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What to Wear While You Lose Weight this Summer

May 18, 2021

Welcome to Dressed for My Day. Today I’m tackling a reader request. I know I’ve had at least several readers ask me to suggest what to wear while they’re losing weight this summer. The way I see it, we actually benefit from looking our best as we attempt to lose weight; it’s just more motivating than “making do” with clothes that don’t fit or flatter. But I know we also don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes we’ll hopefully only be wearing for a season or less. So whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, I hope you’ll consider my suggestions because these are some reasonably priced options for summer.

What to Wear While You Lose Weight This Summer

Honestly, I’m a huge proponent of wearing clothes that fit properly. Whether we’re in the process of losing weight, we hope to lose weight or we’re actually gaining weight, I think it’s wisest to always wear garments that fit correctly. Tight clothes don’t really motivate us to lose weight and loose, baggy garments don’t do us any favors either. So fit continues to be key even as our bodies change.

Note: By the way, these suggestions work if you’re trying to gain weight, too. I realize we all have different situations, so I don’t mean to exclude those who need to gain weight. Really if you’re working to change your body composition, these tips should help.

Put Together a Small Transitional Capsule Wardrobe for Summer

To that end, I suggest that we do our best to wear clothing that fits throughout the process. So if you need to buy some new things for summer because your body has changed, but you’re still in the process, I suggest you invest your clothing budget in a small transitional capsule wardrobe that mixes and matches nicely. That way you’re not filling your closet with a lot of pieces that will not fit next year, but you’re also not wasting your money on things that don’t really flatter you and you’re not continuing to hang on to poor fitting items just because you’re not “done yet.”

Shoot, if you’ve toned up at all, you should celebrate that and motivate yourself to keep going (if that’s the goal) by wearing things that make you look and feel your best. So consider putting together a smaller but pretty and functional wardrobe that you can enjoy now.

Your small transitional capsule wardrobe might include:

  • 2-4 pairs of casual pants and/or shorts in your preferred length
  • 2-4 skirts
  • 2-4 casual dresses
  • 1 nicer dress for multiple occasions
  • 3-6 t-shirts in neutrals and/or signature colors
  • 1-3 button up shirts
  • 2-4 toppers such as kimonos, denim jacket and cardigans

Consider your lifestyle and the types of garments you’ll need to wear the most often. Choose garments in solids or versatile prints such as animal print, polka dots or stripes, but steer clear of pieces that are so unique that they don’t play well with others. Remember, many of these items will be in your wardrobe only temporarily, so if you tire of them…that’s okay. Maybe wearing them so frequently will actually motivate you to stay the course with your weight change plan.

capsule wardrobe
This is not an exact capsule wardrobe for transitioning your weight during the summer. But it gives you an idea of the types of pieces to include.

I’ve provided shopping information for the items in the above photo below.

Specific Items to Include

When putting together this temporary capsule wardrobe, I’d keep it as small as you are comfortable with. And I’d look for the following items with some specific features.

Casual Pants & Shorts

Fortunately right now elasticized waist band pants are trending. You can find joggers, paperbag waist pants, shorts and other pull on trousers that look fashionable and neat. So I’d definitely look for pants with an elasticized waist that you can wear as you go down a size. Look for pants that are supposed to have a sort of oversized appearance, but buy them in a slightly slimmer fit for now.

pull-on ankle pants // cargo joggers // girlfriend utility joggers // comfort stretch cargo shorts // high-rise paperbag pullon pants

But keep these pants fashionable. They don’t have to be frumpy just because they have an elasticized waistband. Look for summer weight pants in cotton and linen blends. And look for modern silhouettes that also work well for your particular body shape and frame.

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Skirts & Skorts

Zenergy Neema Skort // leopard print midi skirt // tiered midi skirt // pull-on midi skirt

Skirts and skorts are a good choice right now because they can also be found with elasticized waistbands. Choose pieces that are versatile and that fit your lifestyle.


During this transitional time if you can get by with just one nicer dress I’d choose a trending shirt dress that can be cinched snugger as you lose weight. Or another nice option would be a true wrap dress that you can pull together a little tighter as your size decreases. But then a stretchy knit dress with ruching will probably also work as you change sizes.

