You’re several months postpartum.
“So,” you ask, “Should I keep my pre-pregnancy clothes?”
My “Should I keep my pre-pregnancy clothes?” Struggle
In passing the one-year postpartum mark after having our second child, I began to ask myself this question. Should I continue to keep some of the clothing items I’d been hanging onto in the desperate hope they’d fit again? Many of these things I’d been able to wear again after having our first child, so you can understand my dilemma. Would I eventually return to my previous size, like I did before?
I’d lost most of the baby weight after baby #2, but it had taken longer and my body was just…different. I don’t know how else to put it. I found myself keeping many things in my drawers that I never wore, but that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of. Finally, after one too many frustrating wardrobe sessions where I felt like I was sorting through piles of clothes and finding nothing to wear, I decided to declutter my pre-pregnancy wardrobe.
But what about you? You may be asking the exact same question I was: “Should I keep my pre-pregnancy clothes?”
The answer is no. If you are many months postpartum and somewhat close to your pre-pregnancy weight, but still feeling like your pre-pregnancy clothes don’t fit well, it’s time to part with those clothes and reorient your wardrobe around the current reality of how your body looks now. This can be hard for many women to hear, because parting with pre-pregnancy clothes often goes so much deeper than just making space in the closet. It touches on frustration with current body shape or weight, sadness at getting rid of clothes that have sentimental memories, and budget concerns over the money women often feel they’ll need to spend to replace those clothes.
So, what to do about these concerns? I wrestled with each of them and came to some answers that helped me as I worked through the process. Hopefully, this helps you, as well.
The Hope of More Weight Loss
Oh man, this one is so real, isn’t it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a shirt out of the drawer and thought, “Five more pounds. Just five more pounds.” We hang onto clothes because we think we’ll be losing that extra weight anytime now (but it’s been six months or nine months or two years and we still haven’t lost it).
This is not at all to discourage you from losing weight if you’re on a weight loss journey. If you are, go for it! But sometimes, weight loss isn’t even the issue. Sometimes, we have loose skin or saggy places that may not disappear with weight loss, or our hips may have widened permanently after having a baby.
If that is the case, there’s no point in hanging on to old clothes that are never going to fit again, or at least never fit in the same way.
I would’ve laughed at this idea when I was a child or even a teenager, but the older I get, the more sentimental things become. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some feelings come to the surface as I decluttered my wardrobe.
I struggled with getting rid of a dress I wore on an early date with my husband (fancy Italian dinner downtown when we’d only been together about a month). I remember the date vividly and how special it was, and how beautiful I felt in that dress. A big part of me really wanted to keep it for that reason.
In a similar vein, I had a girly white tank top I wore on many different trips, in particular, a trip to Europe with girlfriends that still holds the record as one of the best vacations of my life. I had a lot of fun times in that cute little tank top.
However, me keeping the memories is not dependent on me keeping these clothing items. They have been hanging in my closet for the last three years. They don’t fit me well anymore. But you know what? I have wonderful pictures wearing these things, so I can enjoy those for years to come and feel free to part with the clothes, knowing the memories are still intact.
Yes, this is certainly a legitimate consideration. Money doesn’t grow on trees, after all! Most of us don’t have the disposable cash lying around to just toss out a whole wardrobe and replace it instantaneously.
This is true, but in my opinion, it’s still not a good enough reason not to declutter your postpartum wardrobe. After all, those clothes are not being worn right now anyway. They’re just sitting in your drawer or hanging in your closet. So, you’re not shrinking your wardrobe any further by parting with the clothing items that don’t fit. You already shrunk your wardrobe when you stopped wearing them.
But, you are having to navigate around them everyday when you get dressed. This can make it difficult to evaluate what you actually have and what you may actually need to purchase to complete your wardrobe. Once I cleaned out what no longer fit, I saw clearly what I needed to buy, and it wasn’t nearly as much as I had originally thought it would be.
It’s important to remember that no one is forcing you to buy any clothes you need brand new. Go to the local thrift store, shop on ThredUp, or go to a local consignment store. There are plenty of places to buy what you need without paying top dollar.
However, don’t be surprised if you end up not wanting to buy a ton of stuff to replace the clothing you removed. Having a simplified wardrobe with space in your drawers and room for your clothes to breathe is so refreshing. I can now pull anything out of my closet or my dresser and know that it will fit me, and that feels amazing.
“So,” you ask, “Should I keep my pre-pregnancy clothes?” Only you can decide, but if I could give you any encouragement, it’s this: let go and make space. Let go of the clothing that is no longer serving you. Make space for new pieces to enjoy, or enjoy the simplicity that comes from having a smaller wardrobe. Savor the memories attached to the clothing you’re parting with, but don’t feel like you have to hang onto those clothes to hang onto the memories.
As I wrestled with whether or not I should keep my pre-pregnancy clothes, all of the concerns above weighed on me. Yet, had I known how freeing it would be to let go of those clothes and embrace where I’m at, I would’ve done it a lot sooner. I hope you’re able to do the same.