I’m unpacking after a short break in the countryside. Pulling a pair of jeans out of my bag, I feel a sense of relief that the weather was warm enough for me to wear dresses all weekend. I suddenly wonder, “Why do I persist in wearing jeans if they don’t make me feel great?” I start thinking about what else I’ve been wearing that doesn’t make me feel the way I want to feel. Whilst some may think that in the big scheme of things, what we wear shouldn’t matter, I believe the way our clothes make us feel matters enormously.
I’m a professionally trained personal stylist. I’ve worked with women all over the world. I’ve edited hundreds of closets and you can wear an outfit that ticks every box in terms of being the right shape and style for your body, lifestyle and personality. It can even make you look fabulous, but if you don’t feel fabulous, then you’ve wasted your money.
I’m also aware of how tightly women hold onto clothes that no longer fit. Waistbands that make breathing a treacherous act and seams stretched to within an inch of their lives, if you can get the offending item on at all. But they’re no match for a woman determined to hold onto remnants of who she once was.
Contrary to what some people believe, feeling uncomfortable in clothes that are too tight is not the ultimate motivation to lose weight. If only that were the case. For me, it’s the opposite. If everything feels too tight then I’m more likely to be in a corner, self-medicating with chocolate. However, I’m not referring to those items. I’m talking about the clothes you wear that no longer reflect who you are, or who you long to be. The clothes you often tolerate whilst waiting for your future self to emerge…The clothes we rarely seem to talk about.
I finished unpacking my bag and opened my closet. It’s minimal at the best of times because I’ll always choose high-quality items over disposable fast-fashion. However, it occurred to me that I was looking at several items that didn’t even feel like “me”. Maxi dresses with long sleeves I’d purchased when I was desperate to cover every possible inch of flesh; several pairs of jeans because they allowed me to blend in; an unstructured jacket for the days I felt bloated.
Just to be clear, my body hasn’t changed dramatically, but my perception of myself has.
I haven’t achieved all of my health and fitness goals, yet, but those were the clothes of a woman who’d repeatedly told herself she’d never resolve her disordered eating. Only I’m not that woman anymore, so each time I wore one of those items, I felt like I was being weighed down. It’s almost impossible to believe you’ll ever feel fabulous if you’re wearing clothes that make you feel anything but.
So, I took several items to the charity shop or I repurposed them. Hems have been shortened, jeans have been replaced with loose, stylish trousers. I purchased some sleeveless tops and a couple of fitted dresses. I’m not only wearing clothes that are an expression of who I am, today, but who I want to be. I feel confident in my clothes again and much, much lighter.
Would you be willing to detox your closet and shop for outfits that make you feel fabulous – at your current size? Weight loss is usually driven by a desire to look and feel better, so why wouldn’t you do what you could to look and feel better now?
The Pro-Body Project is published fortnightly. You can read the first entry here or the next entry, “Is Your Food Language Holding You Hostage?” here.
Great, great, great article, Esther! Why wouldn’t we do what we could to look and feel great now? I am going to add that itchy, but beautiful, top and a lovely skirt that has never fit quite right, to the other goodies I’m taking to the thrift store this morning. Thank you for stating it in a way that allowed me to recognize what I was doing!
Thank you for your wonderful comment, Donna! I’m so pleased to read I’ve helped you let go of some things that don’t make you feel as fabulous as you should! Esther xx
I agree with Donna! We hang onto things that we’ll never wear, again, or have never worn. Ditch them and make room for clothes that make us feel good right now! Hopefully women have been reading your series and understand the importance of not waiting until “someday” to wear something pretty, get a facial or treat themselves to something wonderful. I just learned a friend from high school died last night… I’d just seen him three weeks ago. His death has really underscored “WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?” Live life now!! xoxox, Brenda
Brenda, I’m so sorry to read about your friend, that’s so sad. I hope women reading this series have understood the importance of not waiting too, I lost so much of my life to waiting because I thought I had to weigh less before I could be and do so many things. It turns out that you’re more likely to weigh less (or be having such a good time living that you no longer care about a few extra pounds here and there) if you start being and doing those things at whatever weight you are right now. Essie xx
I am a huge fan of feeling good regardless of how satisfied I am with my body. Great article!
Thank you, Michelle! And I’m so pleased to read your comment, if only more women could adapt this approach. It took me a long time to, but I’ve never looked back. Esther xx