For young adults Juvenile Arthritis evolves into Rheumatoid Arthritis.
All of a sudden it’s more important how you present yourself to the adult world. Why? Because as young adults you will be judged the minute you walk into the school, office, or building for that first interview.
At one time I had 60 employees working for me. The minute an interview appointment walked into my office I knew if they had a chance at the job or not. One person came for an interview wearing torn jeans and flip-flops. Another came showing too many tattoos, one with too much badly applied make-up and one with a stain on the front of his shirt. Why would I even consider anyone who didn’t consider caring enough about their appearance? I didn’t. The interviews were short and on to the next.
And yet often young adults with RA have a harder time in dressing. I understand. I had to go on National Television when my feet were swollen beyond most shoes, my knees red and inflamed, or a rash made some fabrics impossible to wear. I had to adjust my shoes to stylish sneakers and my skirt length to longer or pants and soft fabrics. Still fashionable for a fashion reporter but also comfortable so I didn’t grimace on National Television.
So what should you do? You make sure you are prepared for all of your RA emergencies.
Swollen feet? You need a good, plain, comfortable shoe, think classic. I have a pair of black patent thick sole loafers that I wear whenever I can’t wear most shoes. They are classic, dark and a half size bigger than my regular shoes and they work every time.
For girls it’s skirt or pants that are a classic business look and yet comfortable, never too tight, with a nice leather belt. A jacket that fits properly, comfortably and looks professional. A long sleeve shirt or blouse to cover red swollen elbows, or knobby wrist bones. All made contemporary with a great necklace, bracelets, a vest or cardigan. Keep most of your items solid colors or smaller prints. You are not trying to make a fashion statement, you are trying to sell yourself and yet be comfortable so you don’t have that strained look on your face.
Make up should always be soft and natural. The black cat eye is for the runways or the clubs, not for interviews. Whether you are interviewing at a McDonalds or a High End Steak House, you should dress the same. If you are just out of school and interviewing for a professional job, drive by the business mornings or evenings and notice how the people are dressed and then dress slightly above that, and always professional.
For guys it’s basically the same. Shoes need to be a little bigger and clothing should be soft to the touch for flare day interviews. It never hurts to dress up. It always hurts your chances if you dress down.
Here are my favorite style and appearance tips if you have RA:
If medications have made your hair thin and straggly, get a good blunt cut. Try hair and nail vitamins, try Rogaine daily. Females can try clip on extensions, or the more permanent glue or sewed in extensions. Of course, for any vitamins or Rogaine check with your rheumatologist first. I use all three because medications made my normally thin hair even thinner. The medication info applies to guys too, but also make sure you have a good haircut, any facial hair is trimmed (that includes ear and nose hair) and neat looking. This is not the time to gel your hair to the max; it’s the time to err on the side of conservative.
Any skin problems, get a good cover up that matches your skin color, dab it lightly on the area, blend the edges with a Q-Tip or a tiny piece of a make-up sponge cut into sections. Lightly powder the blemish (with translucent powder) to set and then keep your fingers off your face, that means you guys too! Change your pillowcase and washcloth (or use facial wipes) daily to prevent future breakouts.
If you wear glasses, and I adore great looking glasses, try on many, many frames. Do not let the sales person influence you; they usually like the most expensive frames. The best way to see how you look in the frames is to have the salesperson take close up photos with your phone, and then line the photos up. You will instantly know which one looks best. The secret is having the frame blend into your hair color or if your skin is on the golden side try golden/soft yellow or light tortoise frames. If you are fair skinned opt for the pinks, soft blues and light grays.
You can be stylish with RA. You can cover up and conceal most side effects of the disease or medications. You want people to concentrate on you as you step forward into young adulthood, not on your disease. You can make that great first impression if you remember:
*Less is more.
*Classic is never out of style.
*You are not dressing to impress your friends. You are dressing to impress someone who wants to either hire you for a job or invite you to attend their school.
*Don’t show anything you don’t want seen, that means cover up!
*Wear a smile with your best manners.
You are now ready for the grown-up world of a chronic illness. You can do this!
Christine’s Fashion Rights & Wrongs
Young Women’s Wrong
Okay, when you’re a Kardashian you can do whatever you want!
Young Women’s Right
Young Men’s Wrong
If you discover Facebook you can dress like Zuckerberg