Dressing in a stylish way when you have a chronic pain condition.

AD |  This post is written in partnership with M&S as part of an on going collaboration. 

Bar the fact I like to look stylish, well put together and quite frankly cool as fuck, my number one priority when it comes to how I dress is, to be comfortable.

Having a chronic pain condition, well it sucks. I am always in pain, always trying to best deal with my many symptoms and continually trying to make my life/body as comfortable as possible. Without making this blog post a list of Fibromyalgia side effects, I thought I'd share some of the things that I find keep me as comfy as possible when I am out and about doing my thing.

So, it's January, and I'm going to start with the obvious issue that can make this month/time of year pretty uncomfortable when you have chronic pain... it's cold and wet, and this can play havoc with your joints/muscles! I wrote a tweet last week that basically said I am half in the mindset that I want to smash 2019 and make it the most productive year I've ever had and then I'm half obsessed with staying in, in the warm and staying cosy on my sofa. I feel like this back, and forth is a constant battle that I face due to having Fibromyalgia. Can anyone else relate? There is SO much I want to achieve, and I feel like I am at such a fantastic stage of my career, but it's just sooooo hard to balance everything. I continuously need to pace myself and make sure I rest in between work commitments, but sometimes I am so busy, I need to travel into London every day of the week, and that is especially hard when it's freezing outside, and my pain is heightened.


To make sure I keep myself as warm as possible, I layer up. The starting point to most of my winter looks is a coat, and once I've chosen that, I work backwards and put the rest of the look together. I am currently very into this dusty pink wool coat and the fact that although it's thick, I can wear a few layers underneath it. The single breasted coat is a wardrobe staple, it's got a classic cut, and you'll be able to pull it out year after year. The pink coat, especially those fluffy teddy ones have been on trend for a number of seasons, but I feel like this particular pink coat is really chic and won't ever age. The coat comes up big, so I recommend sizing down! If you struggle with the use of your hands/fingers, you'll know the importance and helpfulness of clothes that are easy to do up/close etc. Big buttons, easy to grip zips, velcro are all great features when your grip is an issue. The huge, singular button on this coat definitely makes it easy to do up!

As I mentioned above, layering up is key to staying warm and cosy, and if I have to get out of my loungewear and go into the big, bad world I am sure as hell going to wear the cosiest things! This knit jumper is an absolute gem, it is softer than a newborn baby and makes me look stylish even though it feels like I am wrapped in my favourite blanky. This particular jumper is sadly out of stock online but M&S have tonnes of gorgeous knit wear pieces, take a look here.

Underneath all the trendy items, I often wear thermal vest tops as well as the comfiest bra's I can find. I used to struggle a lot and always wore an underwired bra until I realised that if you can find a good non- wired bra; you'll look just as good and it might help you comfort wise. A tight bra can make me flare up in 5 minutes. My back and neck are where I get most of my chronic pain, a comfortable bra is crucial. I love crop tops for when I'm at home, and this non-wired bra is fantastic!

Hiding underneath a lot of my clothes is often a heat pack. If you know me, you will have gotten used to me carting a hot water bottle around with me where ever I go. Heat from a hot water bottle is the number one thing that helps me when I am struggling. I even take my hot water bottles with me to warm countries. The searing heat from a bottle is the only thing that distracts me from the actual chronic pain. When I am out and about it isn't very practical to lug a bottle around, so my recent discovery of this electric heat pack has really changed the game for me. You can charge this heat pad in 10 mins, you can strap it, and it has little sleeves you can slip your hands into!

Next up, I need to talk about my IBS. Eurghhhhhhh. This is the biggest bane of my life. It affects me every day and makes me feel so gross on a regular basis. Nothing is sexy about sharing the fact that you always have a bad tummy, a bloated stomach and you just never know when a flare-up will happen. Let's just say; I know all the best toilets to use in central London. With this in mind, if I wear trousers or something with a waistband...it needs to be elasticated, pull on is preferable and if it has a high waist; this is even better. I prefer to wear trousers that sit higher up on me so that they don't dig in lower down. These High Waist Joggers are...absolutely amazing. I tried them on in front of my housemate, and I couldn't stop singing their praises. The waistband of these joggers are so comfy, they are pull on joggers, but they also look kind of smart, don't you think? No zips or buttons = fuss free!

