In this episode, we discuss what I think is the #1 reason women don’t have a wardrobe they love. It isn’t money, it isn’t time, it isn’t kids–it’s weight, and the belief that you can’t have the wardrobe you want until you have the body you want.
This week, Lessons From Linda combines with philosophy to share an important lesson about helping our daughters feel great about themselves.
The Word of the Week is “Curvy”- Yep, we did it again! I know you’ve heard this one before, but I’m going to keep covering it until everyone understands what this word really means.
In the Style Lecture I share my own story of weight and wardrobe, and then we discuss the common themes (excuses) I hear for not loving your wardrobe until you love your body.
Your Homework for this episode is to ask yourself honestly if you’ve been putting off building a wardrobe you love because of weight. If you have, I challenge you to do ONE thing this week to break the weight and wardrobe connection.
Links & Resources from the show:
Take the Everyday Style Challenge
“Gingerbread” really is a synonym for “Extra”!
Listen to Edit Your Closet Like a Pro
Five Fabulous Plus Brands to Check Out- Eloquii – Universal Standard – Perfectly Priscilla – Coverstory – A Beautiful Soul
5 Favorite Brands with Extended Sizing – J.Crew – Madewell – Anthropologie – Loft – Lucky Brand
The Style Lounge has closed. We invite you to join our member community in The Style Circle.
Grab your FREE Mini Capsule Wardrobe Guide, and make 30 outfits out of just 10 pieces.
Have a question you’d like answered in Office Hours? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Read the full episode transcript below! – Ep 29 Weight and Wardrobe
This Episode of the Everyday Style School podcast is brought to you by The Everyday Style Challenge! Are you ready to bust out of your style rut this year? You need the Everyday Style challenge. This Guide gives you 31 simple tasks to help you cut the clutter in your wardrobe, rediscover the gems I know are hiding in your closet, and use more of what you already own.
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Hey There! Welcome back to the Everyday Style School podcast where we believe style can be easy, and getting dressed should be fun! I’m your host, Jennifer Mackey-Mary, and in today’s episode, we’re going to tackle what I think is the #1 reason women don’t have a wardrobe they love. It isn’t money, it isn’t time, it isn’t kids–it’s weight–and the belief that you have to love your body before you can love your wardrobe.
Normally, Lessons from Linda, The Word of the Week and Philosophy segments cover different style topics. I like the variety, and a poll in the Everyday Style Lounge told me you do, too. But this topic is so important, that everything we talk about today is going to focus on getting you to love your wardrobe, regardless of how you feel about your body.
Today, I’m going to share my own story with you, and I have a huge disclaimer for the entire episode if you’re listening and thinking “Wow, the product I sell, or the book that I’ve read is exactly what she needs” I can assure you, it isn’t. I am 100% not interested in weight loss products or advice. That isn’t what this episode is about, and if that’s your takeaway, I want to kindly suggest you listen to it again.
This is about building a wardrobe you love regardless of the number on the scale or the letter in the back of your shirt. It isn’t about losing weight so you can love the way you look. Not at all. So I thank you in advance for not sending the email to pitch your life-changing product.
Before we get started though, Your homework from our last full episode was to think about where you want to be on the issue of building an ethical, sustainable wardrobe, and do a little research on the brands you wear most to see if their values align with yours. I also encouraged you to look up textile recycling where you live to keep your clothes out of landfills.
I’d love to hear how it went in. As the Style Lounge has closed, we invite you to join our member community in The Style Circle.
All right, let’s kick things off, as we always do, with lessons from Linda.
Lessons From Linda:
Today I’m combining Philosophy and Lessons from Linda because they go hand in hand. I met this week’s Linda at an event where I was speaking, and afterward, there was a cocktail hour, meet and greet thing. I ended up in a conversation with a group of women, and we were talking about young girls calling themselves fat.
I had talked in my speech about not engaging in negative self-talk in front of your kids. Linda told us that she didn’t complain about her body in front of her kids, but her daughter was pretty obsessive about her weight and was always calling herself fat and asking her mom to go on a diet–so Linda didn’t think a mom’s words had anything to do with it. Linda’s daughter was pretty young at the time–maybe 8 or 9, but she already had a really negative body image.
