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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Brander

12 - Step Guide for Shopping, buying, and making your Clothing Wardrobe work after Bariatric Surgery

Are you wanting to learn how to make your wardrobe work for you while losing weight, what to wear while you lose weight, buying clothes while losing weight, and tips for making your wardrobe work for you while losing weight after weight loss surgery?

We all have been here or you may be getting there soon. Imagine you lost 10 to 20 to 30 pounds in a matter of months and your clothes are falling off. You walk around with your clothes hanging off your body and wondering how much longer you can hang on to this shirt or those pants?! Sound familiar? I know! Keep reading...

Are you wanting to learn how to make your wardrobe work for you while losing weight, what to wear while you lose weight,  buying clothes while losing weight,  and tips for making your wardrobe work for you while losing weight after weight loss surgery? It can be hard knowing what clothing to wear after surgery and confusing on what to shop and buy.  I am sharing a 12-step guide to help you! I have included my favorite inexpensive way to….. #bariatricclothing #bariatricwardrobe #shopping #buying #gastricsleeve #VSG
12 step Clothing and Shopping Guide after Bariatric Surgery

You also have no idea what to buy, what's in style and what will last for another few months as you lose more weight. Don't even get me started on the whole shopping in the store and trying on 20 different items. I talk more about my shopping experiences here in my book. There is hope and I am going to share easy steps that work!

The main concern when buying clothes while losing weight is spending hundreds to thousands of dollars buying a new wardrobe that you will have to donate 6 weeks later because nothing fits anymore. It is possible to shop for clothes while losing weight.

Now let's feel good about yourself every day - or at least be able to fake it as much :)

1. It’s tempting to just keep buying new clothes as you lose weight. How our clothes fit is usually the first thing we notice. It makes no economic, environmental or practical sense to buy a whole new wardrobe each time you drop a clothing size. The below VIDEO helps explain this concept.

2. Get rid of the clothes that are now too big for you. I know this is a very big mental shift for a lot of us. What if I put the weight back on? What if you don’t! But I spent so much money on that dress? (Been there done that!)

3. Have key pieces and favorites altered to better fit. Some clothes are easier to alter than others. If you have good quality favorites then it’s worth investing in having them altered to fit you. Ask around for recommendations. (This black dress is a wonderful example of a wrap dress that will last through several size changes)

4. If you have favorite jeans, pants, shorts or shorts, buy them in a smaller size as you lose weight. I’ve found that if my “bottoms” fitted me then I could work my existing tops back with them, without the whole outfit looking overwhelming. I bought two new sizes in my fave jeans and shorts and that’s meant I’ve always had something to work back with my tops. (Here are some high great high waisted leggings)

5. Do embrace clothes made of stretch fabrics to prevent saggy baggies. I’m not talking nana-wear, I’m talking good quality jerseys, bamboo, modal, and knits. You probably have pieces like this already in your wardrobe – they’ll mostly work through to the end. Think tube skirts, tunic dresses or tops, leggings, jersey wrap dresses.

6. Make friends with thrifting. If you love a good op-shop haul then go to town. You’ll be able to treat yourself to a new outfit regularly without busting your budget.

7. Treat yourself to new shoes and accessories. These are the “icing” on any outfit, they always fit and never fail to keep your existing outfits feeling and looking fresh. (Also the below Hip Hugger product helps with sizing on your pants. The Fashion Fit Clip pulls back your dresses, shirts and jackets.)

8. Wear Little to No Prints and Patterns

If you’re feeling a little weighty in some areas, you can minimize the look of weight gain my wearing little to no prints. For example, if you’re carrying a lot of weight in your torso, and stomach area, I would avoid tops that have eccentric or eye-catching patterns. Wear a top that is dark and simple to avoid bringing too much attention to these challenge areas.

9. Buy Your Clothes in Capsules & Building a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule is a collection of clothing that usually consists of 6 – 10 items (2 bottoms, 2 over pieces, 4 tops, 3 – 6 accessories) that when mixed and matched create up to 12 outfits. I would suggest getting 1 capsule of clothing while losing weight. That way you can make 2 weeks of clothing and rotate them during your weight loss season.

(VIDEO example of creating a capsule wardrobe:)

10. Belt It

After you have lost some weight and things start to get baggy, a lot of your items can simply be cinched in be wearing a belt around your waist.

11. Remember Sizes Don’t Mean Anything

When you are buying clothes while losing weight remember not to pay too much attention to sizes. What I mean is, don’t focus on trying to lose weight to become a size 4 or the like. Sizes do vary from store to store, so to say something like this doesn’t make sense. Make your weight loss goals around a specific weight number and not a dress size. (This mental note does wonders and really worked well for me. Who cares what the size is if it fits me well?!?)

12. Buy a Motivational Dress

After you have bought a capsule or so, it’s okay for you to buy one motivational piece. This may be a dress that you love in one size or two smaller. Once you buy it, place it someplace you will always see it so you are motivated to stay consistent with your exercises and healthy eating habits. It ends up working out like a goal or vision board that you would post on the wall. Just beware not to buy it too much smaller. A maximum of 3 sizes is ideal. You should take things one small step at a time, so you don’t get discouraged.

As you can see, buying clothes while losing weight doesn’t have to be a waste of money. In the end, it will help you maintain your image and help motivate you while you go through your weight loss transition.

Takeaway Checklist:

  • Read Labels: For a maximum stretch, check for spandex and Lycra.

  • Befriend the Belt: And the leather punch, which lets you add extra holes as needed to match your size.

  • Look for Clothes That are Wrapped or Draped: These details guide the eye away from problem areas and are flattering whether you're a size 4 or 14.

  • Pick the Right Pants: Shop for built-in stomach control panels or hidden elastic in the waistband. Brands like Not Your Daughter's Jeans offer support without being restricting. NYDJ's iconic marilyn straight jean makes every body shape shine. She's a girl's best friend.

  • Keep Things In Proportion: Roomy tops (like a peasant blouse) should be paired with fitted bottoms. Wearing a baggy shirt with loose bottoms makes you look bigger than you are.

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