You’ve made it to Part 3!
As tricky as general life and food are, clothing is no less traumatizing. What once fit suddenly doesn’t. You watch the numbers in your pants change week after week. Early in my recovery, I could fluctuate 2+ sizes in a single day due to bloating. Clothing was not fun.
Here’s the thing: whether you are on a tight budget or have limitless funds at your disposal, you’re not going to want to buy too many clothes during the recovery process. Yes, you need to accommodate your changing body (ugh, this is starting to sound like a puberty pamphlet), but the more you buy, the more you’ll have to throw out when your size changes. There are ways around this, however.
- Stop reading fashion magazines/blogs/etc. Not only are they bad for your self esteem, but you’ll just make yourself miserable knowing you’re not able to stay “on trend”.
- Leggings. Buy the biggest size you can get away with now, and they’ll last you through many pounds of weight gain. But please: leggings are not pants (unless you are going to/leaving/in a yoga/fitness class). Make sure your bum is covered.
- Dresses. These are more forgiving than just about any other clothing item. They fit through many sizes and can be paired with tights and sweaters to get you through many seasons.
- Jeans. Yes, this is the one thing you’ll need to buy over and over again. Everyone needs a pair of jeans. Get rid of them as soon as they don’t fit, and try to limit yourself to one pair at each size (less to throw out).
- Flowy tops. I’ve been accused many times of hiding in my clothes. I am the queen of “you can’t see my silhouette”. Yes, I’m uncomfortable with my body, but also, the same flowy tops have gotten me through many size changes. It’s economical. If I had purchased fitted tops at my smallest, I would have had to throw a whole lot more clothes out.
- Keep it simple. If you stick with basic cuts, classic pieces, and minimal patterns, you can get away with wearing the same things over and over again. Accessorize to make it fresh.
- Thrift stores, sale racks, hand-me-downs. These will be your best friends. Another great option is having a clothing exchange. My friend Tess’ mom Nicky (Hi ladies!) hosts one twice a year, and I always get lots of great new stuff. Everyone brings things they don’t want anymore and throws them in a pile. Then, everyone climbs in and hunts for buried treasure. I scored an awesome pair of Theory dress pants last time.
- Fall in love with shoes. My friend Michelle calls shoes “the great equalizers”. They fit at any size. If you have cash to burn (ha!) focus your spending on shoes.
I waited until my weight was stable for 6 months before I started buying clothing that fell outside these rules. Sometimes I even show my waist. It really sucked wearing the same things over and over again, but I’d ask myself, would you rather have that new shirt or a fifth of a therapy session? Therapy almost always won out. Making it my choice made it easier when the green-eyed monster reared his ugly head. So my last tip, borrowed from a great survivor/thriver: