What a peek into my closet reveals about my weight and self-image, past and present

Those of you who have weight to lose or who have lost and gained more than once understand the expense and challenge of maintaining a wardrobe that fits. By fits, I don't just mean in size, but what also matches our self-perception.

As you can see, the little black dress and the novelty linen skirt above both still retain their original Talbot's price tags. Are they new? No; I purchased them about fifteen years ago! They are both a size 6. When I originally bought them they didn't fit because I was a size ten. These pieces were my inspiration to take the excess weight off but by the time I did, I kind of forgot I had them, nor did I have a fitting occasion to wear them. Then I foolishly thought I was too old!

These are two size eight Ralph Lauren skirts I bought during a time that I was losing and gaining before I went retro with my eating. They fit for a while, then they didn't. Then they did. Etc. I love them a lot so I will see if I can get them tailored to fit me now.

What isn't pictured is all of my size ten clothing I sold on ebay and the schlubastic rest I threw away. I once spent a year wearing nothing but sweatpants! I didn't want to face my growing girth so it was easier to deny it with a drawstring and elastic. 

I've begun to think of the idea of hanging onto our "fat" clothing as potentially undermining:
“When your army has crossed the border, you should burn your boats and bridges, in order to make it clear to everybody that you have no hankering after home." -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I have zero hankering for size ten. I also have no plans to once again be able to wear this:

It's an L.L.Bean belt I bought in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I was very tiny around my waist:

I held onto it for all these years as inspiration and for sentimental reasons, but I am happy with my current weight and it's Ok that I may never be able to wear that belt again. 

Speaking of leather belts, have you noticed how many are now made of "bonded leather" which is like flexible particle board and falls apart after you wear it once??

Another belt:

The peace sign brass buckle belt was an estate sale find some years ago. It was way too large, even at my heaviest, so I never wore it until last year when I took it to a local leathersmith who trimmed it to the correct size. That, too, felt like a commitment to myself and my health since "your belt line is your life line."

I have #tallgirlproblems when I go clothes shopping, along with the challenge of finding tailored, tasteful clothing for us ladies over forty.

Disco pot-luck party?  Retirement home Bingo night?

Chico's shimmery tops, "statement" pieces and vanity-sizing scheme where everyone is a size zero or close to it isn't for me. 

I drove up to Freeport yesterday morning, home to L.L.Bean and many outlets and was thrilled to discover that Brooks Brothers (a very retro brand!) Factory Store sells tailored, form-fitting women's clothing! I bought some pretty tops made from beautiful fabrics like all-cotton and merino wool in flattering styles like this super-soft turtleneck sweater:

I have a lot of black in my wardrobe and love this sweater that fits me perfectly even though I'm a tall gal:

And button down blouses! I haven't tucked anything in ages! I wear a lot of tunics because the "regular" lengths are too short on me and much of the clothing available for us mid-life ladies is all about hiding and covering up!

I took a selfie to show you that even on me, I'm 5' 9", that these Brooks Brothers all-cotton "miracle" shirts are long enough to tuck but most importantly have a feminine fit. They are not designed to deny size and hide your body.

I spent the same or less per piece there than I would have at the mall!

I'll conclude this post with a kooky 1960s robe that looks like Wonderbread packaging:

I bought it at the estate sale of a former lingerie sales rep. It was in the original plastic wrapping in a suitcase filled with other lady things. I don't think I'll ever wear it but it's too groovy to give away. I'm OK with a few quirky or sentimental pieces taking up real estate in my closet, but otherwise I'm working on making it fit for who I am today.


  1. I feel your pain. I'm 5'11..even harder for finding the perfect fit!

    1. Oh my! Where do you shop??

    2. I don't have huge problems with tops since my height is all in the legs, so pants and jeans are issues. NYDJ is one place I can find longer jeans, though they don't have all their styles in Tall. J.Jill when I can splurge, or Gap online. I rarely can find pants in stores.

    3. Long Tall Sally online is a jackpot of tall ladies sizes. I'm 6ft tall. Without shoes.

  2. This post made me think of all the ups and downs in my life which, put together, has made my weight fluctuate more than I realized. Twice I've lost weight while going through some horrendous stress and twice I've lost purposely by restricting calories. I'd rather lose weight the latter way, though! But I was never really overweight until about the last 10 years.

    The first time I cut calories I was in my 20's and my clothes had gotten tight but I didn't need to buy new ones as I soon went back down to my normal weight. The two times in my 30's that I lost too much due to stresses I definitely had to buy new clothes but then as I regained normally I still had all my regular clothes.

    But this last decade I've been up, then down a bit, then back up. It started after I quit going to the gym because I moved away from it and it was no longer convenient. During that time I had consumed more calories as I got stronger and used my muscles more. Unfortunately, I continued to eat as if my body were still in that condition and then just started to eat badly.

    I need to figure out a way to be consistent. I know what it is, I get lazy and give in. That's why I love your blog, Averyl, I get so inspired by it and your experiences. It kind of makes me feel like it helps me be more accountable even though I'm not accountable to *you* directly but we do interact through your blog. Does that make sense?

    1. Yes! This is why I share things like this! It's embarrassing and humbling for me to share some of the things I do here but it's what keeps this all real. I want to inspire and motivate others which includes personal accountability so I am very glad to hear that my blog does that for YOU! :) XO

  3. Thank you, Averyl, I appreciate you!! And I meant to add that I like your clothes style. The shirts and the turtleneck. :)

  4. Averyl, its so nice to read your blog. I'm only mad because your posts are short. And jealous because you have those fabulous vintage diet books.

    I bought your first book two months ago.
    It made sense to me, and so far I've lost 20lbs.

    My knee doctor and nutritionist were very pleased. I had to keep it cool on mentioning calorie counting though. As if I'd starve on 1400-1500 calories a day?! But people are nutty like that nowadays!

    I use my modern little fitbit to help me with perspective about the calories I burn.

    Your common sense real made a difference for me. Thank you.

    1. Kristin! I suppose it's good to want to hear more from me and not less?! :) Congrats on your new, healthier journey. Thank you for buying my book and letting me know that it has made a difference!


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