Manage Your Wardrobe When Your Weight Fluctuates

Woman who has lost weight stretching the waist of her jeans to see how much she has lost

The unpredictability that comes with fluctuating weight can pose as a challenge when it comes to forming your wardrobe.

Many women experience fluctuating weight, but it doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to suffer as a result.

Many of us know the following scenario well.

We have our heart set on a particular outfit, only to go home and discover that those much-loved jeans just won’t zip up.

Or to discover that the best of your favorite dress is too big and gaping to wear.

The following article will highlight effective ways to creatively respond to weight fluctuation when it comes to your wardrobe.

This can be done through smart ways to shop and through ways to alter your existing clothing.

Whilst it’s tempting to squeeze into that pair of jeans or to throw them to the darkest depths of your wardrobe, by adopting these tips you can eliminate the stresses and worries of fluctuating weight – whilst looking great too.

How to Adapt and Scale Outfits to Size

Woman wearing a coral jumpsuit with an adjustable strap around the waist and holding a clutch

Choose Versatile Items

Investing in clothes can be tricky when your sizes are inconsistent.

The solution?

Buy versatile, capsule items to use as a foundational base to build on.

Responding to fluctuating weight forces you to be more creative with your outfits.

Instead of relying on the same repeated looks, opt for versatile base items which you can build to create different looks.

These items will depend on which area(s) you visibly show your fluctuating weight.

If your stomach area fluctuates regularly, opt for a versatile top or dress that skims over the waist region without clinging to any bloat.

Likewise, if you tend to carry added weight around your upper thighs and hips, avoid tight skinny jeans.

Instead, opt for a more relaxed style of trouser such as a wide leg fit or a pair of culottes.

Scale Outfits to Your Body

It’s important to adapt and scale your outfits to your body, and not the other way around.

When you’re suffering from bloating, it’s tempting to just don a baggy dress that eclipses your figure as a low maintenance and easy option.

Whilst treated as a textbook solution, wearing baggy clothes to hide bloating doesn’t always work.

By listening to our bodies and seeking out opportunities to strategically draw attention to our natural assets, you can really dress to show your best self.

For example, if you’re experiencing post-dinner bloat, throw on a pair of versatile black, wide leg trousers.

Team with a tighter fitting top on your upper half.

The black color and baggy fit of the trousers detract unwanted attention away from your perceived problem area.

What to Look for in Clothing Before Purchasing It

Woman wearing red lipstick and coat while holding lots of shopping bags

If you are prone to fluctuating weight, you need to be selective with your clothing choices.

Stretchy Clothing

To accommodate the inconsistency in your dress size, it helps to opt for clothing equipped with a bit of giving and room.

Now, this doesn’t strictly mean sack dresses and boxy shapes.

You can still hone in on your silhouette with adjustable clothing and the strategic placement of details such as ruching or shirring.

Ruching and shirring remain popular styles in maternity wear.

This is because it’s used to detract attention away from problem areas whilst creating shape and intrigue.

Adjustable Sizing

In general, you should be looking for clothing that comes with adjustable sizing.

You can easily modify the tightness and fit of dresses, trousers, and skirts with a drawstring waist.

Drawstring waists are an incredibly versatile detail that occupies a strong presence in the popular athleisure trend.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated and formal look, opt for a dress or pair of smart trousers with an elasticated waistband.

Not only do elasticated waistbands adapt to your size, but they also sit really comfortably and look sophisticated – particularly in dresses.

What’s great about elasticated clothing is their resilience to stretching.

This means that if you’re having a slightly larger week, your clothing item will still retain its former tighter shape by returning to its former shape and size.

What Wardrobe Essentials Should You Have?

A clothing rail full of adjustable, stretchy clothing for when weight flactuates

Clothes that are both adjustable and easy to modify should form the foundation of your wardrobe.


When it comes to unpredictable weight gain, dresses are definitely the most versatile and low maintenance option.

A little black dress goes a long way; not only is it flattering, but the color black is also incredibly versatile and can be worn to adapt to a variety of occasions.

