Men’s Fashion Trends – How to be Fashionably Comfortable
In an Uncomfortable World
The Ultimate Guide To Being Fashionably Ill
By: Kelley J. Anderson
This is all about you guys out there. I know the last thing on your mind is the way you look or men’s fashion trends. Having a Chronic Illness like RSD/CPRS, CFS/SEID, Chronic Pain of any sort makes appearance the lowest man on the totem pole. Unfortunately, we live in a society where appearance is everything. It is how the world perceives us. If you don’t take care in how you present yourself to others, judgments will come. There is no getting around this fact. We humans as a species, are ridiculously superficial and shallow. Keep in mind that if you don’t care about your appearance, that people will go out of their way to avoid you, offer you assistance or even be receptive to you in any way shape or form. I mean think about it. If you don’t care about yourself, or how you present yourself to the world, why should anyone else? Is there some sort of magic trick to becoming Fashionably Ill? Can one be fashionable and be comfortable at the same time? Yes, yes you can. There is a trick to it, but no magic is involved. Just a little bit of thought, time and effort. Too expensive you say? Not hardly, I say. I know that most of us Chronic Illness sufferers are on a very tight budget. It’s not as hard as you think to acquire a reasonably priced, fashionably comfortable wardrobe. Now I’m not talking about a drastic manly make-over, so stop hyperventilating already. Just a few tips, tricks and suggestions to help you get your style on….
Shopping not your thing? Well there is really no getting around that. You have to learn how to shop to create your own fashionably comfortable style. Once you have established what your correct sizes are, what certain fabric feel like and what actually looks good on you and will work in your comfort zone, then you can shop from the comfort of home. You can always order things and try them at home, but then you have to deal with the hassle of return shipping if items don’t fit correctly or are not what you had expected. Why not take just a little bit of time and go try some stuff on? Grab your other half, a sedative and perhaps an adult type beverage and make an afternoon out of it. You might actually have some, well, FUN!
First let’s think about what would even be fashionably comfortable on your uncomfortable, uncooperative body. Please, nothing complicated or skin-tight. Buttons, hooks, ties, just say no thank you and keep walking. When it comes to men’s fashion trends with chronic pain or an chronic illness; think soft, natural, breathable fabrics. Items with a little stretch in them can be life savers. Rigid fabrics with no flex can aggravate already chronically painful areas, as well as cause skin irritations. No, you simply cannot wear your sweat pants and lucky t-shirt everywhere you go. But you can find items that are just as comfortable as your pajamas, and you will look sharp even as you are dozing in the doctor’s office, waiting for the nurse to call your name.
Let’s start with some casual button downs and t-shirts. These are easy to take care of and you can always find them on sale somewhere. Long sleeve, short sleeve, classic fit, slim fit, it’s up to you. What do you find the most comfortable to wear? And remember you can always throw a button down over a t-shirt for a nice layered look, without much effort. Stick to a color scheme, that way everything matches and you can just throw together an outfit without worrying about is this going to match? Will people think I’m colored blind? Am I colored blind? If you buy a multi-colored plaid shirt, buy tee’s that match the different colors of the plaid pattern. It’s just that easy. It will also help expand your wardrobe. Besides, they are inexpensive and you can never have too many colored tee’s.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, what about some trouser’s? Leave the ratty, oh so comfy sweat pants in the laundry basket. When purchasing a new brand of jeans, dress slacks, pants in general, I would always try on a few pair in different fabrics to get a good feel for them and to help you decide whether or not they are the right choice for you. Do you need to wear dress slacks to the grocery store? No, you don’t. I’m talking casual, daily wear here. So if it’s a pair of khaki pants or athletic pants, knock yourself out. There are a lot of choices out there. You can be very comfortable and not think twice about reaching for those old standbys. A lot of men’s clothing manufacturers have finally picked up on the idea of a little bit of stretch goes a long way. Finding a nice pair of pants with a little bit of stretch in them can really make a difference in your level of comfort. Don’t be afraid to buy a couple pair in the same color, if that’s what you like and wear everyday. Keep an eye out for in-store sales and on websites. It’s a great way to stock up on your favorites. Oh, look at you! You’re on your way to be Fashionably Comfortable.
And now, some shoes for those feet. Am I saying go run out and buy a dozen pair? No I am not. But you know the saying “shoes make the man”, nothing looks worse than putting on nice clothes and then putting on an old, beat up, stinky pair of gym shoes. I am aware that shoes are expensive. Again keep an eye out for those sales to increase the size of your Fashionably Comfortable growing wardrobe. When shopping for shoes it’s best to go at the end of the day, preferably a busy day when you have been on your feet a lot. By the end of the day our feet are angry and swollen by the day’s abuse. If those shoes aren’t comfortable when you put them on in the store, they never will be. Leather has a little bit of give, but not that much.
I don’t care what the salesperson says to you. It’s their job to sell you as many pairs of shoes as possible, along with socks, care products and so on. Only buy what you want. And unless those socks are the best socks you’ve ever laid eyes on, walk away. They are way overpriced and most shoe stores have a quota on accessories that the manager is responsible for meeting every month. They will push hard and then be little you for not biting. Don’t fall for it. It’s your money and your feet. Feel free to remind them of such facts if necessary.
In my opinion, a good shoe wardrobe for most men would be 4-6 pair of shoes. Let’s start with a good pair of athletic shoes. A good cross trainer is a great investment for your feet. You can wear during any kind of activity or exercise. They offer support and comfort. So when you try them on, they should feel good right away. Look for removable insoles you can take out and replace with your own orthotics or if shoes get wet. Then an everyday casual shoe. Lace up or loafer. Which ever you prefer. If you can, get a pair in brown and one in black. The same with a dress shoe. If you can’t afford to buy more than one color, stick with black or a dark cognac color. Then of course a pair of boots depending on what part of the country you live in and then the slippers. Slippers are your friends. Try and find a nice, comfy pair with a decent sole on them. This way you can wear when you go fetch the paper in the morning, take the dog out for its morning business, or just have coffee on the patio. A good non-slip sole ensures you will stay on your feet and your feet will stay dry and warm. Don’t forget some nice Summer sandals or sturdy flip-flops.
Okay, back to socks. Socks are easy. They are cheap and you can buy them in multi-packs almost everywhere you go. Again, wear what is comfortable for you. However, please remember that white socks don’t go with everything. Black trousers and white socks can be seen a mile away. So if you are getting dressed up for an evening out or job interview it’s good to have some good old black, grey or brown socks in the drawer. There are lots of fun colors and patterns out there nowadays, so have fun. Just no neon colors please. Low rise socks are great in athletic shoes and casual shoes. Better yet they even come in black! Thicker socks with your boots for added comfort and warmth. Socks are inexpensive enough these days that you don’t have to spend time darning the toes. Just throw they away when they get holy or toss them in the rag bag in the closet. The right socks will bring together an outfit quite nicely. Just think neutral when it comes to your socks. You don’t want to draw attention, unless you are a clown. Then I would suggest rainbow toe socks.
In the end, you should be comfortable with what you are wearing and it should be comfortable on your body. Those of us that suffer from Chronic Illnesses and Chronic Pain, know far to well what happens if we push our boundaries. In my own personal experience, I find it easier to face the public when I have taken a little bit of personal time and effort to spruce myself up a bit. If we make ourselves approachable, people will approach us. A little bit of personal grooming and style go a long way. It tells the people around you that, yes, you do still care about yourself and them. I have always heard that actions speak louder than words. And it is most certainly okay to take action for yourself. So get out there, expand your inner fashionista, go on. I won’t tell, I promise. Happy shopping.
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