Today is my first shopping trip since I started recovering from an eating disorder. I could really use some advice.

Today is my first shopping trip since I started recovering from an eating disorder. I could really use some advice.


I developed anorexia in middle school and have basically been the same size or smaller since then. After over ten years of that bullshit I finally decided to pursue recovery. I’m six months in and not fully weight restored yet, but I’ve put on enough weight that the only comfortable clothes I have are sweatpants and knit tops. I was trying to hold out on shopping until I was done gaining weight, but seeing how much tighter my clothes are has become really triggering for me.

At the encouragement of my therapist and lovely boyfriend, I’ve decided to make the most of memorial day sales and get a few basics. I guess I’m just a little lost on what I should do.

– I’m a 23-year-old grad student and I’ve never been able to shop in the women’s department. At what age are you supposed to be done with the junior’s department? What the hell does a grown-up dress like? (I have a work uniform so I’m okay there.)

– I haven’t really bought clothes since twee was in style. [This is my pinterest](https://www.pinterest.com/coleyfelix/fashion-inspiration/) that I made a few years ago. Are these things still in style? Can I find clothes like this? Will I look like I’m stuck in 2011? Honestly I don’t even know what I like anymore but I don’t exactly have the time to seek my ~true style~. I need clothes, like, *now.*

– As far as triggers go, I don’t mind wearing shorts so long as they’re not too short. Exposing skin doesn’t bother me too much. But I do get very upset when I notice things getting tighter. I know things are going to keep getting tighter as I recover, but ideally I’d like to notice it as less as possible.

– For anyone that has dealt with eating disorder recovery, how did you handle picking out sizes and being in the dressing room? I barely look at my body when I shower, how will I assess if my clothes fit? Do you think stores would be okay if I had my boyfriend come with me into the changing room?

– On that note, how do you objecitvely know if clothes fit? I’ve always bought things baggy (not by choice). I’ve been really struggling to tell if my old clothes are *really* too small or if I’m just freaking myself out because they’re more fitted now.

– I like the minimalist, invest-in-a-few-nice-pieces-that-will-last concept, but I don’t know if that’s a good approach right now. I’m not exactly flush with cash, and there’s a good chance I’ll have to do this all over again in another six months. Is there a middle ground here, or should I just embrace Forever21?

Ahh, sorry this got so long but tbh I’m kind of freaking out. Any general advice or anything would be awesome. Thanks. <3

EDIT: Whoa! Thank you so much everyone for the replies. My most got flagged and didn’t get approved until after the shopping trip was over, but all of this advice and support means so much. Not going to lie, there were some tears on this trip but I got through it! I only got two pairs of shorts and one pair of pants today, so I’ll definitely be using this advice on future shopping trips. <3 <3 <3



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Comments ( 39 )
  1. layneepup
    May 28, 2018 at 10:06 pm
    Reply

    I was in a similar position to you after I got diagnosed with my auto immune disease — my entire body shape changed and I put on weight in places that I never used to have it. I still find it somewhat difficult/triggering to buy clothing in-person because they fit me so much differently now.

    I recommend looking for styles that are intentionally not skin tight. I have several pairs of linen pants and cotton shorts that have a paper-bag waist and run looser through the thighs. For tops, because I know that I don’t usually gain my weight in my arms/chest, I get a lot of high-neck sleeveless styles that are looser in the stomach area.

    I think that you could definitely get decently-priced pieces from other stores besides F21 right now. Gap and JCrew are having sales (there’s a [thread](https://www.reddit.com/r/femalefashionadvice/comments/8mjklo/favorite_memorial_day_sales/) on here with MDW sales) and might be a good place to start. Look for places that have good return policies if you’re online shopping. FYI – online shopping has been significantly easier for me, as I can try things on alone in my house and see how I feel about them.

    Good luck! And congrats on your recovery. 🙂

    ETA: I don’t think your pintrest reads outdated. Based on these images, it seems to me like you like:

    – Midi-length skirts ([One](https://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=834876032) [Two](http://us.asos.com/asos-tall/asos-design-tall-midi-skirt-with-box-pleats/prd/8930011))

    – Sleeveless linen/cotton button downs ([One](http://us.asos.com/asos/asos-design-sleeveless-shirt/prd/6282662?) [Two](https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-3328942/womens-chaps-relaxed-sleeveless-shirt.jsp))

    – Breton T-Shirts ([One](http://us.asos.com/wednesdays-girl/wednesdays-girl-ultimate-breton-stripe-tee/prd/9366849?) [Two](https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-boxy-striped-black-white?))

