Back in my early 20’s, I bought a beautiful royal blue, sequined, form-fitting dress from Dillard’s. I loved it and knew I would love wearing it. I could imagine feeling sexy in it, but at the time, I didn’t have the slim body shape needed to wear it. But I bought it anyway and used it as a goal to lose weight – “someday, I’ll be skinny enough to wear it.” And there it hung in my closet. For years.
This was a common story for many of the clothes in my closet. Some items still had tags since they had never been worn and some items were practically new as I had only worn them a few times. There was a wide range of sizes in my closet, too. Sizes from when I was “skinnier” and from when I had gained weight. I once counted the number of different sizes of clothes I had, and it ranged from 12 all the way up to 24 – seven US women’s sizes total.
Right before New Year’s 2018, I made a resolution to get rid of things in my house I didn’t need or use, including clothes. I could feel myself get anxious because I knew I had gained a bunch of weight and that nothing was going to fit. In my thoughts, I started to put myself down… “I shouldn’t have gained this weight,” “I’m soooo big,” “I’m not beautiful,” etc, etc, etc. Then I decided to give my good friend Lenore a call. Lenore lives in New York and is a costume designer and I have always been inspired by her awesome sense of fashion. When she answered, I told her that I wanted to go through my closets and drawers and get rid of everything I couldn’t wear. I shared with her how I was frustrated with myself that I had gained weight, I was putting myself down in my thoughts and suspected that I would start, get discouraged and not finish my project.
Lenore listened and when I was done, she said, “Jen, you deserve to have clothes that fit your body… no matter the size of your body. And you deserve clothes you feel good in.” These words resonated with me. Lenore was right! I did deserve to have clothes that fit and clothes I felt good in.
After our conversation, I set up two hanging racks – one for clothes I liked and wanted to keep, the other rack was the donation pile. I picked up each piece of clothing in my closet, looked at it, tried it on, and if it didn’t fit, I put it on the “donation” rack. This process was effortless and easy and there was no conversation in my thoughts about how I wished I hadn’t gained weight, or how bad of a person I was for gaining it. I just sorted my clothes into piles and Voila! It was all done – with no drama and no beating up on myself. It was just a finished project.
I felt a sense of accomplishment, and I realized when I looked at the “donation” rack that those clothes didn’t really look like me, nor did I like them. The only thing I pulled off the rack and kept were a pair of linen pants. But I didn’t feel bad nor did I chastise myself that I couldn’t wear them anymore, I just folded them up and put them away for another day. I took the clothes off the “keep” rack and hung them back up in my closet. They were clothes I liked, ones I could fit into and felt good wearing. At the time, I didn’t have a plan to lose weight. And it didn’t matter. I had a closet of clothes I liked, felt good in and could wear.