Self Esteem Journey: Getting Rid of Clothes That Don’t Fit Me

I’m not sure if today was a good thing for my self esteem or a bad thing.

Today I pulled all my clothes of my rails and out of my drawers and piled them onto my bed. I then went through each item one by one to see if I still liked it and if it still fit. I wrote all about how I’ve gained weight recently here.

This is all my clothes including pyjamas and gym wear:

The next step, I decided, to become more comfortable with my new body was to go through my wardrobe and get rid of any clothes that did not fit me. So that’s what I did this morning. And oh boy was it a lot more emotional that I expected.



Looks simple enough.

It wasn’t really. So many of my clothes just did not fit me anymore and it really hurt. As much as I tried squeezing myself into a few favourite items, my body is different now, it wasn’t going to happen. I even broke a few zips in the process.

I said some emotional goodbyes to items of clothing that have served me well over the years. But I’m not perfect and I did something that I’m not sure will help or hinder my body confidence progress.

I kept some of my absolute favourite clothes behind. There were four dresses that I could not bear to part with even though they no longer fit me. They’re hung on the now otherwise empty back rail, just in case. Is this a bad mentality to get in? Probably. Either I’ll lose weight and be really happy that I can wear my favourite dresses again or I won’t and they will be staring me in the face every morning tormenting me. What would you do?

I also kept all my old bikinis that no longer fit me. But they’re in a drawer hidden away and if I do end up losing weight I’ll be grateful I still have them because buying bikinis for my size is EXPENSIVE.

So this is where I’m at. Next, I want to go charity shop shopping for some new clothes that actually fit for the summer. And here is the pile of clothes I shifted off to the charity shop earlier (I had a full suitcase and backpack!):

So there’s a little update on where I’m at with my self esteem journey since gaining weight. It was tough but necessary.

Are you in a similar place? What should I do with the four dresses? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I’m in exactly the same boat right now, I don’t fit a lot of my clothes anymore and it’s making me miserable. I find it extremely helpful that you’re writing blogs/making videos about it. I already learned from the video with Melanie that I definitely should not starve myself/change my diet, because I love love love food, but rather try and start exercising. Regarding the clothes however, I do not have the money to buy new clothes, not even second hand clothing (which barely exist in the Netherlands and is still quite expensive), and I feel terrible that I maybe have to go to Primark to buy a few new t-shirts, because I hate their cheap-ass clothing due to the terrible labor.

    1. Maybe try clothes swapping? 🙂 it’s gotten more popular over the past few years so you could google if some girls organise it where you live. You could get rid of the old clothes and pick some that fit you better:) (btw I’m on the weight gain boat too hehe – YES to Melanie’s body positivity and food advice! – and I think it’s really wonderful of you to consider things like fair trade before your own needs, even when it’s so hard without new comfy clothes!) another thing I thought of – maybe learn how to sew or ask your friends/family around and try playing with re-making some of your old clothes? 🙂

      1. Totally agree with this! I’ve done 2 clothes swap parties and they’re so much fun, I’ve got some really great stuff from them. Just make sure you pick a group of girls who have roughly the same size clothes x

      2. Yes- clothes swaps are a fun way to get together with friends! I’ve hosted a few and we usually all drink (the last one my coworker brought her party dildo) and have so much fun. I have a few dresses that I have some good memories in that don’t really fit- but I can’t bring myself to part with them. I think that’s okay. They’re kind of in the back of my closet so they aren’t out in the open haunting me.

    2. Even if you can’t afford new clothes, it’s not useful to have all that clothes in your wardrobe that you don’t wear because it doesn’t fit you anymore.. I live in Croatia and we also don’t have good second hand shops and I really don’t like to wear or buy “cheep” quality clothes so I started sewing 🙂 And my advice for you is to try selling all the clothes that doesn’t fit you and then buy couple of basics.. If you don’t have money and no clothes that fits you- buy whatever you can afford right now and make better choices in the future 🙂

      1. Or maybe ask some of your friends or family members if they have any clothes that they don’t wear and wanna give it to you 🙂

  2. I have this one dress that has cost me a small fortune but doesn’t fit me anymore… I haven’t decided what I want to do with it either…
    Gaining weight sucks. I have a mum body (and 2 children by the way 😉 ) and although I should be proud of what my body has accomplished, I just can’t stand the sight of myself so for the time being.. I’m staying away from mirrors.
    The real problem here is that I’m so damn lazy. I should work out but I’m always doing other things.
    Oh well… maybe I’ll finally get to that point where enough is enough and I’ll actually do something about it…
    We’ll see.

