Old Clothes, New Clothes

By Shani Petroff

I’ve been a bunch of different sizes, and my clothes span a spectrum. But as I’m working to take off the weight, adding to my wardrobe is always a huge question mark. Do I spend money on new clothes even though I hope to not be wearing them very soon? Do I buy a size or two smaller? If I do that, will I ever actually get into them? Someone on Connect posed the question about whether they should go shopping while they’re in the process of dropping sizes. It got me thinking. While everyone is different, here’s what I find works best for me:

Pick a splurge. Often I’ll tell myself, I don’t need a new outfit (especially if it’s not on the clearance rack), that I’ll wait until I’m the size I want to be. It makes sense. I don’t like wasting money, and I’m hoping to be a smaller size very soon. But here’s the thing, when I wear flattering clothes, I feel better about myself. I find I’m more inclined to treat myself well, to eat right, to exercise, and to stick to the Weight Watchers program. I spend money on dinners, movies, and a bunch of other things I think I’ll enjoy. They don’t last forever. Once I leave the movie theater, I only have the memory and the experience. The same is true for the clothes. Sure, the items I buy now may not get worn as much as the items I’ll buy months later, but if they help keep me feeling good about myself and motivated, they’re worth it. I’m not going to blow my budget, but if there are one or two nice pieces that look great on — even if they’re more than I want to spend—I splurge.

Watch those sales. There are a few brands that I know fit me well. I watch them online and in stores like a hawk. One of my favorite fancy dresses (I literally have it in at least five colors and in various sizes) is currently $119 online. Yet, I got each of mine for about 30 bucks. The store I bought it at often has big sales, and I would watch its website every day. I waited for that magic combo where it was not only marked down, but where there was also a 30% coupon code offered, and I jumped (I also used Ebates to get extra money back). I bought it in more than one size so I’d have it, and for the amount of times I’ve worn the dresses (which has been a lot — there’s been a plethora of weddings, book launches, bar mitzvahs, fundraisers, etc.), I’ve gotten my money’s worth. When I really wanted the dress in red, which the original store I found it in did not carry, I did a Google search to find one that did — and my dress-stalking continued. I wound up finding it on clearance for $20. (The picture is me in the dress — the navy version). There are great sales all the time — the key is to keep your eyes open and find styles that work for you.

Find adaptable clothing. There are some items of clothing I’ve worn at both 180-something pounds and 130-something pounds — and I’ve liked how I’ve looked in them regardless of my size. I have this black, almost silky T-shirt with a white drawing on the front that always seems to hug me in the most perfect way no matter my weight. I love it. I’ve actually worn it so many times over so many years, that the fabric is starting to thin. I also have a wrap dress that has spanned 50 pounds with me, as well as some dresses that work a size or two up or down. So when I’m looking for something new, I try to buy styles that flatter, but that I know will also work when I lose some weight (like wrap dresses, or fabrics that tend to mold to the body — for me I get ones that are tighter on the top and flow loosely near the hips).

Get into DIY tailoring. I am not gifted with a needle and thread, and I haven’t tried this one myself, but I saw a friend do it, and I was wowed. Her dress was too big, so she took it off, turned it inside out, and sewed a small crescent moon at the waist (creating a smaller waistline). When she put it back on, it looked fitted, and I wouldn’t have even noticed if I hadn’t seen her do it myself. (If you looked closely, you could tell the stitching wasn’t perfect, but it looked good to me.) One time she made it too tight, and she just pulled it out and did it again. Depending on the material, it’s an easy hack to keep something in the “to-wear” pile.

What are your tips and tricks when it comes to clothes and losing weight? You can find me on Connect @shani!

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