Category Archives: Clothes

M is comfortable, S is snug

“40% Off, min. 2 pieces.”

Ah ha, just what I was waiting for. For a long time now, as my size shrank, I’ve been slowly hunting for new clothes to replace many years of now-oversized and over-worn clothes. You’ve seen my new jeans, and my gleefully snipped leather belts. Lately I’ve realized that I’ve been wearing the same few t-shirts from Uniqlo because, well, they are the only ones that sort of still fit nicely (they used to be a bit snug around the chest, but are a little loose now).

Yesterday, as I walked past Bossini at West Mall, my eye caught the above offer. It was “$15 rebate for every $80 spent” just last week (savings of about 20%) – and now it’s at 40%. Such is the occasionally beauty of the GSS (Great Singapore Sale).

There’ve been a couple of t-shirts I’d been eyeing. I couldn’t miss this chance. The only thing was the size. As a newly “shrunk” person, it’s been a bit of a (enjoyable) challenge to determine what size do I fit into these days.

L → M → S

I haven’t bought a shirt from Bossini for ages. A long time ago, when I was in my twenties, I remember I owned size L shirts from them. At some point in the more recent past, I could wear M.  I don’t think I shrank, most likely I became less geeky. -_-

Now the M’s are still comfortable, but here’s the thing:  when one is suitably slim, clothes can be comfortable in a different way. Every person of different shape and size has an individual definition of  “comfortable”, but there is a special class of “comfortable” reserved only for those figures that the clothes were designed for.

Overweight, out-of-shape people – like I used to be – always admire and wonder how is it clothes can fit so snugly around nicely figured people. The truth is simple: clothes are not made for the fat. They’re made for mannequins. The irony is that, since many people these days are not in shape, actually clothes “fit” relatively few people (ok, depending on which country you’re talking about). Many people are actually wearing ill-fitting clothes, and it’s not the clothes that are out of shape.

M is comfortable, S is snug.

So I took two t-shirts into the fitting room. One M, and one S (good-bye, L, forever). I put on the M first and it felt and looked fine. It was comfortable. It looked like I still wear M. Then I put on the S. It was comfortable, and fit – very snugly. In short: it was even better. It showed off my figure – a sentence that would’ve made my wife laugh in the past. I checked to see if the shirt might shrink. There was a label saying “Pre-shrunk”. Hooray.

So I can wear M and also S, both comfortably. The difference is this – turn sideways against the mirror and pull outwards the back of the shirt – the M balloons, showing how much extra “space” there is. That’s the deciding factor.

When I used to be fat, it was a given – something I got used to – that shirts  sort of fit and looked ohhhhkay, but I never truly understood that they actually didn’t.  That is, how I looked like in the mirror might be “acceptable” to me but actually it isn’t right. Nowadays whenever I wear my old shirts, I feel a bit like a deflated Michelin man.

If you have been relatively slim all your life, none of these may make sense (and I would be wondering why you are reading this weight loss blog, anyway) because clothes never really hung loose on you.

For me, this has become a reward I never quite anticipated. I can wear S, and it feels and looks good. It makes me wonder who is it exactly who’s supposed to wear L, XL and XXL. Oh.

If you are struggling to lose weight, persist – it’s not just about slimming down and becoming healthier, it’s also about the sheer pleasures of entering a different class of clothes-wearing, the one that used to make you envious and chagrined.

The Shrinking Man: dropping below size 30

The last time I bought a pair of jeans was around the turn of the year 2011/2012, about 3 months ago. I was pretty proud of the fact that I could fit into a size 31, which I picked up out of the clearance bin at Uniqlo Vivocity.

Ah, the pleasures of being able to buy sizes nobody wants.

So, last weekend, I walked into Uniqlo again, this time at Somerset 313. I’ve actually been wanting to buy a second pair of jeans to replace all my wookie-sized jeans from my Fat Era, since said turn of the year, but I never got down to it.

I suppose it was a good reason to be negligent. Read on.

So, last weekend, as I was saying, I walked into Uniqlo again. Truth is, I was glad the Winter season was over, since, well, Winter season wear mainly elicits wry smiles and awkward looks in tropical Singapore. Yes yes we do have genuinely cold weather here, but it isn’t wintry. At the most, we could do spring cool. And yes, thank goodness, the clothes look fabulously wearable this month.

Yes, as I was saying, I walked into Uniqlo again, looking for a new pair of jeans. I was stopped immediately at the main entrance….

$69.90 –> $49.90 LIMITED SALE

Yes.

Darker blue. Fine. I fingered through the rack. 34, 32, 34, 34, 31, 32, 33, 31, 30, 32…

Yes, there’s a 30, one single pair! And I have to say, it is a totally new feeling for me to be picking out clothes from the slimmest end of the size range.

I brought it to the fitting room, with jolly. No queue! I quickly slipped it on and…. looks good!

Waitaminute… it’s loose.