  3. I have a few amazing vintage dresses that fit me at one point but don’t anymore. I have two of them sort of as displays in my room. I think of them more like art than as goal clothes. So, if one day I fit back into them, cool. If not, I still have these beautiful pieces of craftsmanship.

    1. Exactly what I was going to say – I have a sumptious red velvet dress that would probably only be comfortable if I got some wasting disease. I love it though, It adorns my wall like a painting. I love the colour and sometimes I stroke it.

      Most of my clothes were taken to Oxfam after reading “The lifechanging magic of tidying” Marie Kondo… tight waistbands do NOT bring me joy. And when did we get to feel like WE have to fit the clothes, rather than the other way round?

      Come to the world’s first festival of Body Acceptance – 13-15th October, Totnes, Devon. It’s called Bodykind, website on the way xx

  4. Hannah, i offer the advice of marie kondo, the downsizing queen. Does it bring you joy? For me, the answer to that question for those “goal clothes” and “what ifs” is a resounding no. They are beautiful, so let them out into the world and another woman can feel beautiful in them, and enjoy them to their fullest. Its not serving you to have them around, who knows what will happen in the future, you and your body deserve joy now (and the pretty dresses deserve to be worn, they serve no purpose in your closet).

  5. I’m in the same boat and it suuuuuuuucks. I did go through my clothes but I just packed up what didn’t fit and put it in a box where I can’t see it. For awhile I was keeping it in the hope that I would lose weight but now it’s been long enough that I recognize I may never fit into it again. I think as long as it’s not hanging there, taunting you, then I think it’s okay to keep things. Especially if your body does happen to randomly change again. I personally can’t afford to throw away all my clothes each time my body changes. So, if you’ve got a bit of storage space…

    I’m glad you’re talking/writing about this—it’s nice to know there are other people going through this too.

  6. I had a bit of the opposite; due to health issues I went down almost 2 sizes for trousers a couple of years ago, but my mom refused to let me buy any new pants (due to health issues I couldn’t get a part time job while studying, so I was dependent on my parents for clothes). Basically everything was too baggy and I had to wear belts that made it look even MORE baggy. I hated the way I looked in those clothes and it’s only about a year ago I had the chance to buy new stuff and it’s amazing what it did to my body image. On the other hand I wasn’t ready to let go of some of my favourite things because what if they’ll fit again sometime in the future?
    Anyway, hope you figure out what do to and find new stuff you really like!

  7. Hi Hannah, I’m new to your blog but I frequently follow you on YouTube and Instagram. I’ve been going through the same struggle with my weight gain lately, I’m almost to the weight I was at my heaviest and I feel sad every time I see my lumpy body in the mirror. I found that some of my favorite pieces are too small or tight and I feel like I need to clean it out but I’m also having trouble letting go of them😭 by the way, I just want you to know that I think you are beautiful no matter what your size is.

  8. I got inspired and made three piles of clothes to get rid of yesterday… 🙂 made me feel so much better, so thank you Hannah. About dresses – I’m giving away a dress that I kept ‘just in case’ about two years ago… I changed so much during that time, that I don’t even like it so much anymore 🙂 I wanted to keep two other ones, that seemed ‘special’ (mostly how I felt in them…), but now I’m thinking that maybe it’s really just an illusion. I feel happy when I see clothes that I can wear nowadays, pretty, colourful, and yes, big, but I’m kind of trying to stay grateful for all the clothes I have, and – that’s maybe funny – all the food I got to eat… 😇 Anyway, there will always be new clothes that you’re gonna love. I promise you. And even if the world collapsed and all dresses were gone – you’d still be the cool, cute you that I think you are from some videos I’ve watched, so the best element of all your outfits will always be there with you hahaha😁🙂 ok I’m tossing these dresses. I invite you and anyone who has the same struggle to join us! It will be okay. It’s just fabric. Take pictures of them for memories. Maybe it will help to see them from another perspective as well:)

  9. It would be quite interesting to keep them and use as a standard/style/colour inspiration to look for a new and better dress for each other ones that no longer fit! Once you find that “new and improved” dress, donate one of the old ones! In no time, I’m sure you will gain new and better favourites.

