First I have to make it clear that I despise the catch phrase “Mommy Makeover”—I’m only using it because I need the keyword. I feel like it’s a name that a male plastic surgeon somewhere thought up and decided was total genius–and for some reason it has been perpetuated in the media. For me, the term “mommy makeover” is like nails on a chalkboard—it conjures up images of the flat-ass suburban housewives of my mother’s generation, walking around in high-waisted mommy jeans with a kid balanced on one hip.
Regardless, whether you call it a “Mommy Makeover” or “Breast and Body Contouring,” after you “finally do it!” and spend your time and money to have your body sculpted and/or your breasts made bigger/smaller/perkier, and you soldier through the recovery, you need to throw out your “fat” clothes. Because if you don’t, you’re still going to feel fat.
It’s a crucial part of the transformation. If you continue to wear ill-fitting, baggy, saggy clothes, you will continue to see your body the way it was before. Once my patients are six weeks out from a body contouring procedure, they are no longer allowed to troll around in oversized jeans and huge hippie tops and complain that they don’t feel any different (you ladies know who you are.)
And don’t fall into the trap of hanging on to old clothes for emotional reasons–although I myself am guilty as charged. I am the first—and last—to admit to being an emotional clothes hoarder. My sister, who is a major professional stylist and the fashion director of Who What Wear, edits my closet on a quarterly basis, but sometimes…I have to sneak things back in.
So what relics do I have, taking up space, hidden from my fashionista sister?
1) A pair of Gotcha bikini bottoms from 1989, a time in my life when I actually enjoyed wearing a bathing suit in public:
Now I should probably just have them framed.
2) A pair of 1997 Miu Miu cork wedge sandals that were so comfortable that I wore them practically every summer day for the next ten years:
I have lost count of how many times I’ve had them refurbished by Levon at the European Shoe Repair in Malibu, and then at Arturo’s Shoe Fixx in Beverly Hills. It’s been nearly fifteen years, and they are no longer wearable in public, but I’m thinking about getting the entire shoe rebuilt around the amazing buckle.
There is rarely an article of clothing that I fall in love with at first sight. But the minute I saw pictures of that dress plastered on every bus stop billboard across Manhattan, I became obsessed with finding one.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only girl who felt that way, because the Nicole Miller store only only had one left—fortunately in my size (a true “four” from the time before there was such a thing as a “double zero.”)
I wore that dress every chance I got, everywhere I went, often with my prized Miu Miu sandals.…not that I had many places to go, since I was a general surgery resident at the time. Then came the heartbreaking day in 2004 when I over-wore it at a plastic surgery graduation party in a dive bar, and ripped the hem in half.
“It would make a nice shirt,” my sister suggested. “Besides, it’s not really in style anymore.” But I was resistant. There was too much nostalgia wrapped up in that dress—all of my under-thirty adventures. I couldn’t give up on it. Eventually, the tailor at Colony Cleaners of Malibu managed to salvage enough of it to turn it into a very short mini-dress.
But it was bittersweet to wear it as a mini-dress, especially now that my skin was almost ten years older as well and I really shouldn’t have been leaving the house bare-legged without a spray tan.
I only wore it twice. The second time was on a whim, to a fashion event at the Chateau Marmont in 2007. My sister had gotten me on the “list,” but she was out of town, so I was on my own. So there I was, walking around this fabulous little soiree by myself, ignored by all the truly fabulous fashion people around me, yet reminding myself how fabulous it was to be there at all, at a party at one of the private Chateau Marmont bungalows, when an attractive, elegant red-headed woman pointed at me and said, “That dress!”
I went from feeling completely out-of-place to ecstatic. At least someone here appreciated my truly phenomenal style. I proceeded to fill her in on the dress’ entire history: “Oh my God, don’t you love it? It’s a Nicole Miller! I got it in 1997. It was the dress of the year! It was on every bus stop billboard in Manhattan! It wasn’t always this short. It used to be below the knee but it got ripped and I had to have it shortened—“
The Redhead did not seem to find my story charming. Or entertaining. She simply looked at me like I was a complete moron and said, “I’m Nicole Miller.”
At which point I became completely starstruck and began babbling even faster until she cut me off with: “You’ve had that dress since it was new?” as if even she didn’t approve of keeping such a relic. Then she added, “I like what you’ve…uhhh…done with it.”
I’m sure she was flattered, but in general, you probably shouldn’t wait until you run into the actual designer to question why you’re hanging on to something that’s over a decade old, and no longer in style.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to the point. Once you’ve spent the time and money on a lipo, tummy tuck, breast aug/lift/reduction—and your shapely body has been uncovered–you should only wear clothes that fit you.
In the first few weeks, you may have swelling in areas that will keep even your “fat clothes” from fitting. Do not despair! This is a common early complaint. As I tell all of my patients—your body doesn’t know that you did this on purpose. On a cellular level you may as well have a huge third-degree burn. Your body has to heal itself, and the way it does so is by pouring fluid into the space of injury (this is known as “third-spacing” fluid.)
Think of your body like a sponge. For at least the first six weeks, you need to wear your compression garment as much as possible to squeeze all that fluid back into your bloodstream. It’s going to take a while—after two weeks you should really start seeing it go down, but it could take up to three months (and sometimes longer) for the healing to be complete. And often times, even after the three-month mark, you may experience fluctuation of the swelling with activity. Once you can tolerate massage, ultrasound and infra-red treatments, try to get them as often as possible to help decrease swelling and expedite healing. I send my patients to the Brighton Institute in Beverly Hills, but most physical therapy centers or chiropractors in your area should also have the equipment.
I know that as the swelling goes down, the issue becomes wearing a cumbersome, uncomfortable garment under your more form-fitting clothes. Our Lipo Queen™ by Design Veronique® shapewear can be used as a second-stage garment, and is almost invisible under clothes, even your skinny jeans.
Wait till about six weeks to start shopping. I had to do an intervention on a patient in the office this week—she’s ten days postoperative after a full body lipo and she was just about to order a couture gown in her old size. What was she thinking?!? I mean, what did she think she paid me for?
But you don’t have to go to Barney’s and spend an outrageous fortune on designer duds crafted by the Olsen Twins. At six weeks just start treating yourself to cute clothes that fit. Go to Old Navy, Target, the Gap. The Gap is really good these days. And I don’t know about you, but those vanity sizes are always good for my demeanor.
This woman is three months postoperative from a full body liposculpture in all of these pictures, but in the one where she’s hiding under a big, baggy sweater, you can’t tell.
And here she is in yoga pants, which are always flattering.
Even without seeing her face, doesn’t she look younger in the more fitted clothes?
If you’ve finally rid yourself of those stubborn bulges—whether by way of diet and exercise, or a little help from a friend ;)—and you’re wearing clothes that fit the new body that you don’t hate anymore, you will just naturally start living a healthier lifestyle. With more confidence, your sex life could improve. Your workout gear will look cuter and you’ll probably exercise more, get in better shape, and you might find yourself in a productive vicious cycle. Before you know it, you’ll be staving off hypertension and heart disease without even trying!
I rest my case. Meanwhile, although Nicole Miller didn’t seem too enthused about my suggestion to bring back the Partridge Family Bus dress, I haven’t given up hope. I’m still searching the billboards on Sunset Boulevard.
So here’s a shout-out to Nicole Miller and her team: How about a Lipo Queen Limited Edition?!?