How do you dress a shrinking body?

I’ve been here before and I’m here again, at that point where I’m losing weight steadily so my clothes are too big and yet I don’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe of things that won’t fit me in a month’s time.

Remember at the outset of my journey my daughter encouraged me to add colour to my wardrobe? Well most of that stuff has never made it onto my back and now it’s too big.

I went shopping today for a few holiday things (get me actually going to the shop and not doing it all online… yet more progress). I figured my dilemma was even worse than usual as the summer will soon be over here so anything I buy for holiday will get very little if any wear once I’m home again and will definitely not fit next summer it will be way too big. I’m only going for a week but I really feel like most of my existing stuff is at the point where it’s making me look fatter than I am. When life is normal (as in I’m back at work in September) I spend the vast majority of my time in smart work wear (we have a dress code which includes suit jacket, tights if wearing a dress or skirt and blah blah blah) so it’s not very wide in terms of scope.

download (2)I heard the other day about a plus size clothes exchange that they have in Leeds (a city near me in the UK) and I can’t make it myself but I’m going to pack up all of my excess unworn and hardly worns and send them along with a friend. It’s a great idea and reminded me of years ago when I was at Slimming World and we had a big group who would stay to class. Many were losing weight rapidly and we were all at different sizes and stages. I suggested that maybe once a month or more often if we liked we could bring in our excess unworn and hardly worn and the other shrinking ladies could take anything that was their ‘new’ size to save them laying out money for clothes they’d only need for a month. It was a huge success. A couple of us had clothing rails at home and each week we’d set up in the hall where the Slimming World class was and anyone who had anything to contribute would just hang it on the rail with the size clearly visible as they came in and at the end of the session everyone would have a flick through and take anything they could make use of.

So, if you belong to a club or know people who are trying to lose weight and this might be useful for you try it. It saves money and encourages people losing weight to get rid of clothes they have shrunk out of rather than keeping them to risk growing back into. When you have to buy suits for work it can get very costly so this is a great way of reducing the costs for yourself and for your fellow weight losers.

We also have a scheme nationally I think where the charity which provides shelter and support for women escaping domestic violence collects smart work wear for ladies who have had to leave everything behind to use for interviews for jobs to help get their lives back togetmvAk44H2TEnPTDpswjeTYDwher without having to lay out for expensive tailored clothes. We also have a charity called Smart Works which works to provide interview and work wear for women who are on low incomes. All great ideas and a more directed approach than charity shop donations in terms of getting things to people who really need them and where they will be further recycled to others who are in need short term.

What I have done so far to overcome the problem of buying new stuff is I’ve bought baggier things that will last a bit longer as it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit baggy or a lot baggy. However I’m at the point now where I have a shape emerging and I want to show it and wear clothes which fit instead of shapeless sacks of fabric. So this answer is no longer cutting it for me.

Today what I did was try to buy things which I think I might be able to extend the life of, dresses which will be fine to wear in the sun and heat but which I can put a belt around or wear with a suit jacket and tights for work into the autumn. I bought a beautiful navy dress with big polka dots on it, it’s got a sweetheart neckline and is fitted around the bust and under the bust then has a gradual flare out to the knee. It’s got tiny cap sleeves. I figured that will be great to wear with flats download (1)on holiday, it’s quite vintage, rocker billy stylie, very cute and playful – I Skyped the kids my fashion show and they said they loved it. I can wear that with a red suit jacket or a navy one, I can stick a thin belt around the waist when it gets too baggy, I can wear it with navy tights and court shoes for work. I can wear it with a light white cardigan and sling back heels for a dinner out on holiday or just for a day out when I get back. If it starts to get a bit gapey around the bust I can always give it a tuck in with a nice broach or I can wear a lovely navy or red  chiffon neck scarf to hide the fact that it’s gaping.  I figured I can get a lot out of the dress and as it’s a pull on style with no zips or fasteners it will last me a couple of size drops maybe… definitely one.

I also bought a damson coloured dress which is a tulip style cut, a more tailored fit with lovely cut outs on the chest which make it pretty but not bust revealing. Again it’s knee length and sleeveless so i figured I can wear it out for a dinner on holiday but once I’m home I can wear it with a suit jacket and tights for work. She says… I bloody hate tights! I could make it last a bit longer again by putting a thick black patent belt around the waist maybe.

I bought a couple of tube skirts (hallelujah that they came back into fashion with avengence). They are on the snug side right now so they’ll be good for holiday with floaty cami tops and then as I shrink they will be less clingy and I can wear them with shorter tops and suit jackets or dress them up with heels and nice tops for dinners out. So with these I’ve gone for the alternate approach to that I took with the dresses of buying too small with stretch so that I get a longer life out of items.