  10. I wouldnt put the dresses in a place where you will be seeing them everyday, its just not going to bring any positivity to your day.
    Keep them and the bikins in a bag so that they are there if need be.. If you ever realise you don’t want them anymore, dont throw them away and keep them for a future daughter 🙂
    My mother kept some of her clothes from her twenties and i love wearing them for a vintage look.

    Love you Hannah x

  11. I’m in the exact same situation as you right now and am totally guilty of keeping my favourite things! There’s one skirt that I wore on my birthday last year and I just adore 🙁 . One suggestion I’d have is to maybe see if anyone is selling those dresses in your size on depop? Then you can get rid of the old ones and still be able to wear your fave dresses. Good luck babe! x

  12. Get rid of the dresses girl. Use this as an opportunity to recreate yourself. Embrace your new body and everything that comes with it x

  13. I have kept some shirts that don’t fit but only because even if I can never wear them I want a quit made out of them because they’re suveniers or the designs have an emotional attachment in some way. Honestly, unless you’re planning on going on a diet/exercise regimine, I wouldn’t keep the dresses unless they are close to fitting and maybe 5-10 pounds would make the difference of them fitting or not. I do understand why you’d want to hang on to the bikini’s just in case…but I wouldn’t keep them more than maybe 2 years if they can’t be worn in that time. But that’s just my opinion.

  14. I’m in a very similar place and did the same sort of thing recently, I threw a couple of my favourite items away but still kept some. Again I don’t know if it was a good thing or not and this morning I was so stressed out that I couldn’t find anything to wear that I almost had a mental breakdown (although I should mention that I’ve just come off the pill too so I’m an absolute psycho at the moment anyway!)

    Maybe keep the dresses but hide them out of sight so they aren’t staring you in the face? Everyone goes through bigger and smaller stages. I’ve known people to have their “skinny” and “fat” wardrobes for this exact reason! Clothes are expensive and if you love something there’s always that chance that you will fit back into it or it’ll come back into fashion and you’ll be gutted … I’m still sad about the denim zip up halter I threw away as a teen (or maybe this was a blessing in disguise hahahaa)

    Hope it starts to get easier soon! You’re absolutely beaut regardless of your size and you’re spreading amazing messages so keep up the good work 🙂 x

  15. Totally hear you on the EXPENSIVE bikinis (and bras) for us big-boobed folk! So many of my friends don’t get it! It costs so much to get pretty ones!

  16. Hi Hannah. I’m not really a message-er or anything usually, I’m not really sure why, but I felt that there was something really compelling and transparent in the way you’re discussing this, and it’s very endearing, and I really wanted to let you know my story and to say that your way of working through your feelings is really awesome, and also you look fucking banging girl.

    I’ve been through the same type of feelings as you, in this kind of situation, I think. I put on a few stone and I had a different body than before. Things fit differently (or not at all!) and associating that uncomfortable constriction and self-consciousness with my weight gain really messed with my perception of what exactly made me feel worse about my body than I had before, because for me I did, unfortunately, feel worse than before.

    Suddenly I was wearing things that weren’t me or didn’t fit right or just made me feel a bit crap in that way that I do; forcing the button on my ugly dad jeans that I used to wear when I was bloated, or decorating; exasperatedly putting on that unisex band tee that was always at the back of my wardrobe; putting on my loosest tops or always wearing a hoodie as though there was something I needed to hide now; and no matter how reflective or mature a person I try to be, or how I try to challenge my perceptions of beauty and weight and standard or stay aware, I’m not in a place of unconditional self-love — & I’m a little ashamed to admit that I have let that get me, I have gone scarlet and watery-eyed with shame in a changing room when I couldn’t get into a pair of jeans. I have felt elation when I stepped on a set of scales and saw a number lower than I thought. It’s all so silly. But I feel like you did absolutely the right thing by just cutting that shit straight away and saying like look this is reality, work with it. Getting some lovely outfits, and a really solid good pair of butt jeans, fixed my attitude so. much. And it took me so bloody long to do it! & who’s to say that I won’t fit back into the old clothes? I know that I can vary in weight over the year by sometimes a stone, I mean I put on like 4 pounds in water weight before my period haha it’s not at all unusual for me & I haven’t ever thrown away my favourite pair of jeans from when I was a size 8/10.

