Health & Wellness Articles

5 Reasons to Get Rid of Your Skinny Jeans

Your Old Clothes Could Prevent You from Losing Weight

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Peek into a woman's closet, and tucked amid all the clothes is something that almost every woman keeps. She strives to wear it again someday, no matter how unrealistic or out of style it may be. What is it? Her "skinny" jeans. Whether yours take the form of pants, swimwear or even an old suit or dress, women and men alike keep these too-small clothes for years. Some are even brand new, tags attached, bought as inspiration to lose weight so that garment would fit.

Recently, I started to wonder: Is it detrimental to hold on to your skinny jeans? I must confess that up until three years ago, I, too, had my own little cache of one-day-I-will-fit-into-these-again outfits. As with many trends in fashion, if you hang on to something long enough, it will eventually come back in style. I am not sure whether fashion itself or the desire to be a smaller size again was my motive. Not only did I still own the little black sundress I wore the night my husband and I met 27 years ago, but I also had my very first pair of Levi's 501 button-fly jeans tucked away in a drawer. But I’m not alone.

In 2006, a Talbots National Fit Study poll asked 2,200 women ranging in age from 35 to 65 about their clothes-buying habits. Here's what they found:
  • More than 33 percent admitted to having clothes in their closet that were too small for them to wear.
  • Surprisingly, 85 percent “determined if something fit them by looking at the size tag,” not by how the clothing actually fit.
  • Forty percent purchased clothes that were too small in hopes that they would one day be able to wear them after losing weight.
  • Shockingly, 25 percent of the clothes women buy never leave their closets!
Does holding on to clothes that don't fit really motivate people lose weight, or could it be holding them back? Here's a list of honest reasons why keeping too-tight clothes might actually hurt your self-esteem, weight loss efforts and more.
  • They become a constant reminder that you are not at your "ideal" size. While it may seem motivating, this thinking can lead you down a destructive path to lower self-esteem and self-worth. And not only for people who are losing weight, but also for those who have experienced a change in body shape due to childbearing and/or age. When you are constantly measuring your self-worth based on the body of your youth, you'll never learn to embrace the person that you are today.
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

  • Oy. I just got rid of a closet full of clothes that were too small. Reason 1 - too small. Reason 2 - I retired and don't need so much business casual anymore. 3 - Out of fashion, or will be by the time I can wear them again. 4 - downsizing. There are a few pieces however that I'm hanging onto as they looked great on me 20 pounds ago and I'm finally motivated enough to be successful. I agree with another write who mentions 'size creep'. A pop-up ad that appeared here indicated that a women's large size catalog carries size 10! Since when is size 10 in any decade fat??? This stuff sure doesn't help my self image. - 6/17/2015 12:03:15 PM
  • GEMIGIRL68
    i have to disagree. if i put on my favorite skinny jean and they feel snug it reminds me that i need to get myself back on target. i lost 35 lbs over 5 years ago and i want to stay that way. i don't squeeze myself in clothes that make me look like a stuffed sausage but if something is just a bit tight it motivates me to do things like skip seconds or pass on dessert. if i kept buying a bigger size to accommodate every few pounds i put on i'd be a size 12 in no time. just my two cents... - 4/26/2015 8:26:14 AM
  • Friends and members,

    I agree and disagree. For some people it's not a good idea to hold on to a whole closet full of clothes that are too small. It's also not good to hold on to too large sizes for some people. But for me I have a realistic goal. I need to lose 50 lbs. The clothes in my closet will definitely fit me when I lose the weight so I'm keeping them. They are not clothes that used to fit me before I had my two children. Those clothes are long gone. Lol. They are neutralclothes that don't lose their fashion, too. For some people purging clothes is cleansing and uplifting, but for me, having clothes even visible gives me an incentive and motivation to lose weight. Plus,there are some people that can afford to get a whole new wardrobe. I can;t afford one. So, in the end, it's a purely individual thing, Just the other day I looked at a bathing suit I can't wait to wear. I'm almost able to fit into it. It makes me happy just to imagine what I have to look forward to. Actually, once in a while, if I see something I would love to wear one day, I buy it. I have a small collection of incentive clothes in my closet. I'm so looking forward to being my old size 10 and I know I can do it, too! :)

    Thanks for reading my post :) - 1/24/2015 7:42:27 PM
  • In my case they would have to go to a "vintage" clothes shop. I'm no longer that flower-child of the 60s, but I'm keeping those clothes.

