What’s In Your Closet? My "PsA-Approved" Fashion Tips
I don’t consider myself high maintenance when it comes to fashion and beauty, but I do like to look the part when I when I go out on the town or travel for work. Unfortunately, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have made me reconsider my wardrobe to allow me to be comfortable and avoid pain.
Here’s what’s in my closet:
Backpacks and wristlets
Over-the-shoulder purses are now pushed to the back of my closet. I’ve always kept my purses on the small side, but when I stuff them to the max, even these get heavy. Unequal weight on my shoulders and back can make already painful joints feel like they’re on fire. Now, I’ve traded my purses for small, cute backpacks to spread the weight and alleviate pressure on already sore joints when I have a lot to carry. If I go the minimalist route, I get away with a wristlet that is just big enough to hold my phone, license, a credit card and cash.
Tip: Look for backpacks that have well-stitched, padded shoulder straps, pockets to accommodate wallets, and choose a color that will match the most clothes you own. For wallets, I look for ones that are slim, but large enough to accommodate my oversized phone.
If you have a dress with a zipper up the back and can actually zip it yourself, good for you. I used to be able to do that, but with psoriatic arthritis, it has become quite a chore, and I usually fail. I’ve replaced most of these dresses with ones that go over my head or ones that zip up the side. I also shop for dresses that are tea length and cover my swollen knees.
Tip: If you’re not up for eliminating your dresses that zip up the back, try using an zipper pull assistive device. You can usually purchase one for under $10.
Socks and shoes
My rheumatologist said I can only wear shoes that have good arch support, and ones with heels are definitely out. Bye-bye cute sneakers, and pumps and flip-flops. Thankfully, I’ve been able to find some wedges with good arch and ankle support for summer outfits.
I also find that socks with arch support help my feet, too. My favorites are yoga socks! They are super comfy and have non-slip soles so when I get up in the morning and my legs aren’t fully functioning, I worry less about falling as I walk down the stairs.
Tip: Look for shoes that have memory foam along with the arch support. For me, it’s worth the extra bucks when I’m on my feet all day. You can also search for shoes that have the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use Commendation.
While it is usually unacceptable to wear tight yoga pants outside of the gym, I do wear comfy sweats or loose pants to run errands, as well as for exercise. It definitely makes grocery shopping and lunch dates more enjoyable.
I also try to buy tag-less clothes. It doesn’t seem to matter if the tags are at the neckline or at the hem of a shirt, if there’s a tag, my skin will be irritated. Thank you, psoriasis!
Tip: You don’t have to break the bank to find some cute exercise clothes that can double as everyday outfits. Stores like Target often have a good selection.
Since I have trouble reaching around to my back, I’ve traded traditional bras for front-closing ones. These are definitely easier to hook, though I might still have trouble when the joints in my hands are acting up. Thankfully, I also have bras that go over my head, so I don’t have to fasten any hooks at all. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any strapless bras that I like, so getting glammed up with a fancy dress is on hold for now.
Tip: Be sure to check the clasp well on front closing bras. You wouldn’t want it to come undone while you’re in public. (Yes, I speak from experience. That was embarrassing!)
I’ve always skimped on jewelry. I do wear necklaces, but most times I have to have my husband put it on me. The clasps are just too difficult when my hands are swollen. Unfortunately, I cannot wear earrings anymore. Psoriasis has closed my holes permanently. I could wear clip earrings, but often, I opt for no earrings at all.
The only ring I wear is my wedding ring and only when I leave the house. If my joints swell, the ring just won’t fit. I can go from squeezing it on my finger in the morning to having it fall off by afternoon.
Tip: Find the jewelry that is most important to you and stick with the basics. A little can go a long way and still complete your outfit.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?