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Posted on Oct 13, 2011 in Dear Diary, Weight Loss | 78 comments

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


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.


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?


  1. It is a nice situation to be in. I always bought a pair of jeans that fit. To me that was so important. I shopped thrift till I got to my goal. Now that I am here, I only shop clearance. When you need an entire wardrobe thats all you can do. I also only go to outlets and walk straight back to clearance.

    • This is definitely one of those things that I felt really sheepish even blogging about, because I realize that it’s a good problem to have!

  2. 🙂 I love clothes shopping and snapping pictures to see how they look. I bought clothes even during the weight-loss but I was sure to just buy 1-2 pieces that were affordable.

    Like above poster, I also made sure to have 1-2 jeans that fit.

    I didn’t go all out until I was sure I’m not going to stop fitting into it. My sister often reminds me that a good tailor <- is a godsend when you need to take in your favorite pieces.

    • I think she’s told me the same thing! Having a tailor seems too grown-up for me, hahaha.

  3. Do you have any upscale consignment shops? I am loving ours – and I live in a much smaller town than you do. Last weekend? 2 pants, a skirt, 2 sweaters, 2 tops for under $70. All Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Talbots…most with tags. I know consignment can be hit or miss, but when you find one with the good stuff, it is worth the hunt.

    I’m also in the between sizes spot right now. Where 14s are too big, but most 12s are a little too snug to wear in public. And I refuse to buy anything that doesn’t fit right now. That’s where dresses are really coming in handy. I haven’t tried the belt thing. I will now!

    • There actually is one in town that I’ve been thinking I need to go visit. I’m not very well-versed in the worlds of consignment or thriftstore shopping so it’ll be an adventure!

  4. Well you know my answer since it was one of the tweets you posted! Do you get emails from NY&CO? They seem to always be having some sort of sale and their stuff is relatively inexpensive and good for work. Or try TJ Maxx or a store like it. Lots of discounted stuff that you won’t feel guilty about buying.

    • I’m not on their mailing list but I do like shopping there! I agree that they have really good work stuff, and they always seem to be having a 30% off sale, haha. I tried shopping at Marshall’s a few times too because they have nice labels for really cheap but… it was a nightmare in there. Racks and racks and racks of disorganized clothing, mean dressing room ladies… oy!

  5. I am impressed those sacks of old clothes have finally made it to your car! Now, next time on your way to Whole Foods, swing by a box and TOSS THEM!!!!! 😉

    • Baby steps, Father. Baby steps. 😉

  6. Boy, am I glad I’m not the only one! I feel so grateful having lost a pretty awesome amount of weight in the past year and a half (60 pounds or so) but still have about 30 to go. It is so not motivating looking in a closet full of too big clothes! Clearance racks are definitely my best friends when it comes to clothes shopping and I do try to get my t-shirts a bit tight and stretchy so they fit longer. And I always have a pair of nice fitting jeans, baggy jeans are not flattering!

    • Congratulations on your weight loss! We’re 60-lb-buddies!! Yeah, at this point (in both my weight loss and financial state, haha) I head straight back for the clearance racks. And I definitely have been opting for clothes that might be just a smidge too tight, hoping that they’ll fit perfectly in a few more pounds!

  7. My original thought on this was to say don’t worry about what you look like in the time being and just to wear your old, too-big clothes. Then you put side-by-side pictures and it really illustrated your point well. Now I can’t help but to wonder what I looked like when I was wearing clothes that were way too big after I had Luke, but before I fit in my normal clothes!? Anyway, could you strike a compromise and get “new to you” clothes? Maybe vow to spend $100 in the thriftiest way possible and shop Craigslist, yard sales, friends’ clothing swap parties, etc. In fact, a friend of mine here organizes a swap party every spring where she invites 15-20 girls and we all bring all the old clothes we don’t want. Then we get an opportunity to shop others’ clothes before the rest get donated to charity. Maybe you could set a night like that up? Either way, you’re looking smokin’ hot! Keep it up!

