10 Ways to Transition Your Wardrobe Through Weight Loss

When I embarked on a journey towards a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body, I knew there would be challenges and obstacles to meet head-on, hard work to put in, and temptations to overcome. A lifestyle overhaul was in order, for sure. After putting many kilometres in on the jogging trail, making multiple trips to the gym, and adapting a renewed view on clean, healthy eating, the progress began. Thanks to this lifestyle change -- no fad diets here! -- over the course of the last year, I've been able to shed 65 pounds and move down from a size 18-20 to a size 12-14. It has absolutely been a rewarding journey thus far! And the rewards are definitely motivation to continue. 

But, along the way, I realized that my wardrobe needed some major changes as well. Garments (and in some cases, shoes!) that had been in major rotation became far too big, while favourite items saved from before I'd gained weight were still much too small. I certainly didn't want to break the bank by investing in a new wardrobe at each of five size changes I've had thus far, but I still wanted to dress the body I had in a stylish way. Over the course of this (very much ongoing) weight loss process and transformation, I've picked up a number of ways to transition my wardrobe along with my changing shape, and I wanted to share 10 of the tricks I've learned along the way, especially for those who may be facing a similar sartorial challenge.

1. Shop, and EDIT your closet
It's crucial to take a long hard look at what you already have. To streamline, donate or sell things that no longer fit. Get creative with pieces you already have, or have a second look at things that may previously have been a touch snug that might fit after a few inches lost. I often started out feeling I had nothing to wear, when to my surprise, there were already some decent options hiding in my own closet.

2. Hit the clearance rack
If new is the only way to go, shop those sale racks. When I knew my shape would likely be changing again, I wanted to scrimp and save on clothing items wherever possible. Sale and clearance racks allowed me to find what new pieces I needed without spending heavily on a temporary wardrobe.

3. Embrace knits
Of all of the items in my closet, I found that my knitwear was what was most easily adaptable as my size changed. Fitted sweaters became looser fitting, of course, but most still managed to look slouchy instead of sloppy, and I was able to use those as key transition pieces. Crucial.

4. Online marketplaces are the greatest 
I found so many plus-size (and later, straight size) picks on eBay and kijiji from great brands that allowed me to pick up on-trend items for a great price. Similarly, selling off my outgrown items helped add a few dollars back to my pocket, which is always a good thing.

5. Accessorize
During the weight loss process, my wardrobe became much smaller, simpler and streamlined out of necessity. To change up my look when certain pieces got repeated, accessories (that always fit!) --from bags to shoes to statement necklaces and more -- made a huge difference in changing up a look.


6. Befriend your tailor
At my biggest, I didn't invest in many pieces I wanted to keep. However, there were some items that I really loved and wanted to keep, even though they no longer fit. Rather than getting rid of them, I took them to the tailor. Often, getting pieces taken in is much more economical than you'd think, and certainly much easier on the pocketbook than buying a whole new garment.

7. Belt it
Honestly, I don't know what I would have done without my selection of belts. From giving shape to suddenly sack-like shift dresses to magically holding up loosened trousers, skirts, or jeans, they were, and are, essential. Pro tip: Play with layers and lengths to cover up the dreaded belted fabric-bunching with a tunic, blouse, or sweater.

8. Shop secondhand
Thrift shops are always a treasure trove for adding unique pieces to a wardrobe, and they especially come in handy when trying to maintain an often rapidly-changing wardrobe on a dime. More than once I'd bring bags of clothes in to donate, and then spend some time perusing the racks for new-to-me items in a smaller size. Win-win.

9. Stretch is best
Stretch jersey and ponte fabrics have been a staple throughout the weight loss process. The same goes for denim -- look for stretch! As an example, I was at one stage wearing jeans two sizes too large that still looked flattering (as long as I wore the aforementioned belt) because of their all-important stretch. I'm not suggesting buying stretchy items in a too-small size and squeezing into them, but rather simply sticking to forgiving fabrics will still work even as you transition to a smaller size. As always, I focused on dressing the body I had -- it kept me feeling motivated and positive, rather than stressed about the size I hadn't yet reached.

10. Swap it
Let's face it, clothing swaps are always a good idea. But certainly swapping was one of my favourite guilt-free ways to freshen up my wardrobe while dealing with transitioning sizes. I'd hand off too-big items to some friends, while others would hand down to me items they'd similarly outgrown. Whether formally organized or a fun swap between friends, clothing (and accessory!) swaps are a great for those striving for style on a budget.

These are a few of the tricks I've picked up along the way (and am continuing to use after PEI's longest and worst winter ever -my running routine suffered!). But certainly, the most important weight-loss style lesson I've learned? Love and dress the body you have now, no matter its shape.

On a similar journey? I'd love to hear your stories and tips! 

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Jenna said...

So many great ideas here, thanks for sharing!

Rebecca R said...

Thanks for your kind words!

Eli said...

What a great post - way to go! While you've definitely accomplished more, I went through a similar thing two years ago. I hung onto my bigger clothes for a long time, because mentally, I couldn't jump over the fact that I wasn't that size anymore. Not only that, I was afraid of falling off the wagon and gaining all the weight back. At one point, I had lot let a lot of the stuff go. It was kind of liberating! I took the stuff to Buffalo Exchange and used the credit to get stuff that actually fit me. I love all these tips, which people should be doing anyway!

You look great at all sizes in between - this post really resonated with me, I know it's really going to help others too!

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