I Dress Down These Days

Because I Want to Be Comfortable

By Jeff Salter

Before I address the actual question for this week, let me take you back in time to lay down some context about how I USED to dress.

During my Air Force hitch, I wore a uniform every day — which was a great relief, actually. Never had to waste a minute trying to decide “what to wear.”

During the years I was completing my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, I wore jeans and casual shirts, plus a denim jacket (because most of those academic buildings were cold… especially in the summer).

After I began working as a full-time librarian, I’d often wear three-piece suits to conferences and meetings. But for my regular office work, I’d either be in an ordinary suit or a sports jacket with slacks. Shirt and tie, of course.

As I reached middle age, I rarely wore a three-piece suit any more. And my slacks eventually became Dockers, in various colors like brown, gray, navy, or black. In my library office closet, I usually had at least three sports jackets in different colors — so I could throw one of them on top of whatever I was wearing that day (if there was a meeting or big interview or something).


I dressed up for my daughter’s wedding in 2000. First time in a tux for me. Here, with Denise… mother of the bride.

When my daughter got married, I wore a tux — for the one and only time in my life.

I mention all that simply to make it clear that I’ve spent a considerable portion of my life being nicely groomed and neatly attired.

Then I retired.

All rules are out now.

When I retired and moved my church membership here, I was still wearing a sports jacket with shirt, tie, and Dockers on each Sunday morning. After several months I realized it was mostly the “old men” who still wore suits and sports jackets… and the most of the rest of the guys were far more comfortably attired. So I dropped the sports jackets and ties. Then I swapped the Dockers in favor of nice jeans.

I dress for comfort. Except for checking on my Mom and going to exercise, I’m almost always inside my house… writing. In warm weather, it’s t-shirt and cargo shorts with house slippers that have enough sole to go outdoors (if needed). In cold weather, I add a long-sleeved Henley and change the cargo shorts to exercise pants.

When I go to exercise, I wear stuff that fits that environment.

On Sundays these days, I’m in nice jeans and a decent shirt. Last few years, I haven’t been able to tuck in my shirt, however, because of the back brace I wear… and that bothers me because I think it looks sloppy. Not many options unless I tuck the shirt and wear the brace outside the shirt. Neither way pleases me, but I don’t have much choice.

Holiday Dress-up

To help you understand my all-time most extensive holiday dress-up, please read this blog from a few years ago:


Now, here’s our actual question for this week:

“Do I dress in any particular color or style for holidays or special days?”

Short answer: No.

Medium answer: On Easter (and for funerals), I’ll squeeze into a sports jacket again.

Longer answer: I try to be clean and decently groomed, but I have neither the budget nor the desire to try to impress anyone with my clothing labels or selection. I dress for comfort and attempt to be presentable. The back brace complicates things. My foot problems keep me in cushiony sneakers.

It is what it is.

[JLS # 475]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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21 Responses to I Dress Down These Days

  1. jbrayweber says:

    Man, the older I get, the more I’m okay with dressing for comfort rather than fashion. I’ve never had the budget to dress in expensive labels, but I do try to dress for the occasion. You’ll never catch me wearing pajama bottoms to the store. LOL!
    I wasn’t aware you wore your back brace all the time. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ll bet you can run with the best of them when you get all gussied up, Jenn.
      Brace: Until a few recent years, I didn’t wear the brace unless I knew I’d be walking or standing a lot. But, starting with a months-long period a few years ago when my low back pain became far more pervasive, I’ve worn the brace almost every time I venture forth. While at home I keep a hot pad on my low back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Love this, Jeff. And may I say that you really do clean up well. You can see the approval in Denise’s eyes as you stand next to the lovely lady for the wedding. 🙂 Great picture.

        Everything you mentioned here is appropriate dress for the activities. In my opinion, our society has become too lax when it comes to attire for most occasions. I’ve seen young people attend church in shorts. (Yes, it’s good that they were there, but these are young people who have been in church all their lives, not visitors. When it comes to visitors to church, I’ve always been of the opinion that what they wear is not of importance, as long as it’s decent. Having them attend is what matters.) And I won’t go into what people wear shopping. But I’ve seen writers show up at meetings looking like they were taking out the trash. Okay…I’ll stop there.