I went home that night, a little bothered by that conversation. I couldn’t get it out of my mind–maybe I didn’t know anything. Maybe what we say, or don’t say to our kids doesn’t have much of an impact. Maybe Snapchat and Instagram ARE responsible for how our daughters feel about themselves.
Months later, Linda reached out to me to help her go through her closet. When I’m working with clients, they tell me the story of every piece of clothing they own. It never fails. Like “I bought this on vacation” or “ I found that on clearance”. I actually enjoy that part so much.
Linda told me her clothing stories too. And every single one had something to do with her weight or her body. “I weighed 130 pounds when I bought that dress” “Those pants make my thighs look big” “I like this top because it hides my belly rolls.” Literally every single item came with a weight reference or a negative body reference.
Also, during our session, I don’t think I saw her smile in the mirror at any point, which is really rare. In fact, almost every time she looked in the mirror, she gave a little frown or a sigh or pursed her lips She positively oozed unhappiness with her body. It was palpable and filled the air around us.
While I was there, one of my favorite quotes came to mind, and here’s the philosophy segment for the week. The quote is by Naomi Wolf-author of The Beauty Myth–who said this “A Mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.” – Naomi Wolf, I love that quote so very very much.
It occurred to me, at that moment, that it’s not enough NOT to say negative things about your body. It’s not enough NOT to criticize yourself in front of your kids. You’ve got to be proactively positive.
Linda was radiating all right, but it wasn’t self-love. She was radiating self-loathing, and I found myself, in the few short hours I was with her, feeling worse about myself. After all, if this Linda who by all traditional beauty standards had the perfect body, what did that mean for me? I went home feeling bad about myself, just by being in the presence of that negativity for a few hours.
I thought about her daughter–you know, the one who never heard her mom complain about her weight, but was already unhappy with her own? Honestly, no wonder. Granted, Linda said she didn’t talk about her body in front of her kids, but just the looks and body language she gave herself in the mirror were enough. I could imagine them shopping together, and her daughter seeing Linda’s face in the mirror, frowning unhappily, sighing, clearly communicating her displeasure with what she saw. You don’t need words to send that message.
The rest of my time with Linda was uneventful. I’d like to say there was a major breakthrough, but there wasn’t. We pulled out what didn’t work from her closet, made a list of what she needed, and that was that.
There are a couple of lessons to take away from this Linda, and today’s Philosophy quote
First, I want to focus on the word radiate and what that means. Like I said before, not calling yourself fat or complaining about your thighs is great, but it’s not enough. Those are passive things. You need to radiate self-love and self-acceptance. I think about the sun radiating, and the warmth you can feel from it. That’s what you need to put into the world. Radiating self-love means you value yourself enough to care for yourself. From a style perspective, self-love means wearing clothes that make you smile.
Self-love means having fun with your wardrobe and not frumping around in too big t-shirts because you don’t feel you deserve nice things until you have the body you want. It means taking time for yourself now and then to do some self-care.
Self-acceptance means you dress the body you have right now, in clothes that make you feel great right now, without waiting until you’re happy with the number on the scale. Self-acceptance means buying great jeans, even if they’re a size bigger than you’d like them to be. Self-acceptance is getting in the swimsuit even though your body looks different than it used to. Are you radiating those things? If not, it’s time to start. Are you radiating something else, like Linda was? If so, it’s time to stop.
The second thing I want you to take away from this Linda slash philosophy lesson is the idea that those two things vaccinate our daughters against low self-esteem. Think for a moment about what vaccines do. They allow you to go out in the world and be protected from harmful things. There are things in the world that will harm our daughter’s self-esteem.
Girls at school, girls on Snapchat or Tic Toc, girls in the media, who may be taller, prettier, smarter, more talented..whatever. It’s up to you mama, to give them the vaccine to go out among those people and not be damaged. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s an incredible gift to give your daughter–and one that I know a lot of my ladies wish they would have gotten from their own moms.
Finally, I want to share what radiating looks like in my house, where I have 2 young-ish daughters. My girls see me having fun with clothes. They hear me say things like “Dang I look cute today” mostly joking, but also not. They see me splurge on things I love, and they see me try new things.
