Get Rid Of Your Skinny Jeans


Do you have a someday wardrobe tucked away? Maybe even sprinkled in the closet and drawers with your current wardrobe, taunting you every morning that you’re not worthy of wearing them today.

It’s the jeans you fit into five years ago, the fantastic little black dress in the size you were for all of three months when you were obsessed with the gym and calorie counting or the bikini you wore on a beach vacation long long ago, before children, before you even started your current career.

Maybe they’re tucked in a box in your garage. As the seasons change and you tote out boxed up snowsuits and winter boots and see that box, the box that says, “if you’d just try harder I’d be in your closet and you’d be really happy,” and shame, guilt and frustration washes over you.

Fitting into your skinny jeans will not make you happier.

Fitting into your skinny jeans will not make you a better person.

Fitting into your skinny jeans will not give you more sleep, make you rich, put dinner on the table, lower gas prices or walk the dog.

Get rid of them.

Sending your skinny jeans away does not mean:

  • you’ll never be that size again
  • you’ve given up

Sending your skinny jeans away does mean:

  • you like who you are today
  • you’re living in this day, this world and this life – not the past

Of course, if you’re well on your way to wearing them in the next few months, keep them.

But if they’ve been taunting you for years and you can’t get them over your thighs, send them away.

You need to look in your closet and feel good about what you’re going to wear today. You need to feel good about yourself today – whatever shape or size it may be.

Anyone have a box of clothing from an era of their life that they’re holding onto?

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  • … my second child was nearly 5 when I finally gave away my favourite maternity jeans. I had always hoped to be able to wear it again, with a third child. Yep, having maternity jeans won’t make you pregnant. :o)

      • I am newly pregnant with my 2nd child, and I had 1 maternity outfit that I had a hard time parting with after my first (who will be 5 when ‘our’ baby is born). It was the last maternity outfit I got, a gift from my mother. The jeans were super comfortable and the top was pretty and convertible to a modest nursing top. I am really missing that outfit right now. But I am hopeful that I will find some clothes I like as well as that outfit this time around.

    • I have two storage containers under my bed full of maternity clothes. The funny thing is, I was several sizes larger going into my first pregnancy, so even if I do get pregnant again it is highly unlikely that a lot of the stuff will fit! It was so expensive that I can’t bear to let it go…I would probably be better off consigning it.

  • I have been selling clothes at a consignment shop one of my friends has – I think I have made about $200 doing that – and none of my clothes have been especially fancy or anything – and the extra money sure is handy and my closet feels so much better!

  • Great post! I have a few items I am holding onto. I’ve culled 90% of my wardrobe – doesn’t fit, don’t like it, doesn’t go with anything – and gave it all away to charity. Someone out there would be grateful to have them I hoped. I’m down to very very few pieces. I still have dressier items I wear, however rarely. Still debating.

    A bathing suit – technically fits, even if I’ve not been swimming in years. As this one fits and is a nice one piece, I hold onto it in case I am ever at a beach or pool scene. Shopping for swim wear is not easy, so I thought it takes up so little space….Although this post makes me wonder, why bother holding onto it? If I ever attend something at a beach or pool – I have other clothes I can wear, I don’t have to go swimming!

    One pair of jeans from ages ago. They are like a scale for me. But I have a bathroom scale – so what am I doing with them? The only pair of jeans that I ever liked, that looked good on me. One size too small now. Hum?

    A slim black evening gown and matching shoes. Bought them years ago, worn many many times to various formal events. My “formal” event days may be behind me, but like the bathing suit, they are expensive and a pain to shop for evening gowns. So I keep these pieces. I know “just in case”.

    • I used to be in the wear 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time category. Now I think I wear 90% of my wardrobe 95% of the time. Still have a little black dress that is only worn a few times a year and a few other occasional pieces. All of it is wearable I just need to occasion to wear it. :)

  • I gave my skinny jeans away a couple of years ago, however I kept my “skinny tops” and 1 skinny skirt. I have let the tops go now (last week), but I still LOVE the look and idea of that skirt (even though the last time I wore it, it was uncomfortable and I tripped over it when I had to get on the ground with a small child.) Eventually I will part with it. Seeing it reminds me that I can be pretty and feminine if I choose to be, and I don’t choose to be often, so I like the reminder . So it will go some day. Just not today.