    – Sleeveless shells ([One](https://www.anntaylor.com/corded-ruffle-neck-shell/468795?skuId=25148480&defaultColor=2210&catid=cata000010) [Two](https://www.anntaylor.com/refined-cotton-ruffle-shell/468872) [Three](https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/shirtsandtops/sleeveless/tieneck-top-in-cherry-print/J2178?color_name=cerise))

    – Almond-toe flats ([One](https://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=845323022) [Two](https://www.macys.com/shop/product/steve-madden-womens-feather-almond-toe-flats?ID=6011938))

  2. exponentiate
    May 28, 2018 at 10:25 pm
    Reply

    > Is there a middle ground here, or should I just embrace Forever21?

    Would thrifting work for you, maybe? I’ve never dealt with an ED, but my thinking is that the limited selection might make it easier to focus less on tag sizes and more on “this specific item fits/doesn’t fit me.” Plus, since it’s generally less expensive, it might give you more freedom to experiment.

    Best wishes! 🙂

  3. GoddamnSnails
    May 28, 2018 at 10:26 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been in your position and want to really emphasize not buying “permanent” clothes until completely weight restored. In the mean time, stick to stretchy fabrics and waist bands.

    Keep in the front of your mind that your weight restoring body is NOT your weight restored body – you’re going to feel very bloated and like the weight is all piling onto your midsection (I’m sure you know the science behind that but if not look it up! It was helpful information to me, especially knowing it’s not permanent). When you achieve weight restoration be sure to maintain your weight and it will redistribute. This is when you can buy “permanent” clothes. Be patient though. It can take a little bit of time to get there (it took my body about a year post weight restoration to redistribute), but recovery is so worth it. I know that sounds cheesy, but I truly believe that.

    I hope this helps a little bit. Feel free to message me any time if you need support!

  4. paladinOwlet
    May 28, 2018 at 10:54 pm
    Reply

    Hey, looking at the time stamp this is probably too late, but I thought i’d throw a few bits out there from the perspective of a 22 year old who has struggled with body dysmorphia and disordered eating, in case it’s helpful at all:

    -I still shop in the junior’s department; mostly, from what I can tell, whether you shop women’s or junior’s is a function of size and chosen style, not age. Women’s clothes tend to be larger and more conservative.

    -That style is quite similar to what I (ideally) like to wear. While you’ll have to go hunting a bit, a lot of that style is very obtainable. High waisted shorts and jeans are still around. Thrift stores have the best big sweaters. If you want slouchy tees, my favorites are the vnecks at American Eagle. You can probably find clothes like what you want at Target.

    -Most stores are emphasizing boxy cuts of tops, and even some looser jeans. I suggest, for now, investing in things like maxi skirts, oversized tshirts, jeggings, and loose blouses. Should help adjust to the new size, as well as where you end up, without getting prohibitively expensive.

    -Sizes, I don’t have the best grasp on. I mostly dealt/am dealing with it over the course of four years or so, honestly- started by wearing things 2-3 sizes two big, then narrowing down that gap. Let yourself have time. They’re determined by where the planets are or something. But as for if it fits- do the seams on the shoulder hit at your actual shoulders? (you want them to) Does the shirt have to stretch across your chest so there’s a line? (you don’t want that line) Can you put the shirt on without straining the seams? (you don’t want to strain the seams). Skirts- can you pull them on? Are they stretched too tightly over your butt so that you fear them ripping? (you don’t want that second one.) Pants- can you put them on? Can you walk and squat in them? If yes to both, you’re probably good. Not sure whether or not your boyfriend will be allowed to go in, it’ll depend on the store.

    -You’re going to want to just buy the basics for now, hit up F21 and Target. Wait until you’re at the healthy weight you want to stay at.

    Regardless, congratulations to you on choosing recovery and I wish you the best of luck (and cute thrift finds). It’s super hard to choose recovery and not everyone can.

  5. Sparklynaps
    May 28, 2018 at 10:59 pm
    Reply

    Try pants and shorts that have drawstring waistbands. Old Navy has some good options for these. Get a size or two up so they can fit your changing body, while still being to keep them on with the drawstring. For shirts, I’d recommend grabbing looser fitting clothes, the reasoning is that they’ll feel loose now but they’ll feel more comfortably fitted as you gain weight. Target has a lot of nice basics from their Universal Thread and A New Day lines, they also have a sale going on now so you can grab them for even cheaper. There’s a subscription box I’m forgetting the name of but the idea is that they send you perfectly fitting clothes and once you’re done wearing them after however long, you can send them back and they’ll send you more clothes. It’s a kind of borrowing subscription, maybe someone else will know the name. This might be the best option so that you’ll be able to grow with your wardrobe yet not have to invest too much while still being to experiment and try on new styles. Skirts that have buttons on the waistband could be good too, so you can adjust as you change weight. Thrifting is another good option. Maybe your friends or family have some clothes they no longer want that they could give you as a way to help you out? This is a nice way to not have to invest too much all at once. I’d grab a few shirts and pants with drawstrings to start out with and go from there 🙂 good luck!