They see me buy new, but still fabulous, clothes when my weight fluctuates and my good jeans aren’t fitting right–without complaining, or even commenting on it. They also see me leave the house in leggings and no makeup because I never want them to think that I need any of this to feel good about myself–but rather it’s fun and makes me happy.
I do this because I feel good about myself, not in order to feel good about myself. I think that’s just as important to communicate. Will this mean my girls never feel bad about themselves? Probably not, but I’m going to give them the biggest dose of this vaccine as I can.
By the way, if you’re a mom to boys, or you don’t have kids and you feel left out of this one, that isn’t my intent. However, the evidence shows that a person’s self-esteem and sense of self are most shaped by their same-sex parent. So, feeling good about yourself and radiating self-love and self-acceptance should be a goal for everyone, but if you’ve got a daughter, there’s an importance and urgency that can’t be understated.
Alright, Let’s move on to the Word of the Week! Today’s Vocabulary word is “Curvy” and if you’re thinking, wait–you already covered that one, you’re right! And I’m going to keep covering it until people understand what this word really means. I’m on a mission, and I’m not stopping until this word is used correctly. Here’s the deal: Curvy is a shape, not a size. In clothing and body terms, “Curvy” means that that the waist measurement is significantly smaller than the hips and rear. That’s all. It does not mean “size 14 and up”, even though lots of retailers, media, and influencers have co-opted it as a cutesy replacement for extended sizing.
Here’s why this word bothers me so very much. First, as I said, it’s simply inaccurate. It’s like Starbucks sizing is getting into the fashion game. Tall does not mean small, Starbucks.
Second, it’s confusing. We’re not using a substitute for “plus-size” that doesn’t already have an established accurate meaning in the fashion world. If brands insisted on a cutesy word that meant plus size, they could use absolutely anything. For example, putting together this show, I looked at synonyms for plus, and one was “extra”. A listed synonym for “extra” on thesaurus.com was gingerbread (yeah, I don’t know either). But retailers could say they carry “gingerbread” sizing. That’s a fun, happy word that has no other meaning in the fashion space, so it’s up for grabs, and no one would think you’re asking for something else.
However, I’ve heard from clients that when they’re shopping and they ask for curvy styles, they get “um, you’re not plus-size” remarks. I remember posting a pair of jeans on Facebook years ago and saying my curvy girls loved them. I got a scathing email about how that jean only comes up to a size 16 and if I think size 16 is plus size, I’ve got another thing coming for encouraging unrealistic standards for women.
Clearly, she’d never met me. But If I was using a cutesy word that meant nothing, like gingerbread, this wouldn’t have happened. But curvy is a word that already has a meaning, so it confuses people.
Finally, it’s insulting and patronizing. We talk a lot about body positivity and acceptance, but how accepting are we really if we have to come up with a euphemism for plus size? We teach kids to use correct body part names in large part because we want them not to be ashamed of their bodies, right? Having to come up with a different word for plus size says we’re actually NOT okay with plus size bodies, and they are something to be ashamed of.
Also, it’s insulting to say that all plus size women are curvy, to begin with. You can be a curvy size 0 or a size 20 with no curves at all. A size 12 woman with no curves does not magically turn into Ashley Graham if she orders fries and dessert. That’s not how the body shapes work, at all. Calling plus sizes “curvy” also reinforces the idea that plus-size bodies are acceptable—as long as they are shaped like Ashley Graham.
That’s not an acceptance or body positivity in the slightest bit, and it’s also not realistic.
So, what’s the alternative? Call them plus sizes, call them extended sizes–they don’t need a cutesy name to be valid. But if we have to have a cute name, I vote for Gingerbread. When we come back, we’re going to talk about the connection between weight and wardrobe, and why you don’t have to love your butt, to love your jeans.
If you missed the Winter Capsule Guide, and you’re wishing you could get an easy, mix and match wardrobe right now without waiting until spring–you can! Head to my website at hafsarana.co/blog and sign up for my free mini capsule guide. It will show you how to make 30 outfits from just 10 pieces. It’s a little taste of what we do each season, and it will get you ready for the Spring Capsule guide that’s coming March 1. And now, back to the show.
