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On Keeping Size 10s When You're Now a 14

Stacy London says her show aims to help people "find perfection in their imperfection." (By Brian Doben -- TLC)

Are you a skinny-clothes keeper or a skinny-clothes giver-away?

Many people tend to keep old clothes that fit smaller versions of themselves on hand, hoping that one day they will fit again.

According to Stacy London, though, that's only okay if you're working hard toward that goal. If you're keeping your smaller-sized clothes because of wishful thinking alone, she says, it's time to pitch 'em and get clothes that fit your body the way it is today. (London says she learned this rule from Oprah Winfrey.)

London, one of the hosts of the TLC program "What Not to Wear", talked with me about using style to boost your sense of self, whatever your weight or shape, for today's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column. She and co-host Clinton Kelly are frank and forthright as they help people find their way out of frumpiness and discover a sense of fashion, and they demand adherence to a few rules along the way -- including the one about getting rid of clothes that don't fit.

While that edict makes sense as far as stylish dressing goes, it may be harder for some of us than for others to uphold. For instance, I'm guessing it's easier for Oprah to give up old clothes than it is for, say, me. Because pitching (or donating) old clothes, no matter how ill-fitting they may be, feels like throwing money out the window -- something I'm even less inclined toward than usual, given the economy.

On the other hand, I wasn't hesitant when I lost a bit of weight a few years ago to give away my fat-girl attire. I figured the prospect of having to buy clothes in those big sizes again would help keep me in line. And it's worked: I've worn the same, smaller size for a few years now, and I hate to admit how unhappy I'd be if I had to buy a size larger.

What about you, ladies and gents? What's the relationship between your weight and your wardrobe?

Please vote here, and let's talk things over in the comments section.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  April 21, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  General Health , Nutrition and Fitness  
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Like many of us, my weight has gradually crept up as I have aged. I do hold onto a few items that are a size too small, but it's probably futile at this point. And I wouldn't keep anything more than one size down.

On the other hand, when my MIL died a few years ago, there were items in her closet ranging from size 2 to size 16. Talk about wishiful thinking! Even if she managed to make it back down to 2 or 4, the clothes were 30 years old. Why keep them for that long?

Posted by: lorenw507 | April 21, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, lorenw. A few years ago I bought a nice suit, then got pregnant and gained weight before I even got to wear it. Two kids and several weight struggles later, I finally fit back into it -- and discovered that it had pleated pants and looked horrid. In my mind, it was a hot, hip suit, because that's how I remembered it from when I bought it!! So now I don't wear it, because it looks bad. But I haven't been able to bring myself to get rid of it, either, because that would make me face up to the fact that I wasted that money.

Posted by: laura33 | April 21, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I do a little of both. My weight has gone up and down, tends to fluctuate across the range of size 8 to 12 recently but I have been as big as 20. I've chucked almost everything bigger than 12 (which is where I am now) but am not going to throw out the 8s and 10s right now. I do, however, have some old things I should donate... just procrastination really.

Posted by: catherine3 | April 21, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I had a big weekend, literally. I had to go to the store and buy new pants. My weight has rocketed in the past few months. I've gone from a 6/8 to a 12/14. I'm not sure what to do about keeping clothes that are size 6's- while I only have a few, they were really cute at one point and the style is still "in"! Thanks for this article, though. It's good to know I'm not alone!

Posted by: meghan34 | April 21, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I have also sometimes deluded myself that my once-fashionable clothes will become fashionable once again if I hold onto them long enough; isn't that what vintage clothing is all about?

Posted by: Jennifer LaRue Huget | April 21, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This is what recently happened to me. I gave lots of things to a friend, and kept much to give to my niece. Then, I became vegan due to gout pain and lost 21 pounds in about nine or ten weeks. Those clothes fit now, and if I lost five more pounds, everything would fit, but I am too old to be wearing all those Armani mini-skirts, so I am still going to give them away, or just wear them around the home. People, again, vegetables, non starchy types, smother them in guacamole or sun-dried tomato paste, celery seed, a drizzle of olive oil and/or whatever, will make you lose fat, flab, adipose tissue, the spread, cellulite, everything you don't want on a daily weekly, happy basis. You don't have to be fat and hungry, veggies curb your appetite. Apples, carrots and nuts between meals work great and remove fat from your digestive tract. I wish I did this years ago. Thank God I got gout!

