Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


The Green Dress

In the back of my closet I have some clothes leftover from a smaller life, things that meet the Vickie test of “would I buy it again?”  At this point the only things left are out of season clothes, having already tried on and am wearing or gave away winter things.

One of those favorite clothes is an emerald green 2-part dress, a simple tank dress with a cute little short-sleeved jacket with some embroidery in matching fabric.  I loved that dress and wore it often because 1) it was cute, 2) it was comfortable and breathable, and 3) I look fabulous in that color.  I bought it 6 years ago when I was at my lowest weight, some 30 lbs lower than where I am now, and even wore it when my WW leader and I were on local TV filming a July 4th segment on tips for watching your food while at holiday picnics and parties.

It fits.

I have no idea how this happened.  I mean, I’m still 30 lbs over that 2004 weight – but my body shape has been shifting a lot in the months since my surgery.  I haven’t really lost any weight in the last month but it’s fallen off anyway – I’ve lost 2″ in my hips in the last MONTH.  Believe me, I’m not complaining, but my brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that my body doesn’t look the way my brain thinks it does after years at the high end of the plus sizes.

People who are very large need to lose a LOT of weight before anyone notices, and that’s hard.  We wear those X sizes (1X-5X or more) and each covers 2 dress sizes if they actually made dresses for people who wear a straight 30 (they don’t).  So you can easily wear the same thing through a 35-45lb loss, assuming it was a bit on the snug side in the first place.  Most of my big clothes were relatively shapeless anyway, since I didn’t want to flaunt my original shape.

I don’t really want to wear shapeless now even though I know I’m still very fluffy and have a long ways to go.  Others may, and do, see me as obese (which I am), but they don’t have the perspective of knowing the amount of weight already lost, the distance already come.

But I’m having trouble knowing how to dress and where to shop.  I need to be careful with my money and not go crazy buying clothes that won’t last me as long as those X sizes.  I’m tired of shopping in fat lady stores and really really want to find some nice petite plus pants, which is almost impossible.  I may go out today and try a few places for one or two pieces since my other pants look like clown pants and are now too long as well as too big.

It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong.  But there is a lot of adjusting to do.  I’m doing the “inside work” as well as the food/body work – but it also requires work to get the eyes to understand what they actually see.  In the meantime, I have a lovely green dress that I won’t be able to wear to the family wedding in June.  Guess I will need to go shopping 🙂


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NSV: The State of my Clothes

I was grumbling yesterday to my friend Phyllis about how my pants were all too long and I had to shorten them to keep them from dragging through wet puddles of snow or rain.  Hemming is not my favorite thing to do and I was not amused at the idea of shortening them all.  But then I remembered that I had pairs of pants the next size down, pants that I didn’t expect to wear until maybe February.  Just to see how far away it might be before I can really wear them, I tried them on.

And they fit.

Well, that explains a lot and means I have a whole bunch of pants that I will soon be able to pack up and drop off at Goodwill.  But it also means I have no pants left in the closet to get back down into as things progress.  Which means I’ll have to go shopping for pants, something I despise because it’s so hard.

I stopped off at Dress Barn Woman this afternoon to take a look at their clothes and left knowing that I now have another place to shop.  The clothes are more upscale and appropriate for me, rather than some of the poorly constructed stuff I’ve seen at Avenue.  Maybe not poorly constructed, but definitely box shape.  My body isn’t a box and I want clothes that let me dress in a way that works.

I bought a couple of sweaters on eBay this weekend, getting some great buys on things down a size.  Things I think I can wear are turning out to be more shapeless than I realized, definitely indicating they are way too big even though I want them to fit.  I would be better served to weed them out of the drawers and rotate a few different things that actually work than thinking I had clothes that fit that really don’t anymore.  I hope that makes sense.

I also ordered a new winter parka down 2 sizes from the one I wore last year, on sale for 50% off.  65 lbs later, it looks ridiculous – and when I wore it this week, all the cold air swept up from underneath and I almost froze.   I’m not silly enough to buy a new coat for every size but I need to be realistic about what will keep me warm up here where winter is serious business for the next 4 months.

The smaller I get, the more options will be available for picking up low-cost transitional things.  I just wish my feet would consider getting narrower.  Those 4E shoes are really hard to find!


Shopping in my Closet and Dresser

The clothes I’ve been wearing lately have gotten loose (or in some cases, started to really fit properly for the first time in ages).  The pants are silly coz they stretch out a bit when they’ve been worn and look even bigger.  But my biggest concern really was the bras.  The ones I’ve been wearing have been stabbing me with the underwires which is not the way I prefer to go through my day.  My plan was to drag out the sewing machine and try another little repair job (this is not the first time the evil wires have been a problem).

Instead, though, I went shopping in my dresser.  Stuffed in the back of the top drawer were some old bras from the “before days.”  I did not expect them to fit but since the newer ones were hopeless, I pulled one out just to see how far I needed to go to get into it – and it FIT.  Honestly, it feels so much better and is staying in place the way the newer ones have been doing lately.  Because, um, they were too big.

