Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Accessorizing Lupus

I've mentioned this before, but lupus patients have their own stylistic constraints. A sort of lupus chic, if you will. You know those shows where celebrities prance about their mansions, opening closet after closet and showing off perfectly ordered and hung designer outfits? Well, allow me to do the equivalent. Although, mind you, I've got one closet, and it's crammed full of unorganized clothes and accessories all fighting for space. (I'm a minimalist with three exceptions: clothes, books and kitchen equipment. I don't own a television, but I own more scarves than the population of the average apartment complex). So, on to the tour...

On your left, behind the computer desk and tucked in the corner there, is the first shoe rack. I use it mostly for handbags. You'll notice something about these bags--they're mostly big. Let's pretend it's for reasons of fashion, and not because, oh...say...because at any given time I have at least four prescriptions in my purse. Two might be everyday prescriptions and another couple of "just in case" scripts.

(Side note: if I'm hanging out with either the boyfriend or small children I probably also have snacks packed away in my bag. Because boys and kids).

If you look inside my purse, you'll find the omnipresent sunglasses case. I am photosensitive. My eyes are extremely sensitive to sunlight. Getting caught without sunglasses is painful, and can cause problems. So another reason for the large purse is to carry my sunglasses with me all the time. (They're in there now, and it's pouring rain today. You never know).

But that brings me to another point...I wear contacts when I can, but due to the dry eyes that come with lupus, more often than not I wear glasses. And my glasses are the type that turn dark immediately when exposed to sunlight. Slightly dorky they may be, but instant sunglasses are not to be sneezed at.

Continuing to your right, you'll stumble across shoe rack number two, which contains actual shoes. You'll note that there are two kinds of shoes on this rack: those I actually wear (flats) and those I fantasize about wearing and/or wear once in a blue moon (heels).

I want very much to be able to wear heels every day. Heels are sexy. But heels hurt. Arthritis + 3" heels = swollen joints. So I find the cutest ballet flats I can and rock those. Sure, on special occasions I say, "to hell with it," and wear whatever I choose, but for work? Cute flat shoes.

As for the clothes hanging every which way in the closet...well, I've talked about that before. Layers for fevers. Avoid buttons when hands are hurting. I wear a lot of dresses in the summer. Dresses are easy. One piece of clothing and you have an outfit. Generally they don't have too many buttons or fasteners, so they're easy to put on and take off. In the winter, dress slacks and cute sweaters. And scarves. Lots and lots of scarves. Scarves keep me warm. In the summer they protect me from the sun.

Now there's always the hats stashed on top of the closet shelf. I hate hats, but man are they good to have if it's sunny. They saved my skin (and immune system) when I visited Hawaii earlier this year. Most of us have a few hidden away. Also, due to the kindness of a friend in Japan, I have both a parasol and UV-blocking sleeves that I store in my closet for those very sunny moments when I don't want to fry. Doesn't happen as much in Alaska as it used to, but there are still times when they come in very handy!

...and that concludes my very brief tour of my incredible fashion maison du lupus. Do other patients have any other tips or tricks they use? Let me know in the comments!

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