How to Stay Stylish (and Shop) While Losing Weight

By: Peter Nguyen
Last Updated: January 15, 2021

This question comes from a reader, John. He asks:

“I’m working out a lot and watching what I eat. How do I stay stylish while my body is fluctuating and losing weight?”

Great question.

Hitting fitness goals while trying to stay stylish can be tricky. You don’t want to have to keep buying new clothes, but also, you don’t want to resort to living 24/7 in your gym clothes.

So what do you do?

Luckily, there are a few principles you can follow to ensure you look good in clothes while you’re working hard to look good without them.

1. Follow the “10 pound Rule”

Every 10lbs = 1 clothing size

Now, this rule isn’t 100% perfect. But from my personal experience cutting weight for my wedding, as well as working with a handful of clients who lost weight, this is a good rule of thumb to go by.

If you’re doing a smart weight cut, 1-2lbs of body fat a week, you can estimate that you’ll need to buy some new clothes every 5-10 weeks.

2. You can relax on the fit rules 

This is one of the rare times I’ll give you a pass when it comes to your fit.

Clothes are replaceable. That body you got isn’t.

Pants a little loose and falling off your butt cause you lost 5lbs of pure fat? Awesome job! Wear a belt and enjoy the results of your hard work.

When it’s clear you’re a size (or two!) down, consider shopping for a new size.

Speaking of which…

3. Don’t buy clothes in “aspirational” sizes. Buy clothes that make you look good NOW

I always get rid of “aspirational” clothes during a client’s closet edit. 

Why? Because they’re doing nothing but taking up valuable closet space, and make you feel bad about how you look. 

Plus, I find that most people are really bad at predicting how their bodies are going to change.

Take it from me. I told my trainer John Romanello that I wanted to hit 165lbs for my wedding. The weight I ended up at to look how I wanted to look? 176lbs, a full 11lbs heavier than my goal weight!

I’ve worked with guys of all shapes and sizes. While you’ll have more clothing options and feel better dropping excess weight, you can find clothes that are flattering at every size. 

You can look good now. Stop wasting money on clothes that you hide away in hopes of looking good later.

4. Spend less (but don’t be cheap)

It doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds on jeans if you’re going to need to replace them in a few months. That’s why I recommend spending less, but not being cheap.

What’s the difference?

Spending less is focusing on value. “Uniqlo supima t-shirts fit and feel great, even though they’re only $15. They’re a great value.”

Being cheap is focusing on price. “Even though Uniqlo t-shirts are affordable, H&M has some for $5! Sure, they feel like shit, but I can get 3 for the price of 1 Uniqlo tee.”

After shopping professionally for half a decade, trust me when I say you can find quality products at every price level. 

Feeling good in your clothes is just as important as looking good in your clothes. 

Enjoy the work you’re putting in at the gym and in the kitchen by shopping smarter.

5. What about tailors?

In a previous version of this post, I recommended using a tailor to alter clothes as you lose weight.

I think this is a great option if you’re looking to reduce waste and consumption. 

However, these can get costly and time consuming. I’d rather you relax a bit when it comes to the fit rules, then donate your clothes when you replace them as you hit your goals.

To sum it up

  1. Relax! You might need to relax when it comes to getting the “perfect fit” since your body is constantly changing. That’s ok!
  2. Cut back on spending on clothes for now since they’re going to be replaced soon. Spend less and focus on value.
  3. Keep in mind the 10lb rule For every 10lbs you lose, you can expect to go roughly down 1 size in clothes.
  4. Use a whole new wardrobe/nicer clothes as motivation but don’t buy clothes in aspirational “goal” sizes. Buy clothes that make you look good for the size you are now.

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