    • I’ve heard a lot of good things about clothing swaps and whatnot as a great way to get new things on the cheap. I always feel like that’d be hard to set up because all my friends are so much smaller than me though, hahahaha. Still, it’s definitely worth looking into.

  8. Oh yeah, been there, done that! But thankfully (?) the major part of my weight loss happened quite fast, like 20 lbs in 5 months. I didn’t have time to shop for new clothes, so I had to run around like a hobo for a while. As I maintained that weight for a while, I gradually replaced piece after piece. After a year or so, I decided to lose some more weight, and the next 15 lbs came off sloooowly. During that time I invested in one or two good pairs of jeans and a few cheap shirts and sweaters, until I reached my current (final?) weight.
    Weirdest thing: I even had to replace my shoes! My feet have been shrinking, too! Am I the only one?

    • I haven’t experienced the foot shrinkage, but I kind of wish I were! My big ol’ hippo feet are not my happiest attribute, hahaha.

  9. Yep I can so relate. It’s a good but expensive problem to have. I have lost 30 lbs this year (after buying plenty of pretty clothes at size 14…sigh), and have about 10 more to go, if I can get there. Right now I’m kind of trying to figure out if I should push myself through those last 10 lbs or just stop trying to lose any more weight. It’s just hard because I definitely need to go clothes shopping, but obviously I want to wait til I’m done. I’m wearing mostly 10s right now, mostly things purchased from TJ Maxx or Target’s clearance rack. Once I was too small for my clothes, for me it was important to have at least 2 pairs of work pants that fit (snugly at first, now they’re all too loose). I was able to fit into old jeans (that are now too big). Since I have never been a busty gal, I don’t have that problem, but my shirts & dresses are all way too big in the midsection so my trick for extending the life of those items is to have one good basic cardigan that fits (I have a black one from Old Navy) because if you wear that over your too big shirt, it is less obvious because it still hugs your skinny waist. 🙂 I’m not a blazer kinda gal at work, but it would do the same thing.

    And, you look SO good in your new clothes. It makes such a difference. I feel a little embarrassed that I’m still wearing a lot of saggy-in-the-butt pants, etc.

    • And since I didn’t write quite enough up there 😉 – maaaaybe don’t toss all your nice work clothes, jeans, etc. if they are classic pieces. I am keeping a few pieces of my nicer too big clothes as possible maternity/post-baby wear in the future. But hope to get pregnant in the next 2 years so this may or may not be something you even want to think about right now. 🙂

      • That’s a good point although I don’t think that baby-making is in my 2-year-plan right now, hahaha. I also like wearing cardigans for the same reason. I am a blazer girl but the ones I own are, again, too big! And apparently fit on blazers seems to matter a lot, because they make me look really big now. Sad.

      • This is kind of off topic, sorry! While I think you should def try your old “too big” clothing for maternity wear…I think you might find that wearing regular “too big” clothing for maternity is like wearing petites when you’re a regular person who wanted a shorter length of pant or something. It’ll fit right in the belly but won’t be flattering/fit right other places. Just something to think about 🙂 Maternity clothes can be so cute!

        • That is a really good point Jessica! I assumed that in addition to the belly you also get a little bigger everywhere else, but maybe it’s not so much that a bigger size is needed.

  10. Girl, you look GREAT! I am a firm supporter of spending a little money to make you feel good and look good, even if you’re between sizes. Target, Old Navy and New York & Company are my favs for basics and work wear, but I always splurge on jeans because they get SO much wear. Have fun with your new gear! 🙂

    • Target, ON, and NY&Co = Fave, fave, and fave. Great minds think alike! 😀

  11. Buying new clothes was definitely the right choice. Target is a pretty safe bet. My advice whenever buying clothes, no matter how temporary, is that you buy it because you are at least 85% sure that you love it. If you buy something just because it’s new and it fits and you sort of like it it’ll more often than not just end up sitting in your closet. I generally recycle clothes and buy new ones every year as it is, so totally don’t feel guilty about buying new stuff (losing weight gives you an excuse to stay trendy!!!)

