Building a wardrobe for chronic pain.

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  ModestMalka 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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    I’m going to try to rebuild my wardrobe and I’m having some issues. I have chronic pelvic pain (interstitial cystitis, endo, PCOS, and PFD) I’ve been recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I work with kids and for the past seven years, I’ve worn primarily leggings from Kohls and Old Navy with t-shirts or cotton sweaters for work and casual wear. I can’t wear jeans due to my pelvic pain and sensory sensitivities. I need to find pants and skirts that have elastic waistbands (preferably high waisted), comfortable and age-appropriate tops (I’m 25), and dresses. I wear tons of jersey dresses from H&M because they’re really comfortable and have some stretch. As for shoes, I’ve pretty much only been able to wear TOMS for the past two years due to extreme pain in my feet. Even with shoe inserts, they’re the most comfortable I’ve been able to get.

    I’m totally at a loss. I grew up super poor and most of my clothes were clearance or hand-me downs so I never really got the chance to develop my style. I guess you could say it’s comfy, alternative, and a little quirky? Since I work with kids, I have a few pieces with fun prints like dinosaurs and animals. My go-to casual outfit is leggings, a band tee, and a knit cardigan or oversized sweater around this time of year. I live in Chicago and can go pretty much anywhere to shop if I have to, but I get exhausted easily by walking around stores and trying things on, so online stores are appreciated too!

    I just graduated from graduate school and I am finally feeling like an adult and want my wardrobe to reflect that while still being comfy. Since I’m not used to spending a lot of money on clothes, is $50 reasonable for a pair of pants? $30-40 for a top? Seriously, I’m totally lost. Any and all help or advice is appreciated!! I’m looking to spend around $500-600 total over the next few months to revamp my wardrobe.



    I don’t have your exact health issues but I do suffer from bloating and a tender abdomen at times and a lot of Uniqlo’s pants and skirts have stretchy high waists, which I dig. They’re also in your (completely reasonable) price range.



    Hi! I have fibromyalgia and hypermobility so I try to dress in a way that protects my joints and doesn’t hurt my stomach/other parts. I work as a child and family therapists and my work wardrobe consists of black jeggings from American Eagle, pixie pants from Old Navy, and high waisted skirts ([this]( is my fav, I have it in green and it has lasted me four years so far!). For tops, I shop almost exclusively at J Crew (factory or used via poshmark) because their petite section fits me well and the sales are great. Uniqlo is also great for staples that are comfy but professional!



    I have the exact same needs as you with stretchy and high waisted things. Jersey dresses are great and very age appropriate, and I think job-appropriate for you too. There is a brand of jeans with the “ab technology” that are very stretchy around the waist. Zara also sells nice work pants that have wide, high, elastic waistbands. I don’t wear skirts because they dig into my waist, so I wear dresses instead. I go online and look for “empire waist dress” and those styles are a godsend for my bloated belly in addition to look perfectly polished. I’ve been buying them for like $10 (Banana Republic) on Ebay a lot.

    As for how much to spend on clothing, it’s really up to you. Unlike a lot of people here, I’ve had excellent luck at H&M, and terrible luck at Uniqlo. I shop at Target a lot. I thrift at Ebay and Poshmark. I think filling holes slowly will help you better gauge than to try to revamp your entire wardrobe into a style you’re not sure you want or need yet.



    Don’t have fibro but do have IBD which leaves my abdomen tender and in pain, and sometimes different sizes one day to the next. I have a pair of maternity jeans, and a belly band to wear with jeans I just don’t always want to button because it hurts I don’t wear a lot of leggings due to work, and with a longer shirt or cardigan you’d have no idea I’m not wearing “normal” jeans.

    I love a good cardigan to get me through fall and winter. I like some good thrifting, but if I’m going to purchase items I stick to Gap quite a bit. Usually my staple items for the season comes from Gap and I can dress some items up or down. I recently started wearing Old Navy Pixie pants and do like them, but also like Gap girlfriend Khaki for the office. They’re not skin tight and move well with my body.



    I have lots of abdominal pain for health reasons. To me, ponte pants, a textured knit top, and a knit blazer feel as comfortable as leggings/graphic tee/hoodie, and look way more dressed up.



    I don’t have chronic pain but I like being cozy. I’ve just picked up a few things that I think fall in this category!

    Super high elastic waist pants but flattering imo and really soft/wash well:—universal-thread–153–washed-black-s/-/A-53488741

    Cute sweatshirt:

    Soft cotton sweater in a modern shape:



    I have EDS (hEDS specifically) and while my issues are mostly centred around joint pain in my arms and legs, it does extend to my hips. I’m a Brit so I don’t really have any store advice but I do have a few outfits I like. For autumn I tend to wear a lot of skirts with turtlenecks and comfortable tights that are a good, non restrictive fit (which is more about careful sizing than anything). I also enjoy wearing sweater-dresses and leggings (it can be fun to pick textured knits, or textured leggings, like leather-look leggings, so long as they’re not too tight) with Chelsea boots, which can definitely play up the alternative vibes. I also like midi dresses with biker jackets thrown over the top and usually attatch pins to the lapels of the jacket (my old jacket had a ton of ‘witchy’ themed pins I bought off Etsy) or I’ve decorated the back of denim jackets to show a bit more personality.



    I like midi-length skirts and dresses. Long enough to hide unshaven legs, but not so long that I could trip on the stairs. I’d recommend getting a comfy pretty robe for lounging around at home if it’s too hard to put on pants, etc.



    Instead of leggings and t-shirts I’d go for tights and dresses. Way more comfortable and way better style. Chinos should be comfortable too if you find the right fit. If you want something loose for your belly look at maternity fashion.

    I personally buy fair fashion, so prices are a bit higher. Other users will be able to say more to that aspect.



    I don’t have chronic pain, but I’m wondering if jumpsuits might be a decent option for you. The only issue is that they can be a pain to go to the bathroom in, but otherwise they generally are very comfortable. I have one from Uniqlo that was about $30, and I wear them with slip-on Sperrys (which are similar to Toms). It’s a super easy way to look put together while staying comfy IMO.



    Fit and flare dresses might work. Lands End and Old Navy have great choices at what I would consider fairly decent prices when on sale… I mainly thrift and am usually really cheap about clothes, though, so I’m not a good judge of prices.



    I don’t have chronic pain, but Dr. Scholls makes shoes, some of which are more utilitarian, but they have some cute styles too (I personally like [this]( style, but they have sneakers and boots too). I have a super comfy pair of loafers I got second-hand, so you may be able to find some that way too.



    For budgeting, I would take your overall budget ($500-600), and list out the pieces you need to make for the number of outfits you need, working backwards. If you search Wonder Wardrobe on YouTube, Daria has some great practical advice for building a (ethically sourced) small wardrobe.

    I’ve seen others ask about similar, dressing for health/pain issues so I’d do a search in older threads for tips!



    As someone with IBS/constant bloating, I mainly wear dresses with fleece-lined tights underneath. The tighter the better, as long as there’s no band poking in my abdomen (like you’d get with most pants/skirts…) because it compressing everything and makes me look and feel more streamlined and not like I’m somehow trying to hide that I might have a pretty big belly… The best thing about these tights is that they’re wool and super stretcby and I can actually almost pull them up to my chest. It makes me look like I’m pretty much always dressed up really nicely, except for the fact that it is just so much more comfortable than most “less nice” clothes like jeans!

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