I know that we are lucky in the UK to have so much choice when it comes to plus size fashion, it’s not the best but it’s way better than some countries have available on the high street. Not so many years ago plus sized fashion here was very expensive and not very imaginative, flattering or fashionable. I truly believe that largely due to the pressure put on by the plus sized fashion blogging community things are changing. I really feel for people in countries where it’s either not available, there is a poor choice or it’s unflattering and unfashionable or where it is too expensive to keep replenishing the wardrobe as you down size. I guess the consolation is that if you are living healthier and shrinking as a result you will soon not need plus sized fashion anymore and you’ll be stable and this won’t be such an issue. For those who are happy as they are and just want good affordable on trend fashion for bigger women (and men) I hope that the progress continues. I’m not going here again, I really am not, this is the last time I tread this path.

It’s not just clothes either, my feet have shrunk a size which is totally amazing as now my feet are fashionable-shoes-for-womenthe same size as my daughter’s and she left a whole load of amazing shoes behind which are now mine! I’ve noticed I can wear heels without my feet hurting so soon so that’s another sign of weight loss, reducing the amount of pressure on the ball of the foot. 

The other thing which is expensive to replace is glasses. My head must be shrinking as all of my glasses are too big and keep sliding off my face so I’m going to have to replace them when i get back from holiday. I’m just going to get a couple of pairs and I’m going to try an online company which I saw recommended on a blog as the frame prices were really reasonable and they had a great range. I’m going to donate all of my old ones to a charity which up-cycles glasses for use in developing countries.

If anyone’s got any tips for what they do to dress their shrinking body please share in the comments below 😀

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6 thoughts on “How do you dress a shrinking body?”

  1. I can only make obeisance to the pantheon of gods that fashion has never been one of my ‘things’. I’ve never been aught but a jeans person. Doesn’t mean I’m not having problems, though; stacking it on is just as problematical … and made worse by having rissoled a shitload of stuff when I last got off 22kg. Just as well I don’t have places to go !!!!

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    1. I love that kimonos and kaftans and maxis are in fashion they are the most comfy things on earth to just throw on, how they ever went out of fashion is beyond me.

      Jeans! I can’t wait to get into some of those, once my waist is smaller than my hips again I might stand a chance of finding some that don’t stretch on and pretend to be jeans

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  2. I feel your pain and understand the dilemma, Michelle! I guess I’m “lucky” in that I did a clean-out of my wardrobe a year or two ago and I deliberately kept stuff I had really liked from the last time I lost a significant amount of weight. All of this, which is mostly summer stuff, is waiting for me in the smaller sizes and some of it’s hardly ever been worn. And as I’m not a fashionista i.e. I wear what I like and colours and styles that suit me, not what’s in fashion (Gok Wan would have a hard job with me!), I will still have no issues wearing these clothes even though some are four or more years old! But I was going to suggest charity shops such as Oxfam? If they’re like ours over here, what they call “plus size” means not that big, but as you are shrinking you should fit into much more of a range. My final suggestion is buying stuff you like and then selling it on eBay once it’s too big. I’ve made quite a pretty penny doing that at times! Best of luck with any future holiday shopping although, who knows? You may only have need of togs and a sarong 😉

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  3. One of my greatest bug bears is Bra’s, they cost a fortune for a decent fitting large size bra. Its like they see you coming in anything bigger than a 38D and think will just add £20 on to the price to begin with. I’m hoping that as I lose weight I will be able to just buy a bra in the likes of M&S or BHS. I have a habit of finding things that I like and then buying the same item in 2/3 colours, its not original but it happens. New Look do some decent jeans and on-line they do more leg lengths than they do in-store, plus they are cheaper than some of the other places and they wash really well, hope you find some holiday clothes 🙂 LMC X

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    1. I’m lucky that my cup size doesn’t alter but my back size does. I have the weirdest bust in the world it doesn’t gain fat. But my backsize has increased dramatically with this most recent weight gain and I found wearing bras so uncomfortable yet not wearing them (in the house) was so uncomfortable. I invested in a set of three Belvia bras which were better than I thought they’d be, they were £26 from simply be for three different colours, a nude, black and white. Not only were they comfy in the house I started to wear them now and then out and about too and they have shrunk with me which is a bonus. I still wear them even though I can now feel comfy in ‘proper’ bras again and fortunately I’m an underwear nut so I have tons that I have kept hold of in different back sizes so I’m working my way back down and dispelling the big ones determined not to hold on to anything I shrink out of. Belvia are not very sexy though let it be said. I bought a pair of the high waisted knickers the other day and oh my, let’s just say that I was optimistic with the sizing, when I finally squeezed myself into them I let go and they just rolled straight down again.

      You’re right now with the high street and sales it’s cheaper to pick up some temporary pieces. I’m not breaking the bank. I’ve tried to mix up some high street chic with one or two more expensive pieces for holiday which can then be used again for work.

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