No, I’m not talking about having a kidney operation removal – or even thinking about that old urban myth about the kidney thieves who steal kidneys from people and leave them the in a bathtub filled with ice.
I’m talking about fashions that leave your kidney’s out in the cold.
Physical Needs that Influence Fashion Choices
As a person who finds it hard to stay warm (except in mid-summer), I just don’t like having my kidney’s exposed to the elements (apart from the fact nobody needs to see that part of my anatomy). Even when I was young and super fit and cropped tees were in fashion, I wasn’t keen on wearing anything cropped I’ve never liked the feeling of a breeze or cool air hitting my lower back.
This means that there are fashion trends that I’ll avoid or have to work around to make sure my kidneys are covered at all times. Even in summer when it’s a boiling hot night, I’ll pull a sheet over my lower back – leaving the rest of me uncovered.
My daughter is more than happy to have her kidneys exposed – she doesn’t feel the cold like I do. In winter, I have to tuck in a layer underneath my outer layers to ensure that no air ever hits my lower back accidentally.
If I’m going to wear something cropped (jacket or top) then there is always a top underneath that covers my kidneys up that sticks out below the cropped item.
In many ways, this is a topic that isn’t spoken about yet can have quite an impact on the outfits you can put together and the styles and shapes of clothing (and fabrics you choose as well).
Is there something that you just won’t wear because of a physical reason?
I remember working with a client who couldn’t wear an underwire bra because she had massively sensitive skin – so was wearing a flattening crop top (until I showed her that you could also buy wire-free bras that actually give you some shape and support too). Because the crop top flattened her and made her waist disappear, she wouldn’t wear anything that was at all fitted on her top half.
Of course, there are the foot issues that mean only a certain shoe fits or is comfortable or is able to be worn.
There are the fabrics that you’ll avoid for some sort of comfort reason (wool that is scratchy, synthetic fibres that make your skin crawl or make you sweat).
But I’m sure there are other things that impact upon your fashion choices (other than the whole – what suits, what I like etc.) so tell me, what other things can’t you wear for some sort of physical reason?
What is it and how does this impact on your style and clothing choices? Is this something you wish you could change or is it something that doesn’t bother you?
Unless it’s super soft yoga pants, I CANNOT stand to wear pants that are not low rise. I just hate the waistband digging into my stomach/waist while sitting or bending over. This also means that I have to always buy longer shirts to make sure I have “active modestly” (i.e. I can move around with exposing my tummy or lower back).
Digging in waistbands are so uncomfortable!
Thanks for writing this post. I always felt uncomfortable explaining why I wore or refused to wear certain trends and styles if it was for a physical reason.
I don’t like exposing my kidneys either. All my coats are at least mid-thigh in length because waist-to-knee area gets cold easily; plus it’s hard to layer on the bottom in fall and spring sometimes. I love wearing turtlenecks, and sometimes covering up my neck feels safer than leaving it exposed, but crew necks, etc. make my bust look bigger – and I don’t want any more attention drawn there – so figuring out how to wear flattering clothes and cover up when I feel like it can be challenging.
I do have a post on that somewhere here https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/07/how-to-wear-a-high-neckline-with-a-large-bust.html hopefully you’ll get some tips on it!
I’m one of those who finds certain fabrics make me shudder, I think that’s why I’m reluctant to buy clothing online, even though actual clothes shopping IRL is not my favourite thing. And arthritic ankles mean I’m quite restricted in the shoes I can practically wear. I sometimes wonder if that’s why I’m reasonably unadventurous in my style choices, although I suspect it’s partly innate.
Yes – when you can’t feel the fabric you have no idea what it’s going to be like til you get it.
Thank you for writing this post. I also feel cold very easily and prefer to keep my lower back covered, always wear a cami and make sure it doesn’t pull up. I also avoid wearing synthetic fabrics as they make me feel uncomfortably hot. Sheer socks can be very constricting, so I avoid them as well.
Oh yes the top of stocking socks (pop socks) can be way too tight can’t they!
I am also sensitive to cold, especially my knees!!! I have to have them covered all the time or I get cold. That means over the knee skirts, coats, long nightgowns. I think this is my variation of your cold kidneys! It’s kind of limiting, but there it is.
I do get your knee thing when I’m cold! I think the backs of the knees are particularly sensitive to temperature.
I’ve always been self conscious about my ears which protrude slightly and I used to get quite bad Eczema so I do like earrings which hopefully distract attention away. The daftest thing I do is to prefer shoes which are possibly too big. My mum insisted that I wore Clarks shoes as a kid and they are designed to include room for growth. I only discovered recently that ‘high heels’ fit better half a size smaller. This probably explains why I gave up on them. Basically the ones I chose were half a size too big and at the back of my mind, I was still looking for ‘growing room’., aged 55! My other hangup was being small busted but Hello Primark’s ‘Your bra but 2 cup sizes bigger’, truly transformative and look I’m not dating so nobody’s going to be disappointed 😉
Funny – growing room in shoes at 55!
