Losing weight is an exciting endeavor, but it comes with a host of challenges along the way. Your meal plan and exercise routine aren’t the only things you’ll need to keep up with. It’s important to look and feel good at every stage of your weight loss journey, but this isn’t easy with an ever-changing body shape. Keep your wardrobe fierce and flattering without emptying your wallet every few weeks on all-new items. Try these tips for dressing smart at every stage.

Go for Some Give

When your weight is fluctuating, the most convenient items are those with a bit of natural give. Try a jersey dress with some stretch, leggings that will shrink with you, and anything with an elastic waistband. Think ahead as you’re shopping. An A-line skirt will fit well with an added belt, even as you shed the pounds, while a pencil skirt will get baggy and unflattering. A tunic top can give you comfortable coverage for now and flatter your frame with a wide belt cinched at the center when the extra weight melts away.

Choose items with a flexible fit. Learn to love those soft, giving fabrics. You can wear them comfortably even if they’re a little snug now and continue to craft a great look with them throughout your weight loss journey.

Build with Basics

Stock your wardrobe with versatile essentials. With a pair of black stretch pants, some simple solid-colored shirts, and cardigans or sweaters for layering, you can build a range of outfits. Rather than shopping for one item at a time, buy six to 10 pieces together, and select them for mix and match functionality. With two pairs of pants, four shirts, and a few options for outer layers, you can build a dozen different outfits with minimal investment.

Choose simple solids rather than statement pieces for now. Solids are more flattering on a larger figure, while a busy print might draw unwanted attention to an area you’re still working on. You can also get more wear out of a solid piece without clients or co-workers noticing that the same item is in frequent rotation. You want to keep your wardrobe smaller at this stage so you can afford to invest in some really stellar items when you hit your goal weight.

Shop Secondhand

When you’re actively losing weight, you know upfront that your new purchases will have only a limited life span in your closet. Don’t pay full price for brand-new items that you may only keep for a few months. Save your funds for future purchases and opt for more affordable options now.

There are dozens of places where you can find gently used clothing for a steal. Check out your local secondhand stores and consignment shops.

Invest in Accessories

If you’re looking to indulge in a little something special, invest in accessories rather than apparel. A beautiful necklace will fit you well at any weight, so you don’t have to worry about retiring it from your wardrobe anytime soon. Shoes, hair accessories, earrings, and makeup are great any-size options, as well.

Belts are a surefire winner that you’ll love through your weight loss journey and beyond. A fun accent belt will cinch in your tops and dresses for a formfitting look at any size. They’re a great tool for accenting your progress while extending the wear of your favorite wardrobe staples.

Get a Great Bra

It’s easy to overlook your undergarments when you’re worried about stretching your budget to cover an ever-changing wardrobe for your shrinking shape. However, a well-fitting bra is something you should never go without. You need a secure fit to keep you comfortable through your workouts, for one thing. It’s also important to note that a poorly fitted bra can make everything else in your wardrobe look frumpy. You need to pay attention to the delicates that are hidden beneath your outfit to really keep your clothing looking nice.

Head to a lingerie store with a well-trained staff, and get a bra fitting periodically as you lose weight. Though you might be accustomed to scanning the racks for that one standard size you’ve worn for years, this is going to change along with the rest of your clothing sizes. Every woman’s body adapts differently to weight loss. You might go down a cup size, lose a few inches from the band, or both. Get a proper measurement to make sure you’re buying the right items for your new shape.

Enjoy Extras at Your Big Milestones

While you won’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe every few pounds, you don’t have to deprive yourself of a slimming pair of jeans throughout your entire weight loss journey. Set milestones, and allow yourself to invest in one or two special items at each stage. Having a few pieces that aren’t as stretchy and forgiving is a great way to track your progress. You might not notice the change in fit with your leggings, but you will notice the difference as your new pair of skinny jeans gets looser and easier to slide into.

If you have special events on your agenda, indulge a little in your outfits for these occasions, as well. A wedding, holiday party, awards ceremony, or other celebratory occasion is a great excuse to pick up a formfitting dress that beautifully flatters the shape you’ve worked so hard to develop.

With a few smart strategies in place, you can enjoy clothes shopping at every stage of your weight loss journey. No matter where you are in the process, take time to build a wardrobe that makes you feel beautiful. Don’t hide in tent like clothing. Show off your shape with confidence. Even if you’re not to your goal yet, you have plenty to be proud of, and the right clothing is sure to show it.

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