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?