Memories, Memories: The Tale of a Suit

August 24, 2016

Facebook reminded me the other day that it’s been six years since I first cleaned out my closet of clothes I could no longer wear. Clothes are a wonderful signifier of weight loss success: it’s an awesome feeling when clothes start feeling looser, or you can start using a new hole in your belt, or fit into something you couldn’t before. Six years ago, I was well into my weight loss, having shed a little over 100 pounds, and you can imagine how good it felt to set aside all the clothes that I had shrunk out of. They covered my entire bed!


I went through other photos I took that summer, and remembered a great story that I haven’t thought about it a while.. a story about a suit.
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My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Sportcoat Edition

February 8, 2012

A trip to the dry cleaners isn’t usually anything to get excited about, but I was geeked to go to the dry cleaners yesterday. And the dry cleaners didn’t disappoint! I wasn’t there to pick up a piece of clothing that had been cleaned. Nope – I was there to pick up an article of clothing that had been altered for me. To learn the rest of the story, we have to jump in a DeLorean and time travel 14 months into the past. Buckle up!

December 2010. My friend Laura’s wedding is fast approaching, and I have nothing to wear. I’m losing weight at a steady clip, and my one suit no longer fits. Alterations to every seam to make it fit would be costlier than buying new clothes, so I opt for the latter and hit the discount stores. With your input (thanks to a poll on this very blog), I buy a sportcoat (and pants, but this blog is more about the sportcoat). I go to Laura and Chad’s wedding, and have a fabulous time. Here I am with the bride:

Beautiful, right? And Laura looks amazing as well! HEY-O!

(Fun fact about Laura: She was one of the people who, way back in the day, encouraged me to start a blog in the first place, and for that I’ll always be grateful. I can’t wait, when I’m super famous and super wealthy, to screen her calls and pretend I don’t know her. Just kidding! Or am I?)

(Fun fact #2 about Laura: I don’t think she’ll mind me saying, but her weight has been all over the place in the past year, and that’s because a couple months ago she and Chad had a baby! Now she’s reading Keep It Up, David as a tool to help her lose the baby weight, and I have no doubt she’s gonna do it. And their baby, by the way, is adorable.)

January 2011. The ensemble in the above photo gets worn a second time, when I deliver the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral. I’m thankful that Laura’s wedding forced me to go shopping, because there was no time in my grandmother’s final days and during the prepping for the funeral for me to make it to the mall.

February 2011. The ensemble gets worn a third time, at a fundraising gala for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. I’m working the event as a volunteer, and my friend Nicolette walks up to me at the gala, looks me up and down, and says something to the effect of: “You look very nice, David, but I think your jacket may be a little big.” The jacket is two months old at this point, although I have lost weight during those two months. I take the entirety of Nicolette’s comment as a compliment, and smile. A big shit-eating grin. I love shrinking out my clothes!

We’re done time traveling. Back to present day. A full year has gone by, and I’ve had no occasion to wear formal clothes (which is not abnormal in casual Los Angeles). This year’s gala for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is approaching, and I’m volunteering again (I still have community service hours to work off for punching that cop). Last week, I take the sportcoat to my cleaners, which has a slew of tailors on-site. The tailor ends up removing a couple inches of fabric from the sides. Wanna see me in the jacket now?

This is what I’m wearing to the gala, from head to toe.

Let’s talk sizes! I’m not wearing the same pants to the gala this year that I wore last year. Last year’s pants were 40″ around the waist, but I got a great new pair as a Christmas present (thanks, Mom and Dad!), so I’ll be wearing those this year, and they’re 38″ (I fit into both 36″ and 38″ pants right now, depending on brand and cut).

Even more exciting: The jacket is a 48″ Long – although not after it was taken in! My previous suit jacket was a 54″ Long – check it out:

I hate this photo – I look like Kevin on The Office, but with more hair – but it’s the only one with that suit.

And the piece de resistance: The suit I wore at my heaviest, in July 2009, to the wedding of my friends Lisa and Matt in New Jersey. This suit is size 64″ Long, and it was ordered from a catalog – even big and tall stores don’t carry suits that big.

The number in suit sizing refers to the distance, in inches, around the widest part of your chest, doesn’t it? So, my advanced math skills tell me that a drop from 64″ to 48″ in suit size reflects a loss of 16 INCHES around my chest (and now a little bit more than that, thanks to my jacket getting taken in). WHOA!

Keep It Up, David!

Check out My Favorite Posts for all the Incredible Shrinking Clothes blogs – this is the ninth one!

