I bought some new clothes when I hit about half of my goal - at that point, my jeans were saggy and lifeless and my shirts hung like sacks, and it just made me FEEL fat and ugly. I didn't go crazy buying new clothes (I bought 2 pairs of jeans in my new size) and a handful of nicer tops. I also bought clothing on sale/discount. These are "transition clothes" and a little retail therapy to make me feel good about losing weight.
I try on clothes in new sizes all the time just to see how I'm doing. It's a great affirmation that's different than what the scale says.
Once I hit my maintenance/"forever" size (which I'm hoping is a 6-8) I'll probably buy new clothes slowly and steadily. I fully think, though, that if you've lost a good amount of weight and your clothes just look bad, go ahead and buy a few things on sale to show off your changing body. I noticed that once I bought new clothes I instantly got a lot more comments about my weight loss (which had been hidden by baggy shirts and jeans), and that felt good too!
Female, 31 years old, 5'4 1/2" tall
Starting weight 1/4/11 = 215.2 lbs.
Weight 9/19/14 = 176.6 (net: -38.6)
Last mini-goal: 180 lbs. REACHED! Reward - new sports bra
Current min-goal: 175 lbs.
Next large goal: 165 lbs. by 12/25/2014
Lowest weight: 156.7 lbs.
150.2 lbs. <--- Official "Healthy BMI" weight
Estimated final goal: 130-140 lbs.
"You don't have to change your life today. You only need to change your day today."
I agree... few things will feel better than a new pair of pants at a size or 2 smaller, and a stylish top or 2.
I, personally, don't recommend buy anything that doesn't fit right now. I know the temptation to buy something too small to use it as a goal, but the couple of times I've tried this I found that while I could fit into the pants, they didn't really look that good. I guess I just didn't lose the fat evenly so even though the size was right, the cut just didn't quite suit my new body.
Many of the tops I bought at my intermediate size still look fine now, so investing in a couple now will probably last longer than the pants. I also agree with Terri, don't go crazy, but a pair or 2 or classic trousers/jeans would be a nice reward for your hard work.
I bought two pairs of pants for work and two shirts after losing 70 lbs and I suddenly am getting a lot of compliments. When I'm at home I generally wear my old 'fat clothes'. I climb ladders at work and I was afraid that I would get to the top of the ladder and my pants would fall down! Thankfully that didn't happen! So I had to get some new ones.
I got them a few weeks ago and they're already getting baggy... so I may end up having to buy a couple of more too in a few more weeks.
I'm a seamstress, so my definition of fit came into play when I went to clean out the closet. I get rid of jeans that can be pulled on and off, straight out of the dryer, without unbuttoning or unzipping, I call that "the button test". I get rid of shirts that hang straight off the boobs and don't go back in to show off the waist, call that one "the nipple test". If you can hold off for a little while longer there should be some fabulous sales after Christmas.
And while I concur that consignment shops, Goodwill and secondhand places have great prices on things, I have also found that items on deep discount can be had for even better prices sometimes. The local Goodwill sells jeans (in plus sizes too) for $4.99, but I've seen them for $3.49 on a 75% off rack at Kmart, you can also work a coupon deal at Fashion Bug and get them for $5-6. Shirts at Goodwill are $1.99-2.99, but I picked up a couple of new long sleeved shirts at JC Penny's last January for $1.49 each. Watch the sales, and build just a little cushion in the bank account in preparation.