Saturday, December 21, 2013

Energy Economy - Wardrobe Considerations For The Chronically Ill Part 2.

My Personal Hat and Glove Collection.
Well, in my last post we discussed 2 ways to conserve energy when it comes to your wardrobe – figuring out what kind of clothes work with your illness, and only having clothes that look presentable and are flattering on your body.  Today we have six more suggestions to help us work smarter and not harder.

3.    Keep a few pairs of gloves.  Wear them when you leave the house if you have weakened immunity.  You can buy pretty, vintage gloves on eBay.  Or look at department stores.   Or wear the five dollar winter gloves from Wal Mart.  Whatever floats your boat.  I have gloves in a variety of weights.  In the summer I wear my lightest, coolest gloves because I get hot, and I get sick when I get hot.

4.    Wear flat shoes, especially with balance and energy issues.  Or at least buy a lower heal.  I like the Comfort Plus shoes at payless.  With a lower heal they are easier to walk in but still good for 
skirts and dresses.  I have nude and red (see the picture).  They also carry comfortable flat shoes.  You can also look here for some ideas on comfortable shoes for arthritis sufferers. 

5.    Wear aprons.  I know we talked about this in the food section, but it bears repeating.  They save
your clothes and your energy.  And they aren’t just good for the kitchen.

6.    Invest in a couple of cute hats or scarves for when you have to leave the house but do not have the energy to wash your hair.  These are also good if your hair is thinning or if you have excessive sweating issues.  (You can see my personal collection of hats in the top picture.)  See How To Tie A Turban and 10 Ways To Tie A Head Scarf.

7.    Downsize your purse.  I bought a small wristlet bag/wallet on eBay for $5.00 which is big enough to carry my phone, most important medicines, money, credit cards, driver’s license,  a pen, etc…  I often leave the big bag at home and just take the little one. Others, like those with arthritis,  might do well to get a cross-body bag. 
Small wardrobe = less stress & better dressed

8.    Downsize your wardrobe.  (I saved the best for last.)  As people with physical limitations it is especially important that we not go overboard in either direction, having either too much or too little.  Having fewer, but not too few, clothes is freeing, as long as you have followed suggestions one and two in my last post.  It can reduce anxiety, stress, and the amount of time you spend getting dressed.  You will wear more of your clothes, get more use out of them, and it will take less energy sorting and finding clothes. 

I personally have a small wardrobe which I rotate every 3 to 6 months.  I love having space between my hangers.  And for me, opening the closet and having fewer options is priceless.   As a result I almost always feel good in what I am wearing and look decent too.  (And I still only do laundry once every few weeks, albeit several loads.)

Bearing in mind that you will have to adjust their ideas to fit your lifestyle, you might check out these posts about the benefits of a smaller wardrobe and how to create one.

11 Excellent reasons to get rid of your clothes.  This is a good place to start.
How to build a functional wardrobe - strategies.  
How to build your wardrobe in small groups.  This link has so many ideas.
My skeleton wardrobe.  I just like it, even though I don't dress like this.
Daily connoissseur. This woman's take on having a smaller wardrobe has really inspired me.  I can't follow it to the letter, but I try to apply the principles.
Whittling down your wardrobe.  A very balanced approach.

And check out this post for 21 more ideas on dressing to help your illness.   It is specifically geared toward people with RA but has great suggestions for almost any illness.

Whew, Ok, were done with my top 8 practical suggestions on wardrobe issues for the chronically ill.  Do you have any suggestions or techniques that help you cope with this aspect of your life and illness?

You might also be interested in:
Our other Energy Economy posts - observations on how to deal with food, shopping, people, cleaning, leaving the house, etc... while dealing with a chronic illness.
And Coping with Chronic Illness - the friendship series - especially Part 3 - How To Be A Good Friend While Chronically Ill.


  1. Laina, I feel quite honoured that my 'I hate buying clothes' skeleton wardrobe is included on your list. I am also so impressed that in the midst of your difficulties you are using your experiences to provide a resource to others in your situation. It's made my New Year! All the very best for your project.
    I loved reading your friendship series. Maybe you could add a Part Four - What, in your experience, is the best way to BE a friend to someone with chronic illness? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I am the sort of person who loves to help, but hates to interfere or cause offence. How do I know where the line is, especially if it is someone I am getting to know, not someone who is already a best buddy? Wisdom, please!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I'm happy that you liked the posts on friendship and thank you for your wonderful suggestion! I will write Part 4 - How to be a good friend to someone with a chronic illness soon. Check back. I will give special attention to your question about helping someone you are just getting to know, not an old pal. Thanks so much for the feedback. I appreciate it. :)

  2. I have been ill so long. But this is a new thought for me. What a novel thought that fewer clothes is easier. I am a clothes hoarder. But I do find it very difficult to dress with too many options and not remembering what goes together. I am going to change my thinking. (Maybe gradually.) But I am going to begin and persist. As I have the energy to clean out I WILL!!! Seems freeing just saying it. I love this post!!!!

    1. Joanna, I'm so glad to hear your comment! This post was a lot of fun to write and I have also had fun implementing these ideas over the last year. It not only lightens things up for me (emotionally - because it's a fairly light subject to think about) but it also really does impact my daily life in a good way. I'm so glad you liked this post!

  3. Dear Laiana, this is a fantastic post series and one that mirrors my own approach as a chronic illness fighter to dressing in vintage. I really appreciate that you shared the link to this post with me recently and look forward to getting to know you and your lovely blog both better.

    Gentle hugs & unending understanding,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica, I'm so glad you stopped by! Thanks for the kind words. As someone who deals with illness, I hope you share some insights with us over time. I have been thoroughly enjoying your blogl. I really like your vintage inspiration.
      Thank you and I hope you drop by again.