Today I’m going to share my own story of weight and wardrobe, and then I’m going to share with you the most common things I hear about the weight wardrobe connection, and why they’re all absolute crap excuses. Let’s get started.
To make a very long story short, Oprah has nothing on my weight fluctuations. My challenges with my weight started around the 3rd grade, and I was put on my first diet at 10. Honest to God, there are “before” photos of me in an 8-week diet program. wearing my favorite teddy bear t-shirt. Just as a side note, if your kid is young enough to want to wear a teddy bear t-shirt, they’re too young for a diet program.
File that tidbit away, parents. Anyway, I continued to struggle with my weight all through junior high and high school. I can’t find the “after” picture from that program, but I know it didn’t work.
My weight really didn’t fluctuate through those years though–it just stayed high. When I started college, the extreme, yo-yo diets really started–I’ve started and stopped Weight Watchers more times than I can count, I’ve done Atkins, Keto, the grapefruit diet–You name it, I’ve tried it. I’ve been a size 8 and a size 18, I’ve bought smalls and double extra larges.
I share this with you because I want you to know I get it. I’m not some size 4 stylist who has never worried about her weight or even a size 14 stylist who has never worried about her weight–this has been a battle my entire life, so I hope you understand that I’m coming at this from a place of solidarity, not from an “it’s so easy, just do what I do” perspective.
But here’s the thing–I’ve always loved clothes. I’m not super into high fashion, and I’m label obsessed at all–I just love clothes that are fun reflect my personal style. I loved that Teddy Bear t-shirt even when I didn’t like the body inside it. I mourned both my bright citron size 8 shorts when they got too small and my floral size 16 shorts when they got too big.
It has never, not once, not for a minute occurred to me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t buy things I love because my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Granted, I have a tough body shape to dress, and growing up even into my 20’s, I think not knowing HOW to dress my body contributed to the belief that my body was bad, or somehow wrong. When I started working at Chico’s and learned my body wasn’t deformed–it was just an apple that didn’t work with the clothes I was buying– the love affair was truly on.
A big reason I do what I do is to give women that freedom to love clothes NOW, and not wait until they’re the right shape or size, which may never happen. And the thought of a life spent waiting to love the way you look makes me really sad.
I want to be very clear that this episode is not just for plus size women. I respect the right of every woman to struggle with her body. One thing that has driven me crazy for years is when I’m in fitting rooms with clients, and I’ll hear other women or salespeople talking to another customer who is unhappy with her weight, or body, or how she looks in something–and these women always say “You’re so skinny, you can wear anything” or “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I wish I had your body.” A woman who used to be a size 0 and is now a size six is the same thing as a woman who used to be a size 14 and is now a 20.
These changes are tough for everyone, and I wish women would stop skinny shaming, or invalidating other women’s feelings just because they have a body we think of as desirable. Last year, I was speaking to a group of women, and we started to talk about weight and wardrobe, and the conversation got real. I mean Oprah real. I looked around, and a few women were dabbing their eyes as we were talking about waiting for the perfect body to invest in yourself, and here’s the funny thing: none of them was plus size. Not one.
Most women I know to struggle with body image on some level, and we have to stop the idea that smaller women don’t. How about we just stop talking about “good” bodies or “I wish I had your body” and just run our own races instead, acknowledging this is hard for most everyone.
Over the years, in working with thousands of women, I’ve had a lot of conversations about weight and wardrobe, and the non-existent connection we create for ourselves, but a few themes come up over and over. I’m going to share them with you now, as well as my responses to them. The first thing I hear is “I don’t want to invest in clothes at this weight”.
Let’s break this one down–There is validity to not investing a lot in your wardrobe when your body is in flux. But you have to ask yourself–honestly–is your body in flux?
Long ago, I used to ask my clients “Are we shopping for a “right now” body, or for a “forever” body, as at the time I was working with a lot of women who were post-partum, and whose bodies WERE actually changing. However, no woman ever said, “We’re shopping for a forever body”. It didn’t matter if their kids were babies or college students, they all had grand plans to be supermodels real soon and just wanted to buy cheap things to hold them over until that happened. I stopped asking that question and started kind of making the decision for them.
