Sometimes bodies are frustrating: on weight fluctuations and stretchy clothes

This dress doesn’t fit anymore, but it makes a great wall hanging.

I’m really, really jealous of the people whose weight never changes, no matter what they eat or how much they exercise or how stressed out they get. I’m pretty sure that either Lesley or Marianne, possibly both, has written about staying the same weight for a decade; damn, I wish my body would do that.

Fatshion, for me, is all about using my body as a canvas–and that’s hard to do when it keeps changing.

When I first found fat acceptance and stopped trying to lose weight, my weight settled around 200 lbs, dropped to 180-ish for no discernible reason, and then stayed there for a few years. Then, due to a combination of anxiety keeping me from some of my favorite forms of movement and other factors, I gained weight over the course of a year or two and ended up around 235/240. I’ve been there for two or three years with only minor fluctuations, but I’m constantly aware that my weight could shift again.

Right now, I’m don’t want my weight to change in either direction.  If I lose weight, most of the wardrobe I’ve built over the last few years will no longer fit; and I’ve gradually given away or sold most of the clothing that’s currently too small. If my body decides to get smaller, I’ll be kicking myself for giving away the black and beige lace evening gown, the blue/pink/brown ’60s-floral-print sundress, the eggplant satin button-down top with ruffles…

But if my body decides to get bigger, not only will most of my current clothes no longer fit, but I’ll have significantly fewer options for buying new ones. As it is, I already wear the largest or second-largest size in many plus size lines, especially junior’s plus like Wet Seal, Forever 21, and Deb.

It’s a bit precarious to wear a size 22, knowing that many plus size lines stop at 24, and that your body may well get bigger as you age (and possibly have children, not to mention other factors that can affect weight). Here I want to pause and give a shout-out to a few brands that go beyond 3x/24: Domino Dollhouse, ASOS Curve, Simply Be, Yours, Love Your Peaches, Ashley Nell Tipton, Cult of California, Torrid, ModCloth, eShakti, Sealed With a Kiss, and Chubby Cartwheels.

So I buy mostly stretchy items–most of my clothes can stretch to fit 10, 20, even 30-pound weight fluctuations. I even have one magic skirt that has fit comfortably at every size from 160 lbs to 240. Seriously, it deserves its own movie.

Same skirt, 8 years and 80 pounds apart. (Some aspects of my style never change, huh?)

And I keep hoping that my body will chill out and stay the same size indefinitely, even though I know it’s ultimately out of my control.

8 thoughts on “Sometimes bodies are frustrating: on weight fluctuations and stretchy clothes

  1. This sounds so frustrating! On the bright side, it gives you an excuse to buy new clothes? 😛 I personally get tired of all my clothing after a few years and I can’t justify (or afford) replacing my wardrobe. Not trying to devalue your complaint at all though! Change in all its forms can be terribly inconvenient.

  2. I’m up and down a lot as well, especially since Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME have made exercise really difficult. Also I get HUGE bloat from IBS and ovarian cysts. I tend to buy bigger than I need and belt everything in. Belts are my friend! Your pink skirt is super cute, btw.

  3. I find myself buying more and more fit-and-flare garments because I love how adaptable they are to weight fluctuations and body changes. I don’t like feeling constricted in clothes, so I think that’s why I’m drawn to stretchy materials. But I don’t like baggy clothes either because I do like to showcase that I have a shape, so fitted stretch garments are where it’s at for me!

    Like you, I have pieces that have gone through the years with me. They’re keepers. I find that my nemesis for weight change is jeans. I can’t tell you how many pairs I’ve thrown out because I gained weight and holding onto them made me feel bad about myself. Or on the flip side, they were so baggy that I looked and felt frumpy and like I didn’t care about myself. I think that’s a huge reason why I’ve strayed away from pants and prefer skirts and dresses. I feel prettier in them, and they’re more forgiving of me as my body changes.


    • I feel the same way about fit-and-flare garments! And jeans, uggh. I’ve had the same problem with constantly having to buy new jeans when my weight fluctuated. Now, even though my weight has been stable for a while, I’ve given up on jeans (and any non-stretchy pants) completely because they just don’t feel comfortable anymore.

  4. Just wanted to say this piece was really helpful. Even though I’m really happy to have to come to the place in my life now when I like all of me, where I know diets are bullshit, etc, it still feels a bit like failure not to have found that “set point”. It’s just affirming to know I’m not out here, sizing up slowly but surely and trying not to give a fuck, while still loving my clothes, alone.

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