    • That’s a really good point. When I first dropping sizes, I actually went a little nuts shopping because all of the sudden it was easy to actually find clothes that fit me! But… that always leads to purchase regret (especially when the aforementioned shopping happens in Forever21, hahaha.)

  12. I know this problem well. TOO well. I am one of those women that has a wardrobe full of clothes in about 4 different sizes. I recently went through them all, kept the classics in the smaller sizes; and got rid of the trendy stuff no matter if it was too big or too small.
    I never seem to want to spend a lot of money on clothes, because I always have the goal of getting smaller. I used to be devoted to Old Navy for those “just to get me by” purchases… but have recently switched over to Target. (Old Navy clothes have kinda gone down the crapper, quality-wise, don’t you think? They just don’t last anymore).
    Your side-by-side comparisons are really interesting… size definitely makes a difference! (And you look fantastic!)


    PS – if you don’t mind me asking, how tall are you?

    • I agree that ON quality isn’t great, but if you shop selectively you can still find cute stuff. My jeans are from there! I feel like the “Flirt” fit just really works for me, and for under $30 I can’t really complain.

      Oh, and I’m 5’9″, which is why I think that fitting into a size 10 would be a dream (and a size 8 is like my fantasy, hahaha.)

  13. I just found your blog though the calorie count website – very inspirational and down to earth.
    I recently decided to just go out and buy clothes that fit me, despite not reaching my goal weight yet. The new clothes were just so motivating and rewarding, all from second hand stores. But right now I’m dealing with the anguish of having a too-big bathing suit – it’s the best one I’ve ever had and *was* extremely flattering on me. Ah, cest-la-vie right?

    • Thanks, Ally!

      I feel like swimsuits are another one of those can’t-fake-it items — you gotta downsize! I totally feel your pain about having to give up a suit you love though. Back in January my family and I went on a cruise and spent some time in Miami afterward. I bought 3 new swimsuits for the trip, and none of them fit anymore! I know it’s not really something I should be *complaining* about, but it still stings. 🙂

  14. I’ve been in the same boat as you, and I agree that shopping sale racks as well as thrift and consignment stores to get clothes that fit in the meantime was definitely the right call! At least for me, having clothes that fit makes me feel so much more confident and more likely to stay on track in order to get to my goal weight.

    Another idea is to get some pieces you love taken in at a tailor. I did this recently with three pairs of pants from last winter that were too big. I didn’t want to spend more on new pants, but for under $10 a pair the tailor was able to take them in so they fit again. I also had her take some of them in at the bottom so I can tuck them into boots, which cost a bit more but was definitely worth it. I also like this option because it helps me feel like I’m being a bit more eco-friendly by repurposing something I’ve already got!

    • I didn’t realize that getting things tailored was so cheap – it’s like getting a new pair of pants for $10! For some reason I always imagined tailoring being really expensive, so it was like you should only do it if there’s a piece that you just can’t bear parting with (because you’d be essentially paying for it all over again.) I do also like your point about it being eco-friendly.

      • I hadn’t realized how inexpensive this was for a long time, either! I just stopped by the tailor my partner has used to get her pants hemmed and explained what I was hoping they could do and asked how much that would cost so there wouldn’t be any sticker shock.

        The cost might vary depending on location, but I’m outside of Chapel Hill, NC if that helps!

  15. I am right there with you! I haven’t lost as much weight as you have but I did have a case of the saggy bottom and puffy shirt when I lost weight over the summer. The bagginess makes me feel dumpy and frumpy so I finally had to go through my closet and get rid of all the clothes that made me feel bad. Things that fit make such a huge difference! I like Plato’s Closet and thrift stores for adding little pieces but grab at least one or two pairs of pants that you love while you are still losing the inches.

    • Frumpy is the best word to describe it. Bleh. I’ve never been to a Plato’s Closet, but it’s just like a higher-end consignment shop, right?

      • Not really higher end but they only take the things that are “hip” and “trendy” but it can be a great resource for shoes and tops since they aren’t very expensive at all.