If their kids were in preschool or up, and they didn’t share any plans for a major lifestyle overhaul with me, I wasn’t afraid to point them toward higher-end jeans, or investment pieces that would be fabulous for them–within the budget of course.
I remember one Linda I worked with who reached out to me because she’d been putting off buying clothes she loved until she lost the baby weight, but now she was going back to work, and she had to up her game a little bit.
It wasn’t until we were in a fitting room and her son called her to ask for a ride home from driver’s ed, that I realized she’d been putting off investing in herself, not for the 3 or 4 years I had imagined (I met her at a moms of preschoolers event, so not a crazy assumption on my part), but for 15 years. Fifteen years of not buying the good jeans, 15 years of living like a better body and abetter life were just around the corner. 15 years of just getting by.
I know this sounds extreme, but I also know there are women out there listening right now who have been putting off investing in themselves for a very long time. 15 years, or even 5 years, is not a body in flux. That’s a forever body, and you should feel free to buy things you love for that body.
If you’re wondering about my definition of a body in flux, or a “right now” body, here it is. First, you have kids under preschool age. Give yourself a break mama. Not every woman in back in her pre-pregnancy jeans in 6 weeks, despite what Instagram and magazines say. However, when your youngest is in pre-school, that’s your weight, not baby weight.
The second thing I use to determine if I’m dressing a forever body or a right now the body is, are you actively planning to have more children in the very near future– not “oh, another baby would be nice someday” but, “we’d like to get pregnant this year”. See the difference?
The last qualifier for a right now the body is, are you actively engaged right now in a lifestyle program geared toward changing your body? Thinking about doing something is not the same as doing it, so if you’ve been thinking you want to make changes for a year, or a decade, but you aren’t actually doing it, you go ahead and buy the good jeans.
We need to get real with ourselves about our bodies and realize that when we live like it’s going to be different next month or next season, we are cheating ourselves out of the joy of loving the way we look right now. And if you’re not careful, your plan to just “muddle through” for a season or two can easily turn into 15 years.
The other point I want to make about not “investing” in clothes you love before you’re at a size you don’t love is this–most women listening to this show right now are not buying true investment pieces that are going to last for many many years. Even if you had your dream body, the wardrobe you’d buy today from Old Navy, Loft, Target, Macy’s isn’t going to last you forever and would need to be replaced and updated.
We have to let go of the idea that these are the last clothes you’ll ever buy, so they better be in a size you’ll be happy with forever. It’s just not true.
I guess what I’m saying is that you’re not buying a forever wardrobe, so don’t worry so much about waiting for your forever body. Buy what works for you now–regardless of body changes, you’ll have to rebuy at some point, and when that happens, if you’re buying in a different size, great, if you’re not, at least you’ll have had clothes you love.
The second thing about weight and wardrobe I hear is, “I have clothes–I just need to get back into them”. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this one, I’d be doing pretty well for myself! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–clothes you can’t wear are useless. In my episode on Editing Your Closet like a Pro, I talked about the concept of what a wardrobe is.
It’s not all the clothes you own, it’s all the clothes you can wear right now. A few months ago, a woman in the Everyday Style Lounge posted a question, and the backstory was basically that her body had changed, and she was struggling to get dressed because she couldn’t wear any of the clothes she really loved and then she asked “What should I do? Should I buy clothes now, or just wait until I can wear the things I already have”.
My Style Lounge ladies were all over it, encouraging her to buy clothes now, because she deserved to love her wardrobe and the way she looked, regardless of size.
They were absolutely right, and the only thing I added to the conversation was that when you struggle to get dressed every day, life’s a little less fun. You start the day in a bad mood, trying on outfit after outfit, struggling to find something that works. You avoid going places if getting dressed is difficult–I shared the Diana Vreeland quote a couple of weeks ago, that’s it’s not the dress, but the life you live in the dress that matters. But, I’ll say it again when you don’t have the clothes for the life you want to live, the dress does matter. Staring at clothes you can’t wear is not an effective strategy for getting dressed or for feeling good about yourself.
