Dressing well is hard when you're in between sizes... or if you're stuck on a plateau. Use these tips and save yourself from the same fashion faux pas that I made.

By Shaun Chavis
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Everyone on a diet dreams of showing off her svelte bod in great new clothes. (Who doesn't want skinny jeans?) But what happens when you're in between sizes...or what if you get stuck on a plateau between your starting weight and your goal? If you've got more than two sizes to lose, it can be a problem. Use these tips and save yourself from the same fashion faux pas that I made.

I started out at 256 pounds. Back then, I was wearing a size 22 and eating my way toward 24. (It's embarrassing to admit, but I have no secrets left now!) As I started to lose weight, my clothes got too big. Let me be honest: They were more than baggy. They were downright tent-like. I would complain, "All my clothes are too big!" And my friends would say, "That's great! Isn't it?"

It is great—in the long run. But I was working hard for a smaller, better shape, yet getting dressed was no fun.


(Getty Images)

"We all know that losing weight changes more than just our bodies," says fashion stylist Colin Megaro, the founder of Planet Style Concierge. "It changes our psyche, how people view us, and what we wear. Clothes are just as much a part of this process as losing the weight is." (Oh, Colin, where were you four dress sizes ago?)

What to do when you're between sizes—and on a budget
Megaro's golden rule? Be careful with the charge card. "Often when people are losing weight, they start buying clothes they think will fit them when they hit their goal weight. Well, what if you don’t quite hit that goal weight? What if you lose more than expected? Both situations are still weight-loss successes, but if you buy a ton of clothes ahead of time that don’t end up fitting correctly, it can feel like a letdown," he says.

Try these strategies for looking great no matter how much you lose:

  • The tailor is your best friend. Your old shirts, pants, dresses, and skirts can usually be tailored down two full sizes. This is a less expensive way of updating your clothes without buying a whole new wardrobe. Having this done to your clothes will ensure that they never look baggy and flatter your body no matter what stage in the weight-loss process you're in.
  • Know your shape. People lose weight in different areas, so find ways to accentuate your best parts. If you're an hourglass shape, use a cinching belt to accentuate your shrinking waist. Or buy a fashionable belt to tighten your favorite jeans while in between sizes. If you're more of a pear shape, try a billowy blouse with straight-leg pants, which will show off lean calves and nice shoulders.
  • Consider the cut. Do not go wild purchasing items in your goal weight size. Instead, be selective when you're choosing a cut. For example, you may be tempted to show off slim hips in a pencil skirt, but be wary. It will droop as you continue to slim down, while an A-line skirt is more flattering. The same principle works with wide-leg pants—opt for bootleg pants instead. Avoid shirts that focus the attention on the chest area or have wide armholes; they're more likely to sag as you lose weight.
  • Consider the fabric. We're not suggesting that you buy a pair of spandex leggings, but a little Lycra can go a long way. Many jeans have a hint of Lycra in them for the right amount of stretch. Also consider knitwear—it will hold up longer and shrink with you.
  • Splurge (a little). Celebrate your weight loss by choosing one piece that shows off an area you used to hide. If you like your new toned arms, buy a short-sleeve or sleeveless shirt in a print or bright color. You deserve to show off your hard work!
  • Play up your accessories. If it seems as if you're wearing the same clothes on repeat, add a statement necklace or pair of shoes. It will make your wardrobe seem more diverse.

Weight-loss update: Finally, I want to give you an update on my post about my workout routine. I had surgery Memorial Day weekend. It was supposed to be laparoscopic, which would have meant a quick recovery, but it turned into a traditional 3-inch incision. I've been on the mend for the past few weeks. My trainer, Trish, sent me the most encouraging email: "Remember: Your body WILL go back to where it was when we stopped, so that is the point we will work toward first (it won't take long at all). Hope you are reading motivational articles—stay positive!"