— Style —

Letting Go of Clothes and Body Image

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It’s that time of the year when I pull out my fall clothes. Painstakingly one by one, I try on each piece and ask myself the same questions I pose to my clients.

“Does it fit?”

“Do I love it?”

“Is it comfortable?”

“Will I wear it?”

Each season I purge my closet, but this year is different because SO many of my clothes no longer work. Over the past six months my body has taken on a different shape. My waistline is no longer as defined (I’ve thickened!), my belly is rounder, and my butt is definitely bigger. The discard pile looks like a mountain. Nothing fits this year.

After I did the customary “hemming and hawing,” with a bit of whining thrown in for good measure, I decided to move on. Throwing myself a pity party isn’t going to change things, and it certainly won’t boost my self-esteem. I could keep the clothes that don’t fit, hoping someday I’ll get back into them, but I seriously doubt that will happen. The times they are a changing, and I need to let go.

Letting go isn’t easy. It’s tough to remove the image of how we “used to” look and come to terms with changes that we have no control over… Hello menopause! But it’s even more than that. It’s about embracing who we are right now, in the moment. It’s about accepting changes, the good and the bad. It’s about getting rid of expectations of how we “should” look and the remorse about how we “used to” look.

As women, we are our own worst critics. It’s much easier to be self-critical than to be accepting, but this fall I made a pact with myself. I refuse to beat myself up for going up a size or two, and I’m DONE scrutinizing my almost 55-year-old body. Now I’m not saying I’ll throw in the towel. No way! I will continue to eat right (most of the time) and exercise. Staying healthy is important to me. But most of all, I’m going to do my best to be more accepting and downright nicer to myself as the changes occur.

So the discard buckets are now chock-full of clothes to donate… loved you, wore you, and now it’s time to part ways. Half my closet is empty (hubby is happy), but you know what that means? Shopping!


One of FOUR discard buckets!

XO Susan






  • Charlesñjoycee Silverman September 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    And I have and donation..completed..

  • Melanie Snyder September 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Well said!

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you so much Melanie!!! xo Susan

  • 1010ParkPlace September 12, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Culling your closet is such a smart thing to do. The hardest part is letting go of the notion you might wear it again. I’ve given myself permission to keep some pieces that have a special memory for me… Wish I’d done that sooner. xoxox, Brenda

  • Susan September 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I totally agree! I have a favorite charity, Safe Place, where women go to escape abusive relationships. When I am cleaning out my closet, I think of those women who will be thrilled to have what I no longer want. It makes decision making so much easier!

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Love it Susan—(great name by the way !) It’s so much easier to let go when you know it will help someone else. xo Susan

  • Jen Lawrence September 13, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Kudos for embracing the new you. I think we have to celebrate ourselves at every age and stage too. And it’s always good to be reminded to be nicer to ourselves! xo

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      Totally agree Jen!!! Thanks for commenting! 🙂 Susan

  • Rebecca Blundell Anderson September 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Perfect! Spot on for me at 52…and look at a closet full of clothes that still fit but don’t look the same as my body has shifted somewhat.

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Ugh those pesky shifts 🙁 Well out with old in with the new! Thanks for your comment! Susan

  • Denise Lawver September 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Susan, this post spoke to me so much that I had to share it with my local Weight Watchers group last night. Several of us are going through the “menopause” 10 lb gain & it is wonderful to know we aren’t alone & can let it go.
    I am also purging my closet with a specific purpose in mind, I am planning a “Fashion for Food” boutique at our church where all of us who have items to purge for whatever reason can give them to this project & all of the funds will be donated to our local food pantry.
    It will be fun to see what items are donated & how much we can raise for a very important mission in our local community.
    Thank you again for the wonderful post, I think I am going to print it off & hang it in my walk-in closet to remind me of my journey every day!
    I look forward to reading future posts.

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Oh Denise, thank YOU for reading and for your lovely comment. As a social worker (I run a program to empower low income families) I applaud you for your project! Food pantries are so important –there are way too many people who need food (no one should go hungry!). Thank you for giving back to your community and I’m so glad you like the post. Hope you’ll also check out my blog http://www.themidlifefashionista.com xo Susan

  • Esther Zimmer September 16, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Letting go is hard, so well done! I would encourage anyone going through this process to consider giving any suitable clothes to Dress For Success, rather than donating them to charity shops. Less than 10% of the clothing donated to charity shops actually gets sold, most goes to landfill which is becoming a huge issue globally, or sent to poor countries as ‘clothing bundles’ for locals to sell – wiping out family-run tailoring businesses. Dress for Success is a not-for-profit that empowers women and helps them achieve economic independence. I work with one of their affiliates here in London and they do incredible work! https://www.dressforsuccess.org

    • Susan Kanoff September 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much Esther! I love Dress for Success–it’s a fabulous program! What you probably don’t know about me is that I’m a social worker—I run a program for low-income families and I’m in the midst of starting up my own non-profit clothing donation program called Uncommon Threads. It’s all about empowering women 🙂

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