I was debating whether to publish this article now or wait for January 2nd, when most of us will wake up with a major hangover and a scary-ass to-do list called “New Year’s resolutions”.
It would make sense to talk about how to shop for clothes when you’re losing weight in January because I’m sure that at least 90% of you will have some of sort of “get in better shape goal” for the year, after all physique does play a significant role in our lives.
And yet I decided against it because simply put, I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I believe in committing to goals when you’re motivated but calm, when you can rationally weight what you want for yourself and in your life – this is when we make decisions that can truly change our lives for the better.
In this article we’ll talk about how to deal with clothes when you’re losing weight, when your jeans are getting noticeably looser and require a belt just to stay on your waist and shirts that once looked like they are about to pop a button are now baggy and it feels like you could fit two of you there.
But before we get into it, let’s talk about why shopping for clothes can be complicated during weight loss and why you should care in the first place:
- When you commit to getting in better shape your physique will go through significant changes – if you’re smart about it, your waist will get leaner and your shoulders become wider.
- It will take about 3 to 6 months (depending on your starting point it can take more or less) to reach your desirable proportions and weight if you’re just losing weight (more if you plan on building muscle too).
- This means that your current clothes that fit you just right will become ill-fitting and baggy quite quickly.
- Baggy clothes will make you look sloppy and negate the visual benefits of your new lean and sexy physique in the real world, before your shirt comes off. Seriously, a guy with an average physique but perfect fit will look more impressive than a ripped guy in ill-fitting, baggy clothes.
- On one hand you could suspend your social life and meeting women while you’re losing weight and stick with your ill-fitting clothes until you reach your desirable weight but that’s just a recipe for disaster and hating the process.
- On the other hand, renewing your wardrobe every 10 pounds (approx. amount before you’ll drop a size) can end up being very expensive and a waste of money.
In other words, both options suck and the perfect strategy where you end up with a great physique, looking sexy in fitting clothes and with some cash in your pocket is in-between those two extremes.
And that’s what we’re here to talk about!
#1. Accept That There Will Be Costs Involved
There’s just no going around this – even though we’ll focus on how we can save money as we’re going through this transitional period there will be some expenditures, whether that’s replacing some of your basic items like tees or tailoring your better clothes like jackets and suits.
You can use the money you saved from not using unnecessary supplements (I’ll explain later in the article) to fund looking your best during these transitional periods
A general guideline is that you should move down a size every 10 pounds or so. But don’t get too hung up on the exact number as it will vary case-by-case depending on how much muscle mass you add during this period and your height.
For example, when I started out my actual weight barely changed because all the “extra love” I was losing from my torso when straight to my shoulders and chest, which made my stretchy tees look amazing but a few buttoned shirts ended up looking baggy around the torso.
You can see a general guide on how clothes should ideally fit you here.
One good thing about having some hidden costs is that when you do eventually move down a size it keeps you motivated not get all that weight back.
#2. Stick With Basic, Cheaper Items
The good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) thing about clothes is that a cheap, off-the-shelf item that fits you perfectly will look much better than an expensive piece that’s too baggy.
This means that during this period, if you can avoid it, it’s best not to make any pricier purchases like jackets, suits, high quality jeans.
When you’re dressing for nights out or dates – situations where wearing a formal dress shirt or a suit are not necessary – it’s best to stick with outfits built around basic items like tees.
I’m sure almost all of us can reward ourselves for improving our physique by getting a well-fitting tee or a Henley shirt for about ~10 – 15 Eur from H&M or a similar low-cost fashion brand.
When it comes to jeans and chinos it’s also no shame to get an item of poorer quality because in terms of how good they visually appear most people could not tell a difference between a premium pair of jeans and one for ~30 Eur.
The main difference between high quality and low quality items becomes apparent in the long run as the low quality ones start looking worn out, start losing color and high quality just seem to get better with time (not applicable to all items), they start developing a character. Well that and high quality items are made from better fabrics, have better cuts and simply feels nicer to wear and touch.
You probably won’t be losing weight for a really long time (assuming you have an effective strategy/program in place and commit to it), so you can get back better quality items when your waist size and torso width is mostly stable.
You can then keep your cheaper clothes for running chores and doing garden work or something.
The downside of building outfits around really basic items is that it can be difficult to really look impressive, spike the sex appeal with your image.
A good way to deal with this is invest in great looking shoes and/or accessories to spice up your outfit – those items won’t need to be replaced as your weight goes down and will improve your otherwise simple outfit.
#3. Befriend A Tailor
But let’s say you already have your favorite high quality shirt or blazer and it would really suck to give them up. Or maybe you need to be wearing a suit and look sharp.
There’s something we can do there too and that’s finding a good tailor and make some alterations to your clothes as you’re losing weight.
Now, this primarily should be reserved for your better, more expensive clothing because when it comes to cheaper items it simply doesn’t make economic sense to invest in tailoring when you could buy a new, fitting item for pretty much the same price.
(There’s one exception to the above for guys with more unique physiques on whom items off-the-shelf simply don’t fit very well at all. This is often the case for guys who are significantly above or below average in height, are very skinny or very muscular.)
Ok so how do we go about having our clothes tailored, what can and can’t be done:
- As a rule of thumb, most alterations that involve removing fabric can be done. That’s great news when you’re losing weight. Adding fabric, making things wider and more “roomy” on the other hand is much more complicated and limited – bad news for guys who are gaining weight.