My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Jeans Edition

September 7, 2011

I’ve covered lots of different types of clothing in the “My Incredible Shrinking Clothes” series on this blog, from my swimsuits to my dress shirts (all six prior editions are archived on the My Favorite Posts page), but today’s post is about one of the most popular types of clothing that can be found in nearly everyone’s closet…


Usually, these posts include a photo of a piece of clothing that I wore at my heaviest, which I compare to clothing I can fit into now, but this post is a little different, because I don’t have any pairs of jeans from when I was at my heaviest.  It may be hard to believe, but for a span of close to a decade, I didn’t wear jeans at all.  I didn’t even own a pair.

At some point in college I stopped liking jeans.  As my waistline expanded, I found them less and less comfortable.  Meanwhile, the pants in my closet that I grew to favor most had one thing in common: elastic waistbands.

Oh, elastic waistband, how I loved you!  You made my life so easy.  I never had to pay attention to my actual pants size, because elastic waistband pants aren’t sold by the number, they’re sold in basic Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large sizes.  I was a 3XL.  Plus, elastic waistbands are forgiving after junk food binges – you never have to worry about not fitting into them the next day.

As my love and reliance on elastic grew, my love for denim shrunk, and by the time I moved out to California after college, there was none left in my closet.  I found jeans with elastic waistbands at the big & tall store, but they were so goofy, unflattering, and ugly that I couldn’t bear the thought of wearing them.  So I went jeans-free.

By June 2010, I had lost around 80 pounds, and the thought started percolating in my brain that maybe it was time to buy my first pair of jeans in a looooong time.  Despite my 80-pound loss, I was still too big to shop at major retailers, so I went to the big & tall store and started trying jeans on.  I found a pair that fit that were 46″ around the waist.  A few months later, I was able to buy 44s.  A few months after that, I bought my first pair of 42s, and the bigger sizes ended up in the donation bin at Goodwill.  And so on.

Lately I’ve been noticing that my current jeans are a little looser, and then all my friends on the kayaking trip I went on last month came to the consensus that my jeans were just too big.  That’s when I started trying on jeans, and realizing that I was fitting into jeans that were one size smaller.  That’s an amazing feeling, by the way.  Even though smaller jeans were fitting, I wasn’t finding any that were quite right for me:  the cut wasn’t flattering, I wasn’t nuts about the finish or color, there was some other detail or stitching that bothered me.

The other day I went shopping with my mom, and I finally ended up coming home with a new pair of jeans.  It’s my first new pair in about 6 months, and yep, they’re a new smaller size.

Ladies and Gentlemen, take a look at my SIZE 36″ JEANS!

They’re Levi’s 514 jeans, waist 36″; length 32″.  514 jeans are called Slim Straight, which means the jeans are slim cut through the butt and thigh, but have a straight leg.  They’re comfortable, and even though you can’t see it in the picture, they make my ass look good!

While fitting into 36″ jeans is certainly a notable milestone by itself, there’s a greater milestone that I must mention.  Even though I wore elastic pants almost exclusively before I started losing weight, I went to a wedding two summers ago that required the purchase of a new suit.  The suit pants that I bought were size 56″ waist.  That’s right, folks…

…I’ve lost TWENTY INCHES around my waist!

Keep it up, David!

My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Shoes Edition

August 12, 2011

Today you get a double dose of Keep it up, David!  In addition to the post below, I’ve also written a guest post for A Life Changing Journey, Tara’s inspiring weight loss and running blog.  Check out my guest post, which is all about staying motivated, here.

This post is so bizarre to me, I can’t believe I’m about to write it.  Let’s see.  Where to start?

Check out my new shoes!

I bought them about a week and a half ago when I stopped at the outlets in Primm, Nevada, on the way home from Las Vegas.  I found them at the Nike Outlet, and they’re really comfortable and supportive.

But there’s something really new and different about these shoes that you can’t tell by looking at them.  It’s that they’re size 13.

That may not mean much to you, but it’s practically mind-blowing to me.  Because, you see, for my entire adult life, I’ve worn size 14 shoes. 

Yes, yes, let’s get the joke out the of way:  Everyone knows what they say about a guy with big shoes.  He also has a big dick big socks.

Have I lost weight in my feet?  I have!

When I was at my heaviest, I didn’t think I had fat feet.  Most of my excess weight was gathered in my torso – chest and gut mainly, but also plenty in my neck and chin region.  I’ve never had tons of excess weight in any of my limbs, let alone my extremities.  And yet, since I began losing weight in January 2010, I’ve noticed changes in my body, even the parts that I didn’t think had anything to lose, like my hands.

