Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Inevitable Stocking Crisis

They are thick...

We have to wear them...

They fringe on hideous...

They are compression stockings!!!

As someone who suffers from lymphedema, I have two options; 1) Wear the compression stockings and face the odd stares and questions like, "what is on your foot?" or 2) not wear stockings and become Elephantitis woman. Basically, I have only one option. While the compression stocking companies have vamped up their product now making them softer, in various colors and sheer, one still cannot get away from the fact that they are still very obvious and not all that attractive.

The winter time presents few problems with wearing the stockings since they are rarely in view and keep you warmer. I bought a black pair of Jobst stockings and they actually are attractive enough to wear with dresses in the winter and look very similar to regular stockings. If the color is off just throw normal, light weight stockings over them.

With the summer months approaching, so does the question, "what the heck do I wear?"

If you have fair skin like I do then you have realized that the beige stockings that the companies sell in no way resemble your skin color. Yes they are obvious but there are ways around it.

One Word (well two): Maxi dresses. You can find them pretty cheap at Target and many boutiques carry them for not too badly priced either.

Next, if you want to wear other items of clothing, go for it. I really love my leggings and I just got a flowy tank from H&M for $9 which I was largely proud of. So I said, who cares, threw on my leggings over my compression stocking. I was having a good day so my leg wasn't very swollen. I walked all around Lincoln Park, Chicago and went shoe shopping. Did many women stop and stare at my leg? Yes they did. If it went on beyond the time frame for pure curiosity I just stared back. They look like the jerk staring at someone with an obvious disability... Most people are not going to ask you what is wrong with your leg or what you are wearing because they know it is rude or none of their business. Stares will probably replace the questions so be prepared for them. I honestly believe that most people are just wondering what it is and then if they notice the leg is swollen, they are probably just curious as to what condition we have.

I have days wear I still hide my leg in baggy pants and sneakers and then others, I brave the stares and wear whatever I want.

I am nowhere near brave enough to wear the stockings with some shorts...mostly because that would be a very weird outfit.

My point, wear what makes you feel good and ignore the stares.


Cassandra said...

I'm too short for maxi dresses!
I think I'm going to attempt continuing to wear all my summer skirts / dresses and just layer my knee high compressions with light colored tights. I'm trying to remind myself that my health is more important than people looking at me funny because of what i'm wearing.

Claudette (Ricketts) Pfingston said...

Great blog. I also have lymphedema in my left leg and Madelungs/Diffuse Lipomatosis. I wear the Jobst stocking and opted for the toeless type. My lymphedema showed up when I was 12 years old (Lymphedema Praecox) during puberty.

Lisa McKay said...

Your blog showed up while I was searching for information on which stockings to order for living in the tropics... my husband and I are moving to Laos to work with World Vision and, well, yeah. The tropics. Lymphedema. Not a good combination. But like you, I don't want to let it cramp my style too much, so we're going to give it a try. Thanks for your interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a very old blog post, but I have been struggling with outfits in the unseasonably hot weather we’ve been having and the stupid footless stockings don’t come anywhere near my pale skin tone (why???). I have finally given up and now just wear sheer or opaque black stockings with hot pants and fun regular knee high socks. It’s cooler than having layers over the stockings and it’s a cute outfit. Another cute outfit I put together is calf high stockings with wide leg pants and sketchers or tennis shoes. I also found some calf compression sleeves and am toying with wearing them under a maxi dress with sandals.

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