Here’s the thing about editing your closet when you’re between sizes: There’s always that lingering fear that you’ll get rid of something and then regret it later when you lose/gain the right amount of weight. There’s also the fear that if you get rid of the clothes that don’t fit — even just by moving them out of the closet — you’re giving up on the idea of ever being a different size than you are right now.
While I cannot say you won’t regret things you give away, I can say, with certainty, that editing and reorganizing your closet is not a sign that you’ve given up — it’s a sign that you’re moving in the right direction. Wearing clothes that don’t fit right, or clothes that look terrible, won’t make you feel good about yourself. Instead, invest in a few versatile pieces in the right sizes and create a coherent look for yourself, at this size and this weight. You’ll feel better about yourself almost immediately. I promise.
Let’s talk about what you should have in your closet if you’re between sizes. Five things! That’s all it takes. More or less.
1. Neutral shirt. A white shirt is the usual staple, but if white isn’t your color, choose something you really love — bright blue or pink or orange. Just make sure it works with the other pieces in your closet. Opt for a shell or a button-down or a tunic — whatever works for you. Choose a style that can be dressed up or down, for the most versatility.
2. A-line skirt. A neutral, like black or navy or khaki, is always a good choice, but a fun print will liven up your closet. An A-line is the most versatile style, as it flatters every figure, even if you’re in between sizes and weights. Bonus: As you start to slim down, an a-line is easy to belt, which means you can wear it for longer. Always good.
3. Tailored pants. As with the shirt, you have lots of style options — mid-rise, dark-rinse jeans are always a good choice, but they can be a little impractical for summer. Look for shorts or capris with a flat front and back slash pockets (no flaps!). Opt for a leg line that falls straight from the widest part of your hip. Shorts should hit just below the widest part of your thigh (that may be shorter than you’d expect) and capris should hit just above the slimmest part of your ankle (which may be longer than you’d expect).
4. Perfect t-shirt. Choose one in a substantial cotton — it will wash and wear better. Be meticulous about the fit — shoulder seams should hit at your shoulder (not below). Short sleeves should be level with your nipples when you’re wearing a good bra — shorter and your arms will look big, longer and the shirt will look big. The body should be slim but not tight.
5. Day dress. A simple dress, in a comfortable, forgiving fabric, can take you from day to night. A jersey wrap dress is the most versatile when you’re in between sizes; wear it with sandals or flats for day and heels for night. Tie it a little tighter as you get a little smaller. And pile on the jewelry to keep it looking fresh and fun.
Of course, it takes more than five pieces to get dressed every day (although how awesome would it be if that were all you needed?). Invest in a multiples of the pieces you wear the most — a few skirts and several t-shirts, for example. Keep in mind that your closet should ideally be 60% tops and 40% bottoms, no matter what your size or shape. Choose colors and patterns that you really love, because you’ll be wearing them a lot.
Finally, don’t be afraid of repetition — think of this not as having nothing to wear but as cultivating a very specific style. Like stripes every day. Just for example.