Now, it seems, that my I’ve lost enough to make a difference in my feet, and that idea is so completely strange to me.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around it!  For the record, I don’t think (although I suppose I don’t know) that my feet are getting shorter.  I think that they’re narrower, and/or have a smaller circumference.  When I used to try on size 13 shoes, it wasn’t that there was no room for my toes, it was that they were incredibly tight along the sides and tops of my feet.

Those Nikes, though, fit wonderfully.

And I must give credit where credit is due: my mother predicted this.  She’s asked me a couple times over the past year if I can fit into a smaller shoe size, and I laughed at her.  I laughed.  “Oh, mom, my feet aren’t going to get smaller.  There’s no fat in my feet to lose!  How silly!”   Well, she has the last laugh.  So laugh it up, mom.  You earned it!

A picture of my new size 13 shoe (on the right) next to an old shoe (on the left; a size 14 Adidas):

If I’ve truly sized down to a 13, and this pair of shoes isn’t some sort of fluke or factory mistake, than I’m gonna be really excited, for two reasons:  It’s a strange, but true, consequence of the 167 pounds I’ve lost, and also, because shoe shopping just got a whole lot easier.

Buying size 14 shoes can be a giant pain in the neck.  Many mass retailers, including Foot Locker and DSW, don’t carry sizes bigger than 13 (or carry so few 14s that it’s not worth the trip), so, over the past 10+ years, I’ve bought countless shoes online, without the benefit of trying them on.  I’ve also bought shoes at big & tall stores (which I’ve since vowed to never step foot in again), although lately I’ve discovered the joys of Nordstrom Rack, which has a great selection of 14s.

All that scouring for shoes that fit, though, may be a thing of the past!

Keep it up, David!

If you liked this post, check out the other posts in the My Incredible Shrinking Clothes series.  They’re all archived in My Favorite Posts, so click on that at the top of the page, and scroll down a teeny bit.  Some of the old clothes/new clothes pictures are really astounding!

My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – T-Shirt Edition UPDATE

July 7, 2011

I watched a rerun of “The Golden Girls” yesterday while putting off going to the gym (I eventually went, so don’t you fret), and I’d like to take a little inspiration from Sophia and start this blog the way she would start her stories:

Picture it: September, 2010, Los Angeles.  A young man has lost 136 pounds in about 8 months, and notices that he has to rapidly replace his wardrobe, as he is getting way too small for the clothes he used to wear.  He sets aside a few token pieces of clothes that he used to wear at his heaviest, and donates tons of clothes – they literally fill up his trunk and the entire backseat of his car – to Goodwill.  Then, he creates a visual comparison by lining up a few of his t-shirts.  On September 25, 2010, just twelve days after starting his blog, this young man posted this photo:

The blue shirt on the bottom is size 3XLT.

The gray shirt in the middle is size 2XLT.

The orange shirt on top is size XL, and what the young man was wearing in September.

Now, 9 months later and 30 additional pounds lighter, that young man has an exciting Shrinking Clothes Update!

Okay – I’m tired of talking in the third person.  Obviously, the young man is me, and, yes, I’m referring to myself as ‘young’ even though I’m in my early thirties!

About two weeks ago, I wanted to buy a couple new shirts to exercise in.  I went to a store and tried a few on, but didn’t find anything that I loved, or that fit wonderfully, so I left empty-handed.  A few days later I went into a different store, and tried a few more shirts on, and, again – no luck.  Nothing seemed to be fitting.

Then, right there in the dressing room, I had an idea.  I had been grabbing XL-sized shirts to try on… could it be I was ready to fit into a size Large?  Only one way to find out!

About 6 minutes later, I was walking back to my car, with my new purchase in hand.  It’s a size Large, and I’ve already worn it, and love it.  Wanna see it compared to my old shirts?  Here it is:

The blue shirt on the bottom is size 3XLT.  (Yep, I still have it, tucked in the back of my closet – I saved it precisely for moments like this).

The orange shirt in the middle is size XL.  (The 2XLT gray shirt in the previous photo has moved on to a new life courtesy of Goodwill)

The red shirt on top is a size L.  A size L!  I lined up the bottom right corner of all three so you can see exactly how much my clothes have shrunk.

I love my red shirt.  I love it so much I bought it in two other colors.  You’ve already seen one of the other colors – I’m wearing it in the photo at the end of this post.

And you like this Incredible Shrinking Clothes post, you should check out my other ones, too!  You can easily find them by clicking on “My Favorite Posts” at the top of the page, and scrolling just a bit.

