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Susan Sampson | Moving to the valley means slipping into more casual clothes

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I admit it — before I closed my office and retired to Wenatchee, I was a clothes horse. I was difficult to fit because I was shorter than the average American woman, so when I found a good quality suit with a basic design and a little flair, I’d use it until it wore out. I’d also choose one or two accessories per year, to try to stay fashionable. I wore high-heeled shoes comfortably until I noticed a younger client wearing flats. “Is that because you prefer flats, or because of your back injury?” I asked.

“Only old ladies wear high heels,” she said, so I promptly switched. However, in time, heels were fashionable again. When I came home in new heels with peek-a-boo toes, my husband roared, “A woman your age has no business wearing shoes like that!”

When we moved to Wenatchee, I hauled all my suits to the Salvation Army because I never intended to need them again. Besides, with our new, outdoorsy life-style, I lost my office fat — my “computer butt” — so they no longer fit. I saved one simple silk shift with a jacket, just in case.

These days, I try to keep at least one pair of jeans free of stains, holes, and bleach spots, suitable to wear to town. I have two pairs of sneakers, one that’s clean enough to wear in public. But during our first winter here, I realized that I needed a warm winter jacket.

At Stan’s Merry Mart, I found a Day-Glo orange hunting jacket in a boy’s size that fit, but it was only waist length. “You need something longer, like a ski jacket,” my husband said, so we went to Arlberg’s, where he thumbed through the gray and brown ones, while I found the jacket I wanted.

Supposedly, couples who age together start to look alike, starting with dressing alike. That’ll be tough for us. As I mentioned, I’m short and plain. By contrast, my husband is 6-foot-3 and strikingly handsome. But he’s going to look really silly if he tries to dress in anything like my hot-pink ski jacket.

Susan Sampson writes about the peculiarities of being a newcomer in North Central Washington. She can be reached at