How to get dressed when everything hurts, because you can't really go out naked...
If you hang any clothes which need ironing in the bathroom when you take a hot bath or shower, most of the creases will drop out thanks to the steam. That way you don’t have to use all your energy ironing.
Vary your footwear options
Try to avoid wearing flat shoes such as ballet pumps every day. The lack of support and cushioning creates even more problems for your joints. Consider pumps with hidden support (try Clarks.co.uk) or a pair of cushioned loafers or brogues. Wide-fitting shoes are a great relief if you find your feet get swollen – Marks & Spencer offer a wide range and they’ve come a long way since they were ‘shoes for your mum’!
Plan easy week-day oufits
Try to organise your clothes for weekdays – when you have less time to get ready – into easy-to-put-on outfits. Buttons can be a flipping nightmare if the joints in your fingers are swollen and sore. Zips are often easier to manage than buttons, and you can even buy ‘zipper pulls’ (try Amazon.co.uk) to help you do things up. Choose cardigans over jumpers so you can take them off more easily and try a front-fastening bra or a strapless bra like shown on Rank & Style and many other places, if putting on a regular bra is too fiddly for you.
Dress to lift your mood
This applies to both women and men! Men, if you want to look beyond the usual high street shops, try a smaller, independent shop like inocencia.co.uk, who carry a variety of well-known branded names, so you can find something that screams “you” – be it a new shirt or an accessory. Ladies, if you’re having a particularly bad day, cheer yourself up by wearing a favourite piece of statement jewellery or a pretty scarf tied at the neck. It’s amazing how much difference something so small can make to your outfit and you’ll probably get a lot of compliments, which can only make you smile (through the pain, of course!)
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How to do jewelry
Try elasticated, lightweight, chunky bracelets so they stretch over swollen knuckles and go on easily. Long necklaces also remove the need for fiddling about with fastenings, as you can put them straight over your head. When you’re trying to find a ring, make sure you choose one that goes with the rest of your outfit. If your outfit is bold, hold back on the jewelry!
Streamline your bag!
Avoid using a shoulder bag if you tend to cram your whole world into it. It will put pressure on your neck and shoulder, which will lead to extra aches and pains. Firstly, tip everything out of your bag and decide if you really need to be carrying everything around with you at all times.
Buy a nice make-up bag and keep your keys, train/bus pass, ID and emergency contact number in there and move that from bag to bag – it’s a lot easier to keep track of the small things and less fiddly for sore fingers than going through the pockets of your other ten bags and jackets, trying to find it all, five minutes before you’re due to leave the house.
Pack a mini version of everything you can, from your hand cream to your hairbrush.
Choose a lightweight bag with short handles so you’re carrying your things at thigh height. There are some great designs out there that would be perfect for this, especially if you are a fan of designer bags. A luxury bag does not have to break the bank after all, and there are some fabulous replica designs on sale nowadays. If you do use a rucksack for Uni, make sure you put the straps over both of your shoulders, rather than leaving it dangling on one, to even out the weight. Your spine will thank you later.
Have an outfit that never lets you down
If getting dressed for work is a bit of a stress, look for a faux-wrap dress, as it creates a nice shape and nips in at the waist without the fiddling about. When you find one you like, buy it in a different colour or design so you have at least two easy-to-throw-on outfits.
Pair with opaque tights and loafers or boots in winter to keep snug and wear bare-legged with low-heeled wedges in summer. If you don’t want to bare your legs, try ankle-length, thin leggings under your dress or even footless tights.
You could also opt for a maxi-dress as that’ll hide any bits you don’t want on display and they also look good with lightweight trainers, like Converse or Superga.
Also, stock up on lightweight, waist-length cardigans once you find one you like – they go with everything and it’s easy to put one in your bag as an extra layer if it gets nippy.