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Fibromyalgia and Style

Updated on June 10, 2012
Maxi dresses are a low-pain option for summer!
Maxi dresses are a low-pain option for summer!

When you have fibromyalgia everything hurts. Unfortunately much of the time that includes the clothing we love to wear. Though it’s true that with every decade popular styles are moving further and further away from formality and towards comfort for those of us with FMS things just aren’t moving fast enough. When I was diagnosed with FMS I was a nineteen year old who loved to explore my sense of style. My diagnosis didn’t change that, if anything it made fashion and my outer appearance even more important to me. There was no way I was going through life looking as bad as I felt. Since then I have learned to enjoy fashion within the framework of my constant FMS pain.

Things to avoid:

  • I try to avoid any fabrics that lack stretch. Even the softest cottons can cause pain and pressure if they pull stiffly over your skin instead of stretching easily with your moving body.
  • Avoid fitted wrists, ankles, waists or high collars. Even that little bit of pressure can really hurt after a few hours.
  • Belts are never a good idea. The stiff leather, or cinched fabric plus the metal or wood of the buckles will have you squirming in no time.
  • Avoid elastic bands in your clothing. Over time it will fell as though they are cutting directly into your skin.
  • Look for socks that don’t constrict your ankle. That pressure will turn into pain very quickly.
  • Underwire bras are like mini, portable torture chambers for your boobs. Better to stick to soft cup and sports bras and consider getting fitted so that the cups and straps aren’t causing extra discomfort.


  • Bags with thin straps will bite into the muscle of your shoulder.
  • When buying jewelry always consider the weight of the item. A ring, necklace or bracelet that is too heavy may only be comfortable for an hour or two.
  • High heels hurt regular feet but when you have FMS they KILL. So, avoid them. There really are cute flats in the world you just have to invest the time to find them.

Things to look for:

  • Anything made of jersey.
  • Jeans made of thin, stretchy denim.
  • In the summer time dresses help to avoid leg pain and pressure at your waist.
  • Look for jewelry made of wood, string, yarn, fabric or plastic.
  • Ballet flats and cute sneakers are your friends.
  • As are insoles for support in the above.
  • Special socks made to stimulate blood flow or socks that are ankle or knee high.
  • You can wear your wedding ring on a chain around your neck so that it doesn’t hurt your finger but you still have it on at all times.
  • Drawstrings in place of elastic.
  • Become friendly with knits. This family of clothing is varied and versatile. They can be easily dressed up or down with a few light weight accessories.

So, what can I wear?


  • A knit blouse paired with a black skirt that settles above your hips comfortably.
  • A flowing white shirt over slim cut black pants that stretch
  • A knit tunic over grey wide leg trousers
  • Exchange jackets for cardigans and heels for flats.


  • A knit dress
  • Jeggings or stretch denim jeans with knit tshirt
  • A flowing top over leggings
  • Flats, sandals or sneakers


  • Find loungewear to wear at home that makes you feel good
  • Camisoles and cute shorts
  • Yoga pants and a tank top
  • Avoid over-sized pjs or your husband’s or boyfriend’s clothing
  • Find cute slippers that don’t compress at the ankles

Don't settle

Comfort and style do not have to be mutually exclusive. If a garment is extremely comfortable but you hate the way it looks on your body don’t buy it. Dressing for comfort alone can feel frumpy and unflattering. Having FMS does not mean having to give up on personal style. Shop first with an eye for cut, colour and detail but never, NEVER buy an uncomfortable piece of clothing. You may think it’ll look great but if you’re obviously in pain the outfit will do you no justice. Odds are it will just end up unworn at the back of closet.


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    • profile image

      Kim 5 years ago

      This item you mention: Jeans made of thin, stretchy denim

      To some people that are especially sensitive around the waist, be careful with stretchy jeans. They tend to be form fitting round the butt, waist, and thigh- which can cause a lot of pain. Make sure you aim for the relaxed leg. :)

    • WVBards profile image

      Fibromyalgia Daughter 5 years ago from Seattle

      Love it!

    • ar.colton profile image

      Mikal Smith 5 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Thank so much Heather!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      Very helpful article that really breaks down some great ideas to build an outfit and wardrobe. Voted up!

    • ar.colton profile image

      Mikal Smith 5 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Thanks Min, glad you enjoyed it!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Wonderful information that can help others with fibromyalgia. It's always powerful to get suggestions from someone that has lived with it. Thank you.

    • ar.colton profile image

      Mikal Smith 5 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Thanks so much Ursula!

    • profile image

      UrsulaRose 5 years ago

      Another fabulous Hub Article you have written and one I will definitely share to help spread awareness of FM.