  6. ElleFuego
    May 29, 2018 at 12:04 am
    Reply

    I’ve been in recovery for 10+ years, and I still struggle with sizes. Why does a 4 fit me in this, but I need an 8 in that? Sizes can vary drastically across brands and even across styles within brands.

    That’s been the biggest challenge for me – accepting that the number is just arbitrary. Clothes should be fun, they should make you feel good, they should show *you* off.

    As for the shopping – I never did just one big trip. I think that would have been too much pressure for me. Maybe start small, at a place with a decent selection, and just see what inspires you. Then build from there.

  7. yougottamovethisss
    May 29, 2018 at 12:21 am
    Reply

    Your Pinterest is lovely- very classic and timeless pieces, really. I hope you found clothing you felt wonderful in. ❤️

  8. kss605
    May 29, 2018 at 12:40 am
    Reply

    I am 32 years old and still have to shop in the teen/juniors section. I have good luck with Target for simple trapeze dresses and various shorts and simple tops.

    IMO sizing is a crap shoot. Your “size” is one brand will be to small and in another brand to big. It’s easier said than done, but try not to put to much emphasis on the number any particular item has.

  9. ogresaregoodpeople
    May 29, 2018 at 12:45 am
    Reply

    I’m 4 years recovering. If it’s your first trip I would suggest buying looser clothes that you don’t have to try on. Not oversized- just things with a nice flowy style. It can be tough to see yourself in the mirror when you first start recovery, so take everything in baby steps. Going shopping for a new wardrobe is already a big one!

  10. catthespider
    May 29, 2018 at 12:57 am
    Reply

    I really relate to the tight clothes thing. But luckily from what I’ve seen since it got warmer, loose fitting things are quite in, like wide leg pants, light weight joggers, paper bag shorts, flowy skirts etc.

    I think intentionally loose vs. just baggy makes a big difference, and the former would let you have comfort/flexibility and a good fit at the same time. I’m sure you’d be able to find these things at F21, H&M and Zara are also budget friendly options! Congratulations on recovery 🙂

  11. flitterfleet
    May 29, 2018 at 1:02 am
    Reply

    Congrats on your recovery!

    If your climate allows you to, have you considered stretchy (in thinking tshirt material) dresses? I don’t feel the waistline restriction on them as much as, say, jeans.

    I would also recommend buying pants with a lot of stretch in them. Especially from somewhere like H&M or Zara “. Over time they lose elasticity and fit less snug than when I first buy them. Usually this is annoying, but if you anticipate growing out of these interim clothes then that would be a good thing, as for your recovery it’s better they’re too saggy and need to be replaced than too tight!

    Whatever you buy, I’d also suggest remembering that new clothes react weirdly to home laundering at first. If you notice something fitting tighter than you expected, keep in mind it could have shrunk in the dryer.

  12. morilinde
    May 29, 2018 at 1:07 am
    Reply

    I’d recommend ordering a bunch of stuff from ASOS or some other kind of online store with free returns. Get a bunch of stuff in various sizes to try on in the comfort of your home. It’s much lower stress than needing to go through the store looking for other sizes. Also, most stores won’t let men into the ladies’ dressing room, so your boyfriend can be there if you have it shipped to you. Take measurements with a tape and reference the size guides on the site to estimate the right sizes to order. Sites like ASOS also have pages on the site that show potential outfit combinations, and that can help you visualize what to order together.

  13. IBakeDaCakes
    May 29, 2018 at 1:17 am
    Reply

    I really feel you, I’ve been in your shoes and shopping *does* get easier.

    I’m 26 and I still like the juniors section. The sizes are different, but they coordinate with women’s sizing— so it is possible to fit both departments. It is less about size, and more about cut and style. Women’s department will probably have better options for work.

    I live out of Forever 21 lately because I am doing a big wardrobe overhaul and need to keep it cheap! Their quality and selection has improved a lot in the last few years and I think you could find plenty of good pieces there. Your feelings about your body, and your style, are going to change— so don’t lock yourself into one style. Cheap clothes may be a good choice for you while you figure everything out. I think your Pinterest page still looks up to date, so don’t worry about that.

