The Little Plaid Skirt

I have been in the workforce long enough to see coworkers retire. Not the old geezers I thought were taking up space when I was much newer to the workforce, but experienced and contributing colleagues and friends.

A colleague retired last week. When I saw her in the hallway on her last day, I noticed her smiling ear to ear commenting on the sun's appearance (just like the rest of Minnesota) and then, I noticed her clothes.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

She was dressed TOM casual.

For a woman who usually dressed as though she stepped out of an Ann Taylor look book and tended to the serious side, this brief interaction was striking. I had flash thoughts of dress codes, work personalities and the impact of a simple smile.

Then, I thought of the nuns.

I attended Catholic school for a few years in the 1970s. My nuns didn't fly. They ran a tight ship with rules, rulers and uniforms.

I wore a uniform. Every day. Every day except for one. My family was moving during the school year so this second grader was permitted to wear regular (new!) clothes on her last day with the nuns.

I remember it clearly.

I wore a red and black plaid kilt-style wool skirt with a large safety style pin in the front to keep it from flying open. Was it fringed? Did I wear it with a black t-shirt or crisp white collared shirt embellished with more pins and long white socks?

I remember my friends gathering around to see my new clothes. I remember energy, confidence and kindness. I remember looking down at my new shoes, swishing my skirt, and loving the style.

I remember feeling pretty.

I remember melting like butter a few years ago when my young daughter choose a dress because "It makes me feel pretty, momma."

I am going to take these memories and spring clean the heck out of the clothes in my closet.

I grant you the permission to do the same.

The Little Plaid Skirt, by Lisa Rosendahl, first appeared on