Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dressing Myself

These migraines don't just stay in my head. No, they travel down my neck, stiffening my spine, then reach out into every fiber of my being. Even my skin becomes so sensitive, I find everyday clothes rather difficult to wear. So, I've developed some tricks to making clothes more comfortable, because it's too cold to go naked.

#1 Hateful Item of Clothing: Bras.

I wear about a 34-36 D. My breasts are not small, and not only does society tell me that I need a bra, but my breasts hurt when they swing freely for more than a few minutes. But bras, with their underwires that pinch and straps that dig, are not a good solution for me. I have a few sports bras that are better, but while they're an alternative on days when underwire is nightmarish, they also constrict and dig, and have a tolerance time limit. My most frequent, and successful, solution to bra-wearing woes is to tuck a piece of cotton between my skin and the underwire parts of the bra. It doesn't stop the aggravation, but it usually dampens it long enough for me to appear in public with boobies properly constrained.

At home, however, I'm a shelf-bra tank-top kind of lady. The straps still dig a bit, but this is the most comfortable answer I've found yet.

#2 Hateful Item of Clothing: Real Pants.

By which, I usually mean jeans. I'm not at all into the skinny styles, I've always preferred a more relaxed, usually slightly flared fit, so it's really just the waistbands that are a comfort issue for me. If the waist pinches, even if only when I sit, I start feeling hot, uncomfortable and claustrophobic. So, I can no longer wear pants that fit me. They must be a size too big, and if I wear a belt (which, always, because hiking up my pants all day isn't fun) it also has to be set at a size too big, so it will barely rest on my hips and butt when I stand.

The at-home solution to this is: stretchy pants! I have pajama bottoms and workout pants and leggings galore, and that's pretty much all I wear lately. Oh, and last summer, I was really into loose, long, flowy skirts. So comfy.

#3 Hateful Item of Clothing: Heels.

If I felt more pressure to wear heels, this would be higher on the list, but I'm firmly rooted in sneakers, flip-flops and my own bare feet, so I don't find this one as difficult to avoid. But, boots, y'all. I love me some boots with heels and they are no longer my friend, at all. Besides the obvious comfort issue with wearing high heels, I also tend to lose my balance a lot. With flat shoes, I can usually catch myself, I'll just stumble a bit and maybe look drunk while I find something (or someone) to grab onto. With heels on, however, the likelihood that I could snap my ankle or totally face plant is much higher. Therefore, I avoid.

#4 Hateful Item of Clothing: Hats.

I wear a hat every day I leave my house. Unfortunately, the tension that a normally-fitting hat exerts on my head is entirely too much to bear. Discomfort-wise, this one is actually the worst, and can be quite painful, even on good days. But between the sun and impossible lighting everywhere I go, I have no choice. And, the extreme pain I would encounter as a result of not wearing a hat means the discomfort of wearing one can feel like a personal affront. (Or maybe that's just my migraine talking, it does seem to take every little thing personally.) To try to overcome this problem, I've taken to searching for hats as big as I can find them, and then stretching them with my awesome hat-stretcher. They eventually go back to their original size, particularly after washing, but a quick re-stretch and we're back in business.

#5 Hateful Item of Clothing: Jewelry.

Is jewelry clothing? Eh, today, it is. Earrings, even studs, make my ears ache. Rings trigger that same hot, claustrophobic feeling as waistbands, unless they're too loose to stay on. Bracelets and necklaces are only ok if they are light, quiet and not too fussy.

I have a few items I can wear, for example, at my birthday party I managed a long beaded necklace and a few light bangles. But if it's a bad day, I can't even tolerate that much hanging off of me.

Migraines have definitely altered my outward presentation, I don't dress to impress anyone but myself anymore, and comfort is my biggest priority, the latest styles be damned. I still put effort into my appearance; of my oversized and very comfortable clothing, I've tried to buy and make pieces that are interesting, flattering and attractive, but it's absolutely not the priority. I will go out in my shelf-bra and comfy pants, if that's the kind of day I'm having, and I'll have no shame about it.

Have I missed any other torturous clothes? Do you have any tips for dressing yourself comfortably? Please share!


Sue said...

Good idea about protecting yourself from the undersides! I was going to suggest yoga bras (my at-home favourite), but you've already got that covered.

Because I have to dress for work - fairly casual during the week, skirt suit on Sunday- my biggest problem is (ugh) pantyhose. Hate them, but I really do need them, especially in the winter when my pasty white legs would blind anyone looking at me. My solution has been to buy a size too big so I can avoid the standard "sumo wrestler" method of putting the darn things on. The excess material gets tucked under my bra. More comfortable, plus it doubles as a control-top "keep everything in place" thingy.