What to Wear While You Lose Weight This Summer
Short Sleeve Shirtdress // Wrap Front Midi Dress

But for more casual dresses I’d definitely look for silhouettes with either forgiving fabrics or looser fits. Because these are meant to look more comfortable, you’ll be able to get by with them looking a little oversized as your body transitions. Look for tie belts, elasticized waist bands, t-shirt fabric or loose fitting silhouettes.


midi shirtdress // short sleeve utility jean midi dress // modern wrap front dress // waist defined slub-knit midi dress

By the way, many of the options I’m sharing here come in other colors and prints, too. So if you like the silhouette, click through to see other options.


Now if it’s just too hot where you live to add a third piece, you can skip this category. But a topper of some sort can really help you out as you transition your size. So really even adding just a thin linen button up shirt over shorts and a tank or tee can be both cool and slenderizing. And as your clothes begin to outgrow you, that topper can keep your look more pulled together. Plus, you can buy the shirt or cardigan or jacket at your current size and probably still wear it oversized as you shrink.

Finally, a topper can be a great place to add a little personality and/or color to this rather minimal temporary capsule wardrobe. While I’d try to keep spending to a minimum in the other areas, this is the category you could splurge on a little if you’d like to find something that really makes you happy. Especially if you go with a ruana or kimono since those often come in one-size-fits-all sizing.


Let’s wrap it up with tops. Again, I’d keep these simple and versatile. Choose whatever type of tees you like and make sure you have them in the neutrals and/or signature colors you like to wear. These should fit you well. Remember, you don’t have to spend much to get a tee that works well for you, so it’s okay if you can no longer wear it next year or even next month.

For more information about the tees I can heartily recommend, check out my recent Women’s White T-Shirt Review post.

If you’re in the process of losing weight, congratulations! Keep it up. You can do this. And I hope this post has helped you map out your summer wardrobe while you keep the needle moving in the right direction.

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Blessed for My Day

When was the last time you absolutely marveled at the way God has blessed you? King David sat before the Lord and marveled at his goodness…immediately after he had been told “no.” David wanted to build a temple for the Lord, but God told him he could not. Instead, God would reserve that task for David’s son Solomon. But God would build a house for David, both a palace and a legacy. And eventually the Messiah would come from the house of David.

When God tells me no I’m more prone to pout than praise. But we can trust that if God closes one door He will indeed open another one which inevitably leads to even greater, richer blessings. Today let’s choose to praise God for the good things He has done…even when He has told us “no.”

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? ~ 2 Samuel 7:18

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xoxo, Kay
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22 thoughts on “What to Wear While You Lose Weight this Summer

  1. Like your topic today. Like many of us, I gained weight during the pandemic and I am working on losing it. I still want to look fashionable as you pointed out. I have bought some larger sizes as I work on this. Medium in some as this is an 8 or 10 and I was an 8 and working towards that again. Loved the BFMD. I try to thank God everyday for all that He has provided for me and my family. Also what He will provide in the future. He is a good God even when He says no. That was a good thing to point out. Sometimes He says no. Bless you as you and James move this week.

    1. I’m right there with you Sherry. I’m usually a 6-8 and right now I’m wearing 8-10. Ugh. But I’m working at it!

  2. I have lost a lot of weight at various times in my life and am on the journey again. I think your points are all spot on, except I would forgo the dresses and keep it to separates, as the dresses just have too many places they need to fit to look good. I favor skirts over pants because they can be easily pinned at the waist or taken in. I would add: Knits are your friend. Consider buying your toppers in a shrunken fit that can become an oversized fit, just as you say, but initially go a size smaller and wear them open and with outfits that support a shrunken fit. The right shirt or cardigan can be worn open now and buttoned after 10-15 pounds. Because I fluctuate so often in size, I have a few bins I rotate through with the “too bigs” and “too smalls,” and I keep these items classic. They can often get me thorough with just a few added items. I would also add that if your weight fluctuates a lot, as mine does, limit “investment dressing” to your shoes, bags, jewelry and other accessories.

  3. Elastic waistbands are always trending in my wardrobe . LOL it’s a great small wardrobe for retired people too. Very comfortable and still chic. Everything stretches to accommodate. When your elastic waistband feels tight, you know you are in real trouble. ?

  4. I have committed to losing 60 lbs this year. I’m down 25 so far and am finding some things I bought this spring are already too big. I dislike the feeling of “wasting” the money on pants that I’m going to have to give away, but it feels good to see how loose they are on me! God is Great and I praise his provision as I look to afford a new wardrobe later this year.