  • I’ve held onto one beautiful silk skirt that I bought in college and can’t bear to part with. It’s still a little bit too small to wear these days, so I’m thinking of turning it into a throw pillow–it’s got an elaborate peacock embroidered on the front. I used to hoard clothes like crazy, and did hold onto a lot thinking I’d be skinny again someday. Finally I decided to give up on that idea and embrace the size I was, investing in nice clothes that really fit my shape and getting rid of the skinny clothes. I felt great! Eventually I did lose most of the weight I gained since college (more than 30 pounds), but I found that my tastes had changed and I didn’t miss any of the clothes I had gotten rid of. My family never had much, and as a teenager it was particularly difficult not being able to have the latest clothes. I think that’s why I became such an impulse shopper and clung fiercely to clothing that didn’t look particularly good on me. I’m happy that I’m getting past that now.

  • I was a bad “skinny clothes” saver for the longest time. Last year I had twins, and thanks to a hyper-boosted metabolism during pregnancy and a LOT of hard work after, I am 80 lbs lighter than I was when I got pregnant. So all those skinny clothes now fit. And do you know what? I hate them. They don’t fit my body now, because I’ve had three kids and 10 years have gone by. Not to mention the cuts and styles are simply not in style anymore. Every last piece went in the donate bag, along with all my “fat” clothes. I now have only what fits, and what I wear in my closet and it feels so much better.

  • I have a pair of jeans and a dress that are to small for me. I was able to wear them for a few months between #2 and #3. The plan was to be able to fit into them again by the time #3 was 9 months old and I was almost there, then we were in a car accident. She’s now 13 months and I’m a bit further from wearing them again, it will be 2-3 more months. I hold onto them though because at 5’11.5″ and a normal weight of 135 pounds finding clothes that fit me right is hard to do.

  • Funny thing is about most “skinny jeans” is that by the time most folks do (if they ever) fit back into them…the jeans styles have changed enough that it looks all wrong.
    I recently lost the added weight I had put on after I retired from my healthcare profession last year in order to start my own biz. The last employer I had failed miserably at being a good leader & it got to the point where I literally cried every morning driving into work. So I quit & resumed being healthy. But the point of that backstory is that I could then fit back into a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn in years. So yah hurrah……but….
    The jeans looked outdated. The wash color of the jeans was a tad “off”. The gapping at the waist was awkward. The overly distressed (i.e. holes) look at my now age felt like I was trying too hard to be 17 again. So I donated the jeans & ended up buying a fresh pair in a more modern cut, color & fit that’s more appropriate to what I’m modestly comfortable wearing for my age (45).
    I didn’t feel like I conquered some lingering self-imposed goal to be able to fit back into those jeans…I was more embarrassed that I had held on to them seeing how in just a few years these jeans managed to look soooo out-dated.

  • I have a whole bunch of office clothes saved from my pre-stay at home mom days. Definitely not getting rid of them, even though I don’t plan to work in an office again soon…. there is a small chance I will end up doing it, and those clothes were way too much $$ and also way too much effort to shop for (I hate shopping) to give up.

  • My clothing is a mesh of sizes! I have a 5 month old though! Best thing my Sister in law and I ever did was share maternity clothes. I had a daughter 05/09, she had her daughter 9/10, I had my second daughter 11/11, and her second daughter (we seem to only have girls LOL) is due 7/12. We haven’t had maternity clothes hanging out for too long. And all mine were bought used to begin with! It’s a wonderful use for clothes that see such a short season in life and best yet, I don’t have them in my closet anymore. My ‘skinny’ jeans are just my, 1 year post partum jeans (I hope at least…). So we shall see. It’s definitely tough during this stage of life.

  • I got rid of this kind of clothes, they only made me feel bad and fat, but my “problem” is that I am keeping some clothes (most of all dresses) for my daughter. Since I am wearing some old dresses from my mom’s wardrobe, I think that it will be nice to keep some nice stuff for next generation :) but sometimes I wonder if this makes really sense…

  • This is such a relevant post for so many of us! I do keep a box of “skinny” pants in the garage, but I’ve made peace with it because I’ve culled my closet so much. My weight seems to fluctuate by 10 pounds with the season, time of the month, and fitness level that I do keep the box. I can’t bear to spend more $ on clothes, and I have the space to store it, so it works for me. I know that fitting into the jeans won’t make me happy, but it will make me happy not to spend more $ on clothes. Thanks for the post! p.s. I found you through Zen Habits (I think?!).

