TW: body image, weight
The past two years have been rough on my body. I gained a decent amount of weight, then lost most of it. I lost a lot of muscle in my pandemic haze, then gained it back when I started daily exercise again. There are still some pockets of belly fat I don’t remember from before, and leftover stretch marks that are, incidentally, around the same places my clothes started developing rips and holes.
Because of the changes, for a long while I didn’t feel great about my body. When at my heaviest, I could feel how the extra weight was affecting my range of mobility and causing me to carry myself— walking, standing, sitting— differently. While I’d been proud of my figure before, particularly when I was at my athletic peak a year or so before the pandemic, in the past year it didn’t seem like something worth showing off. Not really something I’ve wanted to adorn.
I was nervous for a while to even think about clothes. I didn’t like that nothing I had seemed to fit anymore. I couldn’t handle sizing up when I bought new clothes. I tried avoiding my feelings by grabbing my husband’s outcast tees and defaulting to elastic waist bands more and more.
But I was doing a disservice to myself and, in doing so, inflicting more harm to my mental well-being. So I cleaned out my closet: what didn’t fit anymore? what probably would never fit again? I figured out my new sizing: I got jeans that actually fit my new body. I stopped buying things in my old size in the hopes it would fit, only to be disappointed when it arrived that my body could barely squeeze in.
And as I have gotten back to a healthy diet and consistent exercise, and loosened how much I clinged to my pre-pandemic physique, I’ve settled into a place that feels okay. I still don’t feel as “desirable” as I once did but I do feel like I am in my body, not something temporary that I can turn away from. I think it’ll be a few years yet before I buy nice tailored clothes again— between ttc and pregnancy and all the rest of it who knows what I’ll look like and when things will be stable. But I am making steps to feel comfortable where I am now.
Everything I Bought
J Brand Jeans – $60 (2 pairs)
New size jeans for a new size body. I still love J Brand, comfy and sharp. Glad to now have some jeans that fit me again.
Various T shirts – $100 (5 shirts)
A combination of work from home and being a few years in tech and out of consulting means I am ready to lean into the casual wardrobe. I bought mostly neutral-ish colors (black, blue, grey, clay red, mustard) on Poshmark from an assortment of brands (Everlane, Carhartt, Levi’s). All have been great. The Carhartt tees in particular are really thick and feel indestructible.
Cable Knit Sweaters – $35 (2 sweaters)
I wanted some sweaters for cozy days. I mostly wear a jacket while out, so I didn’t need anything super warm, just something to cover my arms on chilly days while indoors. I threw a bunch of stuff in my cart, but only a couple stuck: one is a forest green acrylic sweater from American Eagle (same cut as the one above), another an aquamarine cotton cable knit from LL Bean.
Mizuno Horizon Running Shoes – $80
Replacement running shoes. Mostly been working out indoors, so only one pair this year.
Donation Bin – $145 (6 pieces)
Lots of stuff I ended up buying that didn’t fit, was too constraining (bye bye button downs and silk shirts), had wool (allergies), or for some other reason ended up in the donation bin. This included: two Madewell silk tees, a Lucky brand chambray button down, a Universal Standard romper, and two cable knit sweaters.
Total – $420
I struck out on a lot of stuff this year, which pushed the amount spent higher. Overall, this was a comfort and replacements year. Because of my various body stuff, it’ll probably be a long time before I make a significant reinvestment in my wardrobe.
I have a few things on my wish list. Though looking at how infrequently I’ve splurged on clothing in the past, I expect these to be fleeting unfulfilled wants. Still, here’s what’s caught my eye:
- Sezane’s circular crocodile cross-body bag. Not that my existing bags aren’t totally fine, but just that the extra level of sophistication might be nice.
- Bottega Veneta woven wallet. Maybe these will go the way of braided bracelets, but I kind of love the woven leather wallet look.
- Resizing my wedding ring. So I can wear it, because it no longer fits. 😦 Or getting a silver chain necklace to keep it on my person.
- Frills and florals. For whatever reason all my pinned wishlist items are either very frilly or floral (which, if you’ve seen any of my roundups from the past few years, is very much not my usual style). I think I feel like I have enough good-but-basic stuff and maybe want to add a little more in the way of playful touches.
What clothes did you buy in 2021? Anything on your wish list?
3 thoughts on “All The Clothes I Bought In 2021”
Definitely know what you mean about the past two years being really hard in terms of body shape fluctuations and lost muscle mass! I’m mostly back to where I was pre-pandemic in many ways, but still don’t have all my muscle mass back, and I think that means my body shape is still a bit different. I’m sizing up for many tops compared to before. And most tailored items would probably be a waste of money if I were to think about buying them in the near term, since I’m hoping for pregnancy to be an issue within the next 12 months… So I can relate a lot to most of what you describe. (Though I feel like having my biggest body image insecurity be about something that can’t be significantly changed without surgery does at least insulate me from a lot of the day to day mental health impacts from noticing the other issues. It can take me a while to, er, start noticing any other body shape changes my main insecurity is so front and center on my frame, ahaha.)
Best of luck with everything in the new year!
Yeah body shape stuff is weird. I can’t tell how much of it is pandemic related versus now being 30 and things generally just starting to change (i.e. can it be “fixed” or not). I’m just doing my best to focus on feeling healthy versus aesthetic stuff as much as I can.
Hope you have a good 2022! And I also wish you and K the best on your TTC journey. 🙂
Ditto on the body being totally off after the past two years. I haven’t been able to buy a replacement pair of jeans for ages and everything else is sort of … different. Thanks for sharing your buy! I’m hoping that I’ll eventually find a good pair too.