One of the most ridiculous/silly inconveniences from having endometriosis and gut issues is my restrictions for clothing. Yes, even getting dressed in the morning can be a stressful experience! Not only because of standard internal mishaps that every lady/man experiences (e.g., bloating from a period so jeans are too tight, gut pain from a bad meal), but there are also many additional personal symptoms that can make many of my clothes off limits at times.
My endometriosis pains are largely in my lower abdominopelvic quadrants (i.e., below the belly button). Sometimes that pain and inflammation makes wearing slacks/jeans impossible. The tight stiff bands and the increased tension from fastening buttons can be a horrendously painful experience! On top of that, pants that ride higher are also off limits because of my gastric problems. Above my belly button, any tightness around my waist causes acid reflux and gastric cramping. What's a girl to do?
Whether I am sometimes an invalid or not, I do not care for looking like a slob. Wearing pajamas/sweats 24/7 is not an option, especially at work or when hitting up the town. Not to mention I like avoiding incidences such as when my own 95 year old grandmother commented on me getting casually dressed was as monumental as if I were going to the prom. I was home for a while and seldom wearing clothes other than pajamas because of pain; however, one day I put on a shorts and a t-shirt.. Apparently, me getting dressed was quite a sight for her to behold; she gave the well intended comment of, "wow, you look nice today, did you get dressed up!?"... thanks Grandma.
So... where is that balance? How can a gal look cute but be comfortable, and help disguise the fact that her insides are tender, swollen, and miserable? I did some digging around, asked other women who experienced some of the same issues, and this is what I have come up with. A reminder list. I hope you find it helpful and interesting--feel free to add and make this a better list!!!
(Note: I'm using mostly ads for pictures here. This not only contributes money to the endo-support account, but it also allows me to present images without needing to contact photographers for permission (I don't steal photos)--if this bothers you, I am sorry! It's simpler this way! Also, if you are using adblock, you'll have to disable it temporarily to see all the pictures. Otherwise, just read!)
--> Leggings, Leggings, Leggings!!!
- This particular fashion trend has pretty much been my saving grace these past few years. Leggings are made of knit fabrics, so they're stretchy and non-restrictive, allowing one to have pants that both stay in place but do not squeeze tight enough to cause pain. They are also very fashionable, so you look great while keeping the comfort of pajamas! They come in many different colors, prints, cuts, etc., so it is easy to find what appeals to your personal style and rock it. My only advice is this: try to wear them with longer shirts or short dresses/skirts. The tight knitted fits can be pretty revealing and sometimes they show more than you would like below the belt. If you want to wear them like pants (i.e., no longer shirts), get a sturdier pair... but be prepared for a stiffer fit.
--> Comfy Dresses
- My whole life I have been a fairly big tomboy. As a child, I actually cried over having to wear dresses to church and thought they were the silliest things to wear. Now, as an 'adult', I have to admit that while I am a tomboy in actions, in dress I am a frilly silly girl. I love dresses. They can be well fitted and meant to impress, but they can also be relaxed, comfortable, and still flattering. Skirts can be wonderful too, but some days I just need something flowing over me and nothing pinching. Dresses are perfect for days where a lady cannot handle something against her stomach. And, of course, they are always in fashion and come in many varieties. Best of all, I have always found it easy to find cute/flattering dresses at local thrift stores. I've got at least ten dresses that I got for around five bucks each and I always get compliments on them. I think its because dresses are more about how they fit 'you', and not so much about the newest/most expensive/trendiest types. So try and find something that fits your style and your mean body!
--> Yoga Pants
- The yoga pant craze that has swept the country/world has been an awesome benefit for many reasons. First off, in relation to what I'm writing, they are incredibly comfortable pants that do not constrict the abdomen or put any stiff pressure anywhere. But there is more than that. They are relatively cheap, they are all the comfort of sweat pants without the negative perceptions, and they are incredibly flattering of a woman's body. On top of that, any age group can wear them and still look fabulous. And, unlike leggings, you do not need to worry about 'showing too much' (or at least a more modest dresser like myself would not!). Whether I'm bloated or in pain, these babies are perfect.
--> Pajama Jeans
- I will first admit that I have never tried these things, so I cannot say what they are like from personal experience. However, I have had these recommended to me by other women who think they're amazing. They give the appearance of real jeans while fitting more loose and have 'pajama' fabric. I would love to give them a try for curiosity's and comfort's sake. My advice is to remember that these run small (size-wise) and make sure to wash them inside out
--> Loose Underwear
- Sometimes a woman can attribute pain from tightness to her pants when, in fact, at least part of it could be coming from the underwear she wears. This might sound silly, but after I first became suspicious of my fitted panties for causing problems, I tried some different options and was surprised to find that what I wore under my pants had a real affect. I have changed the kind of undergarments I buy (staying away from tougher bands and aiming for stretchier/higher quality fabrics). Remember to stick with cotton, avoid bands that cling tightly, and to get the proper size. What does this have to do with fashion? Well, I personally like having cute underwear and try not to buy 'old lady garments' or 'parachute panties'. There are plenty of fashionable/comfortable bikini/thong styles out there, but remember not to get them tight or stiff, and get the proper size.