It can’t be. I thought to myself. I’m still a little fat. See here, ouch, still have love handles. Surely 30 is right…. OK, here’s something interesting, I can alllllmost use this pair of jeans without altering the length, cos I’m more or less standard proportions now. In the past, I needed to cut like 3½ kilometres from the hem so it wouldn’t look like a squid’s denim jacket. Now that I’m slimmer and can fit into a 30, the length of the jeans becomes relatively shorter too.

Except, this 30 is loose.

I stepped out, slightly perplexed (and secretly a little gleeful). I hunted down a size 29 (this time from the main shelves, nearly hidden in one corner) and returned to the fitting room. Cool, still no queue, on a Sunday afternoon. (Where is everybody….)

As I slipped my legs into the jeans, it felt a little tighter than I expected. But then again, I’d always lived life wearing loose jeans, since I needed more waist space. I proceeded to zip up. Nah, I thought. Here is where it’s going to fail…

10 minutes later, I had the alteration measured, paid up and “Sir,” the young Uniqlo lady said to me at alteration services, “You can collect it at 2.30pm”.

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Never in my adult life did I ever imagined I would ever fit into a 29.

 

Making yourself fit the cut of clothes

The cut of a piece of clothing, I’ve always known even before losing weight, is important for getting the right shape out of your clothes. The cut, as I understand it, refers to the way a piece of garment hangs on the body based on the shape and dimensions of the various parts/pieces it is made of.

You may fit into a certain size, but the cut may not fit you – look nice on you, flatter you. Perhaps the upper part of a pair of jeans looks out of shape, or a shirt seems  too round and puffy around the torso, or the sleeves are too big/long.

I realize now that, with a better body shape, clothes are going to do more for you. This may seem like the most obvious thing to say in the world, but I think for someone like me who has been fat/overweight/unshapely for so long, to finally see oneself fit a cut nicely, is a revelation.

Office-clothes_ill-fitting
And this is important, because in the consumer world of fashion, we are used to (1) perfectly shaped models pulling off all kinds of clothes with nonchalant ease in their immaculately photoshoped magazine pages, (2) we know it’s because they have far superior body shapes from us ordinary mortals, and (3) we’ve resigned to being fat and shapeless.

This combination of mental acceptances creates in us a complacency that we can never look like that. We all go into shops, pick out clothes that look great on the hangar, try it on ourselves only to have them betray us in the mirror.  Slowly, we accept that the model adverts are just a lie – or rather, it’s not for you, not for your “shape”.

My point is that, if you feel that clothes never seem to look good on you, it may simply be due to your shape + the cuts you choose. While the latter is something you can hunt down and choose, the former is something you have to commit hard work to turn into reality.

It is not impossible to find clothes with cuts that fits you, even if you’re overweight.  It’s just harder. In my experience, it is also annoying – it’s just so hard to find new clothes. I know this because of the many years of buying new clothes for Chinese New Year. My experience for this year has been the easiest. Two of my favourite pieces this year came from clearance bins. They were relatively small in size – and surprisingly they fit. I’ve never had it this easy before. Just about the only thing hampering me were stock and price.

The lesson is that vanity is not just about having the right figure, it is about the satisfaction that clothes fit you nicely.

How many sizes change with weight loss?

You know the obvious one – though, that’s more often the desired one – waistline. But I discovered to my delight and sometimes to my chagrin that it’s more than just your waistline that changes with weight loss.

For sure, if you’re on a consistent, proper weight loss regime, your waistline will change. How much? In my case, somewhere between 3 and 4 inches. I’ve cut off almost 4″ from my workwear belt, as you can see. That’s the result of about 15 kg of weight loss.

Last weekend, I threw away (into the recycling bag) another pair of old jeans. I thought I would keep it (a size 34) as a backup. But on that day I put it on, as a backup, and it was so spectacularly roomy that its only fate in my life was to be never worn again. I haven’t used my new pair of jeans yet, for I am waiting for the Chinese New Year. That’s a 31.  

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Now for the changes I did not expect. One, my shirt size, long-sleeved, for work. I used to wear size 16. I think that’s the shoulder width. That’s the neck size (thanks JE!!). A few weeks ago I tried on a 15.5 because there were no more 16s for that design, and the 15.5 fit very nicely, to my surprise. I tried 16 for another design, and it dawned on me that this now looked baggy. I never quite noticed it before. From that day on, I increasingly noticed that my old size 16 shirts were rather baggy, and worse, shapeless. They looked like, well, they didn’t fit.

The next thing I noticed was something I really did not expect. My watch strap, which are metal links. Yesterday, I flicked my hand and the watch’s body actually slipped from the top of my wrist to the bottom. Now that’s loose. I’ll have to visit a watch shop to have a link or two removed.

Lastly, the size of your bank account. All these wardrobe changes, or incoming wardrobe changes, are going to put a dent in your bank account. Yes, it’s for a good reason, but not all at once! I suppose many of my roomy size 16 shirts remain wearable – the only reason I would change them is so I look better. For vanity’s sake, why not?