Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dress Size Yo-Yo: What to wear when your weight swings

I couldn't resist taking this picture in London, outside a cafe (March 2008)

A few months ago, my UK Vogue arrived with an interesting article title on its cover, which I excitedly flicked to: “Dress Size Yo-Yo: What to wear when your weight swings" (May 2008).

As I read on however, my face fell: 5 pounds weight swing? Long gone are the days since my weight has fluctuated by only 5 lbs. I found that as I’ve grown older, and my lifestyle’s changed somewhat (eg. no longer dancing until 6 am or walking around the city to shop, now replaced by dinner parties and internet shopping), these fluctuations have increased, and in the past 18 months my weight has creeped up by almost 25 pounds (runs & hides in embarrassment)! I will not bore you with how this happened, suffice it to say that not only do I love food, but comfort eating and decreased exercise does not provide a good combination.

As the article didn’t entirely help my ‘predicament’, I paused to think about the changes I’ve made to my wardrobe (I no longer fit 95% of my it) & the way I now dress in order to accommodate my ever-increasing waistline:

Pants/Jeans: With every few kilos gained, I would resist having to buy a new pair of jeans (the building block to so many easy outfits), as I would be optimistic that I would lose the weight, and thought it pointless to buy a bigger pair. I have done so thrice in the last 18 months, and now can’t fit the last pair I bought six months ago. My most recent pants purchase - the Harem pants - are incredible, as they’re so comfortable and stretchy. They're the 'Mumu' of pants really, which can be a dangerous thing, as I may not realise I may be gaining more weight (just when I think I couldn’t possibly gain any more, the scales prove me wrong). Leggings were also extensively used to keep my legs warm (easy to wear under stretchy or billowy dresses), and also kept me oblivious as to exactly how much weight I had gained...

Dresses: The ones I still fit tend to be empire-line or flowy, floaty dresses that are flexible in size. Although I am constantly buying clothes, most often than not I buy them in my ‘normal’ size (again, in denial, and optimistic that I’ll lose ‘recent’ weight gain), so many of them sit in my wardrobe with the tags still attached, whereas some are chosen for their flexible style which I hope accommodates several sizes. I have found that I have been in dresses more often now that I don't fit pants. Length-wise I try to keep it at the knee if possible, but sadly many of my favourite dresses are shorter (especially seeing this last year has been all about short dresses).

Jackets/Coats: Last winter I purchased some incredible coats by Spijkers en Spijkers which will fit me regardless of what size I am, and how many layers I have under it. As a jacket/coat aficionado (my jacket/coat collection is larger than any other 'clothes group'), I have found them particularly useful to throw over an outfit (those that still fit), disguising a multitude of sins, even if it's only a sheer silk chiffon jacket (or cardigan/shrug). This may prove to be more difficult as the weather is warming up.

Shoes: To quote the article: "When I put heels on I feel - as far as I'm concerned, look - 4 lbs thinner". Thank goodness we don't gain weight on our feet! Although sadly, I can no longer zip any of my Costume National boots up...

"My own cupboard looks like a weight induced mood board. Floaty dresses without waists by Dries Van Noten (...) the author writing the article says...seems applicable to me too. I've always gravitated towards clothes that allowed for a 5 lbs weight swing (although not having a 25 lbs swing in mind), favouring billowy sleeves, blousey tops, drapey anything (inc. dresses & tops). Layering has also been key, as well as the use of belts and other accessories. Skirts are also great as they tend to fit a variety of sizes, just sitting at different positions on your waist/hip depending on what weight I currently am at, I especially like full skirts & tulip skirts.

Overall, I feel in some ways I don't dress as 'simply' as I used to, a white tank/tee and jeans no longer look good on me. On the other hand, I also lack the confidence to be over-the-top and take 'risks' like I used to. I was never 'skinny' to start with, but now it is seems more obvious what I can and cannot wear due to my shape & height. Sadly there isn't much I can do about the fact that the weight gain is very obvious on my face too...

Anyway, this is not intended to be a woe-is-me post. I just wanted to share how I've tried to dress to adapt with my weight increase, and would love to hear whether you've had to do so too, be it due to weight loss/gain, haircuts, change in hair colour, etc...

I will work hard on Mr Gingerbread's advice above (see pic) and try to swing my weight back to 'normal', I miss my wardrobe terribly, and hope it misses me too!


  1. ah i know what you mean... and i'm supposed to be having the best body years of my life haha! study and exam stress have taken tolls on my, and my friends bodies though, although we tell each other next year it will be different. And it probably will, stress eating will (hopefully) not apply and there'll be more time for the exercise that we were neglecting recently.

