Body Acceptance & Sustainable Fashion When Your Clothes No Longer Fit

    Body Acceptance & Sustainable Fashion When Your Clothes No Longer Fit

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    Last month, I wrote about being more ethical and sustainable with my wardrobe choices and ultimately buying less. But now I’m faced with a dilemma. What happens when my clothes no longer fit?

    This is an issue I encounter pretty much every year. Because of fluctuations in mental health, lifestyle habits, and an undeniable entrenchment in diet culture and compensatory exercise, my body is constantly changing. Only recently have I begun to accept that that’s okay.

    (Side note: Universal Standard, which sells clothes for women sizes 10-28, has a program called Universal Fit Liberty* where they allow free exchanges due to size fluctuation for clothing from their core collection up to a one-year period. And that’s pretty awesome.)

    I won’t talk about the temptations to hold on to your smaller clothes “for when you lose weight” or “to motivate you to lose weight,” because the problems with that are well-documented. Admittedly, I’m overdue for a closet cleanse myself.

    But I’m torn between my need to protect my body image and my commitment to maintaining a sustainable wardrobe.

    What am I supposed to do with the clothes that don’t fit me right now? Do they immediately go in the donation pile? What if they fit me again next year? Am I supposed to spend more money and throw away more clothes every year when this happens? These are the thoughts cycling through my mind as I try on clothes that are now too small for me.

    It’s important to me that I’m comfortable in my clothes. That’s why I’m usually wearing tank tops and leggings. When a pair of jeans gets tight, it falls to the bottom of the pile in my closet, untouched. But it’s a stain in my wardrobe, a reminder that my body has gone through a change that I’ve been socially trained to dislike. And it adds a weight to my mind and my body image that I’d rather not have. So naturally, I want to get rid of it.

    But I’m never ready to. I hold on to my old clothes for far too long. Part of it is because of the money it represents, the desire to consume less. Another part of it is the “what if” factor. What if I can fit into it next year and I’m throwing away a beautiful dress for nothing?

    I realized it’s time to become more systematic about cleansing out my wardrobe. Starting with time limits for how long I keep something that doesn’t serve me anymore.

    I’m not going to toss a dress that fit me a few months ago but doesn’t fully zip up right now. It’s too soon. Realizing that I’m coming out of diet-influenced eating and exercise habits, my body isn’t at the most stable place right now. It’s bound to keep changing for the next several months, maybe longer. So I have to manage my wardrobe in the meantime.

    I’m giving clothes that no longer fit a one-year expiration date. That’s when I’ll finally take them out and sell, donate, or repurpose them.

    I don’t know if this is considered too long of a waiting period, but it’s the one I’m comfortable with. If by next summer that beautiful dress still won’t zip up, it can’t take up space in my closet anymore. Since I’m trying to generate less waste with my wardrobe, I’ll look for ways to upcycle and repurpose old clothing. But if that’s not doable, then it’ll have to find a new home.

    If possible, I’m going to alter these smaller clothes and make them fit my body as it is.

    Admittedly, I haven’t touched a sewing machine since my home economics class in the 9th grade. Nor do I currently own one. But I’m pretty sure I can figure out these DIY guides. There are some pretty cool resources out there that I’m excited to try out:

    There’s also the option of going to a tailor, but I have no idea how much that costs. Besides, the idea of altering my own clothes sounds pretty fun, especially since I have time.

    And if I can’t make them fit, I might repurpose them into something else altogether.

    I’m pretty into the t-shirt quilt idea. Here are some other ways to upcycle/repurpose old clothes, if there’s something you love too much to give away:

    And of course, there are the old standbys: clothing swaps, consignment stores, donations. Not to mention, maybe you have something that your family and friends might want.

    I’m allowing myself one year to hold on to clothing that no longer serves me right now. After that, it has to stop taking up space—in my closet and in my mind. I got rid of half my wardrobe moving back from DC so I know “out of sight, out of mind” is true. Those long-gone sentimental pieces don’t cross my mind at all, though I thought they would. It’s easier than we think to move on from old clothes.

