the wardrobe cue

today, we were at a meeting — one of those mind-numbing moderator-led meetings in which the group spends hours making sure everyone is in agreement about the meaning of words you’ll eventually discuss, if you ever get done defining them. the type of meeting that makes us want to leave the workforce, like, now.

even at a meeting like this, though, we feel different from everyone else. not because we dream of never attending another one of these sessions (we can hardly be the only ones who secretly roll our eyes at them). and not even because we’re well on our way to early retirement (maybe we’re the only ones, but who knows).

we stick out because we can’t make ourselves dress up like others do. we don’t dress sloppily or embarrass our employers, but looking around today, it’s just clear that everyone else tries a lot harder, and probably cares a lot more. the clothes, the hair, the makeup — all of it.

this is something that has always sent an important signal to us. sure, it doesn’t help that we telecommute and work from home, meaning that most days our work “uniform” involves mismatched pajamas and bathrobes. even when we both worked in offices, we still couldn’t muster the motivation to dress our best on average days. we’d only dress up when there were important meetings, and even then it was always a little half-assed. we’ve for sure never come close to achieving the adage, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” maybe because the job we want is no job at all.

if we really cared about achieving a lot in our jobs, wouldn’t we want to dress as nicely as possible? wouldn’t we want to look slick and pulled together all the time? we’re motivated to earn as much as possible, and to achieve a lot while we are working (our titles reflect that we are hitting the market). but our unwillingness to dress for success tells us that we’re not cut out for the rat race long-term. awfully convenient, then, that we’re engineering our exit strategy!

it’s not just frugality either. first, we aren’t naturally frugal, and once upon a time did spend money on clothes. plus, a huge number of bloggers can attest that you can dress extremely well for very little if you make good use of thrift stores. (as much as we love flea markets for housewares, we can’t stand thrifting for clothes — it’s just so much work. this does not help our case.)

it’s hardly rocket science, but this is one of those signals that’s long-lasting enough that it tells us that we’re doing the right thing aggressively planning for early retirement. older folks have told us that we’ll be bored when we retire, but we vigorously disagree. the casual world is the better fit for us — the world with no alarm clocks, time every day for outdoor activities, and very little to be in a hurry for.

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