I love clothes. I follow fashion blogs and pour over my favorite catalogs and websites like some people read the news. I use services like Stitch Fix to watch What Not to Wear. Over the years, and especially after I got sick, I became a big believer in having a small, versatile wardrobe in which I can honestly say I LOVE every piece in it.
As such, when I shop, I look for clothes that look great for client meetings or are perfect for girl’s night. I look for clothes that express who I am and look just as good at the park playing with my bug or going to dinner with my husband.
In short, I shop for things that happen, oh, about 3-5 times per month. Total.
What’s happening the rest of the month?
I’m home. On good days, that means writing. On bad days, that means lounging. Both require the utmost comfort.
In general, clothes really hurt my body. I’m not sure if it’s the fibromyalgia or the autoimmune issues, but there are days that anything I put on physically hurts. Fabric hurts my skin, jewelry is too heavy, it’s too hard to pull something on/off, waistbands turn into a python.
And let’s not even talk undergarments. My bras are trying to kill me.
But apparently, my other clothes wish me dead as well. Just this morning, I fell down. Why? Because my toe got caught in a hole in the ratty Christmas PJ pants I wear regardless of the season.
I suddenly realized my wardrobe’s duality. I inventoried the clothes I spend the most time in. Here is what I found:
• Two Christmas-print PJ pants– one of which is two sizes too big
• 1 pair of yoga pants that used to be black and are now covered with bleach stains
• 1 pair of grey yoga pants with a ripped pocket
• Three sports bras that are too big
• One sports bra that my mom bought me in 1992 (seriously)
• Two pairs of capri sweats that are identical but can only be worn with a tucked in tank because the seams irritate my skin
• A spring break ‘98 tshirt, size XXL
• T-shirts with assorted stains–most of which I received for free–many of which have holes
• A pair of leggings that are too small so I cut the seams to allow for breathing
• My sister’s high school gym shorts
My Post Inventory Thoughts
In the order they popped in my head:
1. My poor husband
2. I’m gross
3. This can’t be healthy
4. It’s time to do something about this
5. This could be a form of mental illness
6. My poor husband
What the Experts Say
Not surprisingly, lots of people have lots to say on the topic of how you dress. Here are a few that resonated.
• “Our clothes make a huge difference to what people think about us – and without us knowing or in ways we couldn’t even imagine.” Now, I make sure that other people (i.e., people who don’t live in my home) perceive me in a certain way. But what is it saying about me that I allow myself to look so crappy, day after day, in my home–and in particular, when I’m sick?
• “… dressing in nicer clothes makes you feel better.” This study relates to depression. Which, as you know, I struggle with. On days when I feel good physically, I feel good mentally. But I wonder how often wearing Christmas PJs in July and a sports bra that could legally buy alcohol contributes to a downward spiral?
• “… clothes can change the way you think.” I have to be honest. Every single thing I’ve ever written in this blog that reflects joy and learning and growth were written on days when I wasn’t feeling like crap. Despite this cultivated image of positivity, I spend every sick day blaming myself and overanalyzing what I’ve done wrong and hating myself for not being able to control my symptoms better. A change in thinking is very much needed.
Feeling sick is bad enough. Letting myself look as bad as I feel doesn’t help.
I need a cute sick wardrobe. One that feels good if my skin hurts and is easy to put on and can accommodate hot flashes and bloated stomachs and days entirely spent horizontal. And I need to toss anything that I wore before I got married 10 years ago,* as well as things with dangerous holes and stains of unknown origin.
What about you? Do you dress like a slob when you’re sick on the couch? Are your PJs tattered? Are your workout clothes older than the current century?
If you answered yes, let’s make a pact to get our sick $hit together and find cute comfies.
Now, where to start? (Gladly accepting suggestions in the comments below!)
*Note to hubby, if you ever happen to read this: I can part with almost anything. But I refuse to part with my spring break t-shirt. So don’t even ask.