Terri's extreme-leisure mode reminded me of the day we gave our twin sons their 'real' beds, and said goodbye to cribs. That night, and for five or six after, the thump of running, bed-jumping and general, well, bedlam was almost intolerable. But it passed; they settled into new big boy lives.
And I think that's Terri's situation, too: without the relentless pace of work (she was in public service), she is tripped out on leisure. "I'm calling it a phase", I said.
The luster of indolence will fade, and you then have new work: figuring out how to spend your energies and hours. And ultimately, you have to get out of your pajamas.
Terri wore a navy blue uniform for her career. Since retirement she's been raiding Betsy's closet, one benefit of same-sex unions, but Betsy is so eager to get her things back she wanted to pay for express shipping. Terri's style is "a little preppy but not stuffy, and overall low-maintenance", in Betsy's words. Her palette is based on blue, purples and the wine reds– what I call "stained-glass colours".
Terri asked us to choose a few things for her, with a $400 budget; she is "too busy to shop"! (Really!)
Betsy and I met for lunch, hit her iPad, and chose these pieces.
1. A soft jacket
Terri lives in jeans and needs something to 'dress' them. I picked this Land's End jersey blazer: the stripes, like a marinière's, are narrow and balanced, it's washable jersey (let's have more washable jackets, designers!) and the price is $80, but we got it for 40% off, that's $48. It works inside in winter and as a light outer jacket in spring.
2. A good sweater with a versatile neckline
We also ordered this Garnet Hill easy modern cashmere sweater, on sale now for about $100, in a clear violet that is not too harsh. (It's washable too.) This is Terri's favourite colour.
3. Jeans: One pair in colour, one in blue
Betsy joked that Terri's favourite boutique is Mark's Work Wearhouse (now rebranded as Mark's), so thinking we could have a laugh, we logged on and I ate my words, along with my tuna salad. These Barely Bootcut jeans jeans have the Curve-Tech stretch feature of high-end pairs that cost three or four times as much and were on sale for... $37 a pair. Terri's getting syrah (shown) for fun and India ink.
Betsy chose another Land's End top, a wool/ponté button funnelneck, which she thought would be warm and snuggly. (I'm intrigued by the fabric, 62% cotton/19% nylon/16% wool/3% spandex. It's washable too, on delicate cycle.)
This was full price, $60. I offered to change the buttons (IME a Land's End weak point) to some vintage brass I've collected. We'll see what Terri thinks.
4. Activity-friendly sportswear
Gah! She oinked up the budget there and I was determined to find something outdoorsy. Betsy and Terri have a place in the country, so I thought a snazzy activewear piece might lure her from the screen.
We found a lavender SmartWool microlight wool top on sale at REI (limited sizes, but the Medium we needed) and jumped. SmartWool is the best thing since the underwire: non-pilling, comfortable and washable. It is not too rugged to go under the blazer; navy and lavender are an unexpected but harmonious combination. Sale price, $35.
Yes! We spent about $320 not counting shipping or tax and duty, which will be Betsy's treat, as was lunch.
Any woman needs carefree, reasonably-priced pieces for a "life under construction", but the newly-retired are especially price-conscious. As I said to Betsy, there will likely be more good sales/free shipping offers around US Thanksgiving, so she may check those to add a parka to the selection, as her Christmas gift.