Clothing can be one of the biggest sources of personal pride and expression for people. It can also be a point of contention and frustration when you are chronically ill or disabled.
Whether you’re in school, working, going somewhere, or just dressing for comfort at home or in medical treatment, these tips straight from my own closet will help you choose the right articles of clothing to keep on hand. Use them for packing for your next trip or when slimming down your wardrobe. Just remember to let comfort be your guide, always!
Underwear – The Foundation for Clothing Comfort
Underwear is the most fundamental piece of clothing you’ll buy, since most of us wear it daily. Granted, there are days when wearing underwear or a bra is neither necessary or desired, but if you’ve got to wear undies, it pays to choose comfortable ones.
For underwear, most spoonies prefer and recommend either full-coverage briefs or hipsters. You may also choose boxer shorts if that’s more your style. The key is to choose underwear that does not cling to your legs and midsection, regardless of how high they sit on your hips.
For me, this means choosing high waists and buying my underwear a size larger than I otherwise might. I also like to buy underwear made from cotton or cotton blends, with reinforced crotch areas because I have to wear pads or pantiliners almost daily because of occasional urinary incontinence.
When it comes to bras and similar garments, I always skip the following:
- Wires or hard plastic in the cups
- Metal or hard plastic clasps
- Raised seams or scratchy fabrics
- Thin shoulder straps
That may sound like it would dramatically limit my options, but really, I just opt for soft yet supportive sports-style bras. Even though I have a large chest, I find these typically offer more than enough support!
If you do buy traditional bra styles, be sure that yours fits properly. Ask someone from a store like Torrid or Lane Bryant to fit you, rather than Victoria’s Secret. The first two stores are better suited to fit real bodies and help you choose comfortable sizes and styles.
Tops and Dresses
Need to wear a shirt? Most of us do. Unless you’re heading to the beach, you probably have to cover up, so you might as well do it comfortably.
I have some very specific ideas of what makes a good top or a good dress. It can range from very basic to very beautiful, but the essential elements are always the same. They are:
- No or very few buttons. I don’t wear button-up shirts anymore. There are days when I cant fasten those buttons, so I skip them.
- Breathable fabrics. Even my warmest clothing should be breathable, because my body temperature can fluctuate wildly.
- Loose sleeves or no cuffs on sleeves. I don’t like things that cling to my arms and wrists. I find that that kind of clinging inhibits my range of motion, so soft sleeves it will always be.
- Ease of layering. I layer tank tops and camisoles under everything. I wear cardigans and sweaters or sweatshirts over everything. It makes my wardrobe easy to adapt to any weather and, again, my fluctuating body temperature.
Pants and Leggings
Guys, I have heard from people younger than myself that skinny jeans and leggings are going out of style, and let me tell you: I do not care. These styles allow me to dress in ways that I like, that feel comfortable for my body, and are flattering to my body type. I’m going to keep wearing them.
That said, I have three go-to choices for pants. They are:
- Elastic-waist skinny jeans.
I don’t buy anything with a zipper or button fly. I want to pull my pants on easily, or on my worst days, step into them with the help of my husband. That’s why I love denim leggings and athletic leggings with pockets. (My favorite leggings brand is actually Pop Fit, but you can find plenty of options these days!) You can find affordable options for elastic-waist jeans and denim leggings at stores like Walmart, Target, and even Dollar General.
If you do have to wear dress pants, there are plenty of options for those too that offer soft waistbands, stretchy fabrics, and more. You don’t have to wear pants with zippers and buttons if you don’t want to!
Socks and Shoes
I love socks. I have so many pairs I can’t even keep track of them. Why? Because my feet are always cold, even in summer. I particularly love fuzzy socks and those little socks you can get with grippers on the bottom. But I don’t usually wear those out in public.
Rather, I like wearing cotton socks that allow my feet to breathe and fit under my favorite, supportive shoes. I don’t like tall socks because they tend to cut into my legs, especially when they swell. I also don’t like no-show socks, because my shoes tend to wear against the skin at the back of my ankle. The sweet spot for me is the crew sock or low-cut sock, which you can buy in packs or even in multipacks at stores like the Dollar Tree.
Likewise, I like comfortable shoes. In winter, that means tennis shoes without laces and slip-on boots. In summer, that means ergonomic sandals. I wear flip flops to walk out to the mailbox or drive through the pharmacy, but if I’m going to be walking, I have to have more support.
Am I saying this is the only way to keep yourself comfortable from the ankle down? Absolutely not. These are just the best guidelines I have for choosing socks and shoes for my own feet!
Outerwear – Bringing It All Together
Even in summer, I like having things like cardigans and shawls at the ready. I can get cold easily, so having these staple items on hand in neutral colors helps me build a wardrobe that looks cute while also being comfortable – no matter the weather!
What are your favorite wardrobe items? What are your everyday staples? Do you dress differently on a flare day than you do on a regular day? For me, my wardrobe doesn’t generally fluctuate a lot, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t cute no matter what!