Monday, April 7, 2008

Clothing The Body Chronic: Who Wears The Proverbial Pants in this Relationship?

One thing that I have loved since before I remember memories is wearing jeans. There was just something about the feel of a pair of jeans that could take a stressful day and make it into something fun. Companies have started making Fridays casual and people have reaped the benefits in millions of yards of jeans.

Jeans. Jeans. Jeans. Jeans and chronic pain and chronic illness do not always mesh.

Unfortunately, jeans have not been my friend lately. The equation goes something like this:

The Body Chronic + Jeans =Pain (or at least moderate discomfort)

Many people with vulvodynia just give up on jeans. I have refused to. Whether it's some sort of historic tie to my past or statement of independence, I can't stop wearing jeans.

That being said, I have had to limit my jeans wearing significantly. I've invested in some stretchier pants (not stretch pants--just pants with a tad more give) and have even contemplated buying jeans that were too big for me. Now that the summer approaches, I'm hoping that I can invest in some stretchy capris (a type of pant I used to despise).

The problems with me and jeans are not singular. There's the vulvodynia pain. That one needs no explanation. Then there's the "IC Belly" which means a bit of bloat in the worst possible place for wearing jeans. Add that on to the Lyrica weight gain that I'm struggling with and my once loose jeans are now snug. And when my pelvic floor dysfunction is acting up, jeans are probably the least forgiving thing to wear. This is all added to the fact that I'm a fat chick and, let's face it, jeans aren't always cut for us the right way.

I miss jeans. I look for suggestions to accommodate my problems with jeans. I sometimes wear them out of spite. But they are a constant reminder of The Body Chronic when I do wear them. On the rare occasions I get no bodily-feedback, it's a relief.

For those of you who are wondering where a full-figured gal like myself has located these stretchier (but not horrifyingly late-80s stretch) pants, I've included some links below. I'm looking for suggestions if anyone has any.

  • Lane Bryant's Modern Knit Pant is great. The problem is that they've added a "secret slimmer" panel to the front. I haven't tried it yet, but hopefully it's not too binding to eliminate the comfort of these great work staples.
  • Anything from the Soft Collection at Avenue feels great to the touch and has some give.
  • These crop pants by Merona at Target are great but there are two caveats: (1) only the waistband stretches and (2) you have to buy a size bigger as Merona generally runs a size small.
As always, if you have suggestions, post away in the comments!