. One of the benefits of early retirement is that this cost cuts down considerably.

Working in the corporate sector requires a certain image. Although I never needed to work in a suit, I did need to wear a shirt and nice trousers each day. So that meant I had a rack of 20 or so shirts (each at $20-$30 a piece – nothing too fancy) and 5 or so pairs of Dockers or similar. Along with a couple of jackets for client meetings or similar, this started to add up.

I had it easy though, despite many advances in the work place, women have to have a broader wardrobe; multiple skirts, tops or pant suits etc. Typically as well women’s clothing is more expensive than men’s. Plus the pressure for make up or product. Being a woman in the corporate workplace is expensive.

Now after retirement we don’t really need those clothes. We are at home all day or in more casual social situations so all I really need are some jeans a few t-shirts for summer and some warmer clothes for winter. We don’t go out to “nice” places very often either so there is no opportunity to wear any of our old clothes.  I therefore have a closet full of clothes left over from work which i’m not using.

I’m struggling to get rid of them though, as there are occasions when I like wearing them, and we keep saying we should do more nice things. Eventually i’m sure most of them will end up at a charity store but i’m not ready yet.

At the end of the day there is no real pressure to “look good” in our current lifestyle which means our clothing bud get is almost negligible.

Our daughter is at an age when she does buy a lot of clothes, however the culture today is very much to buy through resellers often, there is no stigma attached to buying from Goodwill or similar. She has found some very nice items over the recent months.

Our son is growing quickly so it doesn’t make sense to buy expensive clothes. He will out grow them in a few months so just buying at Target and their like is more than acceptable. He also has no real concept of fashion, his look is very similar to most 11 year old boys.

There is a lot of pressure on people through advertising and “society” to look good. Luckily we don’t need to listen to that pressure any more.

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