Two happy fanny packs chatting

Arthritis-Friendly Fashions I Wish Would Come Back

As a young female, I am continually dealing with the expectation to look fashionable and put together. I've been told again and again that I should "dress-up" a little. And while no one likes to be judged, it tends to rub me the wrong way. It's not that I don't want to be put together- it's that I'm trying to wear clothes that don't aggravate my juvenile-onset psoriatic arthritis!

How PsA affects my clothing choices

Since I was in high school, I've wished that women's fashion would become arthritis-friendly. There are so many items I want to wear because they're cute, but simply can't. Strappy sandals and heels always blister me. Most purses put a lot of strain on my shoulders. And don't even get me started on skinny jeans: half the time, I can't get my swollen heel through the little hole for your ankles.

There are times when I look through old magazines or photo albums and I look at a woman's clothes and think "that looks comfortable." Towards the end of the '60s, I started noticing a lot of comfortable looking clothes. And there are days I wish some of these things would come back:

Bell bottoms

On days when I'm swollen, bell-bottoms sound heavenly. I would love a nice, loose pair of pants that don't constrict my poor knees. Finally, my joints could breathe!

But you know what is in style? Skinny jeans- the kind that takes 15 minutes to squeeze into. I can't even get them on if my feet are swollen! And I won't even attempt if I'm low on energy. My saving grace during this trend has been jeggings (jean leggings) and jeans made of super soft material. Otherwise, I'm wearing my black leggings that might be a tad too stretched out at this point (hey, my joints need space!).

Fanny packs

Hear me out.

I've struggled with everything from wristlets to satchels. Regardless of which joint the strap is sitting on or how heavy my bag is, it can still cause pain. But you know what kind of strap wouldn't hurt? One around my waist.

As a child, I was the proud owner of two fanny packs, and I loved them. They made life so much easier, and I wish I still had the confidence I had back then to wear them now. They came back for a while in teen culture, but I want a big comeback. And I want them to be couture!

Converse and dresses

You can pry my sneakers from my cold, arthritic hands. Sneakers have always been my most comfortable shoes, and I don't anticipate that changing anytime soon.

I love wearing dresses (especially the way they painlessly slide on), but I always hesitate to wear them because I don't have the right shoes to wear them. I vote to bring converse and dresses back into style, so I can wear my "formal sneakers" (you know the pair) with my summer dresses. The only thing better would be combat boots and dresses!

Comfort trumps fashion

While I don't think these styles will come back soon, I wish they would. But ultimately, fashion shouldn't be our highest priority- comfort and safety should be. So while I can yearn for my style to be the next biggest trend, I accept that nine out of ten times, I'm going to dress for comfort. And I'm going to pick things that make me feel functional and pretty.

I've worn my slip-on sneakers with dresses because that was the only way I'd make it through the day. And you know what? I got a lot of compliments- people focused on my dress, not my shoes. And even when I did get comments on my sneakers, I shrugged and said, "they're comfortable." Everyone has an opinion, but the only one that matters is mine.

As women with arthritis, let's set our own fashion trends fearlessly. Let's wear what's comfortable and feel good in it. And let's buy it all online to conserve our energy!

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