    They remind me that once at 120 lbs (5'6") I wore a size 10. I gained 35 lbs as I aged and STILL wore a size 10. Sizing Creep and scale avoidance kept me in denial.

    Now at 130-135 I wear a size 6. Hah! The fashion industry does women no favors by making them "feel better about themselves" No wonder we have size zero. By the measurements, we used to call it a size 8. - 9/14/2014 2:30:26 PM
  • For Sunflowernut: In our area, Goodwill helps support people with intellectual disabilities. Besides providing an opportunity for work or volunteering, the money generated at stores goes back into housing, employment & social services programs.

    p.s. and, Yes, Salvation Army is a wonderful charity, too! - 9/13/2014 5:03:49 PM
  • Leaving clothes to the "goodwill" was mentioned. Instead of them why not the worth while Salvation Army or other local group of the sort? Those mentioned in the prior sentence have good intentions to help others, not their pocketbook as the fore mentioned. - 9/13/2014 12:38:45 PM
  • I used to hang on to some too small and some too big clothes, since I roller coastered up and down so often. Now that I am maintaining my goal weight, I got rid of everything that was too big, except for the one giant pair of jeans that were getting too tight when I started this final weight-loss journey. I like to put them on every now and then, just to marvel at how much different my body is now. - 9/13/2014 10:18:05 AM
  • Sorry, Nancy. I celebrated when I got back into my skinny jeans from10 years ago.it reminded me of a time when I felt good about myself.I went out and bought more skinny jeans.I do agree that we hold on to too many clothes. I only keep those special pieces that I felt great in, smaller or larger. - 9/13/2014 8:51:50 AM
  • I disagree. My weight doesn't define me, but I need tangible reminders of my goals--like those skinny jeans that I still have on my Sparkpage. And also having goals that are real challenges don't discourage me -- they spur me on to victory. It's been 3 years getting back to goal weight, but I'm here again, and loving the look of the fit of those "skinny" clothes. - 9/13/2014 8:31:10 AM
  • I go through my closet every year and get rid of things I no longer wear. I do have a one size rule. I keep a few items up one size and a few down one size. Anything over or under one size gets tossed. I think it really is hanging on to the past and not living in the present moment to hang on to the clothes of the person you used to be, whether that person was smaller or bigger and besides...styles change. - 9/13/2014 1:07:06 AM
  • Can't do it! I have so many cute size 8 clothes!!! I got rid of everything under size 8, but I really want to wear these clothes again. I'm stuck at a size 12. But I know 1 day I'll be back in size 8. Giving them away feels like giving up. - 9/8/2014 9:08:02 PM
  • I have lost and regained a number of times, and honestly no matter which direction I was going in I was grateful to have at least a few things that fit me. I'm down 50+ pounds and was really happy that I had a few pairs of pants, capris and shorts that I had hung onto. Buying a whole new wardrobe may be fun, but it's also expensive! I did donate anything that I no longer liked or were *still* too small. Yes, childbearing & losing/regaining has altered my body shape, and I accept that.

    I also boxed up a group of my larger clothes and had them stashed in my attic. Given my history with losing/regaining I wasn't comfortable with donating all of my old clothes just yet. I figure that if they are still too big on me in a few years, I'll be ready emotionally to let them go. :) - 6/27/2014 9:45:42 AM
  • This article has some valid points. I actually got down to the correct waist size for some of my "skinny jeans", only to realize that my legs had become so muscular they still wouldn't fit! We may improve our bodies, but that doesn't mean they'll become the same bodies we had in college. Better to look forward, not back. - 6/26/2014 11:38:18 PM
  • I say whatever works for you is what you should do! Think critically about whether the things you do to motivate yourself actually work FOR YOU, and let go of what doesn't. My take-away from this article is that there are things I do because I assumed that they will motivate me, because they work for other people or (as in the case of the "skinny jeans") because it is just so much a part of the culture of weight-loss and dieting that I never questioned or even really thought about it...but I have to be mindful of what works for me without perseverating - 6/26/2014 10:08:19 PM
  • The article has a lot of valid pints, however, I just fit into a pair of jeans that I haven't been able to wear for 10 years!!! - 6/26/2014 3:55:29 PM

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