Fibromyalgia causes widespread chronic pain, as well as cognitive issues and fatigue. This condition can make it difficult to complete basic everyday tasks. Sometimes just getting dressed and out the door is too much, taking up the limited amount of “spoons” you have available to you. If your days are increasingly painful because of the clothes you’re wearing, you may need to make changes to your wardrobe. A few simple alterations could make a big difference, though. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to fibromyalgia clothing choices.
Understanding fibromyalgia and clothing sensitivity
Fibromyalgia pain is typically present on both sides of the body, below and above the waistline, and along the vertebral column. In many cases, simply putting on clothes and wearing them all day is extremely painful for people with this condition. Many sufferers also suffer from touch sensitivity that makes any touch, no matter how gentle, a searing pain.
In addition, other common symptoms of fibromyalgia include heat or cold intolerance. The weather or even the thermostat can have an effect on the pain and stiffness that you may experience every day.
That means clothing for fibromyalgia sufferers must be easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and simple to remove. These are 15 fibromyalgia clothing choices that can help alleviate your pain. When in doubt, turn to your support groups or healthcare providers for more information.
1. Try ultra-soft fabrics
There are certain fabrics that are more comfortable than others. If you have fibromyalgia, you want to find clothes that won’t irritate your skin. These soft and breathable fabrics can help:
- Silk or satin
- Organic cotton
2. Avoid denim
Jeans aren’t just tight and restrictive, they can also be itchy and rough to the touch. Most people with fibromyalgia avoid denim altogether.
Unless they’re marketed as soft and stretchy, jeans are usually too rigid to provide any sort of comfort. Leggings, sweatpants, and other types of loose fitting pants are a better option. With today’s jeggings or other super comfy fabrics, you do have options that still look like denim without the ouch.
3. Use soft layers to manage temperature changes
One symptom of fibromyalgia is increased sensitivity to temperature changes. You may find it hard to regulate these shifts and certain times of year with extreme weather can make it even more difficult.
Layering is the best way to make it through the day in a climate that changes often, especially throughout a single day. For instance, you may live in a coastal town that is foggy and cold in the morning, but sunny and warm in the afternoon. In this case, you should start with a light T-shirt or tank top and pair it with a soft sweater that is easily removable.
This method of dressing will allow you to be prepared for any weather changes as the day goes on.
4. Look into fibromyalgia friendly clothes brands
You don’t have to sacrifice style to find pain relief. There are comfortable clothes for fibromyalgia that will help you look your best, no matter where you’re headed. These are some of the best brands, according to other people with fibromyalgia.
- Old Navy: From work clothes to casual loungewear, Old Navy offers a range of styles at affordable prices
- Lululemon: This activewear brand is on the expensive side, but fans rave about the quality, comfort, and stretch of Lululemon leggings
- Under Armour: If you’re looking for advanced athletic wear, Under Armour carries unique fabrics that can regulate temperature and provide breathability
- The North Face: Because this brand is typically geared toward apparel for outdoor activities, they carry great clothes for soft warmth, such as fleece pullovers
- Hanes: Everyday comfortable essentials, as well as undergarments, are easy to find at Hanes
- LOFT: If you need dressy yet comfortable work clothes, LOFT carries “Signaturesoft” clothing under their Lou & Grey line
- Target: For an expansive range of affordable clothing for any event, Target has a wide variety of comfortable clothing
- Aerie: Whether you need undergarments, swimsuits, or loungewear, Aerie carries items that are typically around $15 to $35
Also try to add quality clothing pieces to your closet. This can be tough when you’re on a tight budget, but it will be beneficial in the long run. Quality clothes will last longer, even after consistent washing and wearing. Focus on buying a few essential items that are made with high-quality fabric. Cheaply made clothing can scratch and rub your skin in a way that will irritate your symptoms.
Shop sales, clearance racks, and use coupons to save money at stores that are usually on the expensive side. Look for gently-used consignment places that sell high-end clothing at a big discount.
5. Bring in color with scarves or jewelry
Putting comfort over style doesn’t mean you have to look like you just rolled out of bed. Find clothing in fabrics, cuts, and colors that you love. If you find a piece that is especially comfortable, buy it in a few different colors. Build your wardrobe around these items and jazz them up with accessories.
On days when you wake up with unbearable pain, turn to the clothing items that are easiest to throw on, and simply add accessories. You can wear the same loose and flowing dress dozens of different ways. Purchase a few necklaces and scarves to add a pop of color. This will diversify your comfortable closet pieces.
6. Find the best bras for fibromyalgia
Most women agree that bras are simply uncomfortable, whether you’re in good health or not. For those suffering with fibromyalgia, tight straps and underwires can actually be painful and a constant source of stress.
Luckily, there are options that can give you the support you need without the discomfort. Try these options if you’re dealing with ongoing fibro pain.
A bralette is a good choice for smaller-chested women because it only offers minimal support. They don’t have underwires or clasps, which means there isn’t anything that will dig into your skin.