If you’re not buying clothes because you own so many–but you just can’t wear them right now, try this: box up everything you can’t comfortably wear today. What’s left in your closet is your wardrobe. Will that get you dressed every day and make you feel good? If it doesn’t, you don’t have “so many clothes”, and there’s no reason to struggle to get dressed.
Go buy things that you can wear right now, and make you feel good right now, and make it easy to get dressed right now. When and if you get back into those beautiful things, great, you’ll be prepared. Until then, you’ll be covered.
This next one is something I haven’t heard very often, but I think it’s the most brutally honest one out of the bunch, and probably what a lot of women saying these other things really mean–and it’s this “I just refuse to buy clothes in a bigger size”. That’s it, just “I don’t want to”, but the thing is, your body is the size it is, regardless of the number or letter on the tag.
I worked with a Linda once who told me her mom was obsessed with having small feet, but as she got older, as happens sometimes, her feet spread and she needed to go up a half a size.
Her mom refused. She said she didn’t want to be bigger than a 6, so that’s what she was going to buy. Linda said her mom only bought brands that ran a little generously, but if she really loved a pair of shoes, she’d buy them anyway, and just suffer. Now, most of us think that’s a little crazy–you’re a six and a half, just buy the six and a half–but we think that because we don’t generally place a value judgment on the foot size, it just is what it is.
But when it comes to clothes, a lot of women do attach a personal judgment to a specific size. The women I’ve met who have been this honest with me are usually struggling in clothes that are uncomfortable, are past their prime, and don’t make them feel very good about themselves. If this is you, I need you to hear this: You are exactly the same person, regardless of what the label in your shirt says. You are not a better person when the number is smaller, and you’re not a worse person if the letter goes up. It is time to separate personal success and personal failure from the size label on your clothes.
You know I love to offer practical strategies on dealing with wardrobe challenges, but I simply don’t have one for this. Every woman who feels this way knows she would look better and feel physically more comfortable in her correct size, but it isn’t about that at all. It is simply about attaching a value judgment to size, and until you can separate your size from your value or worthiness, there isn’t a shopping strategy that’s going to help you.
I wish I could offer you more than that, but this is one you’ve got to work through in your heart and mind before you can hear any shopping advice. Me telling you to just buy what fits you today is like screaming into the wind.
Switching gears a bit, I know I said this show wasn’t just for plus size women, but this next one is: Often I hear plus size women say they don’t buy clothes they love because there’s nothing good out there and plus size women are underserved in fashion. This is complete BS and it’s a lazy excuse to get out of the effort of creating a style or a wardrobe you love. There are so many amazing plus brands out there, and so many brands have expanded their lines to accommodate a lot more women. Stop selling this lie to yourself, and put the work in to create a look you love.
It was true years ago that plus size pickings were not good, but that’s not true anymore. Is it harder to shop in stores? Absolutely, but this is not a problem that’s unique to plus size women. Petite women are underserved in stores. Tall women are underserved in stores. Pretty much everyone is being forced to shop online now. This is just the state of retail. Mall stores don’t hate you.
There’s no war on plus sizes being fought by Ann Taylor. Now, if you’re looking for high end, designer, red carpet clothing, yes, you are underserved. But it’s actually pretty easy for regular women to find fabulous plus size clothing these days.
Finally, my favorite, and when I say favorite, I mean the one that makes me the craziest– is some variation of “When I lose weight, I’m going to reward myself with great clothes”. What this one is saying is “I don’t deserve to love my clothes until I love my body”. This is just an excuse to put off loving yourself the way you are. You don’t have to do the hard work of self-acceptance, you don’t have to put the effort into making yourself a priority now–you can just put it off until you reach some magical number you’ve set for yourself.
One thing I know from my trips up and down the scale is that there isn’t a day where you go “that’s it, I’ve achieved my goal, let the feeling of self-love and self-acceptance rain down on me starting…..now”. The truth is, the way you honestly feel about yourself stays pretty constant, and if you don’t feel you deserve nice things right now, you probably won’t feel you deserve nice things when you reach your goal, either.