I’ve had clothes shrink before – thanks to the dryer.  But knowing that nowadays it’s me, and not the clothes that are shrinking… well, it makes me want to scream like Kermit!

Keep it up, David!

My Incredible Shrinking Clothes – Dress Shirt Edition

February 15, 2011

Time for another installment of My Incredible Shrinking Clothes! To see the previous installments, go to My Favorite Posts at the top of the page.

I was inspired to write this post this past weekend, because I had to dress up all fancy.  I was volunteering at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra‘s annual Concert Gala, which was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA (a frequent Oscar venue from the ’70s-’90s).  It was a formal affair, and I wore the only formal outfit I have right now, which is made up of elements I’ve blogged about before: the jacket you readers helped me pick out, the pants that I bought at the same time, and the dress shirt that I picked up last month before my grandmother’s funeral. 

When I was getting dressed for the Gala, I pulled out the wrong dress shirt by mistake – my old dress shirt, that fit me at my heaviest.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  Wow, what a big shirt!  I knew I had to write an Incredible Shrinking Clothes post, and well, now I am!

Here’s both dress shirts:  The white one is the one I wore at my heaviest, and the blue one is the one that I wore just the other night:

I lined up the seams along the side of the shirts to fully show the difference.  I don’t exactly remember when I bought the white shirt, although I know I bought it at Casual Male XL, because I recognize the label, Comfort Zone, as being one of their lines.  I know I bought two suits (both from a catalog) in the 2 years prior to beginning my weight loss journey – each one for a different wedding.  I have a hunch I bought the white shirt in June 2009, before going to the Jersey Shore for the wedding of my friends Lisa and Matt.  Here’s a picture of me from that trip – I’m pretty sure this is the same shirt:

That was a really fun wedding, and here’s a fun fact that’s indicative of the way I used to eat:  I was in New Jersey for probably 48 hours max, and I distinctly remember going to Dunkin’ Donuts three times in those two days – and that each time was at a different Dunkin’ Donuts location.

Anyhoo – if you’re not familiar with how men’s shirts are sized, there are two numbers.  The white shirt is a 22 37/38, which means that the neck is 22 inches around, and the 37/38 refers to the length of the arm.  The bigger the neck number, than the wider the shirt will be.

The blue shirt is a 16 36/37, which means…  DRUM ROLL PLEASE!…   I’ve lost 6 inches around my neck!

I’ll leave you with a photo my friend Lacey took of me at the Concert Gala, before all the festivities began.

Keep it up, David!

Goodbye, Clothes

January 28, 2011

The other day, I posted a great photo of me wearing my old winter jacket (Didn’t see it? click here).  In that post, I mentioned that I was cleaning out my closet – some early spring cleaning, if you will.  Today, I tackled my dressers.  I have a lot of clothes that I can no longer wear, because they’re too big, and I’m tired of lookin’ at them, I’m tired of them taking up space, I’m tired of mixing up the clothes that fit with that clothes that don’t…  I’m tired of all of it.  So I’m cleaning it all out, loading up the trunk, and donating them.

Wanna see all the clothes that are headed to the thrift shop?

I took an inventory, and here’s just some of the things included in that pile:

  • 1 winter jacket (in the foreground)
  • 12 short-sleeve t-shirts
  • 3 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 7 pairs of casual pants
  • 2 pairs of dressy pants
  • 8 button-down shirts (of varying levels of dressiness)
  • 11 polos/collared pullovers
  • 3 sweaters

Here it is, bagged and ready for the trunk of my car:

Here’s the really cool thing:  Most of these clothes were actually purchased in the middle of last year – they were the first “skinny” clothes that I bought after dropping 70 or 80 pounds!  That means I’m onto, basically, my third wardrobe.  Wowsa!

It’s also the second major charity donation I’ve made since beginning this journey – in Mid-August, after I began purchasing the first round of smaller clothes, I cleaned house and got rid of about 75% of my wardrobe.  Here’s what that pile of clothes looked like:

Halfway through, I took a break to make some lunch.  It’s been a while since I’ve featured one of my salads on the blog, but since I got so much good salad stuff at Whole Foods yesterday, I thought I’d share today’s salad with all with you.  Here was my lunch:

In the mix:  mixed greens, green pepper, cucumber, radish, butter beans, beets, capers, 2 teaspoons soy bacon bits, and 2-3 teaspoons light Parmesan Asiago dressing.  It was a big salad – the photo doesn’t do justice to how deep that bowl is.  I also had an apple.

Breakfast was the same juice mix I’ve been making for the past few days, about 1 cup of cottage cheese, and 2 pieces wheat toast.

Keep it up, David!