When teamed with the right accessories, you can both dress down a black dress, or create a more formal and sophisticated look.

Adjustable dresses that are easy to modify are typically wrap dresses or dresses with adjustable straps.

With this style, you are very much in control of the garments overall fit and shape.

If you’re feeling bloated, simply loosen the dress or skirt before tying the dress together.

By wrapping the dress horizontally across your body, you’re also in control of how low cut you want the dress to be which helps if you’re conscious of your bust.

A wrap dress can also be dressed up and down with accessories to suit various different contexts.

Stretch Trousers

Moving away from dresses, another wardrobe essential for those who experience fluctuating weight is a pair of trousers that come with a bit of stretch and give.

Whilst dresses are great in the sense that they give you space to breathe, they aren’t always practical for some situations.

Particularly if you’re self-conscious about your legs, a basic pair of versatile and stretchy trousers or leggings serves as a robust and versatile base, which you can team with enticing tops and accessories.

What Type of Clothing to Avoid Purchasing

Woman saccing a barcode of a clothing item in a shop

Stiff Material

The material of your clothes can make a huge impact on not just the look of the overall outfit, but also your comfort.

Tight clothes with stiff materials such as denim will just make you feel restricted and uncomfortable, whilst also not flattering your shape necessarily.

Stiff materials tend to have a mind of their own and impose a shape on the silhouette rather than accommodating and responding to it.

So, try to embrace responsive fabrics such as cotton and lycra which will feel more comfortable and easier to stretch if needed.

Also steer clear away from structured dresses that come with panels or narrower waistlines without an elasticated waist.

Ensure that you avoid donning clothes that mirror a silhouette off the hanger, such as dipping in the waist.

These clothes are purpose-built for a consistent, particular shape and won’t be adjustable to your size.

Structured Clothing

Structured clothing is not your friend when you’re up a dress size a week since the point of purchase.

It should be noted, that extremely flexible and thin material can also appear unflattering.

Especially if you’re conscious about disguising an inflated area of your body.

When you’re bloated or up a dress size, the last thing you want is to feel like every contour and curve of your body is under a magnifying glass and exposed.

Instead, search for a happy medium that balances out the restrictive qualities of thick, structured material and the thinner and more relaxed fit.

Shape underwear is also a great solution, which perfectly marks this balance of comfort and style.

How to Adjust Clothes That Don’t Fit

Woman sewing a piece of clothing on a sewing machine to alter and adjust it

You don’t have to throw away your adored items that don’t fit anymore.

Alterations are a great way to save your favorite items that fail to accommodate your fluctuating weight.

Whilst alterations are a great way to respond to fluctuating weight, outsourcing your alterations can very quickly become an insufficient expense.

Not to worry, as you can edit clothes yourself at home to adjust your shape.

Sew Them

You don’t need to be a pro at sewing to master these tricks either, just be aware that certain clothing items are easier to edit than others.

If you’re a sewing novice, avoid hacking away at anything too ambitious such as a pair of denim dungarees, and keep your edits simple.

Two areas that could warrant editing are the waist and the bust, both of which are relatively easy to edit yourself at home.

First, identify the area of your body your weight fluctuation impacts the most. If it’s your arms, you can easily edit the sleeves to give your body more room.

When it comes to sleeves, try introducing a more flowy fit with a slit.

This will disguise any sudden weight gain whilst remaining comfortable to wear.

Introduce Slits

Introduce slits to skirts and dresses.

Slits are stylish solutions if you’re finding that your walk is somewhat restricted due to the tight fit of your bottom half.

If the waist is too narrow on a dress, try integrating an elasticated waist.

You can do this by adding an additional panel of material.

The difficulty here lies in matching fabrics.

However, with clothes such as white and black, there will be less scope to clash.

So, this makes it relatively easier to do.

Simply cut down the side or back of the dress vertically, and attach a generous amount of fabric to account for the bunching involved in elasticated waists and – voila!

You have yourself a dress that’s both adaptable and comfortable.