Q+A: How to Deal With Clothes that Just Don't Fit

what to do with clothes that don't fit
Do you have any thoughts/options/resources on keeping clothes that are either too big or too small for you? Iā€™m trying to find a balance between being cost effective and accepting my body as is! Thanks!
— A dear Instagram follower

When I received this message on my Instagram, I responded immediately that of course I had all the thoughts! Rather than respond just to my reader, I figured everyone out there could benefit! 

Most clients come to me with a range of clothes in their closets: those jeans that are their "goal" weight jeans, a dress from when they were a size 2 and age 16, their favorite top that is now 2 sizes too small. Clothes that are too big now, but that you spent a good amount of money on and don't want to get rid of. Other clients are actively losing weight and are in between sizes with things too big AND too small. What's a person to do??

My #1 rule in this situation is to DRESS FOR THE SIZE YOU ARE.

By default, this means getting rid of pieces that you can't wear now. Yes, maybe you've wasted money or feel bad because you have clothes you don't wear, but you would be better served to get rid of those things that cause you those feelings and create a closet that you like and can actually wear. 

Here are a few of my tried and true tips for dealing with clothes that just don't fit:

  1. Do a self-style assessment. Where are you right now with your lifestyle, work, personal style, budget, etc.? Where do you want to be in the next 3, 6, 12 months? Often people think that when they loose 10 pounds they will buy new clothes, but honestly, how quickly does that happen? Do you really want to walk around in clothes that are too big or too small for the next YEAR while you wait to loose weight? I didn't think so. 
  2. Conduct a closet audit. Armed with your assessment, take a brutal look at what's in your closet. Chances are, if you are hanging on to something from a few years ago, hoping to get back into it, by the time you get there, it will be outdated or just old, not giving you confidence or making you feel good when you put it on. If it's too big, you will look like you are wearing a costume. Get rid of it. The great thing about this is you have to choices: 1) If your pieces are relatively new (within the past two years) you may be able to get some cash back from resale stores. 2) Donate those suckers! Often the tax write off is way better than what you will get in cash from a resale store.
  3. Make a list. What are the 10 (or more or less) basic pieces you need to replace what you got rid of in the audit and make it through this period in your life? If you are in between sizes, you don't need to splurge on a gazillion pieces - get some basic pieces in solid colors (best colors will be minimal / neutral colors so that they can mix +  match with what else you have in your closet). Buy the things you need to fill in the gap.
  4. Shop sales and/or second hand. Armed with your list, head to the stores or the internet. Your list is your most important asset as it will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS that the stores and the internet and the sales people will throw at you. You've already done the hard part - self-assessment, cleaning out, identifying what you need. Now all you need to do is, one by one, track down the items on your list. Shopping second hand or targeted sales is a GREAT way to add a few pieces into your wardrobe to help you dress for the size you are. 
  5. Remember - it's not you - it's the clothes! Seriously though - brands, designers, and retailers are forever changing their styles, their sizes, etc. If something doesn't fit you now, there's nothing wrong with you - it's just that piece of clothing no longer serves its purpose in your life. Get rid of it and move on - you'll be much happier.

Photos: Kaytee Lauren.