Shopping for Lymphedema wear

I am sure most Lymphedema patients know about the frustration of trying to find clothes to fit/hide the affected limb, especially leg wear and shoes. I thought I'd share what I have about this. Here goes:

Words I use when searching (image-google and you will instantly find lots):
Widelegged/wide leg trousers/pants/jeans
Palazzo pants/trousers
Hakama pants (Japanese Martial Art pants, seems possible to make a DIY-version)
Martial art pants
Cargo pants/trousers
Rave pants/trousers
Hip Hop Parachute Cargo Dance Pants
Hiphop pants
UFO pants
Maxidress/dresses
Maxiskirt/skirts
Boho skirt/skirts/dress/dresses
Bellydancing skirts/outfits
Hippie skirts
Harem pants/trousers
Berber pants/trousers
Fishermans pants
Sarouel


Some of the shops I check out:
www.ebay.com
www.asos.com – Large selection of widelegged trousers/pants. Worldwide shipping.
Dorothy Perkins
H&M
Marks & Spencer
www.artfulwears.com – lots of stylish and comfylooking widelegged pants/trousers (ie these)
www.missethnic.com – beautyful long skirts, dresses and more
www.shukronline.com – Islamic clothing – widelegged trousers/pants and long skirts.
www.boutique-coline.fr – lovely French label with comfy, funky, cheap stuff
www.goddiva.co.uk
www.very.co.uk


Others:
www.hijabulous.blogspot.com – Islamic fashion blog, also useful for lymphers of any religion.

Tips about Lymphedema and clothing in the posts about my day with the personal shopper here and here and the post about Sophisticated Tina.

If you have any tips on this that fellow lymphers might benefit from you are extremely welcome to share. Thanks ;-)

32 comments:

  1. I have lymphedema in my left arm from lymph node removal. It sucks big time trying to find clothes! I would love to wear cute summer dresses and tank tops but I'm not comfortable with how one arm is so disproportioned to the other. I have a small frame, which is unfortunate because I tend to wear XL size tops, which really hang on me, but do fit my "hippo" arm, as I call it.

    www.holyclothing.com has some really nice clothes. I've bought a shirt from them, and they also have a style of pants that has large leg holes and many skirts and dresses.

    Dori

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  2. It's 4:30am and I can't sleep because I'm so distraught over the severe lymphedema in one leg and with it starting in the other leg. I just found this site and I'm elated to see there a slacks to choose from that just might fit. I spent the afternoon at the mall today only to come home in tears of frustration and sadness. I think I can fall back asleep now. Thank you!

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  3. @Anonymous 19 July; Dori, thanks for commenting :-) You are so right, it sucks trying to find clothes. Thank you for the link, they have some really nice things there.

    Anonymous 21 October; thanks for commenting. I so know how you feel, about possible lymphedema in the good leg and about finding clothes. I lost the interest of shopping completely after the lymphedema started, it's just not worth browsing through the shops when all there is these days are tight jeans and leggings. Webshopping is more fun :-)

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  4. Shopping is rough, here is another idea. Check out plus size online shops like Catherines, and Women Within. WW has some decent sales, and they both have clothes with wide sleeves/legs. Also, I'm noticing a lot of people since last winter are wearing a style of cardigan without buttons/closures, and big flowing sleeves. Dori, maybe this style would work for you? There are light weight sweaters, it is all about a layering look verses bundling up for real warmth.

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  5. www.anthropologie.com pants are amazing!!! You can find great finds there!

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  6. I was born with primary lymphedema and was able to manage it until I had a lymph removal procedure. I am often told that I am disabled and I should stop working. I don't see it that way. I see it as a challenge that I can beat. If I can workout, knee board, run, yoga and do the daily activities that I love to do then I am no where near disabled (physically). Emotionally, I am a mess. Every time I think about shopping I panic. I get discouraged and go home rather quickly. I want to wear clothing that is professional for work and in style when I am off. Luckily, I came across your blog and I feel like I have entered a whole new world of support. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Amy, thanks for writing :-)
      Disabled??!! I don't get that. I'm with you as to seeing it as a challenge that can be beaten or at least controlled. Why be a victim. It's really great that you can work out, run, do yoga and even kneeboard, how cool! You are definitely not disabled! I have never thought of myself as disabled as such, just having a little challenge.
      I know what you mean about shopping, I feel the same way. I buy most of my clothes online now or with a personal shopper. I have made another appointment the day after the big summer sale starts, hopefully I will come home with some good stuff.
      Thank you for saying those nice things about my blog :-)
      Warm regards,
      Liz

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    2. Hi Amy, how do you manage to do all that? I'm trying to get back to exercising after being diagnosed with primary about 14 months ago and keep getting very cautionary messages - hearing about people like you is really inspiring. Any thoughts/advice you might have is great!

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  7. But what about shoes??? I have lymphadema in my left leg and as a result the circumfrence of my left foot is considerably larger than my right, so I have all sorts of problems buying shoes. I'm so tired of those orthopedic-looking velcro sandals. Will I ever be able to wear "girl shoes" again?? My two feet have the same measurements in length and width, but the circumfrence is all out of whack and I can't get my foot into a shoe.

