Dressing for the occasion

I have always enjoyed clothes.  Shopping for them, selecting outfits, wearing them, etc.  It may seem strange but the fact is RA effects everything associated with dressing.  Years ago, I would shop till I dropped.  I loved to spend hours trying on outfits, selecting accessories, jewelry, shoes and so on.  RA has changed that.  I do a lot, in fact, most of my shopping online.  The trick is to find sites that have what you want and items you can count on.  Also be sure they have free or minimal shipping and easy return policies.  For shoes and clothes it works great!  I now shop from the privacy of my own home and look forward to the packages coming with my latest treasures to try on and decide whether to keep them or not.   It is really important to ensure that the merchant you purchase from is reliable and has the quality, pricing and policies that work for you.  By shopping this way you can avoid crowds and the physical stress of shopping.

That said, I do still enjoy the occasional shopping trips.  Now though, the key is planning in advance so that you are rested and prepared.  I make sure to carry a small purse (not my usual humongous one) and wear comfortable clothes and shoes so that I can more easily try on outfits and walk around without getting too tired.  I try to have a logical list that is not so overwhelming that I am exhausted at the thought.  No reason it all has to be done in one day or on one trip.  In fact, divvying it up over a few days just means more fun outings to look forward to!

I also allow extra time for breaks.  I just find a nice spot to stop for a drink or lunch and that gives me just the energy I need to keep on going.  Also important is to cut the trip short if you are feeling tired or in pain or the joints are just rebelling and saying enough is enough.  We all know that if we push that envelope too far we will pay the price for days to come.  It simply is not worth the price no matter the potential bargain!

Bring along someone who can help with the load.  I love to shop with my sons!  They enjoy shopping and helping me out and I love browsing with them for items for their closets  and homes too!  It makes the day fun and spending time with them is an added bonus.

A word about holiday shopping.  Start early, take your time, and remember people love most anything selected or given with love so don’t stress over every decision.  The joy of the holidays is time spent together.  And they want a healthy family member.  Not someone in the middle of a flare.

What to wear is certainly a topic I think needs examined too.  I am a person that likes to be “put together” at all times; grocery shopping to working to going out socially.  BUT…I find that comfort is now the #1 priority for me.  If something is not comfortable it goes back on the rack or I don’t even try it on to begin with!  There are more than enough comfortable clothes out there today to choose from.  There is simply no need at all to be trapped in clothes that make you feel uncomfortable.

The same goes for shoes!  I will not wear any shoe that does not feel like pillows on my feet.  So, yes that means no high heels.  It simply is not worth the pain, short term and long term.  And once again, there are lovely shoes to select from that will not kill my feet!

Bottom line is we can still look stunning and lovely despite the effects of RA!  It may take some work but if the end result is a wardrobe that makes us feel self-confident and attractive, it is well worth the effort!

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