Ah, the moment has finally arrived. You've lost those extra pounds and you're rejoicing because the clothes that once fit you are hanging in piles at your feet. You have enough cash saved to buy yourself some nice new wardrobe enhancers, and the Dumpster is already eagerly awaiting its next meal; your old clothes. Before you throw out every single thing in your closet, remember that some items can be recycled.
Have pants that no longer fit? There are a few options here. You can hem in the waist, but the legs will still look baggy. If you absolutely can't find any way that they can still be worn, don't throw them away; see if anyone in your family can use them. If not, thrift stores and places such as the Salvation Army will gladly welcome new donations. If you love the look of your old pants and can't bear to let them go, consider cutting them apart and resewing to make shorts or a skirt. Even if you don't sew, you will probably be able to find someone among friends or family who will help you out in this department.
If you just bought a new pair of jeans but have now lost a lot of weight and can no longer fit in them, try to get as much use out of them as possible. I purchased jeans when I was between sizes; the size was too big, but a smaller size would not have fit. Now they are ridiculously floppy but I pull them in with a tight belt until I allow myself a shopping spree. Don't waste new pants just because they're big; make sure to get lots of use out of them until you buy a new pair. See if you can hem in the waist; often, jeans will be too big around the waist but fit just comfortably around the legs.
Perhaps the neck of what was once your favorite shirt has now stretched too low to wear in public. You can sew insets into the shirt by adding lace or other material. By simply turning the shirt inside out and applying the proper stitches, you can add modesty and a touch of color to your blouse and it will still look great. This doesn't work for every shirt, so you might want to hold the chosen material behind the blouse to see how it will look before you actually start sewing. Before tossing shirts you'll never touch again, consider cutting out squares for quilts, craft projects, or anything else you may be able to think of.
Sweaters can look good even if they would normally be too big for you; many find it fashionable to wear a long sweater that isn't tight and fitted. Personally I have a beautiful black sweater that I just didn't want to get rid of. It was two sizes too big, and even though shrinking helped a tiny bit, it still looked bulky. I solved this problem by wearing a gold belt over the waist of the sweater; it helped pull it in and give me of a fitted appearance. Belts over shirts are very popular currently and this is definitely something you could try.
Remember that it may not be a horrible thing if pajamas or a bit too large or even much too large; you'll want them loose and comfortable for lounging around at home. Trying to shrink pajamas might work somewhat, but it probably won't shrink enough to be a perfect fit. Since pajamas and other sleepwear items are often already floppy and loose-fitting, you shouldn't need to worry about replacing this part of your wardrobe right away. Casual at-home sweaters and cardigans that are too large for your now-thinner frame might be more comfortable because of it.
If you have a whole closetful of socks, you shouldn't throw them out just because you've lost weight; they'll still fit, and if they're in good shape you can save yourself a lot of money (designer socks aren't cheap). If you *do* need socks, check the material; certain thin materials tear easily and you're soon running to the clothing department again. You also won't need to replace shoes right away since you won't be losing much weight off your feet. If you have good shoes, that's money you will save.
This isn't to say you won't still want to buy a new wardrobe; I'm looking forward to the time I can go out and pick out anything I like without worrying about looking for special sizes. It just means you shouldn't waste years worth of clothing without being sure there aren't some things you can revitalize first.
By Lacie R. Schaeffer