Interesting.  It’s kind of novel to think about clothes being too big.  My idea of fitting is actually being loose instead of hugging lumpy curves.  But I’ve lost almost 36 lbs and it’s obvious that it’s time to look at those clothes in the closet and tucked away in the chest just in case.

So I tried on a few more, some pants that I thought were wayyyy too small – and they are small, but I can see myself wearing them again by November.  I haven’t worn them in over two years.  I tried on some sweaters and things that were impossibly snug almost fit and will be available to me when the weather changes enough to need to actually wear sweaters.

I know, of course, that with the WLS this fall, that my shape will be changing and I need to really pull out what’s stored away and separate it by size, using Vickie‘s criteria of “would I buy this again?” rather than just “does it fit?”  Most of us have a ton of stuff in different sizes that we bought because it fit but once we had it home and wore it a few times, we realized that Stacy and Clinton would not approve.  I’d rather have a small wardrobe of things that look good on me than more clothes that make me look not my best.  That goes for coats, too.  I already have another bag of clothes to drop off at the Salvation Army today.  Makes room for me, gives good clothes to someone who needs them. That’s a win-win situation in my book.


What to Do About Those Clothes

Sorting clothes - no, this isn't meYou remember the story of Goldilocks:  she visited the bears’ house and tried their porridge (is that like oatmeal?), sat in their chairs, slept in their beds.  Things were too big/hot/hard, too small, or just right.  My clothes are like that, too, but they are mostly too small.   From reading a number of other blogs, I can tell that I’m not alone.  And the reality is that even if the clothes do fit, we may not like them anymore.

So what to do?  Step one is to pull everything out and look at it.  Did you wear everything in your “winter clothes” pile this season?  If not, why not?  Where they too small, too big, just not really “you” or need repair?  Deal with this stuff before you look at the rest of it.

If you have clothes that you really love but need some kind of alteration or repair, either make a commitment to getting that done (it’s worth paying someone to do it if you don’t have the skills or the time) or put the clothes into the discard pile.  They’re not doing you any good sitting unworn and damaged in the closet, where they give you a false sense of available things to wear.  Things that you don’t like should be laundered and either donated or sold (I donate almost everything because it’s easier and faster).

Clothes that are too big should be also donated, but be realistic and don’t get rid of every single thing because there may be “fat days” when you’re feeling a bit bloated and could use something more comfy.  But keeping too many of them around makes it easy to not pay attention to the slow creep of weight gain that moves you into a bigger size almost without noticing.  Play this one carefully.

The clothes that don’t fit present a particular problem.  Do you keep them in hopes of wearing them again when you lose weight, or do you get rid of them?  Think carefully about this and be realistic.  Keeping sweaters or pants one size down can be motivating — getting back into them is achievable.

But clothes that are several sizes too small can be, for some of us, depressing to have around because getting back into them seems so remote.   There they sit, in the back of the closet or in a plastic bin or big garbage bag, taking up space in your house and in your head.  “You spent good money on these things and you’re too fat to wear them,” is what most of us hear.  Not all, to be sure, but I know that’s what I get.

Donating things that are too way small frees the mind and the closet of that crap, and someone else will be happy to get them, especially in this economic climate.  As the pounds start to come off again and you need to fit a smaller body, you can go shopping for new stuff – even if that shopping is at the thrift store.  People like us donate good stuff, which means it’s available to people like us, too.

Once you’ve gone through the winter clothes, do the same exercise for the things that are coming out of storage for the next season.  They usually look different when they are unboxed and spread out on the bed than they did when we put them away months before.  Something you thought was great might look too tired or not fit as well.  Take the time to sort them all out even if  you did it when they were packed away.

I have one of these exercises to do in the next few weeks; some things I know without trying on I can just put in the “donate” pile.  I hate trying on everything and think of the money I spent on things that didn’t turn out as I’d hoped or don’t fit well or at all.  But once I’ve done it, and put things in piles and given them away, I know what my clothes options actually are so it makes getting dressed faster and the closet feels airy and spacious.  That’s a Good Thing.


My Clothes are Hopeless

Much as it pains me to admit, I’m back to wearing fat girl clothes, mostly badly fitting pants, big shirts and non-clingy sweaters. I don’t have any real idea of what fits and what doesn’t, other than that the pants are looking ridiculous.  The ones that more or less fit me looked like clown pants by the time I got home.

It’s discouraging to be very round and short, with a hanging belly that puts my waist lower in front than in the back – because that means that pants with zippers just do not work.  Given that, finding pants that are comfortable but still look even moderately appropriate has been impossible.

I’m too big right now to fit into the things I wore last year, and haven’t been able to find things that I could actually wear out of the store.  So I’m shopping mostly online, waiting until packages arrive to try things on and then returning the things that don’t fit. I don’t want to spend a lot of money to get clothes in my bigger size, even if I can find them.  But I do need some pants that don’t make me look or feel stupid.  And hopefully that will be even warm, because the colder mornings are upon us and winter is just around the corner.