  • I’m pretty good about getting rid of “wishful thinking” items, but this post made me think about a pair of gray pants I have in my closet that I fit into pre-pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, I still have an extra 8-10 pounds on me that, while I can fit into my gray pants, make me look ridiculously too curvaceous in the bee-hind so much so that I don’t feel comfortable wearing them anywhere. Not to mention that they’re at a weird length where I can’t really wear them with flats but they’re too short for heels.

    The reason I kept them is because the brand that made them no longer sells them, and I truly did love these pair of pants that I know I can’t buy anymore. Sigh… what to do?!

  • A few years back I donated all of my suits and business attire to a women’s shelter. Now, I am in the middle of a job search and will need to acquire similar clothes again. I have no regrets for the same reasons people said above… after 3 kids, my body has morphed, my self image has changed, I have matured and styles have drastically changed. The one suit I had – a ‘timeless’ basic blank pant suit looks ridiculous on me.
    That said – I have one pair of pants I bought in Australia 12 yrs ago, although they fit – I will never where them, but can not bare to throw them out just yet. Like your blanket story they represent another time in my life!

  • I was just commenting to my husband that I have 3 sets of clothes right now…most of my clothes are my “real” clothes—but every single item was purchased in the last 6 months because when my daughter was 9 months old, I finally came to grips with the fact that I would never fit into my pre-baby clothes again. I weigh the exact same (even a pound or 2 less) than before I got pregnant, but my hips and ribcage and need to nurse in clothes…not gonna happen. :-)

    So, I also have maternity clothes and postpartum-but-haven’t-lost-the-baby-weight clothes.

    Oh well. At least my real clothes all really fit!

  • I actually have “fat” clothes.. I weigh less than I should so I figure eventually I’ll gain the weight again.. But it’s less than a box and I pare it down each time I open the box. (It’s Justin Case’s box, y’see)

  • My hubby insisted on hanging onto his “skinny” clothes, and he actually lost the weight so he could fit in them again!!! Except it took so long that they went out of style, so we got rid of them anyways. Let that be a lesson to you- even if you lose the weight “someday”, it doesn’t mean the clothes will fit your new style.

  • I kept a few items from before babies and have since lost the baby weight (and more!) and now even the “skinny” stuff doesn’t fit! I only kept my very favorite things that I would have loved to wear again. I did get to wear them a few times on my way down, but most of it is too big!

  • Oh yes! Last year I gave away several boxes of stuff that fit for that ever-so-brief period when I was a size 4. It was mostly professional stuff that I don’t need now anyhow.

    As someone who has struggled with weight and eating disorder issues most of my life, I finally realized that there is great power in embracing the now. I mean, even if you do have a few pounds to lose, is the goal really to get back to the way you were “then”? I don’t think so… fashions change, tastes change, people change. I think that even if you are trying to move down a size or two, the goal should be a healthier you now and in the future, not trying to re-create some former version of yourself. And when you do reach your goals, then you can go out and buy a pair of new jeans that fit who you are now, not who you imagined yourself to be, or who you once were.

  • Although I’ve never owned a pair of skinny jeans (just never liked the look), I did have a ‘someday’ wardrobe. I’d been collecting clothes two sizes smaller just in case I’d lost weight. And finally I did it. I lost lost nearly 17 kg and enjoyed turning my ‘someday’ wardrobe into ‘today’s’ wardrobe. Luckily, my gran thought me to wear and buy quality and classics so although some of this had been sitting in my wardrobe for over 10 years. My ‘fat’ wardrobe is gone though – I’m certainly not clinging onto that one :). However, I do tend to cling onto shoes, but I’m working on it.
    Cheers, Maja xx

  • Hey Rachel! Fun post.
    You know me – I don’t hold on to anything (see latest closet clean!
    And then recently I dropped down a size. I was hanging on to ‘perfectly good’ jeans but I was holding them up with a belt. So I gave them away and bought a smaller size. Same for a dress pant and business skirt. Having the basics fit properly looks so much better! And I enjoy them more.
    Whatever the reason…it always feels good to purge! Haha!