  5. This post was spot on.. I have lost 83 pounds since last March.. I try to buy pants or shorts with belt loops .. so I can wear a belt.. I bought serval belts in different widths.. I had a couple dresses that I really liked but to big.. I pinned it to make it pelted and added a belt.. I really enjoy your posts and videos.. thank you

  6. Thank you Kay for doing this post. I’ve been struggling with this. The idea of a coordinated small capsule is a blessing as I’ve just been scrambling to find whatever fits in a haphazard way. I like the idea of being more intentional about purchasing a few new things that fit and not feeling as if I have to squeeze into too small of clothes. I’ve been really hard on myself for gaining weight and this post encourages me to be more graceful with myself. Thank you.

  7. Kay, I simple marvel daily that the LORD has alloed me to live for 25 years on dialysis. He is so very good to my family. e’re able to raise our son hile I as on dialysis. He as at the end of kindergarten hen I began. Has it been easy? NO! BUT, I never ant to trade my life for someone else’s! Today my husband and I are able to go out for the first time since Feb. 1. 2020! It’s been 15 days since e both had our 2nd shoot. e ill still mask up because of my situation. I have several other major health problems! If I can praise the LORD…hy aren’t you?? Life is not perfect BUT if your saved you have Christ to comfort you! He ill never leave you or forsake you!!!!

    1. My reply is to Natalie K. Your post really touched me. It reminded me why I do what I do by the grace of God. I know well what you go through but from the other side of the dialysis chair. I happen to be a kidney doctor.
      I was young when I became a doctor , 23. One of my first rotations as an intern was nephrology. A young 26 year old diabetic patient hospitalized with heart failure told me one of his goals was to get well enough to be able to fly out to Colorado to see his nephew. His heart wasn’t strong enough to withstand the higher altitude. I could relate to him in that I loved my nephews and nieces but my goal at the time was to be perfect- best doc, fittest and so on. That rotation changed my life. I developed a real admiration for the dialysis patients who continued to try to live a fulfilling life despite their challenges. I am sure you are a great example to your friends and family.

  8. I appreciate the advice and the encouragement! Working on the residual weight from 5 babies in 7 years so this is a great solution. (Not quite your target age range yet, but my mom and I are enjoying your content together!)

  9. Great information, Kay! And I loved today’s BFMD.

    A thought for a future post – how to choose the right jewelry for various outfits. I frequently feel like an accessorizing failure! I’m really bad about buying a cute, trendy piece of jewelry that I think should look great with a certain outfit, and then it’s just not quite right. I’d love to hear WHY this chunky necklace is perfect to wear with this outfit, or WHY that long necklace or dangly earrings or little delicate piece complements that outfit. I think if I knew the reasoning behind the proportion, colors, design, etc. etc. etc., I might be a bit more successful in my accessorizing attempts. Oh, and, how to choose earring shapes and how closely your earrings should mimic a pattern in your clothes – for example, I have silver teardrop shaped dangly earrings with horizontal lines and argyle-type diamonds carved into them, which I think look great with my dress that has a diamond-ish print, buuuut maybe not… Thanks so much!!

  10. Great post, Kay! I’m getting ready to transition back to the office after a year away. Your blog has helped my realize why i am so frustrated with my wardrobe and has helped me plan for something more workable when I return to work. Especially your recent video about reasons your wardrobe may not be working for you!

  11. Hi Kay,
    I have recently found your blog and website and I love it.
    When I’m reading it, I feel like I’m chatting with a friend.
    Keep up the good work and thank you.

  12. Thank you so much for this article!!! I appreciate all the tips and the list for a small capsule wardrobe!!
    I have lost 18 lbs over the last year and want to lose at least 20-25 more. I am losing slowly at about a pound a week. I know losing it slowly means I am more likely to keep it off…a lb a week is slower than cold molasses but I keep reminding myself, like the tortoise, “slow and steady wins the race”. Thanks again! I am saving this post!


  13. Wonderful suggestions, whether your losing, gaining or maintaining your weight. I used your “check list” to see what I have and needed. I was going on a shopping trip today-haven’t been in over a year-to fill in the gaps. First, I’m finding basics, clothes that I always count on are non existent. At BR a sales associate said they can’t keep basics in. I like to keep a black wrap dress in my closet all year. Mine from many years ago has worn out. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. This has never been a problem until recently. There was some version of a wrap dress in every store. I finally found one at BR that might do. ( you gave an example, which is lovely but I like a simpler sleeve)

  14. Thanks for the post. Times of weight transition are also excellent opportunities to use thrift shops, consignments stores, and other secondhand sources. The clothes are inexpensive, and it’s environmentally friendly to recycle by buying and again when you donate or sell them later.