One thing I have realised as I have slimmed down is that as I gained weight over the years, my ‘style’ of clothing changed without me noticing.
As I got larger things became baggier and blacker, because as we all know, black is very slimming. :p
In summer I went from short skirts, short tops, sundresses and short shorts to long loose skirts, baggy shirts and long shorts. Winter clothes went from dresses with tights, skinny leggings and jeans to heavy flowing skirts with big baggy jumpers. My shoes went from sandals and boots with heels to sneakers and flat boots to support my extra weight.
Baggy track pants and sloppy sweatshirts became my new ‘normal’.
In short, I began to hide behind my clothes and avoided cameras like the proverbial plague.
I hid mostly because very few stores have stylish clothing in larger sizes, but I was slowly losing my confidence in myself and my appearance. My attitude to how I looked changed from one of wanting to look well presented, to one of ‘it doesn’t matter anyway’. It’s rather interesting to see how people look at and treat you differently according to how you look – be it how big you are or something else that’s unusual. I found it even more noticeable as I lost weight given I had become used to being overlooked and dismissed… Is this a cultural thing?
Going out once I had put on weight, I would wear black jeans or a gipsy skirt, teamed with a red or black top and a loose black jacket. My outfits became less and less feminine, and I didn’t wear any makeup or worry about colouring my hair.
I found I couldn’t fit comfortably into standard sizes, although I was still forcing myself to fit into them. Shopping had now become something of a nightmare and full of disappointments as the sizes kept creeping up, and thus shopping became something to be avoided.
I just wore the same skirts, tops and jeans over and over.
I did find one store that catered to ‘curvy larger women’ and although they had lovely clothes, they were very expensive. It seems the bigger you are, the more expensive the items become – Call me a cynic but that surely can’t be the cost of the extra material!
My wardrobe, however, got bigger and bigger as I didn’t want to part with stuff I had outgrown, as I always dreamed of one day getting slim again, of one day waking up and magically being thin. (And the irony here is when I did get used to being thin and not hiding my body I realised how unattractive the whole lot was and had to get rid of it all!)
Then that one day, as you know, it finally started to happen.
I found that about every 6 or so kilogrammes I lost, I was also losing a dress size! At first, this was good, and I started wearing a belt and pulling it in. As I began to shrink, I enjoyed the feeling of my clothes becoming looser and looser – and wondering in amazement at the sheer size of things that no longer fit.
I started wearing old clothing from my wardrobe that I hadn’t worn for years. I had kept, for instance, 3 sizes of work jeans, and I was overjoyed when I went from the men’s size (men’s jeans have bigger, wider legs, and deeper pockets) 102, down to 97, and then several months later into the 92. Now I wear women’s skinny jeans in size 10… and even now I need a belt! I still find myself marvelling at the difference, and wondering why I had not done this so many years ago, and why had I let myself get so large?
That is a pondering for another day…
One of the biggest problems I have encountered as I have become the incredible shrinking woman was that of new clothes. It seems like a never ending story, every few months and sometimes even weeks I find I need to buy smaller clothes, everything from underwear to socks, to shoes (my feet have shrunk!). As my hands and wrists were getting smaller, even new jewellery was on the shopping list as my bracelets and rings began to fall off.
On my very limited budget, I got around most of this by using second-hand clothing and cheap shopping chain stores like K-Mart and Big W for underwear and shirts. I found that after years of wearing the same baggy black stuff I had no idea what looking good actually meant anymore and what style suited the new shape I was becoming.
I was lucky, that just after I met the Primal Labrador (Anthony), he introduced me to a friend of his who happened to be a fashion stylist and all-round style guru, having worked in fashion in London… and giving the PL a seriously needed makeover of his own!
Liz was an absolute heaven sent gift.
With her help, we spent the day going from store to store trying on a range of items. She explained to me why each item she chose was good, and how to choose clothes that flattered my newly changing body.
She even convinced me to try some colours other than black or red, and that heels could make my legs look fabulous. And a good push up bra is worth its weight in gold. :p
Although we didn’t buy much that day, she gave me a huge confidence boost, and I came away with a lot of very useful tips and tricks to help me in the future.
Another problem I came across was what to do with all the clothing I was shedding?
While I kept my skinny clothes while I was putting on weight, I had heard it was smart to give away your old clothes as you lose weight to put pressure on yourself to stay focused on your goals.
I gave the vast majority away to local charities. A few pieces I have kept either for sentimental reasons or as a reminder of how damned large I was!
Some of the nicer things, I sold to help fund my new wardrobe.
This was me on the road, still getting my style back at Christmas 2015, wearing a short skirt and 4″ heels:
Have you ever used a fashion stylist yourself? Any clothing tips you can share on your journey? 🙂