  16. i love the side by side comparisons in old and new clothing- and the trick with belting an old dress is great! a good way to get a little more mileage out of some of the new-but-not-so-fitting-right pieces. Great post!!

    • Men will never understand the purpose of a non-functional belt, but I love ’em! 😀

      • Generally WAY easier being a guy when it comes to clothes. But putting aside half a dozen tailored suits because they no longer fit also hurts . And Men’s Warehouse just is NOT the same! 🙂

  17. Woohoo! I love belts and cardigans too. Can make things that don’t fit exactly right, look like they do. Also, cardigans keep me warm in my freezing office. Enjoy the new fitting clothes! 🙂

    • Sometimes when I’m feeling really wild, I put a belt OVER my cardigan! 😉

  18. I think it’s a must to buy some things that make you feel good and sexay now! Like others said, you want to feel good WHILE you’re losing, not just once you get there. I bought jeans on sale that actually FIT my body, and I feel sexier wearing them than just about anything else – even though I’m 20 pounds heavier than I was a year and a half ago. It makes such a difference! My problem now is finding pants that fit the big belleh but aren’t too big everywhere else. It’s my own eternal struggle – I have a size 18 belleh but a size 14/16 hips/thighs/butt. I am going to have to bite the bullet and get pants tailored, because I feel like crap wearing them!

    • Being between sizes must be really frustrating too! They do say that when that’s the case you do exactly what you said and buy in the big size, then get it tailored to fit. No feeling like crap!!

  19. I agree with Clinton and Stacey’s advice on What Not to Wear (is this even still on?): dress the body that you have now. It really does a lot to help your confidence and style. Also, weight loss is such a tricky thing that it’s hard to know when you’ll reach your goal or what that goal will even end up being until you’re there. I think springing for some new pieces as you outgrow (undergrow?) them is a good idea. Thrift store shopping is an art. I’m still new to it, but putting in the effort to search through the crowded racks and going back to the store frequently can pay off. Take a few friends to help you comb through the piles and keep the crazy/mean ladies at bay, then go for some lunch and drinks afterward:)

    • It is still on! I would know, because I still watch it… frequently. I like your style — spend some time battling the crazies, then go get drinks and celebrate my new-to-me purchases! Haha!

  20. I’m sort of in the same boat – In fact, I’m sitting in my office in a pair of way-too-big capri pants that I just can’t bear to part with, even though I know they look frumpy. I tend to only buy clothes now when I really “need” something that fits properly – whether for an important business trip, a wedding, whatever – and wear the stuff that doesn’t fit right on a daily basis.

    Another thing I’m struggling with is that I’m inbetween plus sizes and regular sizes. I’m finally too small for Lane Bryant (which honestly makes me sad) but I’m finding clothing in the “regular” sizes are still too snug. Then mix in the fact that I’m 6’0 and can’t get pants and skirts long enough and I’m really screwed! …thus the too big capris…

    • I know that New York & Company has all of their pants in petite, regular, and tall sizing and they carry up to size 18 in-store, I believe. But I know what you mean, and it’s hard too when different brands/stores have different sizing – a 12 is not a 12 everywhere, grah!

      • I love NY & Co…but sadly there’s not one by me! Well, it’s about an hour away, so I rarely get there. But I’m glad you reminded me they carry up to an 18!

  21. Hmm the same dilemma is annoying me at the moment too! But have you always been happy clothes shopping or is it something that’s coming on more with losing weight? Generally for me such expeditions end in frustation and even occaisionally tears because, I suspect, the clothing industry (yes the entire industry 😉 )hates me for being 6 foot tall but not a skinny model.

    Also does anyone else have the internal “can’t shop there, too big” list? Ah the joys of shopping with friends: “ok, I can’t fit anything here, but they don’t need to know that, just pretend to browse. Oh no you can’t find anything you like, what a surprise, hopefully we’ll move on quickly.”

    • I’ve always loved shopping (I’m really good at spending money, hahaha) but it’s DEFINITELY far more pleasurable now. I loved buying new clothes and trying to be fashionable, but I hated the dressing room (so unforgiving!) so I would just buy clothes without trying them on – big mistake. I was usually so desperate to find anything cute in my size that I would wear it even if it wasn’t a flattering silhouette or color.

      And I DEFINITELY have one of those lists. I now have to force myself into stores that I used to avoid like Forever21, because the idea that there’s no way I could fit anything in there is still ingrained in my mind. I still can’t bring myself to venture into stores like The Limited or Mango because I’m scared they won’t carry my size even now.

  22. What a lovely position in which to be in. “My clothes are too big.” I love it and what a time of celebration.

    I think it’s important to have a few things that fit you to a tee though. When you wear clothing that is too big for you, it tends to make you look a little heavier. Why not show of those sweet curves? You deserve it and should enjoy your victory.

    Some clothing allows for a little alteration here and there like taking in a little on the sides. So, the new “stuff” will be good for 10 pounds or so.

    Go shopping, Gretchen!

  23. I can totally understand you!
    Also I find those pictures very helpful, bc I know from myself that I sometimes wear an item I like, but that is not flattering at all and I´m thinking “why would I wear something to make me look bigger than I am, when I can also wear something that can make me look smaller?”.
    If I were you, I would go for some basics or for items that will fit you even when you loose more weight, but I would never buy a new wardrobe, as it´s just a waste of money. I´m a shopaholic and I have purchased so many super cheap items while gaining weight in Ireland and I´m making profit selling them on Ebay 😀 But I know from experience, that sometimes big clothes can look really great if combined well! For example I have this huge sweater and I wear it over leggins with a belt and it looks fab 🙂

    • Oh, I agree, but I think there’s a big difference between wearing something slouchy and big on purpose, vs. just wearing regular clothes that are too big. Leggings + a big tunic or sweater is a great look!

      • absolutely!! trousers that are too big look just ridiculous, as u can see in the picture above. it depends on HOW big the clothes are 😉

  24. I have been having the same problems with my weight loss. I seem to lose pant sizes much more quickly than shirt sizes. Because I work at the mall, I have become an expert on sales and deals! I have found that GAP tends to run awesome promos on their clothing from Thursday through Sunday. Seriously, it really becomes affordable… often their sale is anywhere from 20% to 40% off depending on the weekend. They usually run promos on their full price items as well on the weekend. I also do really well at Macy’s on the weekend with coupons. They key is definitely shop Friday – Sunday, 99% of the time, that is when stores run their sales! Also, if you can go to actual stores, the clothing that is marked down on sale is usually cheaper (at least I’ve found this at GAP and Old Navy) than it would be online. I really find that I can usually get my clothes anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on the purchase. I don’t do very well at consignment shops, the only place that really has good deals is salvation army, but otherwise I find most consignment shops very overpriced when you go to stores and look at the deals you can get on new clothes! If outlet shopping is an option, I do VERY well at GAP factory store, Banana Republic factory store, or JCrew Factory store! Good luck, you look great!!!

    • Looks like it’s time to take a trip to the Delaware outlets… hehehe

  25. I’m a big believer in clothes that fit. ALWAYS nothing can make you feel crummy about self faster IMHO than clothes that don’t fit. I also think that when we lose weight it takes a bit if time for the brain to catch up to the body. If you cant see yourself bc of clothes that are too big- we are visual ppl- I think it helps us in journey to make the brain body connection, if you see that you are smaller body reacts to that.I hope that makes sense, I’m typing one handed on my phone while tending to new baby. 🙂

    Also I’m a veteran of thrift & consignment stores… Was new size every season for 2 years when I was losing last of the weight. Smaller we get the more noticeable 10 pounds will be, it’s often a whole size at lower weights. I would say know your measurements! This is especially helpful for thrift stores that lack changing rooms (there are several in Boston that I can think of that don’t) this is also good to know for eBay or Etsy two other places I’ve bought clothes in the past. Last but not least I’d say if you’re comfortable on them, stick with dresses- I always found I got a bit more longevity out of them. Pants and I though aren’t really friends.

