It's recently come to my attention that I've been committing a major fashion faux pas - and Deirdre's been suffering for it!
At the end of last summer, I was dressing Deirdre in several little pants outfits that I'd inherited from my sister...each one cuter than the last. The pants fit perfectly - just the right length and fit around the waist, which was surprising because up until about a month ago when she had a growth spurt, she'd been in the 15% percentile for height and weight. (No worries, though- her mamma's only 5'3" (on a good day) and given Deirdre's, ahem, sizable belly, weight was not an issue!) But I couldn't figure out how these pants weren't too long on her - but I've just discovered the truth. They're actually capris pants, in the next size up! This whole time, even before Deirdre turned 12 months, I've had her running around in pants that were meant to be crop pants for 18 month olds...but she was wearing them as full-length jobbies. The only other person I know who can get away with this is my sweet, lovable Mom (who is BARELY 5'1"), so at least Deirdre's in good company.
This fashion faux pas got me to thinking about the crazy, not-so-stylish things I've done because of lupus - accommodations in clothes, jewelry, and hair that just had to happen to make life easier for me. I allude to many of these in my book, and would, still to this day, encourage others to start making their own fashion faux pas. I say if it eases your joints and eliminates any amount of pain and frustration, do it! Here's a short list of my unmentionable doings...feel free to add yours to my list!
Faux pas #1: Cotton/spandex bandeau bras. Oh man. Are these things comfortable! There are no wires, no clasps, no adjustable straps, no nothing. Just slip one over your head and you're good to go. You don't even have to remove them for xrays (of which I had plenty!) The down side - these things offer no lift, no push, and no pad. They do absolutely NOTHING for your figure - and took me straight back to my days of middle school and training bras (or, I guess, fast forward to granny days of no lift and plenty of need for it). Either way, they worked for my purposes and I'm proud to have been a fan. I'll never, however, underestimate the value of a good brassiere.
Faux pas #2: Slip-on EVERYTHING. Not that there's anything inherently bad with slip-on clothing, but avoiding, at all costs, buttons, zippers, and snaps tends to leave one's wardrobe fashion-free. In fact, polyester is the first thing that comes to my mind, although I'm proud to say I never succumbed. I do remember a specific outfit I wore repeatedly during one of my crummy streaks with lupus - it consisted of a soft, plain, black, long sleeve t-shirt (to block out sun, of course), paired with a pair of soft/slippery/faux leather red pants that required one snap in total, with black slip-on shoes. I could have slept in that outfit (and probably did), it was that comfortable. And you know what? That's the name of the game - comfort above all else, when your body is in such pain. I can assure you, my clothes weren't impeding my ability to move at all; that, apparently, was lupus' job.
Faux pas #3: Limited to no jewelry. Accessories? I said forget about them. They were just too complicated to include - the metal/restrictive bracelets hurt, dangling earrings were too hard to handle, and necklaces had to be slip-over-the-head or else. And usually, it was "or else". But I did manage to snag a pair of small, silver, flat hoops that I could wear with everything. These earrings were even comfortable enough to sleep in, thus eliminating the need to take them out and put them back in each day - which would have been too much for my arthritic fingers to handle. Were they fashionable? Ugh, I don't really think so. But they made me feel better about myself - at least I had made an attempt to complete my outfit, which, come to think of it, wasn't making any sort of fashion statement either. So, actually, I guess they matched pretty well.
Faux pas #4: Perpetual pony tail. Not only did I wear my hair up every single day for about three months (because I was losing it at lightening speed), when I had lost enough of it to no longer warrant a pony tail, it morphed into the worst comb over/wrap around bun you've ever seen. But putting my hair up eliminated the need to dry it (which was practically impossible for me to do) or brush it out (which made me feel like I was pulling it out even faster). And putting it up made me feel like I was masking the bald spots, which I was terribly self-conscious of as it was. Of course, after several months of hair loss, I ended up losing too much for even a comb-over to work, so I eventually changed my unstylish ways and went ultra hip - cutting off all of my hair and sporting a short, sassy, pixy haircut. Once I cut my hair, I felt great...but I appreciate the months that my comb-over bought me until I was ready to cut it all off. (You can read all about my hair cutting process here.)
There you have it. Book me, Style police - I'm guilty as charged.