6 Tips for Staying Fashionable With Chronic Pain


For many of us, having a chronic illness with severe chronic pain means spending days at a time in sweatpants, sweatshirts and with your hair in a messy bun. While that’s fine if you don’t have to go anywhere, there will be times when you will need to leave your house and want to look presentable. When those times come, you can rely on some simple tips to keep you comfortable and looking sharp, despite your pain.

1. Wear treggings 

You may have never heard of “treggings,” but they are incredibly versatile. They are basically stretchy suit trousers or suit pants, and are sold inexpensively at most stores. You can buy them to be tight like leggings or loose, but the best part of them is that there are no buttons or zippers. They’re a lifesaver for those with pain in their hands and work well for those who have chronic stomach pain. They also have a lot of room and give, so they are friendly for when your medication makes you gain or lose weight.

2. Maternity jeans

When you want to wear jeans with your outfit, maternity jeans can be amazing for those with arthritis in their hands, who struggle with weight gain or loss or who struggle with pain in their abdomen. You will need a longer shirt to cover the elastic waist band, but you won’t need to button anything. On the plus side, they’re really comfortable.

3. Shirts without buttons 

It may seem like a no brainer, but lots of “professional” shirts seem to be button down, which can be awful for chronic pain and for women with big boobs alike. Most retailers sell flow-y shirts without buttons that are shaped just enough that they look good on all body types.

4. Pre-button your shirts

If you do opt for a button-down shirt, button them up after washing them or on a day when your hands feel good. Leave enough unbuttoned for your head. If you’re having a really bad day, put on a tank top/vest and leave the top of the shirt unbuttoned. If you can manage it, you only have a few buttons to do.

5. Iron your clothes while you shower

Ironing can be incredibly stressful for those with chronic illnesses. If the garment you want to wear is wrinkled, place it on a hanger behind the door of your bathroom. Close the door and shower as normal. The wrinkles should mostly come out.

6. Try a dress

For some women, dresses are uncomfortable for a myriad of societal reasons. That’s totally OK. However, if you feel comfortable wearing a dress, they are super easy and don’t require a lot of planning or coordination. Just slip it on! Try to choose dresses made of jersey or other stretchy material so that you don’t have to zip or button them up.

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