“Yay! It’s Summer,” said no Lymphie. Ever.
Guys and girls, hold on to your compression garments- it’s that dreaded time of year again (and no, I don’t mean Christmas with the in-laws). It’s SUMMER.
Let’s all take this moment to say some bad words, let a few waves of dread roll over us and shed a little tear… *waiting* …. Okay, you did great. Now let’s push those feelings to the side and try a new way of thinking for the Summer of 2017. Repeat after me: “It’s going to be okay! We will survive this!”
I’ve compiled a list of some ‘Lymphedema approved’ clothing and shoes, to help you feel comfy, chic and of course, damn right sexy! But before we touch on any fashion stuff, I just want to remind every one of the top three essential summer care practises that you should implement without fail. I think all three are just as important as the other when it comes to management of our limbs (at any time of year for that matter).
- Wear the right compression garments: properly fitted, custom garments are the key to keeping your limbs under control. The difference between wearing the right compression garment and the wrong one can be, unfortunately, a costly mistake for your body.
- Continue your MLD (or increase it if you need): keep doing your regular MLD, pumping, massages and if needed, increase this during the hotter months.
- Exercise: keep that lymph moving! Incorporate some swimming into your exercise routine to keep cool, buy a cheap exercise bike to ride in the comfort of your own home, work out in an air-conditioned gym, keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (if exercising outdoors)- actively move your body to keep that lymph circulation going!
There are of course loads of other important things to mention about managing your Lymphedema during summer, but we ain’t got time for that right now! So onto the good stuff….
*Should I do a disclaimer here where I mention that this is general information/ advice and that everyone is different and has different needs, that maybe some things I mention here might not work for you or your lymphie limb? Probably!…*
Wide Trousers: AKA ‘Bad Leg Day Pants’
For the days when you just need to hide, but still want to feel chic and sexy- go for the large trousers. Even if I didn’t have Lymphedema, I would still rock this look! There are heaps out in the stores this summer- opt for light materials that are made from natural fibres and flowy legs. Wide pants are a great item to have in a few colours and look great with a simple t-shirt or singlet for work or can be dressed up with a crop top for the evening. (By the way, the model in the last pic didn’t have a head! I felt bad for her, so stuck my own on there instead…)
The Midi Dress with sheer lace details
For those who are brave and don’t want to fully conceal their legs, the midi dress is an amazing option. I selected the dresses below because I felt like they were the ultimate Lymphie Hack to wearing a short dress– the sheer lace detail around the legs allows you to wear a shorter dress, while still kind of covering up. I would personally put my beige coloured compression garment under a dress like this to make it more subtle. Perfect for a night out with the girls!
The Jumpsuit- a Lymphedema essential!
Everyone with leg Lymphedema knows that jumpsuits are the bomb. There are so many gorgeous options out there for jumpsuits, you definitely won’t be lost for choice! When I’m buying a jumpsuit I keep in mind the following things: 1) leg width- make sure it’s not a skinny leg trouser, go for something roomier. I really like jumpsuits that are fitted on top and flowy at the bottom. 2) Ankles- a lot of jumpsuits have elastic around the ankles, which I find can be too tight and cut off my ankle. Don’t hesitate to buy this kind of jumpsuit- just inspect it and see if it could be altered easily and then take it to your local seamstress (or mum?!) to loosen the ankles a bit. 3) Zips- if you look at jumpsuit #4 in the photos below (click on the link), you will see it has elastic ankles PLUS zips! Which is great to loosen up the ankle area if you need to.
Ye old faithful: The Maxi Dress
You really can’t go past a good old maxi dress when it comes to summer lymphie style. There are literally millions of styles, colours and patterns to choose from- but don’t be fooled into thinking that every maxi dress is a good one! There is definitely a right way and wrong way to rock a maxi dress, which can mean the difference between looking like a glam lymphie and a glam-ma lymphie. Geddit?
First things first: if we are going to be covering our bodies neck to toe, let’s try to incorporate a focus point somewhere, for example, neck/ shoulders/ chest or stomach. The dresses I selected below all have a focus point– a low V neck, a halter neck, cut out features around the waist (or legs if you’re brave) or sheer lace detailing around the legs. Secondly, think about colour. Bold summer colours are always a winner, as is a classic black maxi (perfect for a girl’s lunch or dinner date). Summer 2017 fashion is seeing heaps of lace detail (see dresses #1 and #5 below), which I think is super feminine and downright bloody fancy, mate!