    One tip I can offer is, if you don’t know your sizes, just bring a few sizes of the same item to the fitting room and don’t look at the tag before you try them on. Base your decision entirely on comfort/fit. I know that in my case, it took a while to be ok with a number on a tag, and focusing on the clothing alone eliminated a lot of stress and turmoil for me.

  14. 1000snackcakes
    May 29, 2018 at 1:23 am
    Reply

    Congratulations on your recovery! I love your pintrist and it definitely still has relevant styles. It’s casually puttogether styles with some visual texture.

    Many places have unisex changing rooms so I wouldn’t think you’ll run into issues having your boyfriend waiting outside your dressing room door. I’ve definitely had someone’s BF open my curtain while changing so just tell him to wait for you to come out.

    I’m nearly 30 and still look through the Juniors section. I find the main difference between Jr and women’s is the tailoring and price point. Not necessarily style.

    I would focus on getting less expensive basics from stores like Target, Old Navy, H&M. They’ll have a range of basics and seasonal styles (and sales). Cammies, buttondowns, blouses, and bottoms will be less expensive and you can experiment with lots of different styles at a lower price point.

    Once you have a sense of your personal style I’d put your money into nicer items that can be worn without drawing attention to how they fit you from one day to the next. Wrap dresses, flowy tiewaiste pants, sweaters, and accessories like scarves and wraps will be versatile through your recovery.

    If something doesn’t fit right remember that it’s the piece of clothing that doesn’t fit you correctly – not that you don’t fit the clothes correctly. Finding clothes can be difficult and frustrating. Remember to have fun. Clothing is a way of expressing yourself. You can always get something tailored or change your style.

  15. iliketuurtles
    May 29, 2018 at 1:27 am
    Reply

    I was just reading through your post and just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone.

    I wish you all the best and that you continue on your journey to being healthy.

    I will also be reading through the replies because I struggle with this. I feel like I genuinely have no idea how I look. Anyway, not trying to make this about me.

    Again; all the best!

  16. a-h-y-c
    May 29, 2018 at 1:38 am
    Reply

    Never been in your situation but congratulations for the recovery progress! In terms of when we stop shopping at the junior/youth section, rest assured I’m a size 0-2 in USA sizing or 6-8 Aussie sizing, and around 5’1 and I still shop at youths whether it’s for footwear or clothes. I’m naturally petite so if that’s the case with you as well don’t fret over it! All my friends think it’s a blessing cos everything is cheaper in youths.

    Best of luck with your shopping! I recommend not buying anything permanent until you get to where you want to be, or get close to 🙂

  17. uglymarshmallow
    May 29, 2018 at 2:22 am
    Reply

    I’ve been in this situation. My therapist at the time recommended a few things.

    * instead of picking out clothing by the size on the tag, like xs-l, pick sizes just by look. Hold up an item to yourself without looking at the tag and just ask “does this shape look about right?” If so, add it to your pile. As far as fit, ask yourself whether your movements are restricted, if the fabric pulls in weird ways or if you feel like you’re drowning in fabric. Those indicate a sizing issue.

    * Ask yourself what clothes bring you joy when you see them rather than hides or minimizes your body. If that skirt with cats on it makes you happy, try it on! I’ve found that in my recovery and ongoing issues, being happy with your clothes makes a difference.

    * If possible, buy online and try it on at home. You’ll be in familiar surroundings rather than an impersonal fitting room. Plus, you can see how new things will look with other items in your wardrobe. If you must shop in store, bring a friend. They can help you find things and help you stay positive. My aunt’s presence in the fitting room helped a ton when I was looking for new clothes.

    * It’s ok to buy fast fashion. You’re in a transition stage right now and shouldn’t feel pressured to choose a definite, new wardrobe,

    * Go slowly. Don’t buy everything in one go. Maybe stick with 1-3 items per trip/order.

    * Identify your comfort zone. You mentioned that noticing tightness can be upsetting for you. To avoid that, look for fabrics and waistbands with stretch and slightly looser silhouettes like wide leg pants. If you’re comfortable in your clothing, it’s easier to distract yourself from thinking about how you look.

    Miscellaneous bits:

    * Most fitting rooms will allow a friend to come in with you. My BF and I go into the rooms with one another when we trying things on, and haven’t had an issue. If there is one, go to a different store.

