Are your fall fashion choices increasing your fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis pain?
Whether you are newly diagnosed or are like me and have been living with either painful conditions for decades, you most likely have already made or are at least aware of changes to diet and lifestyle. But what about your wardrobe?
For many with fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis, cooler temperatures and increased humidity increase inflammation in our joints and tendons. It is not unusual to feel fine for a portion of the day and like a sausage bursting out of its casing the rest.
The good news is that you don’t have to live in loungewear. There are many comfortable options to help you feel and look good.
No matter what area of your body experiences swelling, the following suggestions will help you remain comfortable while you are out.
Fall Fashion Mistake Number One: Focus Only on Appearance
Comfort wasn’t a priority before fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis became an issue. All that mattered was how I looked. After my chronic life began I struggled wearing anything but loungewear. And unable to feel comfortable in my favorite outfits, I gave up.
After researching fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis, I soon realized that the pain I felt from my “normal” clothing would never end. Once I accepted it, I vowed to find a way to look nice without triggering pain.
Soft knits helped me feel as good as I looked. Hard, stiff, or scratchy fabrics triggered topical nerve pain that felt like someone was rubbing my body with sandpaper. Softer fabrics comfort my arms even while flaring.
Knit dresses make dressing up fun again!
In addition to nerve pain, it is not uncommon for fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis patients to experience abdominal bloating. Never knowing when it will occur or experiencing abdominal swelling after every meal made it impossible to wear any of my pants.
Tight or fitted waistbands and fabrics that were not stretchable had to go. I replaced them with soft and stretchy leggings, lounge pants, and sweats. My only requirement was that they fit whether I was bloated or not.
Thankfully, there are many beautiful options that will the same!
Like dresses, I had to replace all my fall shirts with soft knits. One of my favorite layering shirts is No Boundaries Juniors’ Everyday Long-Sleeve T-Shirt. They are soft and light.
I also invested in maternity shirts, especially tanks and tees! They look just like regular ones, but stretch to accommodate a swollen belly without looking stretched out.
Mistake Number Two: Failure to Layer
One of my biggest fibromyalgia and arthritis fall fashion mistakes was failing to layer.
Fall is sweater weather! Well it used to be before fibro and psoriatic arthritis. Both chronic illnesses cause my body to overheat. To this day, it comes and goes without warning. And when it hits, I need to do whatever it takes to cool down. That’s why layering is so important.
Before layering I would sweat profusely while stuck in a sweater. Whereas when I learned to layer soft knits with vests, shawls, ponchos, and cardigans all I had to do was remove a layer to help my body cool down.
Fall Fashion Mistake Number Three: Forgetting Your Feet
Foot pain and swelling is a symptom of both fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. Shoes that have padded footbeds and aren’t binding are a must!! I find the most comfort in wide-width boots, mules, pretty much any type of slip-on.
Squishing my feet into tight or unsupportive shoes would result in days of pain. Even worse would be how the rest of my chronic illness riddled body would react.
Finding comfortable, yet fashionable footwear can be complicated, but is worth the hunt. Do your feet a favor and keep them in mind!
Dressing up doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Invest in fabrics that make your body feel good all the time, not just on casual days.
Fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis take so much from our lives, don’t let them steal your fall fashion too!