Closet Purge

Yesterday I felt sick (again). I have the immune system of a Bubble Boy, so this really came as no surprise. I took the day off from work to console myself, made a doctor’s appointment (though as I suspected, there wasn’t anything really wrong with me that he could fix. “Maybe it’s stress,” he said.) and in order to make sure I didn’t feel like a total lump, I got a few things done around the house.

Laundry was the main thing. Here’s the back story on my laundry habits, which will probably leave the majority of you in awe and disgust. I do laundry maybe like, once every 6 weeks. This is not because I am a hobo without access to a washing machine, it is because I am lazy. It also partially because my sister used to work as a buyer for Hecht’s/Macy’s, and started her illustrious career in women’s underwear. As such, I have enough underwear to last me through the entire zombie apocalypse (and then some). And because I am apparently a 19-year-old boy, I don’t usually feel the need to do laundry until I run out of underwear.

As my clothes were spin-cycling and rinse-cycling their little hearts out, I also decided that this would be a great opportunity to do a little purging. No, not that kind of purging, you crazy kids. The kind where I go through my closet and pull out all of the things that I no longer wear, no longer fit, or just generally need to go.


Evidently 4 bags of donation-bound clothing is the norm for me, since that’s how many I netted last time too. Which is why I feel okay reusing this blurry picture from last time, hahaha.

I’ve mentioned my hoarding tendencies more than a few times on here, and I quickly came to realize yesterday that this was another prime example of such. I went through a rather significant room cleaning extravaganza and ended up with four garbage bags full of stuff that went straight to Goodwill. This was, however, over a year ago now (one of the great things about having a blog like this? It’s like a super-detailed timeline of your life! Wait, maybe that’s not a good thing…) so it was definitely time.

I was actually pretty surprised at how willing I was to get rid of stuff. I really went all-out this time, including shoes and bags. Last time I kept a lot of stuff because of sentimentality, but I was a lot better about that this time. Some things were admittedly a little more heartbreaking to part with, but it was cathartic at the same time. After all, I’m probably getting a little bit old to keep multiple Hello Kitty zip-ups in my closet… and a Hello Kitty backpack… and a stuffed Spiderman backpack… need I go on? (Though you better believe I kept my Gryffindor jacket!). Ah well. Hopefully some lucky (and age appropriate) person will be able to thrift my wares for mere pennies and they will bring her (him?) joy.

Now the only trick will be making sure I don’t quickly fill up all my new closet space with MORE clothes. I already bought quite a few new pieces when Ai Rei was visiting (what, I HAD to show her Tyson’s Corner! It’s a landmark of the area!) I will say (and actually, have probably mentioned it before), that I am much more inclined to buy clothing more frequently now that I’m a smaller size. Back when I was a size 16/18/pushing 20, I would force myself to make maybe one big shopping trip each year to replace certain things, or get more work-appropriate clothing. Even though I love to shop (always have!), the experience would leave me downtrodden and with a lot of self-loathing (damn you, dressing room mirrors!).

I can’t say that I’m totally immune to those feelings now, but shopping for size 12 not only gives me more options in the “regular” stores, And because I generally feel better about how I look, it’s more fun! Now I’m much more inclined to go “for fun” shopping and pick up a shirt here, a new dress there, as opposed to one huge, multi-hundred-dollar, get-it-out-of-the-way trip per annum. I’m definitely not saying that you can’t look amazing or find chic clothing in plus-sizes. I was just too self-conscious and ashamed to take true advantage of it back then. Now? Not so much. In fact, I have to be careful…!

Be strong, Gretchen, be strong!

How often do you go through a closet purge? Are you a love-to-shop or shop-to-live kind of person when it comes to clothes?

Stuck in the Middle with You

Unfortunately this post is not about the classic 1972 Stealers Wheel song. It’s about clothes. And yes, it’s probably going to get pretty superficial up in hurr. I find myself stuck in this strange middle ground between the size I am and the size I plan on getting to. I am stuck in Clothing No (wo)Man’s Land.