  18. pkpark
    May 29, 2018 at 3:02 am
    Reply

    This isn’t doable for everyone, but with my anxiety and body issues, I control the experience by purchasing my short list and trying on at home, in my own lighting with my own accessories. I return whatever doesn’t fit same or next day. I just had to accept that fitting rooms weren’t productive for me, and then got shrewd in my choices so I could manage taking my shortlist try-on items home.

  19. A-U-T-Omatic
    May 29, 2018 at 3:31 am
    Reply

    This might sound dumb but Costco has high quality basics that are so cheap. $10 leggings, workout leggings, workout tops, t shirts, swimsuits, cami tank tops, all panties, bras/bralettes. You could buy a size between what you are and what you want to be for cheap. You could probably get a not-super-fashionable but serviceable set of basics for $100.

  20. anthx_
    May 29, 2018 at 3:31 am
    Reply

    Just wanted to say congrats on getting to this point in recovery. I started recovery 4 years ago when I was in grad school too 🙂

    The only thing I can add which I don’t think anyone has said is buy basic clothes, so if you wear them repeatedly, no one will notice. This is probably most applicable to pants because they cost more than tops and are more restrictive size-wise. My weight gain affected me mainly below the waist, and I wore like 3 pairs of pants for months because they were “adjustable” and I was too broke to keep buying new pants. They were basic black stretchy jeggings, crepe pants, and dress pants with an elastic waist band. Super bland clothes that no one notices, so wear those black jeggings everyday!

    Just remember sizes truly don’t matter, and once you gain weight, it’s okay to let go and throw away your old clothes.

  21. eggyblonde
    May 29, 2018 at 4:12 am
    Reply

    A lot of those clothes look like my style actually! And I think I’m decently trendy so I don’t at all think you’re stuck in 2011 🙂 I would suggest going to an Aritzia if you’re nearby, otherwise their online store is great and easy for returns. With the in store option, the changing rooms are communal (small stalls with one large mirror in the middle) and your boyfriend could for sure come in and sit in the communal area to help you decide what fits! I’ve personally had my husband come sit on the couch thing in the middle and help me decide on clothes and it has never been an issue. For specific pieces that might suit what you’re looking for, I really like the Jude skirt and the terre skirt, and the ahrens skirt. The Brax jumpsuit is linen and beautiful, they have tons of button-up shirts in different cuts as well. Try on clothes and whatever you purchase in the meantime, forever 21 or some great middle ground, I hope it’s something you feel comfortable and beautiful in. Congrats on your progress, you have so much to be proud of!

  22. princessshinyeevee
    May 29, 2018 at 4:14 am
    Reply

    Flowy skirts, loose linen tops and button ups, big comfy sweaters, pretty much anything in style is comfortable and stretchy so weight gain wouldn’t seem as noticeable. I’m just saying, I LOVE that Pinterest board.

    Recovery is rough. I drop weight pretty frequently and have to gain it back. Have your boyfriend help you with sizing and wait outside your dressing room. You won’t have to see the sizes he’s choosing for you but you’ll notice if they’re not the right size for you. Don’t look at the tags. Step out and show him what you like or don’t like. I promise things will go your way soon. Congrats on recovery!

  23. cinnamontoastcunt_
    May 29, 2018 at 4:26 am
    Reply

    Never been diagnosed with an ED but have struggled with body dysmorphia (who hasn’t) for as long as I can remember. I’m 24, 5’9 and blessed with a thin frame but have always been really really insecure about my weight, even at my thinnest. Because of my insecurities and the time of year, my weight regularly fluctuates by about 10lbs (my weight goes up when it’s colder and down when it’s warmer bc I can cover up more in winter than I can in summer) which means sometimes I’m one size, sometimes I’m another. Many a time I’ve left a fitting room in tears. It made it hard to shop with ANYONE bc I would have a full melt down in the fitting room. I’ve only recently become confident enough in fitting rooms to be able to get past the size on the tag, and this confidence came bc I work in the fashion industry and I realize now how little the printed size means.

    If you’re weight still hasn’t leveled out, don’t worry about buying a full wardrobe of clothes. You just need some basics that will get you through the next few months. You’re board has lots of midi skirts which personally are one of my favorite styles; perfect for any weather and great for people like me who’s weight changes pretty regularly. My three favorites are all from goodwill. One is a creme colored silk skirt that moves beautifully in the wind and can be very formal or Super casual. I can throw on an oversized sweater and some booties and I have a perfect fall outfit or if it’s warmer I can wear my favorite crop top tank and sneakers and feel great. You just have to try things on and buy what you feel GREAT in. Don’t buy stuff that you have to lose weight to fit into or that you’ll constantly have to adjust. You’ll just feel bad every time you put it on and why do that to yourself?

