6 Ways Living with Vitiligo Shaped My Closet and Style
To say that living with vitiligo has shaped my style is almost an understatement. It hasn’t just shaped it – it’s been the driving force behind every clothing decision I’ve made in my lifetime. Perhaps that seems weak, but I just see it as honest.
For the past 20 years, as I chose my clothes each morning, I had to make a decision about how I was going to live my life with vitiligo. Standing in front of the mirror, looking at my pale body, my inner self would battle – will you be confident today, or will you hide? Will you wear the dress that shows your skin, or will you wimp out and hide beneath pants?
Even today, completely covered in vitiligo and no longer spotted, the idea of people seeing my skin influences the way I shop and dress.
1. I only wear my favorite clothes.
You know how you can have an entire closet full of clothes but only five or six pieces you actually love? I only wear those five to six pieces – repeatedly – because when you wear your favorite clothes, you feel good about yourself. It gives you an extra boost of confidence when your self-esteem is dwindling, and as a girl with vitiligo, I need all the confidence I can get.
2. I wear neutrals to blend in.
Neutrals blend in and make your clothes less noticeable. By choosing to wear neutrals, I also choose not to wear “loud” outfits – bright colors and patterns that might make a bold statement and draw attention. So my outfits are built to look good, but blend in and not be noticed. My closet is filled with white, gray and black tops and bottoms that are cute enough to be presentable, but not bold enough for people to actually look.
3. I dress more modestly.
The more you want to hide your skin, the more modestly you end up dressing. Personally, I also think that dressing modestly is classy and it ends up giving your outfits a timeless, “every girl” look. It also makes your mother happy. So there’s that.
4. I dress up more than most people.
I love to dress up, even when I don’t have to. My friends can’t understand why I put on “real clothes” to leave the house for a quick errand. On Fridays, when we can wear jeans to the office, I’ll wear a dress and heels. Dressing up is another way I boost my confidence as I go about my day – another pick-me-up for when I’m feeling down about my skin.
5. I care about each and every outfit.
I care about my outfits, probably too much. In fact, if I don’t feel good about my outfit on any given day, I get upset. It starts as frustration, builds to anxiety and then crashes in a wave of guilt over my attitude. It’s almost as if I’ve put my confidence in my clothes, and if I don’t have the perfect outfit, then I can’t be happy. Clearly, I have some work to do here.
6. I don’t wear sweatpants.
This goes along with caring about each and every outfit. You just don’t look good in sweatpants – no one does. I’ve never seen it happen. I don’t own a sweatshirt or a pair of sweatpants, and I haven’t for at least five years. I do wear yoga pants and comfy pullovers – but no sweatpants. I won’t be caught in them.
Reading this back over, I feel like I must sound like a crazy person, at least when it comes to clothes. So join in the conversation and make me feel like I’m not alone.
How has living with vitiligo shaped your style?
Photo by Instagram user @lifeoflauu.
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.
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