There’s nothing more tragic, to me, than hanging on to clothes which don’t fit you. Or, even more tragic, buying clothes which don’t fit you in the first place.
If you look through the steamer trunk I stash most of my clothes in, you will find that everything in it fits me. And it doesn’t just fit me. It fits me well, because I use a seamstress. I get things hemmed and tucked and otherwise modified so that they look good on me. Or, at least I did, until my seamstress LEFT TOWN. (Seriously, does anyone in the area know a good seamstress? Do I have a good seamstress among my readers? Because, if so…) Because I deserve to have nice clothes. Not just that, but I deserve to have clothes which look good on me, which flatter my body, which I enjoy wearing, whether it’s a pair of cutoff BDUs for working in the garden or a formal cashmere sweater for social events in the winter months.
Other people don’t seem to feel this way. I know a lot of people who have clothing which doesn’t fit them. “It might fit me again, someday,” they say, or “it’s a motivation to try and get down to that size again.” The clothes they do have are schlubby and unflattering, “because I’m going to lose weight soon.” Those clothes which don’t fit eat up acres of closet space and will never be worn again*.
There are a couple of problems with this.
The first is the devaluation of your own body. No matter how big or small you are, you deserve to wear clothes which look good on you. I can see, say, not going out and getting a whole new wardrobe every time you change sizes (if you’re pregnant, for example, obviously you don’t want to drop a bundle on clothes that will only fit for a few weeks). But if your size is fluctuating, you should have some nice pieces with some wiggleroom, and you should have clothes modified to fit if they start to look unflattering.
There’s this attitude people have that if they just try something else, they will finally lose weight. And one of the most common “motivators” I see cited to people considering weight loss is “having crappy clothing.” The argument goes that if none of your clothes fit, you will be shamed into losing weight. But, the thing is, that’s obviously not something that works well. If shame in general made people lose weight, I’d be a size six right now, considering all the shame I endure because of my size. Really, having ill-fitting clothing is just a form of self flagellation and punishment.
The second is a lack of understanding about the body. The thing is that as you age, you gain weight. It’s a natural part of life. People who stay the same size they were in high school usually (though not always) have to work very hard for that, because the body wants to gain weight. And not just to gain it, but to redistribute it. This means that as you mature, and throughout your life, your body is going to change sizes, even if your weight stays pretty static. You can try and fight it, or you can accept it, and you can buy clothes which fit.
A third is confusion about how clothes work. Here’s the secret: whether you weigh 95 pounds or 400 pounds, you are going to have a very tough time finding clothes off the rack which fit you. If you’re short, everything is too long and seams are in the wrong places. If you’re tall, everything is comically short. If you’ve got a rack of doom, no shirt off the rack is going to fit. Everyone has fat in different places and a different body type, and clothing is actually made on fit models, who have very unusual bodies. If you aren’t a fit model, clothes are not going to fit right off the rack. They just aren’t. Those celebrities you see out getting snapped by paps somehow looking fabulous in what appears to be off the rack clothing? That’s clothing which has been tailored to fit the way it does.
That means that even if you are at your “ideal” weight, your clothes still may not fit properly. You still need a seamstress to adjust them to make them flattering. And whether you are a size 00 or a size 28, you deserve to have clothing which fits. And by getting accustomed to using a seamstress, you will get accustomed to trying clothes on in the store and seeing that they don’t fit and will never fit, or that they don’t fit, but have potential. Maybe they can be hemmed. Maybe a shirt could take a few darts. And so forth. Maybe you can even get into garment construction, which is a whole new world of fun times.
Get used to the idea that you deserve to have clothing which fits comfortably. Clothing made from materials you like which flatters your body. And, get used to the idea that this may take some doing, but that’s ok. The first time you wear a tailored piece that really is customized for your body, you’re going to feel the difference. And, whether you’re at your ideal weight or not, you’re going to feel confident and good about your body, and you are going to project your happiness when you wear that piece.
You would be amazed at how perceptions change when you project an aura of confidence and contentment with your body. When you wear clothes that don’t fit right, you are not only devaluing your body, you’re telling other people to devalue it, and, by extension, to devalue you. To treat you like crap, because you don’t even bother to treat yourself well, so why should they. When you step out in well tailored garments that are flattering, you send the message that you are someone to be taken seriously, to be treated with respect. And maybe, just maybe, you will start to like your body when you stop fighting it and start seeing all the amazing things you can do with it.
*The obvious exception to this is people who experience size changes with cyclical hormonal changes in their bodies. Then, obviously, it makes sense to retain an array of clothing, some of which may not fit at any given time, but all of which will fit at some point during the month.