    I have also come around to owning only two pairs of jeans that fit me absolutely perfectly. Both are Levi’s and took me forever to find. One pair I got from goodwill for $7 (I am a thrift god nbd) and the other pair I spent $235 at Nordstrom. The goodwill ones I honestly wear more than the other, but it’s probably more to do with the color (they’re black while the others a lighter wash) than the actual fit. Both are high waisted mom jeans. Now again I’m a big thrifter so the Nordstrom ones were a serious stretch for me BUT what sold me on those is that you can get them tailored FOR FREE by the Nordstrom seamstresses. I have a bit of a booty so I always have that terrible gap at my waist and after they took them in they fit like a dream and I seriously recommend getting your more expensive pieces tailored! Wait until you come to a consistent weight before you start cutting anything tho!

    Assuming you’re somewhere that’s getting warmer, summer dresses are a go to regardless of what size I am. Again almost all of mine are thrifted but I recently found 2 that I really like from h&m. Their stuff has a bad habit of shrinking in the wash tho so I probably won’t get more than one season out of them 🙁 but for $10 I’m ok with it.

    I think the biggest thing is just trying stuff on and being ok with it not fitting. We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s not you it’s me”. This applies to clothes too. It’s not you, it’s them. Designers are super inconsistent with sizing. I don’t care how expensive they may be. You have to try stuff on. You have to recognize that not everything will fit and that’s not your fault, but also know that you shouldn’t NOT buy something just because it’s not usually a “size”you wear. I can walk out of a store with a size 2 and a size 10 in the same day. Buy stuff you feel great in! Buy stuff you like! Don’t worry about size or trends.

  24. shadytrex
    May 29, 2018 at 4:56 am
    Reply

    Lots of great answers here. Definitely second the idea of getting clothes like dresses, skirts, leggings, and other stretchy clothes that you can wear at a variety of sizes comfortably.

    This isn’t what you asked, but…I strongly recommend getting rid of old clothes with disordered associations, as you’re able to. If there’s any chance it’s possible to have someone close to you make clothes disappear as soon as they don’t fit you, that might be helpful. I didn’t do that, but I wonder if it would have be easier to get rid of them immediately vs holding onto them and letting the emotional attachment build. I still have a few pieces, and I know I should get rid of them but it’s hard, after so many years.

    Also – maybe cut tags out of your transitional clothing, unless you think it would help you to get used to the numbers.

  25. pleasure-hunter
    May 29, 2018 at 5:10 am
    Reply

    I hope today went well! Maybe in the future shopping online and trying on at home with your boyfriend present would ease some of your stress.

  26. quasi__intelligent
    May 29, 2018 at 6:05 am
    Reply

    Recovering from anorexia here, too. Advice I would give is to not worry about the numbers (as in size). I’ve had to make myself understand that because I’m a size 8-10 (US size 4-6) doesn’t mean I’m fat because some stores I’m a 6, other stores I’m a 10. I can still fit *some* size 12 (children’s) clothing but that doesn’t mean I’m underweight. Same way being a size 10 for jeans doesn’t mean I’m overweight.

    Shirts that end at my hips (typical t-shirts) have helped with tummy dysphoria and leggings have ironically helped with thigh dysphoria (mostly because they’re not incredibly baggy on me anymore — baggy leggings are such a strange piece of clothing).

    Assuming you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore going into summer, maybe try non-tight shorts that sit on your hips and loose-fitting shirts.

  27. goldenLoop1
    May 29, 2018 at 6:08 am
    Reply

    Remember sizes are rubbish and not representative of you or your worth.

  28. Lione33
    May 29, 2018 at 6:37 am
    Reply

    Buy some button up shirts, find good patterns and you can keep them for a long time, through all fluctuations of your weight. Sometimes it will be tighter sometimes looser but will make you look good and somewhat sharp, depending on what pants you wear. I got some skinny jeans when i was in your situation and after a while they were too tight, causing stress, because my body was getting used to a different eating style and adjusting its size and speed of metabolism. After few years I can wear them again as I eat whatever I want. Things can really work out and you can enjoy them in your suave shirt.

  29. valicat
    May 29, 2018 at 6:39 am
    Reply

    I used to binge eat, I had similar problems but on the opposite spectrum. I’m also fixing my body

    First: try to feel pretty when you go to the store. I won’t go if my self esteem is especially low. I do my makeup, I do my hair, I wear nice clothes so when I’m done trying on new clothes, the clothes I put back on make me feel okay when I leave; my self esteem doesn’t take a negative hit on the way out the door

    For me, I would try sizes that were too big and work my way down so I don’t feel bad if I try something on too small. Idk if it would hurt you or help you to do this, or do the opposite.

