Changing perspectives on image: Thinning the wardrobe

In sales and business development, image is important. The clothes we buy and wear are influenced by how we feel we need to present ourselves and there is a tendency to buy newer and fancier clothes to define our image. Having worked in this career for several years, I had amassed a significant inventory of bespoke suits, ties and dress shoes, doing my best to impress clients and meet image expectation.

As we prepared for Life: Phase Next, thinning the wardrobe was one task on our list as we shed our possessions with a goal to fit everything we owned into two suitcases and two backpacks. My clothing collection surprised me as I started to sort into “keep for travel” or “leave behind.” This was going to be a daunting task. I liked how I felt in my custom-made clothes and comfy casual wear.

The closet saw many versions of keep and discard decisions. In the end I decided on 4 suits, 4 jackets, 24 shirts, and 48 ties for give-away. Because storage is an option for us, I managed to keep two suits and my favorite jacket along with a couple of dress shirts and shoes. You never know what life will throw at you where you need to dress up a little.

Now for the casual clothes. Several of my favorite sweatshirts and comfortable-but-worn-out T-shirts regrettably hit the giveaway pile. But somehow keeping to my space and weight limits while shedding so much clothing made me feel oddly liberated. I fit everything I needed into my suitcase for what could end up being a year of traveling. Having the ability to store a few winter clothes for our return visits and ski trips with family has been extremely helpful.

Being officially retired has changed my perspective on image. No longer am I concerned with clients’ impressions. Instead, I have shifted my focus to being comfortable with whatever I find in my suitcase.

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