RA Diaries: The hardest button to button
True, I have a spouse who is more than happy to assist with dressing me, and sometimes he does. But it’s an independence thing. The day I can no longer dress myself will be a sad, sad day for me, mitigated only by having a Johnny Depp clone helping out.
Hmm. Perhaps I should look into it. I’m sure there’s a website — perhaps hireadeppaliketodressyou.com?
In that spirit of independence, that means not buying anything with long rows of buttons, particularly tiny ones or the kind you have to pinch shut. It also means no long zippers up the back, or zippers down the side, at least on pants. I get that women don’t need pants with a front zip, but I find those a lot easier to navigate — it’s all about leverage.
Shoes are an even bigger problem. While it is a truth universally acknowledged that women looove to shop for shoes, this one doesn’t. Shoe departments are usually a bitter reminder of the fact that most shoes don’t work for me. This is due mostly to a sore ankle and knee — AKA Ann and Glenn — and sore ankles and knees have no interest in fashion. They prefer comfort, preferably Uggs, and will grow obstreperous if pushed into anything with the slightest heel. (They do, thankfully, draw the line at Crocs. I put this down to their being snobs about plastic.) If that weren’t enough, my toes like to conspire with the knee and ankle. My toes have been bent since I was a child, so those cute flats with the cut-out fronts? Those adorable little sandals? Yeah — no.
Finding the perfect shoe is a thus a real challenge, which is why, when I find a style that suits me, I wear the hell out of it until it falls apart. I’m sure my friends wonder about it, but being my friends, they don’t comment.
But back to clothes — I’m thankful that styles are much simpler these days, and fabrics softer and easier to care for. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be a woman with RA in the 1800s, between corsets and hoops and layers and layers of itchy wool underwear weighing you down. (And boots that had to be buttoned with a hook!)
Even as late as the 1960s, girdles were de rigeur, pants at the office were risque and pantyhose didn’t even exist (to be fair, I despise pantyhose, and that hatred for pantyhose would prevail even if I didn’t have RA). Shopping would have been far more stressful then than it is for me today.
Still, I always approach such shopping with the knowledge that most wearables are not designed with me in mind. I sometimes wonder who they are designed for. I have friends of all sizes, from petite to plus, and have gone shopping with most of them. While they don’t have the same issues I do, they, too, have a hard time finding things that fit and flatter. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM.
So who is this mythical woman who fits all this stuff? Is it Barbie? I don’t think so, since she has really long legs and likely has a tough time finding pants long enough. And what about tops? That chest takes a bit more fabric to cover than most.
So who, then? Models? They may have better luck, though I imagine the pants thing is still an issue.
I realize this one-size-fits-none approach is the reason clothes are affordable in the first place. Well, that and sweatshops. (Ugh.) But lately, I wish I had the means to have a fabulous seamstress on retainer. I would make sure she and my Johnny Depp lookalike got to know each other. After all, they work hard and deserve to have fun.
All text copyrighted by A.K. Whitney, and cannot be used without permission.