    I take them out periodically and try them on. Sometimes I get them round my hips but I couldn’t use a team of horses to pull the fly closed, and sometimes they come just above my knees, and sometimes I don’t even bother, I just look at them and give the pocket a pet and think about a different kind of banging butt I had then — but I think that the most important part is that when that happens, when I do get them out, I laugh. I laugh because it’s hilarious to be in my bedroom trying to shuffle around my room with a crotch of denim round my knees and whole legs flapping off the end of my feet (and also once falling fully over on my face while my friend turned scarlet with hysterics). Because it just does. not. matter. It just doesn’t. Keep the dresses if you like them! Fuck it! The day they don’t serve you, the day they are hurting your feelings and they keep doing that, the day you see them as a goal to measure your worth by, chuck ’em. It might happen. But as long as they make you happy, they’re just dresses — you will remain just as lovely whether you wear those again some time, or find other favourites.

    Thanks for sharing this and for giving me something to think about.

  17. what i’d do with the dresses is get them altered – have them cut into skirts or tops, that way you can still keep wearing the clothes you love! x

  18. Yes, it is hard.. I’m going trough that process and I went up only one size (and it’s been that size for a couple of years now so it’s probably isn’t changing anymore) but also realized that some clothes I have is just not comfy or flattering or nice colour for me even if it fits me.. And I get rid of it all.. ALL.. Including that box of nice lingerie and clothes that are just a size down because I decided that I actually don’t wanna come back to skinny or “fit” version of me because I feel happy and healthy as I am right now… I’m not sure in what situation or mindset you are right now, and it’s your decision, but deffinetly put that dresses and bikinis in some box so you don’t think about them.. But if they are giving you negative or unhealthy thoughts or feelings maybe is better for you not to have that box in your life anymore 🙂

  19. First, thank you for talking so openly and honestly here and on your channel about body changes! It’s SO refreshing to see someone my age talking about the body changes many women experience in their 20s, while being real about the frustrations but not giving in to body shaming or diet culture. LOVE!

    Second, one of my favorite tricks for replacing absolute favorite clothes: eBay alerts. If I have an item I love but doesn’t fit anymore, I do an eBay search for the item in the new size I need. It usually doesn’t pop up right away, but then I use the “follow” feature which sends me automated reminders if the item does come up in the size I need. Of course this works best for more mainstream/widely available brands, but I have managed to replace SO MANY of my favorites using this trick by just finding them on eBay in a bigger size.

  20. Try to tailer these four dresses. Or transform them as suggested above.
    To be honest, my biggest concern about you gaining waight is if it affects your health? When I gained that much waight I started to have some health problems like high sugar and choleseterine. Please, check yourself!

  21. I’m in the same situation. It’s just so frustrating that all our favourite items that we carefully collected over years can’t be worn anymore. But wearing clothes that actually fit me makes me feel so much better, so there is no discussion when it comes to the necessity of this step.
    I’ve given some favourites to friends or family, so that I know they have “a good new home” but i’ll probably still keep some, like you. I’ll either get them altered or just put them away. Having them next to my clothes that fit me doesn’t seem appropriate for the moment, so I’ll just pile them up in a box. Maybe I’ll feel different about them in a few month, who knows? 🙂
    Next step for me: tossing out all my bikinis and buying new ones. I have nothing to wear to the pool/lake and it just keeps getting hotter!

  22. So. About the favourite dresses you kept. I am terrible at throwing stuff away, because I’m scared to miss it at one point. But even though I have still kept some of my younger teenage clother that I can technically wear but don’t fit the way they should, other clothes I have given to friends that fit them and they liked. So sometimes I will see some of my favourite clothes on my friends and it makes me really happy and not regret parting with them to any degree.

  23. I’ve just been confronting this from the other direction (finally losing weight!) and needing to buy smaller clothes, ditching larger ones. I know psychologically it’s bad to have larger clothes hanging around “in case”, not sure how that works in the other direction? (I could see it getting depressing, seeing clothes too small for you on the rail…) – in your case, if it’s the result of coming off the Pill and you’re thinking about going back on it, might you need them again soon?

    Right now, I’m just glad to be (a) male and (b) a postgrad student, so it’s a case of buying smaller jeans and T-shirts each time I drop a size. The cost would mount pretty quickly otherwise, I’d hate to have to throw out and replace expensive-looking stuff like Hannah’s mountain there!

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