- For shirts, jackets, suit jackets first and foremost make sure that item fits around the shoulders. As you’re losing weight your shoulder width shouldn’t be changing that much so as long your older clothes fit you well before you started this journey, it should be possible to tailor them to fit your new leaner physique too.
- With jeans and chinos it’s a bit trickier – some alterations can be made and you can probably slim them down a size or so but that’s about it because the way it’s done your back pockets will get closer and closer as the fabric is removed and at a certain point it just starts looking weird.
- Even though in theory a good tailor can do major changes to a garment, as a rule of thumb it’s rarely a good idea to ask him to go down more than a size. After that point it’ll either end up not being economical or the result simply won’t look as good as an item that’s been made to fit your size.
How this fits into the whole picture?
If we’re taking this approach you should have a few well-fitted though cheaper tees picked up and your jacket/blazer tailored to nicely fit around your slimmer torso. Add a good looking pair of shoes a few accessories and you have a sexy date night look going that will nicely show off your new lean physique.
What About Shopping And Building Lean Muscle
Generally building lean muscle and shopping for clothes is less of a problem.
There are few reasons for that:
- First, building new muscle is a slower process so you will naturally be updating your wardrobe during this process simply to replace the items that get worn out.
- Secondly, if you’re not bulking up like crazy but instead doing lean bulk those problematic areas like torso will stay mostly the same in terms of width, it’s your hands, shoulders, chest that will be getting bigger and that’s a good problem to have.
What this means in practice is that your t-shirts will start looking much more impressive and you might find yourself having some issues closing the top button on your buttoned shirt but that’s pretty much only a problem when you need to look formal and wear a tie as in other cases you shouldn’t be having less than two buttons closed anyway.
One problem down the road as your shoulders get much bigger is that your sleeves might start feeling a little too short and that’s a sign that you’ll need to experiment with moving up a size and then getting the item tailored so it fits nicely around your torso and chest.
As a result, as your musculature improves there’s no need to worry about tees and such and for buttoned shirts even though it’s definitely a good idea to get them to perfectly fit your new physique it becomes more of a luxury than a pressing high priority as it is when you’re losing weight.
Visual Tricks To “Camouflage” Your Ill-fitting Clothes
But let’s say the money is really tight right now and you can’t afford to have all your buttoned shirts tailored. I would like to share a couple of simple tricks to visually camouflage some of the issues with fit.
I would, however, like to stress that these are only “band-aid” solutions and should be addressed as soon as the situation allows it.
Using layering to camouflage baggy shirts
For this to work you will need to have at the very least a well-fitting outer layer – this can be a blazer, a jacket or a jumper (if it’s warm enough to go without a jacket). In other words if you have a budget to tailor a single item, I’d start with the outermost layer.
It’s also very useful to have a well-fitting second layer, this again can be a jumper, cardigan or a vest (waistcoat). Vests in particular are a great item to add to your wardrobe during weight loss because most designs have adjustable waists and you can tighten it up as you’re dropping fat while eating massive hamburgers with fries (my favorite choice for diet during this year).
The principle is very simple as you’re using the outer layers to hide the ill-fitting parts of the shirt.
Below you can see an example with one of my older shirts that I decided to keep.
This approach also can work if your tee or shirt becomes slightly too short because of your newly developed massive shoulders. However, in that case you want to make sure the part that’s fully covered is the bottom of the shirt.
Rolling your sleeves
A shirt getting slightly too short is rarely a problem when losing weight but a rather common problem when your shoulders and chest become more developed and bigger.
Rolling your sleeves can be an effective “band-aid” solution for your buttoned shirt and long-sleeved shirts when they start getting too short around the sleeves and for one reason or the other getting a new one quickly is not in the cards.
Add an accessory or two to concrete the effect that you’re doing this purposefully to look better and not just trying to hide something.
But yeah, both of these practices should be as last resort only and only very temporary.
Thinking about your wardrobe in the face of making significant physique changes can be daunting and with this article I hope I managed to shed some light on best practices on how to shop for clothes when you’re losing weight so you don’t unconsciously sabotage your weight loss efforts just to fit in your old clothes.
Physique and style is a match made in heaven – by adjusting these two aspects of your appearance you can significantly transform how much more attractive you can become. Add grooming to the list and an “average Joe” (even below average) can become a stunningly sexy man.
So yeah, if you’re wondering whether dropping your love-handles is a journey worth taking then answer is simple – HELL YEAH!!!
Throughout this article few times I mentioned “having an effective strategy”, “being smart”, “not wasting money on supplements”, etc.
Here’s the point – I’m by no means an expert in fitness and yet this year I went from this:
During that time I didn’t spend a dime on supplements, ate TONS of pizzas, burgers, chips and drank gallons of alcohol during nights out, parties and just chilling with friends – enjoying my life to its fullest.
In the past I was convinced that to drop fat and have an attractive, lean body means rigorous dieting: eating chicken breast, rice and broccoli 7 days a week and having a separate closet just for all the fitness supplements (you know, powders, pills and stuff).
I don’t know, maybe I would’ve had a better physique right now with the latter approach but I can’t image sticking with that crap for more than a week haha (if you can, more power to you, have fun!)
If you’re looking to effectively lose weight and improve your physique AND have fun in the progress, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Kinobody Warrior Shredding program (as you can see I’m a big fan and a happy customer of Kinobody.com myself!)
So yeah, that’s it for now, if you have any questions don’t hesitate in the comments section below