The pandemic, isolation, closed business (ahem, gyms) and complete life upheaval have all lead to an unforeseen life event in our adulthood: some of us have outgrown our clothes. The whole “who shrunk my clothes” joke just got real, very real.
Halfway through the pandemic, I began the depressing yet necessary realization that my closet was quickly under pacing my weight. That just sounds better than saying “gaining weight”. Traditionally, I have been thin with an average ping-pong of 5 pounds one way or the other around my ‘normal’ weight. However, Rona has seen me nearly 15 pounds heavier and though it may not be obvious to some (depending on what I am wearing) it is quite obvious to me. So much so, that I halted all clothing purchases for a time until I figure out if my current weight is my “new weight”. I fully anticipate that with more time I will be able to exercise more regularly (and not be exhausted or set me back days) and hopefully settle into a compromise with my body, that looks maybe 8 pounds lighter, with some firming and toning.
I’m hardly a fashionista but I have purchased some items that I do love. I would like to utilize these key pieces and then add items as I feel better. Let’s be honest, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, physically, mentally and emotionally, it is HARD to feel passionate about ANYTHING in life! I could and would give a PEP talk to you, me and all of us that says “let’s get on the treadmill and lose weight”, and while that is important, I am learning that it is more about being active (with intention: walks, yoga, meditation and hobbies) that will help us gain the initiative for more. More love of self. More love of family. More love of home. And more love of life.
I recently posted an article about my closet, and how I organize it. This step occurred ONLY after I purged items that I barely (or never) wore and made the conscious step to keep the items that could be dressed up, or down. Purging, then organizing is key to realizing what you have, what you need and what items can find another life with someone else. I also kept pieces that I could currently wear (obviously) and then items that with a little bit of tweaking my weight (and toning my body) would still fit, appropriately.
Accepting my new body shape, even though I am not exactly excited about it has become both an emotional hurdle and a battle with embracement (of the current status). It also became a stylistic conundrum as I had to figure out how much of my wardrobe I could keep, donate or replace. I made a few decisions: first, I would be honest with what I needed and what I “wanted” (there is a difference). I also knew that I wanted to start the process of “slow fashion” and then purchase items from ethical brands. I also had to accept that if my body continues to change with age, I would need to learn some things about classic fashion. If I had to be even more honest, I realized that I often bought “trendy” items, and less classic pieces. So what is “Slow Fashion”?
The term was first coined by author, design activist, and professor Kate Fletcher. She defines slow fashion as quality-based rather than time-based. Other slow fashion pioneers note that the movement encourages slower production, unifies sustainability with ethics, and ultimately invites consumers to invest in well-made and lasting clothes.
While slow, ethical, and sustainable fashion all describe efforts towards an aspirational goal—rethinking our relationship to clothes—slow fashion combines a brand’s practices with a customer’s shopping habits. The movement works towards creating an industry that benefits the planet and all people. In a perfect world, and hopefully someday soon, fashion will simply be slow fashion.
The Good Trade
SIMPLE STEPS TO UPDATE ANY WARDROBE
- When a wardrobe overhaul is imminent it can be difficult not to see dollar signs, every time you look into your now empty closet. However, I beg the point that it does not have to break the bank. First, shop secondhand stores: I LOVE this and truth be told, I frequent stores like Savers and Goodwill often, not just for classic pieces (but also household and decor items). I have found clothing pieces from white House/Black Market, Ralph Lauren and the like, you just have to be willing to sift through the clothing. You can clothing swap with friends or your sisters (currently I am super excited that my sister Ally lives close and we can share items). Or, if you’re crafty, why not sew your own clothing items using secondhand and sustainable fabrics?
- What fits (like, truly fits)?Then start there and select pieces that complement those items. If you have a skirt that fits, add a new top. Black jeans are the new “little black dress” and they should be a staple in any closet. I don’t wear dresses often, but if you do those are a great addition and require less pieces. Consider where you live and the seasons; i.e., tights in the winter, bare-legs in the summer. My favorite go to items for a dressy/casual bottom are linen pants. I have three, black, cream and white, they feel like pajamas, go with everything and are doable in these monocausal years I am loving (NO!) in style. Starting from scratch? Consider a capsule wardrobe approach to purchases, remember to buy items that can be mixed and matched.
- Swimsuits. I tend to stay away, far far away from any activities requiring these but if you are a lover of all things water then here are some ideas. First, you don’t need to always buy black (allyson!) you can tap into color and bold patterns. These swimsuits offer fun alternatives to the “monochrome safe zone”, and kudos to the ONLY male model in this lineup! Shoes and accessories are another great way to change up an outfit. Etsy, I love supporting their independent artists and they have amazing items at all price points. I have been over heels for some time and am entralled at the women that can run in them but if they are a look you love, buy quality and comfort to last.
- Undergarments. This point is still a hard one for me as I have a hard time spending $$$ for these items. I prefer spending $ for my purchases which often find me constantly adjusting and unhappy. I guess it feels frivolous to buy new undergarments which finds me wearing mine for too long. I also struggle with buying the right cut and fit. And, it can get expensive but it’s worth it! I am so much happier when my underwear fit properly.
- Lastly, this does not have to be done all at once. In fact, taking time and adding quality pieces will help you build a sustainable wardrobe that evolves as your body evolves.
A LITTLE SELF LOVE
The “COVID 15” is a real thing for many. One study showed that “one-quarter of people whose BMI is in the ‘normal’ range gained weight as did one-third of people whose BMI classifies them as ‘obese’.”
This is why we need to be compassionate with ourselves. Change is normal, and we should not determine our beauty based on our weight. We all should strive for comfortable, sustainable, and classic clothing no matter our size.