Friday, January 14, 2011

My Sjogren's Uniform

I've was thinking about uniforms today as I was getting dressed. Just barely before noon, but then that's a post for another day.....

UPS people wear brown shorts. Attorneys wear suits. McDonald's employees wear um...McDonald's stuff. Surgeons wear scrubs. Intel employees wear cool bunny suits.

 Intel bunny found here.

I used to wear a uniform. I remember the job I had in Minneapolis where I had to wear all white, including white pantyhose and white shoes and my white cap. When I headed off to work every morning, anyone who saw me would know without a doubt what my career choice had been back in '78.

Do you think people with chronic disease wear a uniform? If you were looking at a group of people, would you be able to tell their health status by observing what they were wearing?

I really hope not.

But I have come to realize that I do have a uniform of sorts......those clothes that I choose to wear most days.

My daily wardrobe choices have changed significantly since my diagnosis. Early on, I wore anything that was easily within reach, relatively clean, and uber comfortable. Some days I never got out of my jammies and bunny slippers.

I progressed to yoga pants and sweatshirts shortly after the jammy phase. And on flare days, this ensemble is still my first choice. But once I settled into my new autoimmune life, and found myself out and about on occasion, a new costume of sorts emerged.

It became increasingly important to me to look Reasonably Well. Hehe. Couldn't resist....but seriously, I did gradually come to realize that when I spiffed up just a teensy bit, I did feel a teensy bit better.

I found myself reaching for the same things on most days: A cotton no-iron blouse, a lightweight cardigan sweater, and a comfy pair of jeans. Finished off with washable wool socks, and a well-fiting and supportive pair of slip on shoes.

Image found here. I buy mine at Nordstrom. 

Dang, those Foxcroft people make a good blouse, even in my plus size. (And no, I don't get anything for plugging them. Rats.) They're kind of pricey, so I only buy them when they are on a clearance sale. The label says No Iron, and they weren't kidding. I can pull one of these babies out of the dryer and they actually look unwrinkled. Once in awhile I send them off to the cleaners with John's work shirts and they return all crisp and perfect. I buy them big enough that I can slip them right on over my head without unbuttoning all those pesky buttons.

My uniform has to be really, really easy to put on.

If the weather is cool, I add a cardigan sweater, which has to be washable and one of those pull-out-of-the-dryer-looking-not-gross kind. Then pull on a pair of jeans made with that great stretchy denim stuff.

I love washable wool socks, even in the warmer weather. When I stick my tootsies into a pair of them, invariably I can't help thinking, ahhhhhh. I might be imagining this, but I swear my heels crack less often and the skin on my feet is healthier when I wear these things. I usually end up buying Smartwool brand, mostly because it's the easiest kind to find around here. And yup, they're kind of pricey too. But cheapo me waits until the twice-yearly BOGO sale at our shoe store.

Um, yeah. That's ME wearing those socks. Sure. Uh huh. Definitely. Those ARE my legs. Right.

I've realized that I'm too stinkin' lazy to wear up lace-up shoes unless absolutely necessary, so the last step is to slip my feet into loafers. Or mules. Or clogs. Or whatever you want to call shoes that don't require bending over and tying or velcro-ing or snapping or whatever.

To be perfectly clear, here: Just because I'm wearing my uniform, doesn't mean that I look good. Yeah, if only it was that easy.....but it's comfy and I don't feel stupid heading over to the grocery store wearing it.

And, really - isn't not feeling stupid the most important thing?


Leslie at SugarAndSpiceADK. said...

LOVE this post, Julia! I wear Smartwool socks, too, because we live in one of the coldest climates in the country, and have wood floors. Question--do you think people with autoimmune diseases have problems with their feet/hands cracking more than others? Because my feet crack ALL year round, despite the medications dermatolgists give me. And the finger cracks--ouch!

Anonymous said...

I do wear an uniform, in a way... I'm always wearing my mittens, even in august !
And for socks, here a good place:

anetto said...

I am sitting here wearing Smartwool ski socks. I have an AFO (ankle foot orthotic (brace)) and that extra padding is nice. And with a lack of cartilige on my foot bottoms the wool helps.

I wish I could be like Jerry Lewis and wear a brand new pair of socks every day


Julia Oleinik said...

Leslie - Yes, I do think that we have more problems with cracking skin since our skin is definitely made drier from Sjs.

I did not know that Jerry Lewis gets to wear a new pair of socks every day!

I'll check out, thanks JC.