    Buy clothes with stretch to them, you won’t have to buy as often.

    I like going somewhere like old navy instead of a thrift store. Thrift stores would often turn up nothing that fit well or looked okay and I would leave feeling emotionally drained with nothing to show for it.

  30. TheRecklessOne
    May 29, 2018 at 11:14 am
    Reply

    Recovered anorexic here!

    The best advice I can offer is buy things that stretch.

    Whilst recovering, I put on a lot of weight incredibly quickly, then lost about half of it almost immediately after which left me at a healthy weight. During this time I started out wearing jeans and men’s hoodies permanently – this was a terrible idea. I was sneaking to the shops every couple of months to buy new jeans as I grew out of them and bought them in the same style so no one would realize I’d had to buy new jeans. If I’d have bought leggings, I could have probably bought a lot less as they’d stretch.

    I recommend not focussing on style, just general, comfey clothes. Leggings, floaty trousers, shift dresses, loose flowey tshirts etc.

    you got this 🙂

  31. dca_user
    May 29, 2018 at 11:53 am
    Reply

    Also try swap and thredup for nice used clothing- you can get great items for $10 or less. Many of my coworkers and I are doing this. Just look carefully at the return policies. Very tight ones.

  32. rilocat
    May 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm
    Reply

    Just dropping in to say that I am dealing with this, too, and it’s really hard, and you’re not alone, and you should definitely PM me anytime. 💙

  33. NadiyaEllen
    May 29, 2018 at 1:00 pm
    Reply

    I just want to post here to offer you encouragement. This is wonderful and courageous work that you are doing and God bless you for pushing going past the fear! I know I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you and in awe.

  34. MoonlightMichelle
    May 29, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    Reply

    As someone who still struggles with an ED each and every single day, I can tell you a few things that have helped me through the years. I don’t know if anyone else has said this but please bring someone with you like your boyfriend, mom, or a friend with you to help get sizes and reassure that you look great in whatever you try on. I never go clothes shopping without someone.

    It’s perfectly ok to still shop in the juniors department. I still shop at PAC Sun and Brandy Melville well into my 20’s. It’s all about how things feel on you. Id also recommend stores such as TJ Max, Marshall’s, Saks Off Fifth etc. because I’ve found a lot of great deals and there is no real juniors and ladies department. As of lately, I’ve seen a lot of what you’re looking at on Pinterest being at Forever 21, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters. Do NOT order anything online as of this moment because if you order an x small and it doesn’t fit, I’ve found for me it will sit in my room and I’ll beat myself up over it on a daily basis until I get rid of it or even worse start practicing my illness again until I CAN fit in it.

    This I feel is the hardest thing to realize is that whatever store you go to your size may not always be the same everywhere. I still freak out if I’m a 28 whereas in a lot of other stores I wear a 26 but I’ve learned how to not let that affect me. Please try not to focus on the sizes. Grab three sizes of the jeans you want to try such as 27.28,29 and don’t pay attention to whichever ones fit you the best and whatever ones you like throw to a “yes” pile or give them to whoever your shopping with.

    Take breaks in between shopping. Get coffee, have a cigarette, take a pee etc. just so you have a break and don’t feel so bombarded with all the things your looking at and so you’re going into the next store with a clear head and won’t be as easily triggered. If you do start having that negative self talk, please go home and try another day when you feel stronger.

    I hope something out of this helps you. Fashion has and always will be one of my favorite things and I hope you gain the confidence to rock whatever it is you put on. ❤️❤️

  35. libbeyloo
    May 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    Reply

    You’ve gotten some great advice and there are only a few little things I’d add that might be helpful, as someone who has been in your situation:

