Posts Categorized: proportion

Reader Request: What to Wear When Your Weight Is in Flux

clothes for weight loss

Reader Dona had this question:

I’m curious about how to shop/what to shop for when you are trying to lose weight. I know people, sometimes, say to wait until you get closer to your goal weight, but I’m not patient. I wonder what are some good garments that you can wear when your weight is fluctuating, whether up or down.

A great question, and relevant to many, I’m sure. No matter what your weight is doing, you’ve still gotta get dressed! If you’re gaining weight unexpectedly, you may want to wait to create stylish looks until that weight has come off … but sometimes it doesn’t come off, and dressing your new body stylishly may feel challenging but is important to maintaining a positive relationship with yourself. If you’re losing weight unexpectedly, you might try to make do with clothes that no longer fit your frame … but experimenting with new sizes and styles is a good way to make your new body feel more familiar. If you’re gaining or losing on purpose, it may be tempting to wait until you level out before shopping, and that’s not a bad plan. Unless the changes are gradual and you’re swimming in or squeezing into what’s currently in your closet.

So! Here are my shopping tips for anyone whose weight is in flux:


It’s true that you still need to wear clothing even when your weight is fluctuating, but if you haven’t reached a resting place yet spending big on clothes that might only get worn for a few months is a bad use of your moolah. Thrift and consignment stores are incredibly useful during this transitional time, and allow you to spend less, get more, and do so without hitting the fast fashion shops. It’s best to thrift in person during these times since you might feel unsure of what will fit you, but if you’re lacking decent secondhand options in your area, try online outlets like Twice, thredUP, and Tradesy. If you’re in the size 10 -32 range, you could also give rental service Gwynnie Bee a try.

Play with prints

Big blocks of solid color show far more of your body’s nooks and crannies than prints and patterns do. Printed dresses, blouses, skirts, even pants can be fabulous for making slight fit issues less obvious. Irregular organics like the print on the wrap dress above are especially great since regular geometrics like polka dots and stripes can sometimes be almost as revealing as solids.

Embrace scarves

You may be more likely to go this route in cool weather, but the volume and flow of scarves can downplay both weight loss and gain. Pick printed and patterned scarves to add more motion and color to your outfits, especially if wearing bold colors all-over feels uncomfortable for the time being.

Try draped detailing

Wrap dresses are fantastic for people whose weight is going up or down, since true wraps can be let out or cinched in without a single alteration. Wrap blouses and tops can be great options, too, but really anything with draping, ruching, or asymmetric design elements can benefit a body in transition.

Swap in some skirts

Pants are considerably less forgiving than skirts in most cases. Once they become too big or small, there’s only so much that belting tight or covering with loose tops will do to conceal their ill fit. Skirts – especially non-pencil styles with flat elastic waistbands like this one – can generally expand or contract along with you. If you dig the look of drapey pants, those styles may be more flexible but jeans and dress pants will be tough to fit when your weight is changing.

Do long over lean

If your workplace and/or lifestyle can accommodate a slightly more casual bent, consider a few tunics-and-leggings looks. Long over lean is a formula that can work regardless of which way your weight is swinging since the tops are generally loose and forgiving, and the bottoms balance with slimness. If you’re gaining or losing in your legs and are self-conscious, this might not be the best route, but if weight is shifting within your upper body it’s worth a go.

Shifting weight can be thrilling, aggravating, scary or confusing. But if you find yourself in a place where your body is changing shape or size, remember that dressing it with care and love can be a wonderful way to remain connected and grounded.

Images courtesy Nordstrom left | right

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Reader Request: Cropped Pants for Cool Weather

cropped pants for winter

Reader Ali left this question in a comment:

I’m hesitant to buy all these cute short pants that are in style because I don’t know how to make use of them in the fall or winter, or on cool spring days. I realize it’s still stylish to wear in the winter, but it seems impractical. When would you wear a wool coat and scarf and NOT want to wear socks? So how do you wear those pants AND stay warm?

Ali, I feel ya. As a person living in a climate that regularly includes -30 degree winter days, I am bewildered and frustrated by the current glut of ankle-length and cropped pants. I have a couple of suggestions, but would love more if anyone has ’em!

