Q: I have a question for you. I am in a real pickle and I would like to get your opinion and your readers opinions. A little over two years ago (after fighting to get each pound off!) I lost 40 pounds and three dress sizes. I still hadn’t reached my goal weight (had about 40 more pounds to go) but I had to buy clothes to fit my new figure. Soon after I got pregnant and gained those 40 pounds back plus some more and I am once again fighting to lose that weight. So far I have lost about 25 pounds and 2 dress sizes. Here’s my question-I can’t wear my after baby clothes because they are too big and I kept all of my pre-pregnancy clothes hoping to fit into them one day soon. I am stuck in the “in between phase” and now pretty much NONE of my clothes fit me. I recently downsized and I simply can’t fit all of my old smaller clothes and my current clothes but I am loathe to throw away my lovely smaller clothes because I just know I will be able to fit them soon and I can’t afford to buy a whole new wardrobe! What would you do? I know all about the “progress dress” but what about when it’s an entire closet full?!
Ahhh, this is quite a good problem to have.
It all depends on your style.
Right now, I’m not in-between sizes—I just straight up can’t fit any of my good pre-baby clothes yet, and the stuff I can fit looks ridiculous on me. It’s not worth it for me to try to squeeze into it and look a mess all for nostalgia’s sake. I’d rather look good and feel good in what I’m wearing than spend my life pulling and tugging at my clothes, smoothing out the sides and fidgeting with the fabric all day.
My first answer is to take the clothes that are too big to a tailor—often, your local cleaners has someone who can tailor your garments pretty thoroughly—and see what can be salvaged to fit you now. Basics like dress pants, blouses, and basic pencil skirts are often the easiest to have modified, which means they’re also the cheapest to have done. Items like jeans are far more complicated, mainly because they have pockets that are sized in relation to the seams on the outer and inner thigh, so those are often a wash.
My second answer is to sell what you can and use that towards buying a few staple pieces that can not only be styled in numerous ways and for numerous kinds of outings, but can also help shield the evidence that you’re obviously shifting in size. A good collection of blazers, sweaters, cardigans, dusters (sleeveless!), and vests will help give off the impression that you’re far more stylish than you’re intending to be, and can still look good even when they’re oversized on you. There’s always eBay, but now there’s also LetGo and any other number of apps that help you get rid of old clothes that still have some wear to them. Also, since it’s tax time, anything you can’t get rid of can go to Goodwill or any one of the numerous Dress for Success programs that offer work clothes to women re-entering the work force after debilitating relationships, and you can get a tax break for your charitable giving.
My next suggestion is to buy pieces that are easily tailored to help guide you through the size transition. Like I mentioned before—simple blouses, dress pants, and pencil skirts might be repetitive, but they’re timeless and stylish and professional looking, not to mention easily and inexpensively tailored. Also, depending on your lifestyle, consider investing in some—gasp—leggings.
I know, I know, how dare I. I get it. However, I live in them. A good quality pair of leggings—thick material, proper fabric that doesn’t get all shiny when stretched, doesn’t become see-through when pulled—behaves better than a good pair of dress pants sometimes, can be styled just like skinny-leg dress pants, and also is stretchy enough that they’ll travel with you as you shrink down.
Also? Don’t be afraid to check out consignment shops for your clothing needs. If you need higher quality stuff for work, look for local thrift stores that have a reputation for having great finds. Check out the consignment stores in wealthier neighborhoods (sorry, but it’s true) to see what kinds of treasures you can uncover. Because your feet might’ve changed sizes as well, the consignment shops can also help out with that, too.
Lastly, I’d also suggest you not remain so attached to your pre-baby clothes. You’re older now, likely with different tastes in clothing and style. You very well may find yourself being a little more adventurous after having fought to get back to your pre-baby weight, which means there’s little sense in hanging on to old clothes that represent an old you, size notwithstanding. Pick out the most classic pieces, give away the more trendy stuff, and use that cash to invest in stuff that will help you look fly all along the way. Trust me—your wardrobe will thank you!