The problem is that most if it fits weirdly.  Even I know that clown pants are not in for the well dressed librarian.  I can’t bear to have things be tight on me because I feel fatter, but I also know that loose clothing makes you look bigger than you are.  It’s a conundrum.

But I don’t know how to find a look that will work; the best I can do is get good pieces, usually sweaters that “float away from the body at the hips” — which is a lot easier to describe than it is to find when you are in the really big sizes.

I’ve watched Stacy and Clinton for years and see them pull outfits together all the time.  They just don’t do it from my closet or the clothes that are readily available.  I’m always stumbling at trying to figure out what I have that’s appropriate, that isn’t too hot or too casual, that I can change easily with a scarf or some other snazzy accessory.  Those aren’t sitting around the house because I’m bad at figuring them out, too.  I’ve never been good at or particularly interested in girl stuff.

Although I don’t want to be subjected to the shredding that happens to people in the 360 mirror when S&C tear their existing clothes to pieces, I really could use someone to help me how to make it work for ME, at my current size. It’s hard to not be able to go into stores, or even buy from catalogs, and have things fit well.  But for me to really know if they do, I guess I need to understand what that means for my body.

I need someone to tell me all this with honesty and caring, while not also saying, “you know, it would be a lot easier if you were thinner.”  Because I already know that.  And I know that gaining weight or just redistributing the body shape is the answer, but that isn’t going to help me find pants for right now that don’t look like clown rejects. I wish I had a magic wand to make Tim Gunn appear and “make it so.”


The Closet Project

I’m committing myself to a project to clean out my closet, dresser, and storage places of clothes that no longer meet my standards.  Having watched What Not to Wear, and hearing Stacy and Clinton’s critical voices in my ear as I see myself in the mirror while wearing some of these things, I can’t bear to keep them.

So I’m starting what I’m calling the Closet Project.  The goal isn’t to declutter per se; it’s more about making sure the things I’m actually keeping are things that I like and would wear.  I don’t even mind keeping clothes in sizes that are too small as long as they meet that criteria.

The rule is simple:  is this piece of clothing something that I would buy if I were out shopping today?  Knowing what I know about its color, styling, fit, and comfort.   The original purchase price isn’t a factor other than as a way to separate the “to consignment” clothes from the “to Goodwill” pile.   I have some lovely Talbot’s things that I bought thinking they would be great for me because they were from Talbot’s but they just didn’t work.  And now they don’t fit.  By the end of the weekend, they’ll be in a pile.

I’m anticipating massive weeding out of this, and greater clarity about what I have.  There are some sweaters in the bottom of the cedar chest that I just adored when they fit and I hope and expect that they will again — but they will be checked for wear and tear to see if they are worth keeping.

Having clothes that fit just because they fit is a terrible reason to wear some of them.  I’ve learned a lot about color, length, styles and what works for me — and my closet has way too much that doesn’t.  Time to do something about it.


Where are the Petite Plus Size Clothes?

It finally warmed up today enough for people to shed coats even if we still wore sweaters while we were out in the sunshine – something new and different, really. So I went clothes shopping. I wanted to pick up a few new spring things that fit me well where I am right now, which is up over last year, and was willing to fork over some $$ to get new stuff. Being a large round person, I know that there are limited options for shopping but I know where they are and where to go for what.

It was a frustrating day.

I went to two different places and tried on a bunch of things in each one – tops, dresses, pants – casual and work appropriate. Nothing fit. Not because they were too small – I was shopping in the Big Girls Store – but because they weren’t designed for short people. It’s infuriating.

Clothes for regular people are cut a particular way. Tall people and short people need different proportions, not just having the length be made longer or shorter. I tried on dresses and the shoulders were too broad, the back sagged, the fullness of the hips hit 3″ too low, and they fell to my ankles. It was totally ridiculous.

The one store used to be a great source for pretty petite clothes. There was a small section where they were all pulled together, easy to find, and ranging from dress pants to jeans to jackets to knit tops. It was wonderful and every time I went, I’d come home with something that fit me well and looked good. A few years ago the store policy changed and those petites got spread around the store, making them harder to find. Now they hardly have any at all.

How can I dress in cute clothes that fit me well, even at my large round size, if they don’t make them for short people? There are lots of short, fat ladies who need clothes and who would buy them if they could find them. If you know of any good spots – online or in person, though online would be better – let me know.

—- Edited to add —–

I’ve watched enough What Not to Wear to know the kinds of things that will suit my body type (triangle, with hips larger than the top part).  But they don’t make tops that are fitted at the top and nice and floaty on the bottom (i.e., not clingy) for petite plus sized people.  Somehow they think that boxy shapes work well for anyone who is large.  Not to mention the insistence on horizontal stripes.  What is up with that??