Tops & Blouses: Keepin’ it loose, baby.
For those of you with arm Lymphedema, there are heaps of beautiful, free-flowing tops out at the moment with some really gorgeous designs. Stripes, LACE (can you tell I’m into my lace this summer?!), boho embroidered sleeves, backless tops, dreamy sea blue colours, flounce cuffs (all the rage this summer and the perfect style for you ‘Arm-ies‘!), crisp cotton… OMG! I am Lurvinggg all of this…! *I’ll swap you my leg lymphedema for your arm lymphedema?!* Obviously the arm area isn’t my area of expertise, but I would say that the same principles apply when dressing- keep it loose, alter problem areas if they are too tight and focus on details that take attention away from unwanted areas.
Long sleeve dresses
Another one for the Armies out there. #1 and #4 could also totally work for leg lymphies too. Again, easy breezy arms are all the focus, while accentuating other areas of the body. The dresses I selected below are more for night time, but you can definitely find some light cotton dresses in the same styles for a more chilled day time look.
Excuse me… Did someone say, ‘beach’?… Have I completely lost my lymphie mind?!
I know a lot of you haven’t been to the beach in a long time, but maybe these dresses below can persuade you to give it another shot. You will feel like a total beach goddess dressed up in one of these ah-mazing designs from PitUSA. I love these boho style dresses!
Heels: Yes, there is hope!
Again, a difficult subject for us with leg Lymphedema, however, it’s just about putting your ‘lymphie hacker hat’ on and looking for elements that will bring you to the perfect heel (which won’t squish our sausage toes).
Things to look out for when selecting heels that work: zips, tie up features, wedges (much more comfortable than a pin heel), adjustable buckles, stretchy features, elastic stretchy feature, open heels, slip on heels… If ankle straps are too tight, get the store to punch some more holes in the strap for you. Heels with zips down the ankle area are ahhhmazing and allow for wiggle room. Slide on heels are also great if your ankle is really being a problem in the summer (personally, I would go up a size or two for this style of shoe to make it work over the arch of my foot, but it’s totally possible to make this work if you find the right pair).
I also find that heels which are open across the top of the foot are a bit easier to wear as well (as swelling can make this area expand beyond what my shoes can deal with!) See shoe #1 as an example. Shoes #2 #3 #5 #8 are all perfect to adjust and make roomier on the lymphie foot.
1: All Saints Viva Heel 2: SEE by Chloe lace-up Wedges 3: Dolce Vita Luci Heel 4: RAYE Mandy Heel 5: Rebecca Minkoff Claissa heel 6: Vince Camuto Evel Leather Sandal 7: Steve Madden Shani Heel 8: SENSO Sibella Heel
Sandals= easy peasy ankles
Finding shoes that fit is the #1 issue in the summertime. The sandals below were chosen for the following reasons: they all allow for lymphie kankles with adjustable laces/ velcro string ties, they can expand width wide (thanks to lace up features), plus they all have open toed areas (so that toe caps can still be worn). When buying shoes, I personally go up a size or two (depending on the brand) and generally they fit both feet fine (but mainly giving some extra space to the lymphie leg). It also helps the compression garments fit inside the shoe comfortably. Lastly, I personally find that a small heel is much more comfortable than flat shoes. It stops the liquid from getting bad around my ankle.
“It’s OKAY to wear Birkenstocks”
I feel the need to explain myself here: I really hate Birkenstocks. Like really. They are the same level as Crocs for me (yes, I’m being a snob!). I resisted as long as I could even when my hipster friends flaunted their “Havaianas replacements” in front of me, looking actually kind of cool. Despite my best efforts to never, ever buy a pair of this hideous footwear, I finally cracked this weekend. Yep, I crossed the border. Trump should have build a wall between me and the Birkenstocks. I will admit, they are so. comfortable. for the lymphie foot and they actually exist in some cool colours. They adjust easily as well, so you can keep them loose on the lymphie foot. I personally went up a size (from my normal size of 38) which fit fine on both feet.
Would love to read your comments below and hear your thoughts about the items shown above! xoxoxoxo