Pair with ankle boots

This is my go-to solution. Taller ankle boots can typically slide under the hem of cropped pants, and you can wear your thickest, wooliest socks with them if need be. It’s also well within the realm of current chic to have your pant hem and ankle boot top bump up against each other. (Pinterest will back me up on this one.) If you go this route, you can still do socks – just pull them up beyond the pant hem, pick a neutral color, and don’t worry too much if a sliver peeks out.

Go skinny and tuck

This won’t work for dress pants, but anything in the casual levels below is fair game. Hem length ceases to matter if you’re tucking a skinny pant leg into a boot. Boot styles that hit mid-calf and higher will conceal everything, including hems and socks.

Do funky trouser socks with heels

I am not a huge fan of the ankle pant/sock/flat combo, but ankle pants worn with textured trouser socks or tights and wedges or heels can be cute. Like this or this. Thicker socks will make your shoes uncomfortably tight, so think heavy nylons. Speaking of which, you can certainly try nude hose for this same purpose. Both options will offer a bit of coverage, but relatively little protection from real cold.

And I’m out. Got any other advice for Ali (and me)? How do you make your cropped and ankle-length pants work for cooler weather?

Image sources left | right

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Reader Request: How Does Your Hairstyle Interact With Your Outfit?

how hairstyle impacts outfit

Sources left | right

Reader Andrea had this request:

I would be interested in a post on how different hairstyles interact with outfits. How much does wearing hair down vs. in a bun affect the formality of an outfit? How much can the hairstyle you wear with an outfit change the overall look? I always seem to wear my hair the same way with the same pieces, and I’m not sure why I only ever visualize those things with those hairstyles. (I’m also contemplating a major hair change right now, so hair is on my mind a lot recently.)

When my hair was longer, I had the same experience: Certain outfits definitely called out for an updo, while others looked better with hair worn down. And even now with supershort locks, I occasionally wear something that looks slightly off with messy waves and much better blown dry.

I asked Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook to let me use some of her photos to illustrate how hairstyle impacts outfits. As you’ll see balance, formality, structure, and genre all play in. Let’s take a peek:

hairstyle volume outfit

left | right

Here are two outfits in which hairstyle is a factor in enhancing or balancing volume within the outfit. On the left, the volume within Wendy’s outfit is all toward the top, mostly from the waist up. Her hair, worn down, adds yet more volume but also works organically with the loose layers. On the left, the orange sweater is the only voluminous piece. With her hair in a high bun, she avoids adding more volume to her top half.

hairstyle formal casual

left | right

Here are two decidedly formal looks. Some updos and buns can read as casual, but paired with outfits that already give off a dressy vibe, they generally add yet more formality. Definitely the case with the bun Wendy did with her black dress, although the addition of the headband keeps her hairstyle from being formal to the point of stuffiness. The green dress outfit has a much more relaxed vibe. Although the dress itself and structured clutch are quite fancy, the open-toed shoes and loose wavy hairstyle overtake them to create a dressy but not formal look. Switch the hairstyles and the black dress outfit would be more “night on the town” and the green dress outfit would be more “black-tie affair.”

hairstyle structure

left | right

Structure within the outfit is at play in nearly all of these examples. You can see how updos often align with structured looks, and hair worn down aligns with unstructured ones. But here are two more great outfits that show how you can juxtapose structure and looseness using your hairstyle. Wendy’s cropped trench and pencil skirt are decidedly structured, but wearing her hair down adds some soft, flowy lines. Her white trapeeze top is loose and breezy, but her headband and bun balance it out.

hairstyle genre

left | center | right

Finally certain hairstyles lend themselves to certain genres. At left, Wendy has on a preppy/classic look that could’ve come direct from the J.Crew catalog, and has chosen a bun/headband combo to match. The middle outfit has both Boho and preppy elements to it, and the loose ponytail complements them both. For the beachy outfit on the right, Wendy wore her hair down and loose to match.

Hope this was helpful! And thanks again to Wendy for use of her gorgeous photos.

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