In this episode...
Today we are chatting about the old clothes we hold onto that don’t fit anymore, and how that impacts our body image, confidence, and overall happiness.
Since most of our day to day lives are not clothing optional, our outfits (choosing them, wearing them, the options we have on hand) factor into our daily experience as human beings. Not just once but several times a day.
I see a lot of people who don’t feel comfortable in their bodies waiting to feel like they have permission to dress their right now body. Holding onto clothes that don’t fit and feeling like it’s not okay to buy what fits & feels good & fun right now. I’ve been there and it’s a tough place to be.
Bodies fluctuate. They change. And that’s just a normal part about having a body. So dressing the body you’ve got & letting go of this idea of the "ideal body" is key to laying the foundation for true body acceptance and love.
In this solo episode we'll explore:
- why clothing is more than just a superficial concern
- how holding onto old clothes hurts your body confidence journey
- how to let go of old clothes & shop for clothes that DO fit
- and positive affirmations to use when you start dressing your right-now body
How holding onto old clothes hurts your body confidence journey...
- When you’re uncomfortable in your clothes, it’s really hard to not feel preoccupied with negative thoughts about your body. And it also makes it difficult to have space & time & energy for positive things – like body acceptance & a positive body image
- Those old clothes or clothes purchased for a past or future "ideal" body are like vision boards on hangers. Visual, touchable reminders focusing you on the idea of not-enoughness. That doesn’t let you be present, truly emotionally and mentally present in your life right now.
- When we accept our current bodies, we value them enough to feel motivated to care for them right now. We see them as worthy of our care & energy – and from that positive place we can adopt other health promoting behaviors. When you change your mindset, it's easier to change your actions.
- Having clothing that helps us navigate our everyday lives in comfort and style is part of basic self-care. Just like nourishing ourselves with good food, moving our bodies, exercising, drinking water, getting enough sleep, and spending time with good people.
Four easy steps to make it happen...
- Commit to letting go. Tap into your why. Why it’s gonna help. Why it's worth doing. Is body acceptance something you'd love to have? Do you want to feel more confident in your clothes everyday? Have less brain-space taken up by body thoughts? What would you gain by letting go (freedom, time, joy, energy, self-worth, closet space)? Imagine what it would feel like to just be able to open your closet everyday and just be able to throw on whatever was inside it. Hold that feeling top of mind as you move onto step 2.
- Break it into small projects. You don’t have to tackle it all at once, especially if you have a lot that you’ve been holding onto. Take it one dresser drawer, one stack of jeans, or one area of your closet at a time. For instance pick a category (underwear, bras, dresses, t-shirts, leggings, workout clothes, pajamas). Whatever works but pick ONE small place to start. Tackle that small project, give yourself a quick win and then move through the rest of it.
- Donate, give away, sell, or throw away. The money piece stops a lot of people from wanting to let go of clothes. As does the sustainability piece. So consider donating gently used or new clothes. See if there’s anything still with tags on that you could return. Or use apps like Poshmark, Offer Up, Mercari, Thred Up or Ebay to make some money back on things you’re not using. They have free prepaid labels + you can order boxes from USPS for free. Print. Pack. Drop off. And be on your way to feeling so much more spacious. Your unused clothes will go to someone who can actually use them. A win-win for you and the planet.
- Give yourself permission to buy clothes that do fit. This one can feel scary. And might be something you haven’t let yourself do in some time if you’re struggling with feeling confident in your right-now body. But you are worth feeling comfortable and confident when you go out into the world.
Dreading the dressing room? Here's how to feel more comfortable shopping...
Give yourself a lot of grace + compassion in Step 4.
If the idea of setting foot in a dressing room scares you, embrace the wonderful world of online shopping and the ability to do at home try-on’s with free by mail or in store returns.
It's so much easier when it’s in your own home, without that tragic overhead lighting (so awful) that tends to plague most retail dressing rooms, when no one else is knocking on the door, and you don’t have to ask for extra sizes from a stranger sales associate.
Stores often have a greater range of sizes and colors available online so you can remove a lot of roadblocks just by shopping that way. You can see with a quick click if your size is available.
Shop at size inclusive brands. In other words don’t shop at places that don’t carry your size or make clothes for people who look like you. American Eagle has done a good job of being more size inclusive. As have Target, Universal Standard, Swimsuits for All, Athleta, Modcloth, and even more recently Nasty Gal. These are brands that actually SHOW the clothes on models with different sized bodies. For bras try Third Love - they have a wider than usual range of band and cup sizes.
Take the wallet sting out of any new purchases by using cashback sites like Rakuten + iBotta + Honey. If you follow me on instagram @freeyourfork you hear me talk about these sites a lot. I use them for cashback on pantry staples, clothing, outdoor gear, safer beauty purchases, you name it. I saw the commercials for forever before finally checking these out. I'm bummed I waited so long to get money back on purchases I was already making every month.
If budget is a concern - try shopping secondhand at Poshmark + Thred Up + local shops. You can often score deals on designer clothing and accessories - many of them unworn and brand new with tags still on (being sold by people just like you who are cleaning out their closets of stuff they've hardly or never ever worn).
If you feel like your body is still fluctuating and changing sizes, and aren't ready to commit to purchasing - try a service like Rent the Runway where you can rent a few items for your closet for special occasions or a revolving door of items with their monthly unlimited service.
Choose things you genuinely want to try on, see if you can have fun with it. Remember - you have unconditional permission to love or hate or feel nothing about the clothes you try on. Regardless of trends. Regardless of what a magazine says is and isn’t okay for your body type. If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to try on those wide leg pants or a jumpsuit or mini dress. Do it!
If you're waiting for a permission slip, here it is...
What would it feel like to give yourself unconditional permission to shop around, participate in trends, have staple pieces to get you through your work day + workouts + loungewear + special occasions etc. Without judging yourself if you need a different size? Without placing so much importance on these numbers? How would that allow you to show up more confidently, more vibrantly as WHO you are? How free would you feel letting yourself experience life from that perspective of “I’m allowed” “I can” “I am able” “I do deserve”?
Consider that things could be different. That you are worthy of feeling good everyday. I hope that this conversation helps you get a little closer to embracing that possibility for yourself