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    1. Hi Brooke,
      I know, shoes are a nightmare :-(

      The other day I saw a Lymphedema sufferer recommending the following but I don't know if they are any good for you. Here goes:

      An Earth shoe at http://www.zappos.com/kalso-earth. The name of it is Innovate Too.
      Clark UN.KNOT.
      Dress shoe called Savonna, it's by Joseph Seibel.
      Rockport mesh and Nu-buck.

      Do you think the first one could work if you got it perhaps half size bigger than your usual even just to give your more room? Perhaps a shoemaker could make adjustments.

      I have a shoeguide here on the blog but I don't know if it is any good for you.

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    2. Dear Brooke

      Yes, the 'shoe issue' is the most depressing, in my view anyway.

      However, I have found a certain type of proper feminine shoe will fit, even including some of my old shoes from before. What they have in common is open sides, almost a sandal. So there's a bit that the toes go into and then a strap round the ankle, if you see what I mean. Of course it depends how swollen your ankle is but I can usually do them up on the last hole and I reckon a good shoe-mender could do something to extend a strap. There are also shoes with tie straps which should be ideal, though I don't have any.
      I bought a pair like this in black this summer and they fit fine. http://www.office.co.uk/search/keyword-is-rara
      Of course all these girl shoes make the top of my foot swell up like a balloon so I save them for special occasions/nights out. But it's comforting to know there are some options for dressing up.

      If I knew how to post it, I'd take a photo of my collection of 'shoes that work'. I think you would be surprised.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

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  8. Shoe shopping for me is soooo depressing!! I have primary lymphendema in my left leg clothes are not an issue for me but shoes are. I LOVE shoes especially heels and for me not to be able to wear them is an big adjustment. I was 27 when I was diagnosed with lymphendema. My cousin is a fashion designer alwaysalady1103@yahoo.com. She's great especially custom pieces.

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    1. Hi there, I know, shoe shopping is depressing! I used to sometimes wear fancy, long boots with heals, how I miss that...

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  9. Heya i was wondering if you knew any good shops with wide legs. I've got severe lymphedema in my right leg. Its really frustrating to find jeans. I always end up coming out of the store in tears and it sucks. I did Physical therapy and also used a machine called the flexitouch which helped bring it down some. Still working on the jeans goal. If you know any good places please email me at sweetdreams4u22@yahoo.com thank you.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, I am afraid I don't know of any specific shops with widelegged jeans. What I do is buy mine from a (Danish) place a little like eBay, a place where shops and ordinary people can sell new and used goods. I do a search for new items every week and if I see some jeans that look like they may be an option I ask the seller for measurements at the waist, the length (measured from crouch to foot) and most importantly the width of the leg about 53cm from the top as this is where my knee is. By now I know exactly what works, so if the measurements fit, I buy (haggle first, of course ;-) . Mostly the jeans I get are used, but barely. We have to settle. I go for the ones marked as "new" or "as good as new". I hope this was helpful.
      Warm regards.

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  10. I AM A 51 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE Lymphedema and it's very hard to find pant's that fit. I get upset when my daughter take me shoping and can't find ant pant's that fit .My in in my right leg only. Please help my find some jeans i canfit.

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    1. Hi there, I totally know what you mean, believe me! In fact I have given up finding jeans in shops and I buy mine secondhand from online sites like eBay. If I see something that look like it might fit I ask about measurements of the waist, length and width 52 cm from the top - that is where my knee is. I have some more about this in another post. I can't link to it here in the comment box but you can copy-paste this:
      http://lymphedemagirl.blogspot.dk/2013/01/shopping-for-jeans.html

      This works quite well for me, I have gotten many good pairs of jeans this way.
      Good luck - and have hope - there are jeans out there for you, I know :-)

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  11. Hi! I'm 39 years old and was diagnosed with primary lymphedema in my left leg about six years ago after a trip to spain and france. I was told that because I was too active (trained for marathons, played a lot of tennis, etc) and loved to travel, that was what brought on the lymphedema. I'm still active but now I've picked up other ways to exercise like walking and kayaking. I have not found lymphedema to be that disabling. I rely on my compression hose, make sure that I keep my leg up when I can and when i need to, I use the pump. My daily diet really makes a difference and because of me, my entire family is salt free and eat a lot healthier too. I agree, shopping is really hard. Luckily, I love maxi's and wide leg pants, but what I really need are clothing that I can wear while doing water activities like white water rafting so I can cover up and not feel so self conscience. When I kayak, I wear cargo pants but really, they are not suitable attire for the water. Any thoughts?

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    1. Hi there, thank you so much for this positive comment, it is wonderful that you a coping so well and don't find having Lymphedema all that disabling! How cool that you and your family is salt-free! I also try to stay low on salt.
      Hmm, I wish I had some ideas for watersport outfits but I'm afraid I don't. Perhaps other readers have.
      Thanks again for your comment and for reading my blog :-)

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    2. Have you tried a wet suit? Sounds like your condition is well under control,might work
      good luck and keep going

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  12. CW-X makes the best exercisewear - excellent for lymphedema patients, I have found, whether you exercise or not. Go to their website and see if anything might work for you for white water rafting. They are almost as hard to get on as the stockings, and the compression is targeted well.