They typically come in different types of fabrics, some with lightweight cups.
Sports bras provide better support than bralettes, but most of them still forego underwires and clasps.
They’re easy to slip on and off, and are usually made with comfortable, breathable fabric.
Soft cup bras
A soft cup bra can provide the necessary support larger women need, but without underwires that will dig into your skin.
These bras often feature wider side panels and straps, as well as seamless styles.
Front closing bras
Depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing, front closing bras are easier to put on and remove without excessive movement.
These are popular for women who deal with arthritis and other common causes of chronic pain. They’re another great option for bad pain days when you need to minimize excessive movement.
7. Try out compression clothing for fibromyalgia
While it isn’t the right option for every case, many patients experience pain relief while wearing compression clothing.
Compression garments can decrease chronic pain by increasing oxygenation and blood circulation. They may also reduce swelling and edema. By keeping muscles and joints stable, this type of clothing could even help prevent injuries.
Talk to your doctor to find out if this is the right method of pain relief for you.
8. Look for easy clothing for bad pain days
Some days are worse than others for the five million people with fibromyalgia. There will be times when you need to limit even the most basic of daily tasks. For those days, turn to easy fibromyalgia clothing that won’t further irritate your symptoms.
For many people, this means loose fitting clothes. Flowing maxi dresses, oversized sweaters, and drawstring pants are all great options.
Don’t be afraid to wear certain items repeatedly. If you need to diversify them for work or social outings, add a layer or an accessory.
9. In summer, look for breathable comfort
The warmer months of summer can be difficult. Whether it’s dry or humid, excessive heat can take a toll when you’re already struggling with symptoms.
Choose loose and thin fabrics for maximum breathability. Try to avoid dark colors that will absorb sunlight and heat. If you’re going to be outside, wear moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you cool and dry from any excessive sweat.
Still hot? Carry a small battery-operated fan everywhere you go. This can cool you down instantly, even when you’re outdoors.
10. Avoid buttons and zippers
Depending on the location and level of your pain, buttons can be difficult to maneuver on a bad day. Try to avoid button-down tops that can increase pain and stiffness in your hands and fingers.
Zippers may also be difficult to wear because of the rough seam that is typically found underneath. Look for clothes that are free of clasps and connectors. Find things that you can easily slip in and out of.
11. Choose the right socks
One symptom of fibromyalgia is cold feet, but elastic and itchy fabrics can make socks uncomfortable to wear.
If you’re struggling to find the right socks, experiment with different types. Perhaps shorter ankle socks are better than high socks that squeeze your calves. Socks that are labeled as light and breathable are often beneficial to avoid unnecessary pressure.
Still struggling to find comfort for your feet? Give diabetic socks a try. Fibromyalgia pain and diabetic neuropathy are very similar. These socks are designed to provide compression and increase circulation, which may reduce pain.
12. Protect your waist
Tight waistbands can cause fibromyalgia pain to flare up, which means pantyhose and tights are a no-no.
If you need to wear them for work or a formal event, try thigh-high stockings. They offer the same clean and polished look without the tightness around your waist.
13. Go tag-free
Tags can be itchy and uncomfortable for everyone, regardless of whether or not they suffer from a chronic pain condition. However, for those with fibromyalgia, it can be even more irritating.
Some brands like Hanes and Champion are going tag-free. The brand and size are printed directly onto the fabric instead of a tag. This eliminates the need for a bothersome piece of fabric that can irritate your skin and cause you more discomfort. If your clothes do have tags, gently unpick the stitching of them and remove entirely.
14. Consider maternity clothes
Maternity clothes, particularly maternity pants, are designed with a woman’s growing belly in mind. As a result, maternity pants are made with stretchy and elastic fabric that is meant to go underneath the belly.
This provides a better option for women dealing with chronic pain. These pants usually sit along the hips and offer much more flexibility, especially while sitting.
When paired with a long and loose top, no one will even know you’re wearing maternity pants.
15. Wear the right shoes
Support and stability are important if you’re suffering with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia. A comfortable pair of shoes will cushion your feet and help you get around with ease. Some of the most popular shoe brands recommended by fibromyalgia patients include the following.
- Sketchers: The memory foam used in some Sketchers designs can help provide comfort and support for walking
- Scholl’s: Fans of this brand say that Dr. Scholl’s shoes offer good arch support and cushioned heels
- Converse: A classic choice for those who love sneakers, the Converse pull-on styles offer flat and light shoes without laces that need tying
- Birkenstocks: Unlike most sandals, Birkenstocks offer a thick cushion to ease pain associated with walking or standing
- Uggs: Perfect for winter and colder weather, Uggs are much like soft and warm slippers
- Nike: These walking and running shoes are designed for athletes of all types, which means they offer a range of specialty styles that can give you durable support
Living with fibromyalgia can feel like a full-time job. It alters every aspect of your lifestyle and makes simple tasks challenging.
If you need help managing your fibromyalgia pain, you can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below. You can also look for one in your area by using the tips provided here.