Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Out with the big, in with the small

I hated to disappoint the producers of the "Today Show" but I just couldn't give them what they wanted.

The ubiquitous pair of fat pants.

We've seen Jared on Subway commercials with his jeans and Weight Watchers ads with a person standing in just one leg of her old pants. Maybe they had the foresight to know that they would lose all the weight and would want that memory or they had a significant attachment to their clothes - regardless of the reason, they had kept a physical reminder of how big they used to be.

I had not.

I barely have photos of the time - much less the clothes. Once I felt comfortable that I wasn't going to be a size 24 or a size 18, the clothes were donated.

So you can imagine how ill equipped I felt when I was asked on Twitter what to do with "fat" clothes. Alyse wondered whether keeping them would give her permission to go back to the old her but yet she had an attachment to her clothes. I quickly told her to get rid of them but the more I thought about it, the more ways I came up with to repurpose old clothes.

Take it to the tailor. I had this pinky-mauve pinstriped skirt from Lane Bryant that I absolutely loved (though thinking back I'm not sure why). My grandma was able to put elastic in the waist band so I could continue to wear it as I lost weight. It was more of a "make do" solution than a permanent one but there are other things you can do. A shirt could be taken in at the shoulders and be turned into a fun, flowing tunic to wear with leggings. A long dress or skirt in a beautiful fabric might make for a great scarf. If you lose enough weight, a pair of pants could make for a great pencil skirt ... or not.

Patch it up. We've seen runners and sorority girls alike turn their T-shirts and memorabilia so why not turn your old clothes into a quilt. Obviously, it would be great if you liked complementary colors and patterns but it would be a great way to keep part of your old self with the new self.

Bag it. If you are particularly crafty, you can make a tote bag from a shirt or a pillow case even. You could make appliques and put them on your new pair of skinny jeans.

If you don't want to shred the clothes, here are a few more ideas.

Selective admissions. It's OK to really like some of your old clothes. There are pieces that might have made us feel particularly beautiful or sexy, and it's hard to get rid of those items. Pick 10 things that you really like and put them in a storage bin, which goes in the scary depths of the attic. As they aren't convenient to get to, there won't be the temptation to get back into them. Also, you never know when they'll come in handy - I wore some of my favorite tees when I was pregnant.

For sale. Some of my more "gently used" items that were from better brands - like all of my clearance Banana Republic - dresses were taken to Clothes Mentor, a consignment shop. You might not get a lot of money - if they accept your items - but something is better than nothing, and you can use your "earnings" for new items. (Note: I actually bought a lot of my in between clothes there because I didn't want to spend a lot of cash until I got to goal.)

As seasons change. It's still been bloody hot, or humid at least, in these parts but as you get ready to unpack the sweaters and boots, try things on. If it fits, put it in the closet. If it doesn't or you didn't wear it last season, sell it or donate it. If you are having a hard time getting rid of things, make a deal with yourself: for every three items you get rid of, you get one new item. I did this recently with purses and it was amazing how much I was able to get rid of.

Final thought ... You have to do what feels right and do it when you feel ready. It felt right for me to donate my clothes/sell them because I don't like the reminders of who I was. For you, it might serve as a cautionary tale.


  1. Love this. On the opposite side, postpartum I put my old clothes in a different closet so I wasn't feeling down that they didn't fit yet. Then every 2 months or so I would try them again and move the ones that fit. It was a great way to keep my clothes without being daily reminded that I didn't fit them yet.

  2. Thank you for addressing this in a blog post.

    Because I always felt uncomfortable in "real clothes" I've always worn t-shirts and jeans. While I'm not attached to my jeans I am attached to my t-shirts. I've decided to keep those (and underoos/bras) for my far-in-the-future-hopeful-pregnancies and then turn them into quilts. They are all trip t-shirts so they are sentimental.

    The jeans are going to be history. The other night I took all the jeans off of hangers that were too big and into a box to be donated when full. I realized I was holding onto the jeans "just in case" I gained weight back. Which is stupid, because it's so easy to put on an old pair of fat jeans but more difficult to buy a new pair.

    I do look forward to when all the weight is gone buying dressy clothes as I don't have any. :-)

  3. I'm down over 30lbs since January and I've got a bunch of clothes that no long fit, many of which I still use. I HAVE to wear a belt now of my pants fall down. I've bought some new clothes here and there, but I hate clothes shopping. I guess it's time I chunk them and get some nice fitting clothes.