I’m currently in the process of losing some weight. While the experience has been less life-changing than I expected, I’m proud of myself for eating healthier and exercising more often. I feel good. The one downside so far? I’m at the stage of weight loss where my clothes mostly still fit, but they all look kind of…weird. My jeans are now saggy in weird places. My blouses billow in the most unflattering way possible. My bras straps slip and provide no support. Every time I get dressed, I feel awkward and unattractive, and it has nothing to do with my body, just the way my current wardrobe fits my changing body. It’s clearly time for me to update my closet to reflect the new number on the scale. Here are a few tips for anyone else who’s struggling with shopping for clothes during a period of weight loss:
1. Avoid anything drapey, shapeless, and/or oversized. This has been a tough one for me, because flowy tunics are my jam. But it really makes no sense to buy things that are already oversized when your body is still getting smaller. If an oversized tunic looks nice on you now, there’s a good chance that you’ll be swimming in it in a couple months. Best to wait until you’re at a more consistent weight to buy anything that fits in the “baggy on purpose” category.
2. Stretchy fabrics are your BFF. Clothes that can stretch to contour to your body at a variety of sizes are you best bet right now. Size down if possible, and you’ll get more use out of them in the near future and as you maintain your new weight.
3. Treat yourself to a couple basics at each milestone.I loved this bit of advice from Ami, who lost 20 pounds a few years ago: “At every size, you should always have jeans that look fantastic on you.” She advocates buying three basics that fit you really, really well at each size interval: a fitted blouse, a great pair of jeans, and a cute dress. I totally agree with this advice. You can view these purchases as rewards for reaching milestones, or just buy them when you notice the fit of the rest of your clothes is killing your spirit/self-esteem.
4. Remember that being smaller doesn’t mean shopping is suddenly simple. Some styles will be easier to fit after a significant weight loss, and some trends might work better on your body, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that every single thing will now fit you perfectly right off the rack. Clothing fit is often more about shape than mass, which means even as you size down, many of your previous fit challenges will stay the same. I made this mistake over the weekend, when I went out to buy a pair of aforementioned jeans for my current size. I was thinking that jean shopping would be a breeze thanks to my weight loss. I was so, so wrong. The truth is, as a short girl with ample thighs and a thick waist, finding jeans that fit well has always been — and probably always will be — a challenge. Repeat after me: dear ill-fitting clothes, it’s not me, it’s you.
5. Get. A. Bra. Fitting. I’ve been putting this off because I didn’t want to splurge on a new bra until I’ve settled at a more long-term weight, but if there’s anything that needs to fit you well at the weight you are RIGHT NOW, it’s a bra. Since undergarments are the base of every outfit, a poorly fitting bra has the power to derail every single thing you wear. It’s definitely worth updating them frequently.
6. Belt everything. As I mentioned above, as a flowy tunic addict, my closet is now overflowing with baggy tops. How to transition them? Add a belt! This trick defines your slimmer waist and transforms the look of many pieces you might never wear otherwise. Right now I’m loving the look of a belted tunic over skinny jeans and pumps. So cute.
7. Don’t shop too much. If you have a goal weight that you’re planning to reach not too far off in the future, then try to hold off the shopping as much as you can. It’s easy to fall into the trap of waiting to start your life until you have that ever-elusive perfect body, and that’s not what I’m saying at all; just be more discerning about your shopping choices while your body is still in a transition phase. This will save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run. Other ways to save money include embracing thrift shopping, having old pieces tailored instead of buying new ones, hosting a clothing swap (or just requesting any lightly used castoffs from similarly sized friends), and trying on more expensive pieces at department stores to figure out your size, and then hunting them down for cheaper online (hello, $200 jeans for $50!). Whether you decide to buy a couple new things to bridge the gap between your old and new sizes, have all your old stuff tailored to fit, or wait to hit your goal weight and buy a whole new wardrobe, just make sure you always have a few things in your closet that make you feel beautiful and confident. No matter what size you are, you deserve it.