There will be another reason to put it off, another goal to achieve first, or you’ll finally love your butt, but hate your knees. Your ability to have a beautiful wardrobe is not defined by size, but rather the belief that you are worth it, regardless of size.
The other side of “I’ll reward myself” is women thinking that the promise of a great wardrobe will be a great motivator to lose weight or go to the gym, and I have to say, I think this is the least effective diet plan of all time. We aren’t motivated on a daily basis by all the beautiful things we don’t have. You don’t pass on dessert because someday you want to buy premium jeans, and you don’t hit the gym extra hard because you’d someday like to buy a nice sweater. It just doesn’t work like that.
Here’s another way to approach this: Let your wardrobe be the catalyst for reaching your goals, instead of the reward. And no, I’m not talking about buying clothes that are too small as motivation. That’s insane and ineffective. What I mean is when we feel good, when we like the way we look, the likelihood of treating ourselves better in all areas goes way up. Have you ever noticed that when you put yourself together a little extra–maybe heels and a dress instead of jeans and flats, you carry yourself differently?
Now, compare that to when you’re shuffling around in Uggs and PJ pants at the grocery store. No judgment, I’ve done it too! Which version of you is more likely to buy good, nourishing healthy food–the dress and heels or the slippers and PJs? Which one of you is more likely to buy nothing but mac and cheese and ice cream.
I worked with a Linda I had known for years–and for years, she said “when I lose the weight, I’m going to hire you”..she literally told me that every time I saw her for 3 or 4 years. Then one day she called and said: “I got a new job, we need to shop”. Even though she hadn’t lost the weight, she needed clothes, so we got her set with a beautiful work wardrobe, and updated her casual wardrobe as well. Less than a year later, she emailed me and said: “we need to shop again, none of those clothes fit me anymore”.
She’d been struggling for so long to lose weight and just couldn’t, but she told me that one of the biggest things was after we shopped, she loved how she looked so much, that she wanted to do even better, and it was the kick she needed to finally make changes. She’s not the only client I’ve had like that either–and while I’m not saying the answer to all your weight struggles is a better wardrobe–let’s face it, if it was, I’d never struggle, but I do know that a frumpy wardrobe that makes you feel bad is never the answer.
It doesn’t help anything. When I speak to women who struggle with their weight and feel like they can’t have, or don’t deserve great clothes, I say, if you can’t love your body, you better love the heck out of your wardrobe, because you have to get dressed every day. There’s no point in getting dressed in clothes that make you feel worse. Why not have clothes you love, that make you smile? That makes you want to treat yourself better, instead of punishing yourself for not being where you want to be. Your wardrobe is a much better catalyst than it is a reward.
The last thing I want to say about the connection between your weight and your wardrobe is this. You have a choice. There is no actual, true, real connection between having to have a body you love before you can have a wardrobe you love. You decided that connection exists, and you can just as easily decide that the connection can go away. Social media doesn’t get to decide how deserving of a beautiful wardrobe you are.
Magazines don’t get to decide. Not even real people in your real life get to decide. At the end of the day, you get to choose that you are a person who deserves to love the way you look, and a person who deserves to have a wardrobe that makes you happy, whether you’ve reached your body goals or not.
Your homework this week is to decide if this is an area you struggle with. If you’ve been consciously or unconsciously putting off loving the way you look, until you love the way you look, I want to think about which of these excuses you’ve been telling yourself. Then, I want you to think about if those excuses are really serving you. If not, decide what you’re going to do about it. Maybe it’s boxing up the clothes that don’t fit right now, so you can see what you actually have. Maybe it’s deciding that it’s time to buy a great pair of jeans.
Maybe it’s doing some online shopping to discover some fabulous plus size sites you didn’t know about. I don’t care what it is, but I want you to do ONE thing that will help you break the connection you created between your weight and your wardrobe.
That’s it everyone–I’ll see you Monday with office hours, and next month we’re spending two episodes talking about my favorite topic–bras! You won’t want to miss them. Bye for now!
Class is dismissed for today, but the conversation doesn’t have to end. Head over to join our member community in The Style Circle.
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I’ll see you next time, and until then, Stay Stylish!