When’s the last time you dressed up for dinner? Recent Facebook chatter included a friend who was lamenting over his fruitless search for French cuffs. Before you get all ooh la la visualizing fake fur and silver wristlets dear reader, I am referring to a type of men’s shirt. Classy, timeless and adorned not with buttons at the cuffs but openings where jewelry specific to men – otherwise known as cuff links – are worn. Josbank.com explains this bold and attractive addition to a men’s wardrobe need not be saved for formal occasions.

Never heard of them? Think back to your wedding day or other times calling for similar attire and perchance you sported them. Sadly, the opportunity to adorn ourselves in evening wear is not something many get opportunity to do unless frequenting a fundraising gala. While every girl may be crazy about a sharp dressed man, seeing one in these parts is akin to spotting a swamp ape.

Mr. Harris’ cuff links haven’t seen the light of day since we moved to Florida 30 years ago. With our relocation south also went snowy winters populated with fancy pants holiday parties. Suits, silk shirts and cuff links grabbed up the gowns and headed straight into history. While I yearn for any solid reason to outfit myself in a 15-pound dress of glass beads, I guarantee he’s not missed a moment of sleep over dressing up. With an average daily temperature 80-plus degrees year ‘round, just the thought of wearing long sleeves, tie and a jacket makes him swoon.

Here south of the frost line, the parties or celebrations we are blessed to attend revolve around barbecus, bring-a-dish and potlucks. We joke it is like retiring early. We quickly discovered hanging out in casual clothes feels pretty good. Whether it’s wearing jeans to church or slipping into yoga pants or basketball shorts after a long hot day or hard work week, frumpy seems to suit us just right.

Every once in a while we get nostalgic and yearn for a classy night out. Always overdressed, we enjoy even if the shorts and sneakers clad group at the next table shoot us peculiar looks. The few places we could dress up for dinner locally have since all but disappeared. People prefer casual wear here in retirement central.

When out of town, we like to enjoy a marvelously fussy meal of barely pronounceable epicurean delicacies. I’d like to use that as an excuse for designer duds, but even in a ridiculously expensive venue where one drops big bucks for locally-sourced, thoughtfully prepared gourmet fixings, people are still mostly casual. Resort wear is a definite thing down south.

So when was the last time you really dressed up? If it’s been a while or your region offers only fast, casual dining, don’t forget you can also doll up to dine in. Life is meant to be celebrated and whether that’s a cold beer in ratty jeans around a campfire in your back yard or the sparkle of cuffed sleeve at your own dinner table, here’s to making the most of every moment.


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