As I have bunions, I always wear toe separators. If I don’t, my feet ache by the end of the day. (I know you’ll understand this one, Imogen! I’ve followed your surgery story with interest as I may have to do the same one day) So that really limits my choice of shoes in the Summer – only closed toes as the plasticky toe separator is really unattractive. No flip flops and finding sandals that aren’t too ‘old lady’ is difficult.
If your feet are in pain it can be hard to think! I have to wear my toe separator for another few weeks and then I’m done!
Ditto on the kidney issue! I am so glad that high rise pants are back. There’s nothing worse than that draft up the back (especially with jeans). I don’t wear loose tops or jackets without a tank underneath.
Then there’s “pantyhose bind”. It’s so hard to find hose and tights that aren’t control top or constricting. (The ones that claim they don’t bind come way up above my waist – ick.) I size up but still end up snipping the waistbands in about 8 places.
Which brings me to bras. For good support they need to be snug across the back which drives me crazy. Makes me feel like I can’t breathe. My bra comes off the second I get home. I used to size up on the band for comfort but then it would move too much so I was basically wearing a molded chest shield.
Oh yes pantyhose that stick into your tummy! Hate that. I tend to go up sizes so these are more comfortable.
Have you tried a Haramaki (Japanese kidney warmer)? I think Amazon carries them and a lot of people make knitted versions, basically a wide knitted tube to wear under your clothes. I think you’d like it.
Apart from my shoe issues, I hate all long sleeves which rub the hair on my arms and cause irritation, the feeling of crepe fabric or any fabric that isn’t soft, anything touching my neck, and the feeling of layers of clothing. I just can’t get comfortable in layers. Since I am also cold natured, this is very inconvenient. I’d love to be able to just ignore all this but can’t seem to do it. When my clothes are uncomfortable, I can’t concentrate on anything.
NEver heard of them but will look into them!
Thank you! I hate being cold too and like to have my back and thighs well covered. I have been know to wear almost to the knee shorts under a dress, even with tights, and I always take a wrap to church and movies–even in summer–to protect my cold lap!
Hate wool to touch my face so had to have winter coats tailored to have velvet or corduroy collars put in. Looking for cute non-wool berets. And I have to wear orthopedic shoes but I think I have solved that particular fashion dilemma with a few styles I like.
I know what you mean about cold legs – particularly movie theatres – i have to rug up so much!
I can’t stand the thought of being trapped in some bras–especially underwire or those with heavy padding (neither do I want to have that ‘headlight’ effect when it’s cold). For years I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill except sports bras, and those don’t work for everything. Recently I found bras by Playtex and Hanes that were perfect. They both had that lower front cut you can wear with more things, a back hook-and-eye closure (unlike sports bras, which you much pull over your head or climb into). For the cold, I wear the Hanes, which are *very* softly padded. Otherwise, I really like the Playtex best. I require speed and simplicity of getting into clothes.
Fabulous that you’ve found a solution to your bra issues!
Thank you for writing about this! I can’t stand the seams on clothing, and while it’s necessary to put up with it during the day, in the evenings, I wear my clothing inside out. Tees, yoga pants, nightgowns, and socks are all so much more comfortable when worn inside out! Now that I’ve got my husband trained to stop turning my clothing right side out on laundry day, we’re good, LOL!
Yes seams can be annoying – you must love the creative construction clothing that is meant to have seams on the outside!
I’ve had so many foot and back issues over the years that I can only wear flats. I’ve just about given up on finding comfortable and also cute shoes. It’s the main reason that I primarily wear pants – I haven’t found many flats with support that look good with dresses. Also, I hate scratchy clothes. No matter how pretty something is, if it’s uncomfortable it’s just not worth wearing it.
What a great post Imogen! I feel that much of fashion and style has left me cold due to unforseen reasons. I am allergic to wool, cashmere, angora, and rabbit hair which makes sweaters and other winter items challenging. Numerous allergies also limit the makeup and personal care products I can use while three foot surgeries mean a lifetime of orthopedic shoes that fit custom orthotics. I wish I could ignore the whole lot, but being a working mother with two young children means I have to be professional in appearance. I’m only 38 and dread shopping for anything that will be remotely stylish while meeting my numerous special conditions.
Wow! this is something that no one else talks about. I hate waitbands. Unless they have some elastic in them or they are adjustable with a drawstring, especially since the dimensions of my waist changes, depending on my posture (sitting, standing errect, lounging) And only fabrics that breathe – read cotton.
Mine would have to be cold legs/ankles/feet…..can’t have them bare when the weather is cool…have to be covered up warmly. Makes it challenging when the trend is bare legs even with fall and winter clothing. Always looking for interesting weights and colours for tights, pantyhose, socks, leggings…….
