Style on a Budget
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In January, I joined a weight loss group that has been a huge help to me. In the last 12 weeks, I have lost over 20 pounds. There is even a weight loss supplement that lets me continue eating what I like, but of course I still exercise. I am approaching the time when even my old "skinnier" clothes won't fit anymore and I'll have to buy new clothes. I know that I have another 60 to 80 pounds to lose over the next year, which means I'll need to buy more clothes from belts and undergarments to business suits for work. I really think that I will be able to lose the weight that needs to come off.
I suspect that there are some readers that might have done this as well, and have some words of wisdom to share. One friend suggested just buying drawstring pants as they need no belt and will continue to be adjustable as I continue to lose weight. Besides the obvious suggestions of hitting garage sales, Goodwill and consignment shops, I am looking for suggestions that will help me stretch the clothing that I do buy even further.
Denise in Washington, DC
Last year when I lost a lot of weight, I needed clothes that fit well, but I couldn't bear to part with my business suits and other expensive attire. This is where a good seamstress or tailor comes in.
At most dry-cleaning shops, they have one on staff. She had me try on the clothes and marked or tucked in parts until we both agreed the new "size" fit. It isn't very expensive and you get clothes tailored to your exact shape.
Let the tailor know that you will be losing more weight so they can set the alterations in a way that more fabric can be taken out. As an added pick-me-up, I love to look at a dress with a size 18 tag, but know it's really an 8 now. I can see how far I've come.
G. in Denver, CO
The biggest help that I know of to stretch your clothing dollar is to keep your purchases simple and well coordinated. Look for a couple of jackets, a couple of skirts, and a couple pairs of pants in colors that can be easily mixed and matched. Then add several plain or print tops for more variety. Scarves, belts, and other accessories (most of which will not need replacing as your size changes) can stretch the limits of a simple wardrobe even further. Go for it, girl! You'll make it!
Sell your "too big" clothes on eBay! With just a few pictures from a digital camera and a small description, you can be selling your old wardrobe and making room in your closet. With the money that you make, buy a new smaller wardrobe!
If you don't have a digital camera or aren't interested in learning eBay, there are private sellers who consign and will sell your items on eBay for a small percentage. eBay also has Trading Assistants who will sell your items for you. You can look to see if there is anyone local to you at eBay's website.
I'm sure almost everyone at the weight loss center is having the same clothes problem that you are, but everyone is at a different size! I would suggest that you talk to the center's manager to see if he/she would provide a bulletin board or some means to swap clothes. Lots of women could benefit from swapping as everyone changes sizes!
My advice to Denise is to buy clothing that's simple, unstructured and untailored during her weight loss, so it can be worn as long as possible.
Pants and skirts with elastic waists, leggings (stretch denim leggings are a good alternative to regular jeans), stretchy T-shirts, big shirts, tunic-length sweaters, loose-fitting dresses with adjustable ties in the back to nip in the waist, etc. are great choices.
Choose clothing just roomy enough to be comfortable, but not too oversized, to extend its useful life in your wardrobe. For outerwear, look into things like capes, wraps and ponchos that truly are "one size fits all." Many people find that their feet shrink as well when they lose weight, and if so, look for footwear that adjusts with laces, Velcro, or elastic inserts.
Here's one final thing to remember. After you've reached your goal weight, you'll want a whole, fresh new wardrobe, even if it's just "new to you" from the thrift shop. Out with the old, and time to celebrate the new you! Perhaps you might even start a small savings account for that new wardrobe with the money you save on your transitional clothing.
I do a lot of alterations for my family, and here are a few suggestions that may help while you're in the process of losing weight. You can go down two dress sizes without having too many problems with your current wardrobe.
On blouses, you can take in the seams up to one inch under the arm and down the side seams. Darts are another way to take blouses in. On pants, you can take in seams in the crotch and side seams. This will work on slacks, but not on jeans.
Also here is another idea. Take the clothes that no longer look good on you to a consignment shop. Use the credit from these items to purchase new-to-you items from this same shop.
Clothing purchases during weight loss are an area where it's easy to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Don't try to get by during a 30-pound weight loss wearing the same pair of drawstring pants! As the pants begin to bag, you will still "feel" fat. As a result, you may be less motivated and find the weight stops coming off.
Instead, spend slightly more money on fewer items that fit you during each stage of weight loss. Your needs will vary depending on your job, but I've found (with an office job) that one pair of black pants, one black skirt, and one other pair of pants or skirt gets me through the work week. I buy one pair of jeans for the weekend and that covers it. These don't have to be expensive (I never spend over $25 per piece), but if you invest in ones that look good and fit you right, you will feel better about yourself than if you try to save money buying fifteen $3 skirts from a garage sale.
As for tops, your tops will probably not need to change size as often as your bottoms, but again, take a good look in the mirror. If you're wearing baggy, billowy shirts, no one will notice you've lost weight. Don't you deserve the positive reinforcement of showing off your success? This doesn't have to be expensive (tops can easily be found on sale for $10 or so). Invest in a few new tops that make you feel good and look good.
This tip isn't solely focused on saving money, but I strongly believe that when it comes to weight loss and your health, that's not the most important thing.
Have a "Naked Ladies" party! It's a great way to get rid of clothing that no longer fits and to go home with a whole "new" wardrobe. Here's how it works:
Everyone brings items of clothing that are in good shape. No stains, holes, or missing buttons allowed. (It's also nice if everyone brings a snack to share!)
Clothing can be sorted by style, color or cut. Or you can just throw them in a heap in the middle of the living room!
Everyone gets a turn at choosing an item of clothing or outfit they like. You can use any method you like to decide who goes first. You can pick a card, draw straws, whatever you like.
Everybody gets a chance to try on their new clothes. If it doesn't fit or look quite right, back into the pile it goes!
Leftover clothing can go home with the original owner, or be donated to the charity of your choice.
I have been to two of these parties and I had a ball! I also came home with a pile of free clothes in a variety of styles that suited my needs and my wallet.
One thing our losing-weight friend can do is join eDiets. It costs about $10 per month to join if you can get a good deal. (Fill in the online form and then wait a couple of weeks until they send their bottom-line deal.) Then join for a short time and hit the trading post. Many members are willing to send beautiful clothes in your size for only the cost of postage. Be sure to find out where they live! Cross-country mailings may be more than you want to pay.
I would suggest having wrap-around skirts. They can be adjusted as your waist gets smaller.
Your best bet is to talk to your friends about your situation. Most people have friends of all different sizes, and those friends will also have secret stashes of "skinny clothes" that they can't wear but just can't get rid of either. Ask to borrow them. If you are still losing weight, you won't need them for long. Most friends will be happy to help out. When you reach your goal weight, or close to it, then invest in quality clothes that you really like.
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