Shoes. Shoes are my biggest bugbear in life. I need them to be comfy, but I want them to look stylish at the same time. I have always been obsessed with chunky shoes, I've rocked them for many years and me more than anyone is happy that the "Dad Trainer" is still going strong for 2019! M&S have finally come on board with this trend and omg when I tell you they are the most comfortable trainers I've ever worn; I wouldn't be lying. These Chunky Trainers are soft and padded in the inside and so supportive and make me feel so stable when I'm stomping around London. When my muscles are killing me, and my legs feel like they could fall off, I need my trainers light and not weigh a tonne. These are the kind of trainers that are oddly light, and you wonder how they make them so light!

Velcro shoes, electronic laces and slip-on shoes are also so helpful for people with limited mobility/grip problems. I often struggle with bending down to tie up my shoes, so I am a big fan of shoes/trainers that are slip-on. If I have to wear heels, I do love a good mule. Mules are easy to slip on, they tend to have chunky block heels, and they feel really sturdy.

Carrying anything heavy triggers my Fibromyalgia. I have to be very careful when I go out and about as even lugging a handheld handbag around can flare up my pain. Crossbody bags are my go-to style of bag as I find them the most comfortable. When my pain is at its worst, I like to wear mini backpacks. Back Packs spread the weight of what you're carrying, across your back and keep your arms free. Mini backpacks are compact, and the hard case ones look especially great - really chic!


Doing my hair is the number one thing that I struggle with when it comes to getting myself ready. I like to wash, blow-dry, straighten and curl my hair and this is what I do when I want to look/feel my best. Sadly, because of my Fibro I can't always do that full process. If I need to do my hair, I'll wash, blow dry and then roughly straighten it (like I did in these outfit pics). My hair is naturally curly, and I also like to leave it to air dry, especially in the summer when I want to have beachier looking natural curls. If I really can't bring myself to wash my hair, I have found the perfect hairstyle that makes me feel chic and well put together. I do a centre parting and slick my hair back into a very low ponytail at the nape of my neck. I either leave it as a, or I do a chignon (fancy word for a bun). I secure it with Bobby Pins and smooth down stray hairs with hair spray. Doing a low bun, is a chic way to style your hair when you have limited mobility and this winter, it has been my go-to style. My arms and neck have been especially bad recently and this hair style has been a life saver.


It's no secret, I love makeup, and I love to wear a full face of makeup. When I am at home, I obviously go make up free. I never used to go out and about without makeup on but as the years go on and my pain continues to make my life more tricky I have started to go out without makeup on. It saves me energy, time and means I can rest a bit longer before going out. If I am at peak pain levels, but I still want to wear a full face, I use minimal products and just focus on the three things I prefer to have 'done'. I make sure I do my regular base, minus contouring and to give myself some colour I pile on the blush. I usually like to do eyeshadow, winged eyeliner and lots of mascara. When I do my minimal makeup look, I merely slick on lots of mascara. The final thing I always like to do is my eyebrows; I don't feel like myself without them!

Press on/glue on nails are a life saver I swear to god. My nails often look very flakey and weak due to Fibromyalgia and press on nails take under 10 mins to apply. The silver ones I am wearing in these shots took no time at all to put on and really make me feel/look like I have my shit together.


When my pain is terrible, I wear minimal or no accessories. I just can't be bothered if I am quite honest with you. Faffing with buckles, clasps, zips, fiddly earrings does my head in, makes me more aggravated and is more likely to cause a flare-up. If I want to wear earrings, I tend to wear a simple pair of hoops that click shut and be done with it!

Shop My Look

1. Coat - Out of Stock online, similar here  | 2. Trousers | 3. Jumper - Out of Stock online, similar here | 4. Chunky Trainers

Photography by Bethany Elstone 

So there we have it. I might not have said anything ground breaking and all of this must be quite obvious to the majority, but I just wanted put down in words how I personally cope. When you have a chronic pain condition, you face so many barriers that make *everything* difficult. If even one thing I've mentioned here helps you; I will be happy.

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