Hi Imogen, I have 2 physical issues. One is at the waist. If a garment sits at a certain point on my abdomen (but not necessarily uncomfortable to wear when I first put it on), it can (and usually does) actually cause bloating and cramping. I think it is a genetic thing, because my mum suffers from it also. So low-mid waisted items are best for me. I can’t wear high waisted anything without it occurring (although find empire line dresses are high enough to avoid it). Standard hosiery yields quite horrific results! And seeing people in shapewear or corsetry runs a shiver down my spine. The other issue is silicon – I’m sensitive to it. So strapless bras are a nightmare for me. I can get away with maybe a few hours (night function) before I welt. If I’ve worn one for too long, then when I remove it, the top layers of inflamed skin come too… leaving a scab all the way around my bra line! Gross and uncomfortable for weeks. As such, I avoid wearing anything strapless. But I have 2 strapless dresses I love and have managed to find a bra without silicon. Unfortunately the shape of it doesn’t flatter one of the dress styles though. Dóh!
What an interesting discussion! I can’t stand anything tight around my neck, so turtlenecks are out, but even scarves or necklaces can irritate me. It can be a problem in cold weather.
That’s very common – disliking things around your neck – I can’t tell you how many clients have told me over the years that they hate having their neck ‘constricted’!
High heels. How does anyone stand them!? They have been intolerably uncomfortable to me since I tried my first pair at age 13.
As an adult, a friend told me that if they were expensively made heels they’d be much more comfortable – so I tried buying my way out of the problem – marginally better if at all. The only thing that has ever worked has been lower heel (2″ max) a half size too big, and using very cushioned pads. For a few hours max, and not a lot of standing. Platforms help, wedges, block heels, wide toe box modify the torture, but at this point I won’t do more than about an inch of lift.
But here’s what I’m really curious about: are heels actually comfortable for anyone? or are other women just more willing to be uncomfortable than I am?
I do know some women who say they find them comfortable – interestingly they have very different feet from me – lots of padding in the balls of their feet and often a high arch (I have a fairly flat foot and no padding in the ball of my foot in comparison). Also women with short Achilles tendons often prefer a heel. But I get where you’re coming from (and I’ve gone and tried on the really expensive heels and don’t think they are any more comfortable than the more reasonably priced ones. These days you can get ones with way more built in padding – but if you don’t love them – don’t wear them!
I am learning good info from the many responses to your post, Imogen. Kidney covers are good. I have a long neck and find it makes me have chills if it gets windy or cold. I love turtlenecks and scarves to keep warm. My upper chest also gets cold. At night I cuddle under sheet and blanket pulled up to my chin and my cold hands tucked in. I wear socks in bed too. A nurse told me keeping my heart area warm is good too. I have thyroid issues and feel cold almost all year. My husband is like a furnace and he sleeps on top of the bed covers! Luckily, we can laugh about our differences.
I’ve never heard the phrase “get your kidneys out” before. Maybe it’s Austrailian? It conjures up some funny pictures! My main physical limitation affecting clothing is that I’m always much warmer than everyone else, due to meds I take. I absolutely never wear sweaters, sweatshirts, or similar warm layers. NEVER. I don’t wear long sleeves unless it’s to church for an hour, and then change the second I get home. No scarves, no shirts with a collar on my neck, not even a crew neck t-shirt (has to be a scoop or v-neck.) Worst of all, I wear sandals year-round, unless there is actual snow on the ground. Then I wear snow boots for a day or two until the snow melts, then I’m back in sandals. So bottom line is, I end up looking like I don’t know what season it is quite a bit of the year! I have a running joke that the sandals I wear in the cold are my “winter sandals” because they’re black.
Funny – you’re the opposite of me Judy! I’ve plenty of clients who won’t wear anything longer than a 3/4 sleeve as it’s just too hot for them. Not sure if “getting your kidney’s out” is Australian or just me!
Imogen, when I saw the story about “getting your kidneys out” in my email I was so stumped as to what you meant by kidneys. I thought it was an Australian word for some piece of clothing lol! But after reading the article I now know you really did mean kidneys!
Yes – the same kind of kidneys that we all have! I know – it’s probably just something we say here – what’s funny is that I was saying something about it to my assistant Kate and she told me I should write a post called that – so I can blame her!
I love the look of flats, but in summer I find them too hot and in fall my feet are way too cold:(
Also a socks to bed girl and no low cut necks in fall/ winter either unless I have a scarf to match and layer it up.
The other issue I have is high waisted anything; I have to wear low rise bottoms though I mostly wear skirts with draw strings or elastic bands. They only feel comfortable on my hips. I’m okay with higher waisted jeans or leggings until I have to sit down, lol.
Might be because I am short waisted? I’m always folding down my tights and leggings and pull my skirts down to fit at the hips, sometimes requires sizing up.
Being short waisted can mean that waistbands dig in more and don’t always sit where it’s comfortable.
I need to have the back of my neck/upper back covered. Turtle necks work well but can get very boring so I often use scarves – non-scratchy! Even cashmere seems scratchy these days so I look for soft scarf fabrics which often translates to fleece here in the New England winter months.
Hi Marie, Yes – you have quite a bit to work through – have a look at these posts https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2012/06/how-to-dress-when-you-have-lost-a-breast.html https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/11/weekend-reading-breast-cancer-style-tips.html
Great post! I am high waisted and have trouble with most pants unless there is a bit of elastic in the waist area. I also have short legs so capris don’t look that good on me although I love them. My favorite jeans are NYDJ