    It’s a good problem to have.

    • I looooove wearing dresses! Much easier than having to pair pants with a top, haha.

  26. If you need any more in between pieces, I strongly recommend KOHLS. I have friends who turn their noses up at kohls, but I have seriously built an amazing and fashionable everyday wardrobe that’s approximately 75% kohls, 20% nordstroms and 5% singer22. I consider myself a fashionista and am proud of my shopping finds! I own almost every single thing in the Lauren Conrad collection there… her line is SO well done. It’s definitely California vintage cool, with some classic items thrown in. I’m not gonna lie, some items look kinda chintzy, but there are many that are awesome. I love the dresses I’ve gotten from there so SO much and her jeans are my favorite. They’ve got great sales, especially end of season, so that’d be perfect for what you’re looking for. I got a pretty vintage-y looking (Lauren Conrad) flowy tank for $7 off the clearance rack last week. I’m sure you could find some cheap items like that to work into outfits for the fall. The ELLE and Apt 9 line is great for work items too. I have 2 high waisted A-line skirts that I’ve been wearing to work since I graduated college… in 2005. Classic styles for around $20 and they’re in great condition. In fact, my banana republic obsessed friend was like “Oooh, love your skirt. Banana, right?” Nope! Oh and fashion tights? I’ve got all different patterned black fancy tights for work. I’ve had GUYS compliment them! They’re awesome and I got them for free because of “kohls cash” that I earned. You can’t beat that!

    Sorry for the ramble. I just love my shopping! Hahaha.

    I’d definitely build a mini wardrobe for the size you are now. As we all know, weight loss can take time, especially when you get to the end. So you should be able to feel good and appreciate yourself NOW, or else you may be overlooking the awesome current you for the future you.

    • I don’t think I’ve been to Kohl’s in YEARS, so I’ll definitely have to figure out where one is around me. I’ve heard good things about LC’s line, but I didn’t even realize that is where it’s sold!

  27. I am a huge fan of replacing as I go. I think it is important to be able to feel good about your success in progress (and look good too). I try to pick things up on sale, thrift or places like Target/Old Navy where you can get good deals on the way. I will splurge fully later! 🙂

  28. “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.”

    And right there, you have my EXACT problem. I have a closet FULL of clothes that “technically” FIT, as in, they cover my body…but I’ve spent most of my life hiding in huge, baggy t-shirts and I’m DONE with that. I want to wear clothes that feel and look good on me.

    I’ve done three semi-major shopping trips since I started losing weight in January (down 64 so far!) – one for the spring/summer and one for the fall/winter. I went to the outlets all three times on major sale weekends (Memorial Day weekend and Labor/Columbus Day weekends). I ended up spending about $200-400 on each trip and while I know that’s not a drop in the bucket, it’s been more than worth it FOR ME personally, because these clothes are continued motivation for me. (I did pick a few pieces that were on super sale because they were leftover from summer and are currently a tiny bit tight, thinking ahead to next season.)

    So, I think I just rambled a lot. But I’m totally with you on this thing. I say get some basics and anything FUN that you can’t resist, but if you’re stuck between two sizes in any certain items, get the smaller one!

    • I do have a few items that are still way too snug to wear out in public, haha, but they were just such a good deal and so cute! I’m looking forward to busting them out next summer 😀

  29. Gretchen,

    I just found this blog through a few mutual friend’s ‘Likes’ on Facebook and I’m so glad I did! Love what you’re doing here, so keep up the good work 🙂

    Regarding clothes,it’s such a tricky situation. I agree with the tweeters in that you should replace as you go/invest in a few items at this weight. The better you feel in your clothes will impact your motivation level tremendously.

    Since it’s getting colder, I recommend buying a neutral color pant (black/brown, grey/khaki), a blazer, a good pair of jeans and a few versatile tops. This way, you can mix and match while still working toward your goal. Looking good = feeling good.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks, Jess! Good call on the pulling neutrals and tips for what to get as the weather gets colder. I haven’t even dug into my real WINTER wardrobe yet, but I guarantee most of it won’t fit anymore.