    * People have already said to focus on stretchy or otherwise adjustable clothing – wrap dresses, t-shirt dresses, elastic waist flowy skirts, leggings, drawstring shorts, flowy t-shirts, etc. I totally agree; I didn’t touch jeans for years. This is somewhat a natural consequence of buying most of these types of items anyway, but I also found it helpful to focus more on buying clothes that come in XS-XL rather than numerical sizes. They can accommodate a larger range of sizes as you move forward in recovery and also, they seemed to cause less “sticker shock” for me – for example, moving up 1 size in that range vs. 3 sizes in numerical ranges was a lot less difficult for me.
    * I also found it helpful to try to shop at new places, so it was less easy to fixate on what size I used to be or “should” be. A new brand meant starting over from scratch – if I had no clue how this brand runs or fits my particular shape, I’m less likely to be upset when my old size doesn’t fit, bc who knows if it would have before recovery anyway? This also added a positive aspect to shopping; I enjoy discovering new stores so this made trips less painful.
    * One other way to add positivity to shopping trips was trying to find at least one pick-me-up item that was not connected to body size on each trip. A ridiculous pair of earrings, a cute pair of shoes, sunglasses, a scarf – something that you like that will not have any complicated feelings attached. It really helped to be able to walk out with at least one item I was just happy about.
    * With regards to the junior department, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it per se, but I will add a word of caution bc I don’t think anyone’s touched on it here. Juniors’ sizing does run differently and generally smaller than women’s, so it might be beneficial to look to making a transition. Not to never looking at/shopping in that department again, but maybe to trying to incorporate more women’s pieces over time. I think it would have a few benefits – sizes will be more forgiving in general; similarly to the new brand point I touched on above, you won’t be used to how things run and therefore go in with fewer expectations; and you can frame your shopping trips as updating your wardrobe into something more “mature” instead of this complicated obligation solely related to your body size.

    I hope at least some of this is helpful to you, and wish you the best of luck on this journey.

  36. srhlzbth731
    May 29, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    I was very small in my teens. I was very athletic and under-ate quite a bit. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder but definitely had a bad relationship with food. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated a bit, and my “comfortable” weight is definitely a bit heavier than I was.

    First of all, congrats on recovery. I know it can be a difficult process, but you won’t regret it in the long run. Here are some tips:

    * There are some clothes you own that won’t fit again. Rather than obsess over them, remember what they look like and seek out similar pieces that fit you now. Donate the old ones.
    * Things like skirts with elastic waist bands and tshirt dresses will keep you comfortable and work well if your weight fluctuates a bit. Focus on things that maybe are fitted in the shoulders or have a waistband, but otherwise have some flexibility.
    * grab clothing in a bunch of sizes and try it all on. Try to ignore the actual numbers as you try them on and look in the mirror, as size is easy to obsess over. If it helps, cut out the size tag when you buy something. Instead of being a “size X dress” it becomes “just a dress”
    * Shopping with a friend can make the process less overwhelming
    * If you expect to fluctuate in size a bit, thrift and consignment shopping can be a fun way to find lots of pieces on a budget
    * The styles you posted are definitely still in style. I think Urban Outfitters, GAP, Madewell, H&M and Uniqlo would have some pieces you like.
    * If you want, you can buy some basic clothing and also invest a bit into accessories and shoes. These can help you develop your style further but aren’t restricted to a certain size.

  37. soggymuff
    May 29, 2018 at 5:46 pm
    Reply

    >Do you think stores would be okay if I had my boyfriend come with me into the changing room?

    It might be weird to some people but I had a boyfriend who would help me out with shopping, it helped with dysmorphia issues and he also just had great taste, lol. Some stores were cool about him coming into a changing room with me, others were definitely not. Ones I remember — Anthropologie was super nice and understanding about him coming with. On the other end of the spectrum American Apparel was really adamant he stay away. Definitely got yelled at there. I think the main lesson was to ask beforehand, lol.

  38. janet_weiss_majors
    May 30, 2018 at 8:58 pm
    Reply

    If you’re comfortable measuring your body, that can help with sizing things in-store before going to the fitting room. It doesn’t even have to be with actual numbers. When I was recovering, I used a necklace as a measuring reference (my pants needed to be X beads wide at my waist, crop length was Y number of beads down) since numerical measurements were too much for me.

  39. flux-and-flow
    June 2, 2018 at 9:53 pm
    Reply

    I know this is late but might help for future shopping trips? I’m 26 and have been recovering for about 6 years and one thing that makes a big difference to me is, if you really like something and have the money, buy it in 2 sizes. Things like my favorite jeans and bras I have in multiple sizes so that if I gain weight I’m not as upset that my favorite things don’t fit because they “still do”. That’s saved me a lot of meltdowns. My weight is still fluctuating and my therapist told me it can take something like 5 years or something before your body finally balances out again?

    When I first started recovery (40+ lb weight gain) I lived in dresses and tights. I found a lot of cute shirt-dress styles at forever 21 and the like that were stretchy as opposed to still cotton that would continue to fit even when I was gaining. I didn’t wear jeans at all. Leggings were okay sometimes.

    Rompers can be loose and comfortable while being cooler for summer but can transition into cooler months with the right layers.

    Flowy tops with shorts, there are tons of shorts styles out right now with stretchy waistbands.

    Best of luck in recovery 💜

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