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?