  30. Funny… yesterday I packed up 2 garbage bags full of clothes that no longer do me justice! This was my 2nd big clear out since weight loss. I’ve been slowly along the way buying new stuff and I definitely went through some inbetween periods where I bought a few things because I wanted to feel all together great and new! In retrospect, I’m glad that I bought things along the way, because now I’ve outshrunk some of the along the way clothes…. it’s like an extra bonus. Also, I’ve found that it is way easier to shop clearance as a medium and a size 8 or 10 than a large and a 12, or 14, or 16. Way to go woman, so glad you decided to treat yourself to a few new things! : )

    • It’s interesting, when I was at Target yesterday, most of the clearance stuff was available in sizes S – L, and the racks with XL and XXLs were very bare. It made me wonder if they just stocked fewer items in the bigger sizes, or more women were buying them!

  31. Ahhhh!!! I LOVE the first white top, it is so cute on you! And your last pair of jeans, too — DAMN, girl. Dare I ask where they are from?

    You look amazing, keep it up 🙂

    • They’re Old Navy jeans, if you can believe it! I LOVE them, I always get compliments on them. They’re the “The Flirt” cut (they have silly names for the cuts, but hey, if it looks good! Haha) and they’re bootcut… I think. I’ve never owned a pair of designer jeans in my life.

  32. When it is just a size down or two I tend to go to thrift shops, consignment shops, Marshalls, Ross’s, etc to shop. When I get down to my goal weight then I’m going on a big shopping spree. But until then it is a few items here or there.

    I love the white top on you!! It is amazing what a difference clothes that fit make!!

  33. I hafta hafta know where that pinky-orange and black dress came from! I love it!

    • Target! Head straight to the clearance racks. 🙂

  34. I’m a firm believer in Target clothing for these exact moments. You look so much happier in all of the after photots and that totally makes sense. Look good…feel good!

  35. ok some of them clothes has got to GO, just sayin. Theyre just too big for you now.

  36. So, I’ve been facing this as well. BIG TIME! Here’s what I’ve been doing: 1) Consign anything that doesn’t fit – – Find a good shop that will sell the stuff you’ve grown out of. Then you can do some guilt-free shopping of a few new pieces. 2) Sale shop like crazy – – When I buy pants on clearance, I buy the current size I need + the next size down. It’s a bit of an investment on the front end, but so much better than coming back to the store to buy the next size in 6 weeks. 3) Shop at that Consignment store – – Duh. Super cheap options for the next size and inbetween clothes that you don’t want to invest in. 4) COUPONS – I go places that have coupons. New York and Company, Kohls, wherever I can save a few bucks. Best of luck with your shopping!!

  37. I just feel like you’ve worked so hard that you deserve to feel good about yourself! And not getting new clothes until later, to me, says “I don’t deserve to treat myself until I’m finished losing.” When you’re used to food being your way of treating yourself, I think inexpensive clothes are a fab replacement as long as you don’t go crazy. I went a little crazy with it at first. “What??? I FINALLY fit into the clothes at Forever 21?!?! I MUST buy the entire store!!!” But these days, I’ve calmed down a bit and my bank account is grateful 🙂 You look fab lady!!! And I am so excited for you with your 15K!!!!

  38. I was thinking of posting on this exact same topic soon! I have the same issues…and no dolla dolla bills to spend on clothes! As much as I want to feel great in the clothes I wear, I still have about 13 lbs to go to get to my goal, and I definitely don’t want to blow all of my savings on clothes that won’t fit a year or 6 months from now! However, the ridiculousness of my oversized wardrobe got to the point where my fiance gave me a shopping spree for my birthday in May at the outlet stores so I could load up on t-shirts, shorts, cardigans, etc. and one or two pieces of dress clothing until I reach my final goal. Definitely clearance shopping for minimal pieces until I reach my “finish line!”


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