Endometriosis (also known as “endo” for short) is a painful disorder that affects one in 10 women nationwide, myself included. Endo occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It’s extremely painful and can cause a slew of new and uncomfortable conditions, like interstitial cystitis (which is exactly what happened to me).
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with IC at 24 that I realized endometriosis was the root to all of my problems. Some days, the pain was so excruciating, I could barely get out of bed. Endometriosis is… we’ll say inconvenient, for lack of a better word.
For me, one of the most annoying aspects of having a chronic (not to mention, invisible) illness like endometriosis is finding clothing that’s comfortable – a.k.a. pieces that won’t accentuate your endo-belly or make you feel like you’re suffocating. But after dealing with 14 long years of misdiagnoses, I’ve found a few ways to breathe comfortably, without having to compromise my style.
You shouldn’t be ashamed of your workwear go-to.
An endo flare-up can hit at any moment, which is why it’s important to wear something that’s comfortable and doesn’t make you feel like you look like a sack of potatoes. Here are a few workwear options that do just that.
A loose-fitting button-up is the easiest way to look chic and feel comfortable.
Although Sies Marjan is still relatively new, the brand’s creative director Sander Lak made headlines with his sixth collection. Echoing Lak’s signature style (aka bold and bright), this silk and cotton-blend corduroy vivid red ‘Sander’ shirt screams comfort. (Not to mention, Christmastime. Office holiday party, here we come!) Embrace your inner comfort queen and splurge for the matching pants – you won’t regret it! This outfit is basically an office-appropriate set of PJs.
My favorite workwear go-to (whenever I’m not working from home, that is) is the Clean Silk Notch Shirt from Everlane. It’s loose-fitting, yet sophisticated enough to wear to work. And if you have a smaller chest, you can totally get away with wearing a bralette instead of a full-on bra (which is exactly what I do). I have this shirt in black, red, olive, and white.
The Drapey Classic Shirt is almost like an upgraded version of the Original Fit Portofino. It’s ultra-soft, lightweight, and as the name states, super-drapey – which is perfect for those days when your endo is throwing a rager in your abdomen.
Comfy suit pants exist, you just need to know where to find them.
Bottoms are a bit trickier, but finding a comfortable pair of pants or a pretty-looking skirt isn’t impossible. Believe me, I know what it feels like to be stuck in a pair of death-grip tights and cursing Mother Nature for her unrelenting temper.
The Delancy Crop Pant is made to look like a normal pair of cropped suit pants, but they feature a sneaky elastic waist and a slouchy drop crotch for maximum comfort.
I’m in love with everything Uniqlo. The backside of these bottoms are equipped with a stretchy waistband that no one will ever notice. The front, meanwhile, is tapered and professional-looking, so you can breeze through work without feeling like a complete fraud.
Dresses are a quick-and-easy way to look stylish sans effort.
You know what else works on a flare day? A dress. I’m almost always clad in a black dress – whether it’s a sweater dress, sweatshirt dress, or a shirtdress.
This isn’t your usual shirtdress. Chloé’s ultra-feminine silk shirt dress is designed with an interesting and chic high-low hemline and a charming mock-neck and shirt-style cuffed sleeves.
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, this “Breck” Crewneck Side-Stripe Shirt Dress is perfect for running errands, making subway transfers in a hurry, and just doing life in general. Bonus: You can wear it with sneakers.