Several years ago, I was celebrating a friend’s birthday, enjoying a lovely night of dining and dancing. Mid-song, I felt a familiar presence on the dance floor. HAE had arrived at the party, and my wardrobe was anything but accommodating. I was in pain, uncomfortable, and feeling insecure.
After that night, I decided to begin experimenting with my wardrobe. HAE would not stop me from looking nice, and I was determined to make positive clothing adaptations with my swelling in mind.
Below are the things that I’ve learned to avoid over time, and the awesome alternatives that I’ve found (Gentleman, some of these may not apply to you, but the general principles should be the same!):
- Clothes with No Give
I have given up wearing tops with buttons, and work pants and jeans with absolutely no give. In their place is an assortment of pants that stretch and wrap dresses that are not only figure flattering, but which I can adjust as I move through the day!
- Baggy Clothing
Baggy clothes may be comfortable, but they won’t do a body justice. I’ve learned to be confident and embrace my body—swollen or not! I try flattering loose dresses with stretchy belts around the narrowest part of my waist.
- Painful Footwear
Gone are my days of excruciating high heels; I minimize the misery of footwear and invest in quality, comfortable shoes. There are surprisingly adorable supportive heels out there, and I’m not afraid of the “comfort” or orthopedic section.
- Tight and Tiny Accessories
Too-small bracelets, belts low and tight around my waist, and tiny clutches are a no-no these days. I opt for stretchy belts and sport minimal, high-quality jewelry, including a beautiful sterling silver medical ID tag. Paired with my small over-the-shoulder bag—with room for my cell phone and medication—I feel ready for work or a night out!
The most important rule of HAE fashion, in my opinion: Wear what makes YOU feel good! Be confident, have fun, and please leave your own fabulous fashion tips in the comments below!
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