Body positivity series: Weight gain

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

27th January 2021

By Estelle Curiel

Welcome to the body positivity series, the place where being one hundred percent you is one hundred percent okay. We wanted to start this series, a collection of articles, opening up about our insecurities, which happen to be common to many people, whether they’re commonly discussed or kept under wraps. We hope that with this series, our readers will see how common these things are. It is okay for your insecurities to bother you, but we hope that by learning about our personal experiences, we can help you to embrace your body.

Often, body positivity advice regarding weight gain will include finding your style, buying clothes that actually fit and make you happy. While that is great advice, wearing jeans two sizes too small is no way to live – it is also very expensive. The financial strain of weight gain is seldom talked about and yet was one of the hardest hurdles when I gained weight.

I went up two dress sizes quite quickly during lockdown and needed a whole new wardrobe from pants and bras to jeans, dresses and tops. With all the charity shops closed and the inability to try clothes on when the shops finally opened, it was very stressful and disheartening.

I’m lucky I had enough money in my bank account to bulk buy clothes to try on at home so I could figure out my size and style and then return them, but not everyone is able to do that. I wanted to offer some tips from my personal experience to help you to navigate the options when embracing the new curvy you and finding clothes that make you feel a million dollars.

My advice is focus on the basics. Underwear, jeans, leggings or joggers, t-shirts. Buy versatile pieces that you can make into outfit. If you’ve always wanted to try having a capsule wardrobe – now is the time. If this is still more than you can afford, go for some comfy pyjamas, leggings or joggers, a t-shirt, pants that fit. Since we are not leaving the house much, take advantage of that.

You may think it’s not worth spending your money on a new body you want to change, but you don’t know how long you’ll live in this body. You might as well try to enjoy your body and dress it in comfortable clothes that make you feel beautiful.

My biggest advice is to take a day to visit all the charity shops in your area when they are open. Beforehand, look at the size guides of your favourite clothes brands so you will know approximately what size to buy. If you chose to shop online, make us of the size guides! Some websites like H&M also have a fit guide based on reviews which can be very useful.

Below are some of my favourite high street places for staples:

- Jeans: New Look for the Tori mom jeans – very comfortable and flattering.

- Bras:

1. Primark have great bras but their bigger busts options are limited.

2. Intimissimi is my favourite, I used to wear the Irina but since gaining more weight I wear the Mina as it fits better and is more flattering. Their sizes vary a lot from style to style so if you can go to their shop. For example, I’m a 34E-F but wear a 34D in the styles mentioned above.

- Pants: you can’t go wrong with an M&S multipack. I stick to the high waisted briefs as I find them the most comfortable.

- Tops: Primark or H&M - I try to buy the sustainable ones from their recycling initiatives when I can.

I know gaining weight in our fatphobic society is hard, but it does not mean you can’t still be beautiful. You can be big AND beautiful; big AND confident. And who are we to define ‘big’ anyway? We have all be through a really hard year, try to honour your body with compassion and respect, whatever it may look like – after all it is your home!

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