The wedding I went to this past weekend made me painfully aware that I am rapidly running out of wearable clothing. I know what you’re thinking. “Waaaah, waaaah, poor little Gretchen has lost too much weight and now has no clothes to wear,” said in your most sardonic mental voice (sidenote: does that sound like the start of a twisted nursery rhyme or what?) I mean, yes, you’re right. It’s not like I’m going naked here. I’ve got enough cutesy t-shirts to last me a millenium or two, but when it comes to A) work or B) dressing up, it is slim pickings in terms of clothes that I feel comfortable and (or?) attractive in. But while I’m not a size 20 anymore, I’m still a bit short of my goal size (an Old Navy 8, or a 10 anywhere else, haha.) So I keep struggling with whether I should buy new clothes that will fit me now, knowing that I will just shrink out of them (well, hopefully…), or whether I should wait.

See, I am very much of the opinion that, as much as I want to save money, clothes that are too big just don’t look good. One of the first myths I adhered to when I was obese was thinking that big, roomy clothes would hide my flub. WRONG. They just made me look even bigger. Which, in turn, just made me more depressed. Thus, part of this whole rebuilding my formerly devastated self-esteem thing is to try to feel good about the way I look. That might sound shallow but… well, if it is, then we are ALL shallow, aren’t we? 😉

To illustrate my point, I traveled into the depths of my closet to find a few pieces of now-oversized clothing that haven’t quite made the trip to Goodwill yet (I say as if the other four grocery bags full of too-big clothes aren’t still sitting in my car. Oops.) Allow me to present the following comparisons:

Blouse + Pants Front View

Oof.

Blouse + Pants Side View

These portraits were taken mere minutes apart, but you can’t deny how different I look. The pants and top on the left are two sizes too big, and there’s no doubt that they make me look bigger too. Of course it isn’t always as blatantly obvious as the example above, but it’s the smallest things — a droopy sleeve, a billowing bust, a puffy waist — that make a big difference in how you look (and thus impact how you FEEL about how you look.)

Dress for Success

Take, for example, the dress on the left here. At first glance, it’s really not so bad.

Dress Side View

Turn to the side, however, and you can see just how gaping the bust is, making my chest look droopy. Dangling ta-tas at 23? I DON’T THINK SO. And the side-bra view? Not cute.

I’m not saying that you should get rid of all your clothes as soon as you outshrink them. Nor do you have to rush your favorite pieces to a tailor right away. As if I could afford either option! There are a lot of things that you can do to make your clothing wearable for as long as possible.

IMG_9728IMG_9729IMG_9734

Bad + belt = better.

Belts and I have become besties, and scarves and cardigans are part of the gang too (to hide those pesky safety pins!) My closet is still full of clothing that I can’t yet bear to give away (um, like all the above pieces?) One of my biggest “regrets”, if you want to call it that, is that TWO WEEKS before I decided to start this blog and go on my final diet, I went to New York City with some girlfriends and blew over $500 on new clothes. Of course, within 3 months, they were rendered obsolete. Which might explain my current clothes-buying hesitation situation, now that I think about it.

Flatter Me
Same jeans, different tops.

I definitely feel that certain items of clothing “matter” more than others when it comes to fit and feeling good about yourself. For example, I see absolutely no reason to downsize my coats, sweaters/cardigans, jackets, and even skirts (A-line being the exception) since for the most part, it doesn’t matter if they are a bit big. But jeans, work pants, dresses and blouses are what I seem to notice most. Oh, and don’t forget about undergarments. Getting my bra resized is one of the things I was most adamant about!

I’m not trying to replace my wardrobe just yet — I’ve got a shopping spree from my parents (my blogiversary present!) for that! It’s just that as I continue down this road and get rid of these last twenty-ish pounds, I want to make sure I’m doing all that I can to stay motivated, in control, and most importantly, happy.

What is your stance on buying clothes when losing weight? Save up and wait? Pick up sale & thrift items as needed? Or replace your closet as you downsize?