Woman wearing shirt and tight pants. There is a snake wrapped around her waist, as if it is chocking her.

My Endo Wardrobe

People with endometriosis spend a lot of time in a state of discomfort. Whether it’s the start of my period, ovulation, or my PMS-week, you can assume some part of my abdomen is hurting. And the bloating. The constant bloating. Sometimes it’s from food, but usually I assume the endo troll in my uterus is having a party filled with balloons made of inflammation. Either way, my form-fitting clothes had to go.

Erring on the side of comfort

After channeling decluttering guru Marie Kondo, I decided to KonMari my closet. First, I tossed my tights — the kind my mom would call “pantyhose”. I’d spent years (years!) taking my scissors into the bathroom at work, cutting out the elastic waistbands that painfully cinched my insides. They most certainly were not sparking joy. The second wave of closet-cleaning included anything else that was too snug. I’m thin, but if my belly becomes unexpectedly distended, wearing a dress or skirt with no give is torture.

So instead of worrying how miserable my outfit would make me after lunch, I decided to err on the side of comfort. Here are some pieces in my pain-free wardrobe.

Jeans

I really should say jean. I have one pair of skinny jeans that I’ve worn for five years. They are now a little too big in the waist, which means they are perfect. Jeans sans the stretch of at least three percent spandex should be trucked off to Goodwill.

Sweater tights

I like to wear dresses, and working in the Midwest means covered legs in winter. Instead of wearing the kind of tights that cut off my circulation in the waist, I started buying some made of sweater material or ones lined with fleece. I don’t know why, but as a genre, they are way looser. It took some trial and error, but I now have a handful of pairs that neither fall down during the day or make me feel like I can’t breath. (My favorite pair comes from Target, but I’m sure there are plenty of options out there.)

Empire-waist dresses

My closet is pretty much filled with these. The beauty of these dresses is that even if I get bloated, the tighter part of the waist is 2 or 3 (or 4) inches above the puffiest part of my pot belly. I can leave the house knowing that no matter what my uterus troll does, I won’t have added pressure coming from my clothing.

Skirts with elastic

I was sad to see my pencil skirts go, but they didn’t have a place in my new cozy closet. Instead, I have a few vintage skirts made with (not too tight) elastic in the waist. No matter what happens to my body during the day, my skirt will adjust.

Pajama bottoms with a drawstring

And finally, jammies. I pop my pjs on the second my workday is done. Bottoms with a drawstring generally tend to be more forgiving, but the tie lets me set the terms of tightness.

A simple solution

We can’t change our bodies, but we can change our clothes. There’s no need to add another layer of discomfort when you’re already in pain, so try donning a more comfortable wardrobe. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

Poll