  • There’s only on item I’ve kept from my old life ((pre-2-kids, did go when only had 1 teeny toddler (big mistake!))- my ski trousers. Not worn in 5 years – but will be once more this winter! Hurrah!

  • Long time reader, first time commenter. I really enjoy your blog!!
    I never really wore jeans. Everybody else did, so I was going to be different! I wore overalls on weekends and semi-professional clothes at work. But last year I decided to give skinnies a try. (I was sure that they wouldn’t last fashion-wise, so I was reluctant to jump into them, so to speak. I was shocked when I read that they’d been around (this time) since 2007!! I thought I was cooler than that!!!) And they were OK, but at the end of the day, they’d be so tight and uncomfortable that I’d swear I wasn’t going to wear them again. I also bought a few pair of shorts this spring in the same size as the skinnies. None of them fit! Then I went to the doctor and found out that I’d gained 30 pounds!! I knew that I was a little rounder, but…..!!!!! During this time, I turned 40, quit smoking after 21 years and became a SAHM. So I decided that I’d put myself back in my overalls (that I can still fit into, even with 30 extra pounds in there!!)and forget the rest. I decided skinny jeans were not worth all of the effort and thought that I was putting into them. I kinda like the 30 pounds- now I’ve got curves- and I love not smoking, so it’s not worth the stress just to fit into some jeans. And I remember why I love my overalls so much- I can carry a lot of kid-clobber in my pockets, plus it’s easier to sit in the floor with him. If something isn’t working for you, sometimes it’s better to side-step it altogether, and come up with your own solution!

  • I confess, I have 4 sets of clothes. Maternity, size 6, size 8, size 10. This weekend I am purging all but my most loved maternity all the 10s as well as some size 8s. I’ve been wearing too big clothes for me the past few weeks and they are starting to look a bit funny all gathered up at the waist with a belt. I learned with my third pregnancy that I prefer my normal pants with a bella band. I also learned that keeping those bigger clothes gave me a cushion to fall back on, to fall back on and stay lazy and complacent. I am not going back there. They are out’a here!

  • Wheee! I just started attacking my closet and jeans were first on the “should they stay or should they go” list. I actually had several pairs that were too big for me, as well as some plain old ugly ill-fitting pairs. I fit my skinny jeans so I kept them – I did cut nine pairs to four though, hurray!

  • I have several pairs of jeans and dress pants that are a size or 2 too small. I gained about 10 pounds my last semester of grad school and it all went to my thighs. I keep them around, telling myself if I would just crack down and exercise consistently I could fit into them again. Mostly, they just make me feel guilty for not exercising.

  • Since 40 hit me like a brick…I have gained 30 pounds this year. This is the heaviest I have ever been…..I know I need to stop messing around with my diet (I knew it would catch up with me). Instead of being upset about my current weight and fighting all the way back down pre-40, I have decided I was going to make a lifestyle change. Exercise the recommended amount and eat smart. Our bodies will change as we age. All we can do is make the best of it…and accept it as gracefully as possible.

    Love this article. I have a few pair that make me sad to look at. Its time for them to go.


    HISS at you mini-sizes! lol

  • I just did this the other day!
    When I began my de cluttering process I started with my clothing but I’d still clung onto those teeny tiny shorts that I will fit into if I don’t eat for two months and the dress I wore to my high school reunion (and actually felt great in) that never fitted again after baby number two. I de cluttered the bathroom, the kitchen and now I’m working on paper and books – but I came back to my clothes and grabbed all those items I’ve been torturing myself with and off to good will they went. I decided to just be happy as is. Thanks for your fantastic posts. Love your blog.

  • I hoarded clothes for years. At one point I had a gastric bypass. As I was losing weight and fitting into the former sizes, I would pull stuff out and be like “there is no way I’m wearing that!”.

    Two lessons were learned in that process…first was regardless of the size, I probably won’t want to wear those clothes again. I also learned its better to invest in a better quality of clothing and items that are classic pieces. A smaller part of the budget goes to the trendy items that I mix in while they are in style but won’t feel so bad about giving away when the trend is over!

    Truly look at what you are hanging on to…if you really think about it you probably wouldn’t want to wear it!

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