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  13. I'm so glad I found this support. I had hip radiation two years ago, and was fine until two months ago, when I took a flight back to the US from Australia. Suddenly, my right leg, foot and ankle are swollen. I was mis-diagnosed. I've been through a lot of recent health challenges, and am finding ways to dress that give me back my confidence. Wide-legged knit pants are the best. They are comfortable and they cling at the top where I look OK, and flare at the bottom. Luckily, I can fit my swollen foot into a nice knee-boot or bootie with a compression sock or hose. This is hard. I cried when I found this on the internet! Thanks for offering help and support and ideas for dressing. I just stay out of stores now and order online. It's OK. I'm learning to adjust and focus my energy in a positive way!

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    1. Hi Karen, thank you for your touching and uplifting comment, it is so good to hear that you have managed to find clothing that gives you back your confidence - that's what we need! Thank you for your kind words. I too stay more or less out of stores and get my gear online. I just checked the Coline shop I like to above and they have so much nice stuff just now - funky, baggy pants etc., check it out!
      Warm regards
      Liz

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  14. Does anyone have any suggestions for a younger person with arm lymphedema who is a size 10/12? I am trying to find tops that fit over my arm that are not matronly and are stylish without breaking the bank. Any ideas? I am getting so frustrated and tired of wearing sleeveless just so I can wear a top. It is winter and cold! Thanks, Katrina kconrad@waynesboro.k12.va.us

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    1. Hi Katrina, thanks for writing! It is just a thought, but what about a very loosefitting, baggy top under a stylish corsage? Not the underwear or shapeweartype but the type designed for dressy occasions. This would give your arm room, your waist shape and you could use it on lots of different tops. I have thought about doing this for myself as I think corsages can look very elegant and stylish.
      I hope other readers can contribute on this matter.
      Take care,
      Liz

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  15. I am looking for tops for work. I am only 50 and have been dealing with arm lymphedema for 10 years. Any ideas of where I can find tops that won't break the bank. I am a teacher with a college student...not a lot of extra income. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Katrina, please see my reply to your post above.
      Liz

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  16. I have lymphadema and I shop at torrid for leggings I tend to wear maxi dresses mostly looking to get in to physical therpy soon

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    1. Hi Novey, thanks for your comment :-) I too wear maxi dresses and maxi skirts, especially in summer.
      I hope you will find a good therapist soon. The lymphatic massage is heavenly - I just had a session this morning :-)
      Take care
      Liz

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  17. I also have lymphedema....in my whole body now due to misdiagnosis by many doctors over the years. Turns out that it started in my stomach 25 years ago, but at that time I was told @ 30 years of age that it was bloating, stress, or even hormonal balance upset. I've gone from a size 6 to a 16 in the last 5 years. I now gain 15-20 pounds in fluid on a hot day. I wore muumuus for several years, then started buying size 16 dresses and making necessary changes so that they looked like a size 8 in the morning but will expand through the day.
    I recently became unemployed and had the time to adapt a dress I'd been working on for several months. While doing this I designed a simple insert that could be sewn in from the start to dresses or tops that would accommodate the 3-4 sizes I expand through the day. This also led me to think up designs for tops, bottoms, shoes, boots, tights and outerwear. I've also been working on a compression dress, but am having trouble finding a heavy weight cotton jersey. I'm allergic to anything other than cotton, rayon or silk, and I've been cutting up old turtlenecks for the proper compression.
    I contacted Target, Kohl's & JC Penney to see if any of them could help us. Kohl's is not interested, no communication from Target, but JC Penney is seeing if their buyers might be interested. I explained that there are millions of us out there that walk into stores and end up walking out without finding anything suitable...if we even attempt it. If anyone can think of another chain I could try please reply to this post and I will try them too.
    I wish I was a dress designer, or expert tailor so that I could do this on my own, but reality is: I'm 55 years old, my hands are shot from computer work and nerve damage from the lymphedema, my cankles-what my kids call my ankles-hurt so much at the end of the day that I live in my recliner until bedtime.
    I'm trying my hardest to help us all!!!!

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  18. Dear EKZ. Thank you for writing. You sure have a lot to deal with and my heart really goes out to you. You are so strong and brave for managing this challenge!
    How cool that you have designed these compression clothes! I would like to see them, if possible. Let me know if you are interesed in a guest post with pictures. I really hope something might come out of the communication with JC Penney. I guess it all comes down to money, if it is profitable for them to do it or not. I wonder if it somehow could be possible to do it more downscale and sell it on Etsy, but you would need someone to actually make the clothes once the order has been placed. Perhaps that could be arranged.
    I am so sad to hear your ankles give you so much grief. Lymphedema sucks!
    Thank you for helping us and for posting this inspiring comment!

    Warm hugs
    Liz

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  19. hey i'm new the Lymphedema family and was wondering if there was any place I can get some funky compression socks? if I'm going to wear 1 I would like I in a bright happy colour. Steph

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