        Arnie said to tell you he agrees with you 100% on the military attire. He misses it. He also said, “This Sgt Mgr would recognize his medical profile for his back brace and authorize his shirt to be worn outside.” So….if the Army Sgt Mgr Ret. would authorize it, you’re good. Arnie also said he doesn’t consider what you’ve described her as dressing sloppy. 🙂

        When I’m at home, my attire is comfortable since I have housework to do besides my writing. Actually, my attire anytime, anywhere, is also comfortable, whether I’m going to a meeting, a special event for authors where I dress up, or shopping at WalMart. I don’t buy clothing that is uncomfortable. Never have. However, I do wear the proper attire for the event or occasion (not holiday).

        Well done, Jeff. And if it makes you feel better. I think I’m getting to that point where I’ll need to be wearing a back brace myself for my lower back.

        Ditto: It is what it is. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I think in addition to retirement, public expectations have changed. A few years ago I started visiting other neighborhood churches to see if it was time for a change. (Note: in West Michigan there is no shortage of churches. Within a half mile of my house there are four, and there are 27 separate congregations in my suburb of 16,000 people.) I’d hoped to find one where I’d see fewer pairs of faded jeans, but was unsuccessful. When I started teaching, jeans were reserved for special “spirit days” or as part of a Halloween costume, but otherwise I’d dress professionally. By the time I retired, the expectations were changed. Evening wear is more casual, too. For the most part, the only people dressed up for orchestra concerts are the musicians. As you say, it is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      When I was back in college — after the military hitch — in the middle 1970s, one of my electives was music appreciation. As part of that course, we had to attend several musical events, including a FACULTY recital — maybe just the music dept. faculty but perhaps any other faculty members who could play.
      Anyway, all the men wore tuxes. And several of those tuxes were ANCIENT. I mean, even though I know next to nothing about tuxedos, I could tell some of these were from the 1940s. It made quite an odd (visual) mix.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: I Dress Down These Days – Sharon K. Connell

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Nothing wrong with good solid comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Gee, I think my question for this week was misunderstood.I am ALL for comfort. I hurt my feet badly when I was a teenager walking around sight-seeing,museum-visiting in tight shoes and I swore “Never again!”, But I also refuse to be a little old lady in tennis shoes.I have searched high and low the rest of my life for good-looking shoes that were comfortable.My shopping is limited anymore, and the shoes I can find that I wear for more dressy occasions are not as dressy as they once were, but you will never, ever catch me in any shoes that are uncomfortable, no matter what the occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I don’t think it’s a matter of misunderstanding this week’s topic. I think it’s more like that topic is a launch pad and all five of us launch in slightly different directions.


  6. Not all change is good. And it’s always appropriate to dress as well as one can. At least to be neat and clean. Most of the poorly dressed young people, and even some of the older folk, are not dressed poorly because they are poor. Like I said before, the standards have dropped. It’s sad. Comfort is one thing, but sloppy is entirely another issue. Okay, stepping off that soapbox again. (zipped lips)

    Liked by 2 people

    • No,I agree, Sharon. It isn’t often a case of not having money; I have bought great stuff at thrift stores that looked like a million bucks. It isn’t quality so much as lack of ..I don’t know what? Respect? Self-respect? The lowest common denominator making the social standards?
      Mind you, I am THRILLED not to have to wear a hat,(and gloves, God forbid), and I am very grateful to be able to wear pants most of the time.(I would have had a healthier childhood if I could have stayed warm in them going back and forth to school), but when did flipflops become acceptable for church-wear, or for those working in offices? I can’t handle what I call the ‘tube-top, flipflop’ crowd here. Those women are generally accompanied by guys in dirty teeshirts and dirty ball caps. There is no excuse for this! (Now, I’ll get off the soapbox!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jeff Salter says:

        LOL — these sloppy dressers seem to be pushing your buttons, Tonette.

        Liked by 1 person

        • They push mine too, Jeff. These is no excuse.

          But Tonette, I would love for the hat and glove fashion to come back. I thought it was elegant. That and long shirts to the ankles or floor. I do have some dresses almost that long (styled that way). Wore one of them out to dinner tonight when Arnie took me for Valentine’s day instead of tomorrow with everyone and their uncle out in the crowds.

          It would thrilled me to no end if the clothing styles reversed back to earlier days when people had enough sense to COVER UP!

          Okay, my turn on the soapbox is up now. Next. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Joan Hinton says:

    Well, you do look nice in a tux.

    Liked by 1 person

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