Health & Wellness Articles

5 Reasons to Get Rid of Your Skinny Jeans

Your Old Clothes Could Prevent You from Losing Weight

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.
    Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

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

  • 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
  • I disagree. I just got back into jeans I haven't worn in 3 years. I lost 34 pounds since December and now I can wear these perfect good clothes. I think it is an incentive. I look at them and say I did it before I can do it again - 6/26/2014 2:59:06 PM
  • I say go through and toss anything too big now that you are losing the weight. Don't hang on to them in case you regain weight. That is a positive move. - 6/26/2014 2:57:20 PM
  • I disagree. I just got back into jeans I haven't worn in 3 years. I lost 34 pounds since December and now I can wear these perfect good clothes. I think it is an incentive. I look at them and say I did it before I can do it again - 6/26/2014 2:51:51 PM
  • I think that there's a line here and I agree to a certain point. I wouldn't keep clothes that I unreasonable couldn't get into with losing weight. That said, I'm not rich and I can't afford to buy new clothes all the time. Presently I have a few pairs of jeans that are only up to three times smaller than what I can currently fit in. Some of them just fit but are uncomfortable. Rather than throwing those away and having to buy new ones in a few months, I think I'll just hang on to them.

    I also have a couple tops that I may never fit in again. However, they're pretty and the memories are good (like dancing the Tango in Argentina). They don't take up too much space so I'll keep those as well.

    Everybody will make their own decision regarding this. :) - 6/26/2014 1:17:17 PM
  • I understand what the article is getting at but disagree with this somewhat. As a person who doesn't like shopping and who lost a large amount of weight and then gained most of it back, I discovered it's smart to hold onto a range of sizes. It felt so good to get rid of stuff when I shrank out of it, but then I got pregnant and had nothing to wear after the baby was born. No way am I getting rid of the small stuff until I reach my goal weight and see how it fits. If I'm lighter and it doesn't fit well, then it makes sense to get rid of it. Otherwise, it seems like a huge waste of money to only own what fits me right now. - 6/26/2014 10:50:09 AM
  • I heartily disagree; if you have a favorite something-or-othe
    r in to which you would like to fit again, keep it.
    Figure out what you need to lose in order to wear it, and make that your goal. Sending off all your smaller clothes to the Goodwill is akin to giving up; what a stupid, harmful suggestion. - 5/28/2014 3:15:05 PM
  • I had a pair of smaller jeans when I was at my highest weight, and hung them in my room for motivation. Fifty pounds later, they fit, and it was like crossing a finish line for me. I don't own smaller jeans now because even though I'm working to change my body (more muscle, less fat), I'm not looking to reach a smaller size anymore.

    I do have my favorite pair of jeans from when I was at my highest weight. Not "just in case" or anything, just as a reminder of how far I've come, how unhealthy I used to feel, and why I never want to let myself down like that again. - 5/15/2014 11:12:30 AM
  • I really agree with the message of this article, and the timing is perfect as I'm cleaning my closet today to be ready for spring. My goal is to wear clothing that fits well, flatters, and is currently in style. This is so timely for me, because I'm too heavy for some of the clothes in my closet, and it really does depress me to look at them. While I understand the thinking that a smaller sized dress can be a motivator, for me a whole wardrobe of clothing that doesn't fit is just depressing! Since we only wear about 20% of our clothing anyway, I'm going with a smaller wardrobe overall of things that make me feel great. Time to clean the closet!!! :) - 4/27/2014 9:54:21 AM
  • I had a pair of pants that I loved to death and had gained about 5kg so I didn't fit into them. They JUST fit, but were uncomfortable. I finally threw them out about 12 months ago, and I'm glad I did because I would fit into them again now but they were very faded and the materiel felt awful because they were so aged and well worn. They were my version of 'skinny jeans'. I haven't been able to find another pair and doubt that I ever will, but I'm keeping a hold of the memory of how good I felt in them and I'm sure I'll have another pair that do the same eventually :).
    Not having those pants sitting there as a constant rebuke was so freeing that I now don't have a single item that I own that doesn't fit me. If it's too small when I buy it and it's too small a month later, I give it away because my losses aren't justifying holding on to them. - 1/13/2014 12:07:41 AM
  • I personally kinda disagree with this article. Most of my adult life I have had to shop mainly at plus size clothing stores. I always LOVE the things in regular size stores and I really want to get A PIECE that's on sale. It has to be timeless (somethings just are) and only a couple sizes smaller. To me I am losing weight it's just how it is. I'm not going out and buying a whole new wardrobe but a piece that I love IS encouraging to me. We all find our encouragement somewhere. - 8/23/2013 11:13:14 PM
  • I struggle with this. In fact, the article almost made me cry because it really hit home. About 6 months ago, I cleaned out my closet and dresser and sat in a big pile of clothes that I was too big for and just bawled my eyes out. My poor husband... I'm not a crier so he had no idea what was going on and did his best to comfort me but I just wasn't having it. I needed to let go and that's what I did. Although it was sad at the time, it actually made me feel better to get rid of the sundresses and size 9 jeans because they were constant reminders of what my body was prior to having a baby and putting on weight. I've lost nearly 30 pounds now and still have quite a bit to go but I am looking forward to the day when I can go shopping for new, cute clothes and purge my closet and dresser of everything that is too big. :0) - 8/22/2013 11:32:27 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by October 14! Get a FREE Personalized Plan