    What do you do with old clothes, or clothes that no longer fit? What about the items in your closet you never wear? Let me know your favorite DIY projects, upcycling tips, and favorite consignment stores to work with!


    5 Beginner Tips for a Better Writing Habit

    Advice for the Novice Writer

    Since the eighth grade, I’ve had this bucket list dream to become a writer. And it was always just that: an item on my bucket list, never taken seriously or given a second thought. Which means that I never took a creative writing class and never sought training in anything creative. All I had ever done was begin drafting characters and started a couple of pages of a novel that was never meant to be.

    But now that I have all this free time (unemployment! vacation!) I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I want to write seriously. I mean that in the sense that I want to write personal essays and feature articles. And just as equally, I want to get into the different forms of creative writing. Poetry, short stories, flash fiction, lyric essays, freeform writing, and someday maybe even a novel. So how am I planning to make this happen? I’m still in the process of figuring it out, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.

    1. Take advantage of free online writing courses.

    If you’re not ready to shell out hundreds for a creative writing course, rest assured because there are plenty of great options out there. My favorite so far is the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. IWP offers free online courses that are pretty interactive and have a user-friendly interface. The course discussions are great, and you get to join subgroups in the course to meet other writers with similar interests.

    Of course, there are several other courses available from various providers on other platforms, such as Coursera, Skillshare, and Future Learn, to name a few. I find that MOOC List and Class Central are great directories for finding free and low-cost online courses.

    2. Carry around an open journal and take advantage of quiet moments during the day to unleash your inner writer.

    Oldest advice in the book, I know. But sometimes when I’m in the car waiting to pick someone up, I’ll take out my journal and write down a page or two. I also keep it on my nightstand so whenever a line of poetry pops into my head on a sleepless night, I write it down. That way I can make sure I get all my thoughts down on paper before they disappear. Whether they ever become anything more than just thoughts is a different question, but it’s nice to have the option of revisiting what might someday become your inspiration for a future piece. And if you’re ever in need of journaling inspiration, head over to this nifty list of prompts from Bernadette Mayer.

    3. Get acquainted with the literary journal/magazine scene.

    Up until about a month ago, I had no idea what was out there in the lit mag scene. But now I’m amazed and probably follow at least fifty lit mags on Twitter to hear about new issues and submission calls. Poring through lit mags helped me realize the type of writing I’m drawn to: flash prose, lyric essays, and poems. Things like this beautiful piece by Alison Green on Sea Foam Magazine. I’m not into short stories (I’ve learned this from an online course) but I live for stream of consciousness writing. Personal narratives, creative nonfiction, prose that reads like poetry or poetry that reads like prose. Know what you like to read, because more likely than not it’s going to turn out to be what you like to write.

    (Some lit mags I recommend are Luna Luna Magazine, Apogee Journal, Half Mystic Journal, Witch Craft Magazine, Duende Literary, and Argot Magazine, to name a few.)

    4. Get on Goodreads and set your reading goal for the year.

    Reading can only help you to become a better writer. It’s enjoyable, and like lit mags, it can help you figure out what genres you might prefer. I stopped using Goodreads after college, but I started it back up again this year! I set my goal for this year to read 20 books, and right now I’m… extremely behind. But the year is only half over, and I’m hoping to get into more of a reading mood now that I’m home. The last book I finished was Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better by Maya Schenwar (which is incredible and I may write about it later). Next up will be Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer.

    5. Start a blog and write into the void.

    This is nothing new. I’ve been blogging on and off, noncommittally since I was in middle school. It’s just a fun thing to do, even if you don’t have a following. But if you do have a following, you get to practice writing for an audience, which can only make you better. And blogging might even help you figure out the kinds of things you’re interested in writing about. For me, I’ve discovered I’m more interested in writing about wellness than I initially thought I was. With time and a lot of practice, you come into your own in your writing, and having a blog helps give you the initial push.

    If you’re reading this and you’re a writer too (no matter how new), I’d love to hear from you! What are some resources you’ve found helpful for your writing? What habits have you cultivated over time?