Posted by: Lydiasings | April 21, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, I made my husband throw out some butt-ugly ties when we got married 10+ years ago (they were probably already 10 yrs old by then). Boring diagonal stripes, little paisleys, patterns made up of lots of little dots or squares, etc.

A month ago we went shopping. There were three basic types of ties available: boring diagonal stripes, little paisleys, or patterns made up of lots of little dots or squares. Argh.

Posted by: laura33 | April 21, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

To laura33:

Ha! See what I mean?
Of course, ties always fit pretty much the same, no matter how much you weigh...

Posted by: Jennifer LaRue Huget | April 21, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I am a keeper in the opposite direction, actually. I lost 2 pant sizes a few years ago. Although I got rid of most of the old size clothes, there are a few pairs of pants I cannot part with, b/c they were those 'oh my god these actually don't look too bad on me' finds that kept me from totally hating how I looked. I have them in storage, just in case.

Posted by: catymac | April 21, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I still have the dress I wore when I got married (not a traditional wedding dress) for sentimental purposes. I also have a cute skirt that I wore on a date, also for sentimental purposes, but I've tried to find someone to give it to.
Everything else is fair game. I'm not a 10 anymore and I probably never will be. I give away clothes that don't fit, whether too little or too big (which has happened). I was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago and was bursting out of my blue jeans at the time. For some reason they never got tossed. In the meantime, I gave up bread, pasta and beer. I also walk 4 miles a day. A couple of weeks ago, cleaning out the closet, I found the pre-celiac jeans...lo and behold, they fit. Otherwise it would have been goodbye blue jeans.
Life is too short to walk around wearing clothes that don't fit.

Posted by: pras40 | April 21, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree with some of the earlier comments that this seems excessively dichotomous. For me the decision to keep or give away is based on (1) is it reasonable or wishful thinking that it will fit again? (2) if it did fit, would I want to wear it?

Generally I keep pants that are either a size too big or a size too small. Finding pants that fit is too big of a pain to get rid of them and then buy them again later.

If it's unrealistic to think that you'll never be that small again (or realistic to think you'll never be that large again) then that's a different issue.

Posted by: BethanyW1 | April 21, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm an 8/10 now, and I still have 14's in my closet.

Posted by: goaway41 | April 21, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I keep meaning to get my closet cleaned out...

I gained weight very gradually during my 40's (I'll be turning 50 on Mother's Day), and realized it about a year before my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. They'd decided to take the whole extended family on a cruise to Mexico.

That was last summer, and it was a great motivator for me. I worked hard for about eight months before the cruise, and lost all but 10 pounds of my goal. I looked pretty good. I've kept it up, and s-l-o-w-l-y lost another five pounds since.

So, if the last five pounds ever comes off, then I'll really have to go clothes shopping. I hate shopping. But DH has really great taste, so Iput him in charge, just try on everything he brings me, and he decides what to buy and what doesn't work on my body.

For now, I'm still wearing some clothes that are too big, and still don't fit into a few "skinny outfits" that were favorites back when I was in my 30's - clothes that gradually got pushed into the deep, dark corners of that closet when I'd realize that they didn't *quite* fit right.

Sigh. Okay, it's closet-cleaning time.

Posted by: SueMc | April 21, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If you can't bring yourself to get rid of clothes that are clearly the wrong size, meaning 2 sizes away from your current body, then at least box or bag them up and store them. They won't get dusty or moth-eatten.

You can't keep your closet organized if it's full of things that you aren't currently wearing.

Posted by: RedBird27 | April 21, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The cabinet will always have a direct relationship with the weight, many people to increase their weight by changing clothing sizes larger or smaller, as recommended in these cases, they say, is to maintain a standard not to buy clothes in exchange for each size, the important thing is to keep those clothes that we can have it for contingency.

Herbal Remedies

Posted by: HerbalRemedies | April 21, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I gained weight steadily throughout college and I've finally lost almost all of it. I have total pack rat tendencies, so I had boxed up all my skinny clothes in hopes that they would fit again. But when I opened up the box, I realized that while the clothes finally fit, they were so dated! I ended up getting rid of almost everything.

Now I say purge! Keep nice pieces that will age well, but get rid of the bulk. Part of the fun (at least for me) of losing weight was shopping for new clothes

Posted by: realjoy | April 21, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I lost some weight a few years ago and threw out my bigger clothes. Then I gained the weight back and couldn't find shorts like the favorite ones I tossed. So now I'm reluctant to toss anything and my closet is bulging with all sizes! I'm feeling a purging session coming on.

Posted by: bethjh | April 24, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

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