    That being said, from what i've seen on this blog, you don't have a problem with weight gain! we all have little niggling things about our bodies, it's weight for me too, but deep down i know my ideal body type just can't happen on me. I mean, long legs is impossible on someone short, and i need to face up to it haha! you look gorgeous in the pics i have seen! absolutely gorgeous!

    i read that article in vogue uk actually, and thought it was v. interesting. Skirts are indeed a great hider of weight gain, especially high waisted full skirts... They are the STAPLE of my wardrobe haha... And i'm the same as you with jackets, i have so many and they really complete an outfit for me, even more than handbag and sometimes (gasp) shoes. However in summer i find it harder and harder to wear jackets without getting way too hot. Most of the time i wear overshirts, like my flower one, but i also have a lacy one, and solid colours, which help to jazz up a plain skirt and tee combo.

    But the article is right, heels are a great slimmer, as is black. I have recently discovered my stella mccartney pencil skirt that i thought i had grown out of and was refusing to wear until i dropped some weight. I tried it on with a pair of heels however, and it looks fab, even though it clings in bits i'd rather were skimmed over. I think its the combination of black and confidence and the extra height that does it. I'm going to wear it to my end of school party tomorrow, and see the reactions haha... It could just be my study-addled brain. :D

    But ultimately i agree with the picture. Diets are sad, and though weight gain is annoying, it's not as annoying to me than having to deny myself a lovely meal because of it. However rest assured, you are gorgeous, and i'm sure everyone else who comments this will agree! Whatever you may think of your body, we all think you look FAB-U-LOUS!

    and anyway... the empire line is big this year, and it such a cute look! work with the trend, girl!


    ps. have you gotten vogue uk december yet? i haven't seen it in stores yet and i can't wait to get it.. But today i also saw vogue AU, which i want to get, and vogue UK nov which i'll buy when they down price it, oooh and also vogue US with reese on the cover... i'll only by that because it has an ed with olivier theyskens in it, my future husband. he better be straight, or i just might die!

  2. Oh, hrose, how I love your long comments! It's the closest thing to a 'blog conversation', I thought I'd post the reply here, to give it continuity, but will also make reference to your last comment :)

    I haven't received the UK Vogue yet, but Oz Vogue arrived today (I got the free gloss, shame I wanted the mascara...ah well, beggars can't be choosers...) You'll have to fight over Olivier Theyskens with me, haha!

    Thanks for your reply & lovely comments, I didn't mean this to be a compliment-fishing expedition. :) My ideal body type will also not happen to me, I will stay 5'4" with short & stumpy legs, I don't need to be 'skinny' just my normal weight. I've always had curves, and love them, just am not used to...this weight...I have so many clothes I'm longing to wear that I just cannot fit :(

    Anyway, to brighter, more exciting things, you're going to the Akira sale!!! Hope you find some amazing bargains! And I would love to buy his fabrics! I would frame it and hang it, or buy heaps with the intention to make something out of it with my limited sewing skills...

    Yay! We feel similarly about jackets! LOVE them! Same with Stella McCartney, her designs, like those of Dries Van Noten are mostly size-flexible and flattering...except for one of her dresses I bought still with tags attached, requires narrow hips, doh!

    Have fun at your end of school party tomorrow!

  3. Poxa... eu só vi seus comentários agora e por algum motivo eles estavam na minha spam box. Em que lugar da Austrália você mora??? Não acredito que não nos conhecemos antes qdo ainda estava em Sydney...
    Eu estou no Brasil no momento matando as saudades da familia, mas daqui duas semaninhas estamos indo embora.
    Infelizmente vou estar morando em Auckland... venha fazer uma visitinha!!!!

    Amei o seu blog tb e estou linkando (olha o verbo inventado).

    Um super beijo e vamos manter contato!!!!

    For Fashion's Sake - Grazi

  4. the fact is: never is easy to be in a diet...

  5. kira - se eu fosse esbelta como tu, nao precisaria fazer dieta!

    Grazi - Voce esta no Brasil? Estou morrendo de inveja! So 4 semanas pra mim, e viajo com meu marido (primeira visita dele pro Brasil!), tambem pra matar saudades da familia (e do Brasil, claro)! Ah, voce mora na Nova Zelandia agora! Moro na cidadezinha de Adelaide (oh, minha ana paraguaia...haha, lembra daquela cancao dos anos 90?). Se voce gosta de vinho, e quiser visitar... ;)
    xx Vou te 'linkar' tambem (haha)! :)

    Um beijo pra cada uma de voces, gatinhas! xx

  6. sigh, totally need to take the pants advise over all of them, too many bigger sized trousers have me stuck in a comfort zone. gah, eating right is terribly hard with a busy schedule.

  7. all i can say is there's no such thing as diets! my coat/jacket collection probably has the most pieces out of the rest too, next in line would have to be my dresses, and i agree with you! thank GOD we don't gain weight on our feet!

    p.s: where do you purchase your Vogue UK subscription from?

