What To Wear When You’re Downsizing

DeAnn and Darla love to keep me in Fashion Friday topics, which is a good thing because there is only so much I can come up with say about this topic! (Believe it or not.) But I love helping other moms with their fashion conundrums, probably because I’ve spent the past few years figuring out what works on a post child-bearing body, and I’m happy to pass along anything I’ve learned to those still in the trenches.

Earlier in the week, DeAnn left this comment on my What I Wore Wednesday post:

“How to dress stylishly when you’re trying to “downsize” and you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with your body yet especially now that the weather is getting warmer and you’re still in child-birthing years and don’t necessarily want to wear flowy tops that look like maternity clothes.”

Mmmm’kay. Surprisingly, I know EXACTLY what she’s trying to say.

I have birthed 3 children, and I gained 45 lbs with each pregnancy. On my 135-lb frame, that was, um, quite a lot. Yes, I just disclosed what I weigh. I’ve broken the cardinal rule. Now we may as well go ahead and discuss politics and religion. Who wants to start? Oh nevermind, let’s stick with fashion. It’s so much more fun.

Well, okay, admittedly, shopping when you are still trying to “downsize” is not much more fun than discussing politics, but I’m certainly more informed on the issues surrounding the former.

Phew! Ramble much?

Honestly, this is how I talk in real life. If you’re lost, no worries. People get lost all the time. It’s not you, it’s me.

Here are a few tips for dressing when you’re “downsizing” or just not at the size you want to be:

TIP #1: Layers

I know it’s hot in the summertime, and layering is not always practical, but there are lots of lightweight options out there these days. It’s never been easier to layer than it is right now – layering is such a hot trend.

I often throw a cardigan on over my outfit, especially on days when I’m feeling kind of thick around the middle.

You can find short sleeved ones now too, perfect for the warmer months. And also, the slub is a very lightweight material that works great with a tank top (or a ruffly blouse).

Or a very lightweight, almost sheer blouse works well. I couldn’t find a link or a picture, though. SORRY.

TIP #2: Structure

There are so many flowy things out these days but I’ve never found them to be particularly forgiving on me, personally. They must work on some people, but when your body isn’t the shape you want it to be, finding pieces with structure help give it the shape you want it to have, or at least the illusion of the shape you want it to have.

For instance, I cannot overemphasize the importance of a structured jacket. I prefer denim, but it could be a lightweight blazer too. If you get denim or a versatile color like gray or stone, you can wear it with many different outfits and color combinations.

Same thing with dresses. I like dresses with structure, and also with thicker fabrics that don’t cling to unsightly lumps and bumps. We all have them, we might as well call a spade a spade, right?

It’s really hard to explain with photos when models are all a size 00. Plus, if your weight tends to fluctuate, this style may not work for you because fit is key. But I do find that having structure in a dress helps reshape the figure.  See, here’s one who’s not a size 00. Yay for Nordstrom!

Ruching helps too.

I know a lot of us are in between a size 00 and a size 16, but I’m doing the best I can here, folks.

And let’s not forget about the miraculous powers of Spanx.

TIP #3: Disguise

Sometimes, on the right person, a shirt with the banded waistline, another hot trend this season, can help the tummy issue. It isn’t too figure hugging where there might be some extra stuffing, but instead of being too flowy all the way down over the hips, the hem of the blouse sits right on the hips and brings it back into the body. It’s important not to wear this style too big, though, or the blousy part will balloon out and make you appear bigger than you are.

TIP #4: Fit

Don’t discount the importance of good fit. Even if you’re planning to lose weight, try to pick up a few items that fit to wear right now. If you plan to get pregnant again, you can always put them away and label them with the size so you can find them easily when you need them again.

I realize not everyone can afford to have three different sized wardrobes in their closet, but I felt SO much better about myself when I was “downsizing” if I had a few things that fit well – at least one pair of jeans, a few tops, and a Sunday outfit. You can change it up with accessories that fit no matter what your size — shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves.

Leave it to those items to bring in the colors or the trends you want to wear, and keep your clothing classic so you can wear it again in a few years if need be.