    5 Beginner Tips for a Better Writing Habit


    A Guide to Getting Birth Control Prescribed Online and Delivered to Your Door

    a circular pack of birth control pills in a compact

    I’m a huge fan of this new startup trend that’s emerged, where you can now get your birth control prescribed online and then delivered to your home. Yes! It’s as magical as it sounds. No more doctor’s visits and no more long lines at the pharmacy. All you need to do is get your blood pressure, which you can get from your doctor or have measured at the drugstore or grocery store. It’s so convenient and birth control should totally be that easily accessible. (Honestly it should just be over the counter and I’m not the only one who thinks so. But I’ll take what I can get from the U.S. right now.)

    Since I’m based in the U.S., I can only speak to my knowledge of services available in the U.S., but Free the Pill has this nifty table including similar services in other countries as well.

    Where Can You Get Birth Control Online?

    There are plenty of different companies and organizations offering this service. Planned Parenthood, Prjkt Ruby, Nurx, The Pill Club, and Pandia Health (CA-only) are the ones I’m familiar with. Go to the Bedsider website and enter your ZIP code under “Deliver to Your Door” to see which services deliver to you!

    What Types of Birth Control Are Offered Online?

    Most of these services offer the pill, the patch, and the ring—in addition to emergency contraception, too.

    The Cost of Online Birth Control Services

    Again, Bedsider (bless them) has a great breakdown of features including costs for each of these services, and you can find this information here. They also tell you whether the service accepts insurance, and what the cost is with/without insurance.

    With Insurance

    If you have insurance, Nurx might be the cheapest option since the prescription and delivery services are free, and they do accept insurance. Your insurance should cover birth control under the Affordable Care Act, meaning the whole thing might not cost you at all (though please double-check).

    Without Insurance

    Without insurance, you can get The Pill Club to quote you the lowest-cost options available and see whether that works for you. Through them, the pill can cost as little as $5 a month, with a $15 fee for a year-long prescription. (They also include samples in their deliveries too, like chocolate or organic tampons!) Do some poking around and see what’s cheapest or works best for you!

    If You Prefer Pharmacy Pickups

    If all you’re looking for is an online prescription, and you would rather pick it up at your pharmacy rather than have it delivered, there are other services where this is an option, too!

    Pandia Health

    In California, you can go on Pandia Health and get a birth control prescription (including emergency contraception) for a fee of $39. You can either have them deliver it to your home or have the prescription sent to your pharmacy of choice. With Pandia Health, you can get a prescription lasting up to a year.

    Lemonaid Health

    Lemonaid Health is a service that’s available in a select number of states (check here in their FAQ). They offer $15 online prescription services for a variety of issues (ranging from birth control to UTIs to acne and more). They send your prescription to the pharmacy of your choice. You pay the $15 prescription fee to Lemonaid Health, and you pay your prescription co-pay at the pharmacy. For the $15 prescription fee, they can prescribe you a 3-month supply of birth control.

    Maven Clinic

    Maven Clinic is my new favorite development in the telehealth startup trend. It’s a digital clinic focusing on women’s health, and you can get your birth control prescribed here too! A 10-minute video appointment to discuss birth control with a midwife or nurse practitioner costs $18. They also offer consultations with OBGYNs, mental health providers, and more. It’s all around a great resource and I highly recommend you check it out. If you’re interested, you can get a $25 credit for your first appointment and a limited edition swag bag with my code: DAWNYRVIP.

    (Disclaimer: I’ve recently applied to become a Maven Ambassador, which means I get paid for making referrals. But I seriously recommend them because they make getting health care so easy, accessible, and stress-free.)

    Go check them out!

    When I first found out about these online services, I thought: we really are living in the future. But of course we have a long way to go, since the cost of birth control remains a barrier for many people. With that said, I hope this information was able to help someone! I know the future for reproductive justice in the U.S. is uncertain right now. Let’s take advantage of the resources we have right now and make sure everyone knows the options they have.

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