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Rebuilding your wardrobe after weight-loss surgery

You're likely to have more choices, not just in what type of clothes you can wear but where you can shop – which can be exciting but also overwhelming. Weight-loss surgery patients also often experience "phantom fat," where they still feel heavier than they are. Your body changes quicker than your mind does, and you may have difficulty adjusting to your new weight and body size, making it difficult to find clothes that actually fit.

Try some of these tips to maximize your wardrobe as you lose weight.

  • Take pictures. Photographs can be more reliable than the image in the mirror. If you still see yourself as bigger than you are, taking regular photos can help you gain a proper perspective of your new size.
  • Buy clothes that fit. If you buy something that is too small, thinking you will wear it after you've lost more weight, you may find that it doesn't fit properly once you do.
  • Buy basics that you can mix and match, but also buy a few pieces that you really love and feel good in. You shouldn't have to put up with unflattering or ill-fitting clothes during this period of weight loss. You are working hard to change your body and you should celebrate it!
  • Shop at thrift stores and consignment shops to cut costs. Consignment stores in upscale neighborhoods often have clothes with the tags still attached, for a fraction of the original price.
  • Try some new stores. Now that you don't have to shop in the plus-size section, try some places you've never shopped at before. You may find a new favorite store!
  • Alter the pieces you really love. If you hate the thought of not being able to wear some of your favorite clothes, find a good tailor who can alter them. Simple alterations shouldn't cost much and will allow you to get much more wear out of your best pieces.
  • Look for a clothing exchange. Bariatric support groups often have clothing exchanges where you can donate your gently-used items and trade them in for something in a smaller size.
  • Make up your own rules for clothes shopping so you don't come home with items you will never wear. Suggestions from other bariatric patients include, don't buy something unless you can think of two places you will wear it, or don't buy new clothes until you need more than two safety pins to hold up your pants.
  • Give away or donate your old clothes. You got weight-loss surgery so you could move forward — hanging on to larger sizes will just give you an excuse to gain the weight back. And it's often difficult to find larger sizes at thrift stores; someone who needs your old clothes will really appreciate them. If you want, just keep one pair of your old jeans as a reminder of how far you've really come.
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