  8. i know you weren't compliment-fishing, but i meant it anyway. :D ahahhaha i never meant to write long comments, but i have so much to say.... hmmm. that sort of sums me up in general haha.

    i haven't gotten to go to akira today, i had to look after my bro who is sick and i didn't think i could reasonably drag him along with me without incurring the full wrath of a 5 year old. I shall definitely try to go tomorrow, i need those fabrics! I'm really looking forward to them actually. i might take my friend along with me, she used to work for collette dinnigan and is a milliner/atelier and is amazing with sequins and embellishments.

    oh, i bought vogue uk today! woohoo! how lovely. it really is a great issue, and a good read too, although alexandra shulman's writing is very patronising at times... ugh. and some truly lovely pictures. I'm going to get vogue aus soon, going to get the mascara though haha. not the biggest lipgloss person. it's all about the eye for me. :D

    hope you had a great day!

  9. madame dior - You know that little card that always falls out of the Vogue UK for subscriptions? There's a website to subscribe to it in there...I will try to find it for you ;)

    hrose - You got the UK Vogue already! Lucky you! I'm wondering if maybe it'll be a while still until I receive it :( (am hoping I can take it with me on the plane tomorrow).

    Aww...your poor little brother! Hope he feels better soon, and that you and your friend find amazing stuff at Akira. Does your friend have a website? Would love to see her work! I am jealous of anyone who works in anything fashion-related!

    And the AUS Vogue December issue looks really good (haven't opened it yet), and I agree about lipglosses...I buy so many of them, and end up using none...whereas mascara is a must. Ah well, just means I will actually have to go out and buy one, haha!

  10. These are all great tips. Luckily I haven't had too much trouble with my weight since I lost about 10kg 4 years ago. Back then getting stuff altered was a big issue for me.

  11. songy - please share your secrets! 10 kgs would almost put me back to 'normal'! :)

  12. Ah, eu entendo a sua situacao, e nao tenho muitas dicas a acrescentar alem de saltos altos pra afinar a silhueta e vestidos imperio que sao soltinhos da cintura pra baixo.. Preto tb sempre ajuda, e com relacao ao corte de cabelo, acho que um assimetrico cai muito bem, e no mais, superliso eh a melhor opcao.

    Eu tenho horrores de diversidade de tamanhos no meu guarda-roupa. Pra vc ter uma ideia, de jeans, tenho em ordem crescente do tamanho 38 ao 44. Como vc, nunca me considerei supermagra, mas aos 19 anos, pesava 52, e fui ganhando e perdendo num efeito sanfona que culminou em um disparate louco da balanca em 2007. Mas eu faco assim: evito comprar calcas, vestidos e blusas acinturados quando vejo que ganhei peso. Prefiro formas soltas e quando quero um efeito contrario uso um cinto, e assim vou indo...

    Nossa, desculpa o comentario enorme, mas me identifiquei muito com seu texto, e pena nao poder ajudar tanto no quesito estilo. Ah, adorei a foto que ilustra o post, e concordo, o melhor mesmo eh uma reeducacao alimentar, nao uma dieta radical. Bjs!

  13. Aww, thank you!
    Its truly so amazing to hear when one likes my outfits.
    and no, i dont make them yet.
    i just started with it all about a year ago, and i didnt even start to truly do it til half a year ago!
    im hoping to get myself a sewing machine soon though, and hopefully i will be able to make them all!

    and haha, no thats fine.
    love your blog by the way!
    dont have too much to say about this post, i mean, still at the age where i eat, and stay thin,
    though i guess i also have a high metabolism.

    mind if i link you?

  14. romeika - obrigada por teu comentario! E um comforto saber que nao sou a unica pessoa com este 'dilema'. Viche! 52 kilos! Nos ultimos 10 anos, o minimo que pesei foi 53.5kgs, e eu lembro olhando minhas pernas e pensando: agora posso usar saias, haha! Eu daria tudo pra voltar pr'aquele peso!). O que voce escreveu e igualzinho a mim...'efeito sanfona' (well-put!).

    ane Don't mind at all, I'm flattered, thanks! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so envious that you're at that age, I used to dismiss people that would tell me metabolism slows down as you get older, but I also believe it's largely due to lifestyle...

    I have a sewing machine, and took classes several years ago, and then got too busy and haven't sewn much (read at all) in ages! Hope to pick it up again :) Look forward to following your 'progress' ;)

  15. you still look gorgeous! I am really enjoying your blog and have started to make it a regular thing. Dinner parties and internet shopping are my favourite past time and im only 22! The times are changing. Its the new vogue ;)

  16. I read that article and I agree with you, weight swinging 5lbs is one day's worth- on a 19 year old body.
    I find the best pants for swinging weight are high waisted, wide legged ones. I have a pair of Grey Ant jeans that fit me from 130-145, I just put them in the dryer on hot in the summer, and I just have to wriggle into them a tad more before they stretch in the winter. 70s vintage tweed pants are great too.

    I actually buy my 50s silhouette, tight waist dresses for my larger tendencies. A slightly curvier figure looks great with emphasized waist. I save my straight loose dresses for when I look more athletic and straight.