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Fashion and Health

by Nicola Fulstow (Cupples)

I love fashion, and when I was younger was definitely in the “beauty is pain” gang! As I became a bit older health began to overtake the more frivolous lifestyle I had indulged in my younger years and is now, a priority in my life in terms of eating the right foods, getting enough exercise and looking after my body in as many ways as I can. So I thought I would put together a brief article about fashion and health as let’s face it, we all want to look fabulous, but not at the detriment to our health, or do we??

Manolo Blahn-aches

Yes you knew it was coming! We all love our heels don’t we but unfortunately a lot of the time those little blighters don’t love us back! It’s not just the odd blister or “ball ache” as I call it that put a downer on our night; there are a lot more serious health issues that occur because of our obsession with a man called Choo.

Almost 60% of GPs have treated foot and ankle injuries as a result of wearing heels including fractures and broken bones! Ouch! My eyes personally became opened to the dangers of wearing high heels when I worked for a company who supplied the orthopaedic and podiatric industries and there I learned that long term wearing of heels could induce bunions, shortening of the Achilles tendon (making it painful to wear flats), Metatarsalgia, Plantar Fasciitis, arched toes and even ankle, knee and back strain! Uh oh!

It’s Official. Flats are Back!

Luckily now the catwalks are bringing back flats so you can look completely up to date but give your trotters a well earned break. Look for brogues which can be softened by wearing with silks, chiffons, lace and frills or ballet pumps and loafers which look great with jeans at the weekend, however always make sure that they provide support for your foot and don’t squash your toes otherwise you will continue to aggravate the problem.

Also try to alternate different styles of footwear throughout the week e.g. high heels one day and flats the next as this will even out the strain on certain muscles and bones in the foot and leg. If heels become worn on one side and they wear down quickly it would be worth your while to nip in and see your local podiatrist who may be able to supply you with an orthotic (corrective insole) that will correct your posture and ease discomfort. This can be vital as it has been shown in research that gait (the pattern of movement of the limbs) can effect posture, the spine and even cause headaches as a result, so it’s worth looking after your feet. After all they carry through your day and you want to ensure they can do that for as long as possible so start looking after your pins girls!


Put Your Feet Up.

Easy ways you can look after your feet at home is to regularly treat yourself to a pedicure. Soak your feet (I’m relaxed just thinking about it!) and dry with a soft towel, then carefully pumice your feet to remove any dead skin and then moisturise. I like to moisturise my feet every night before I get into bed to keep them feeling soft. Carefully trim your nails – always go straight across the nails and then finish with nail file. For any ingrown nails, don’t leave them; take a trip to your local Podiatrist or Chiropodist.

Also when you hit the shops for some new steps try them on in the afternoon when your feet will be slightly more swollen to account for differing in size throughout the day. If you have wider feet, don’t squeeze them into narrow shoes, look for wider fittings for example from Duo Shoes.

Do You have Good Foundations?

Most clients I have ever worked with, in fact most ladies I meet are wearing the incorrect size, style or shape of bra. A lot of young girls these days are also wearing cheaper fashion bras which provide very little support at all and are only meant to be worn as fashion – not support.
You see bras are there for a reason – to provide support, yet so many women I see have their boobs in the wrong place! The right bra will make your waist look slimmer, your boobs look more youthful and toned and improve your posture tenfold.

The wrong bra on the other hand will make you look bigger, older and will make all your clothes look saggy and shapeless and the effect is that you look saggy and shapeless! Horror! Not only that but the effect of the bad posture may cause you shoulder, neck and back pain later in life, so better to get regularly fitted and spend a little more on your underwear which will give you a whole body lift! A cheaper and less painful alternative to plastic surgery I say! 

That’s Pants!

Thongs are a great way of avoiding the dreaded VPL however again, lots of women are buying cheap packs of thongs from high street stores where the cheap fabric can rub and chafe the sensitive skin down below and even cause fungal infections so make sure your pants are breathable and roomy! Avoid wedgies at all costs!

Belt Up

I’m a big advocate of the belt. However I am all too aware of the problems that an over-tight belt can cause as they can squeeze the lower lung causing you to experience dizziness and headaches, not to mention make eating very difficult, which personally would be very upsetting for a girl like me who likes her food.

Therefore always ensure that the belt fits you and you are not trying to squeeze in to a size smaller because you don’t want to take a “large” to the cash till. I also always take off any belts when I am driving or sat down for long periods of time as not only does that mean my clothes will be less creased but I will also be less prone to discomfort and even potential injury. 

The It Bag

Handbags over the years have got bigger, so us ladies always being one to “be prepared” have stuffed them full with make-up, purses that weigh a tonne, umbrellas “just in case” diaries and anything else you can imagine. The result of this (apart from a broken handbag strap) can be stretched neck and arm muscles because your shoulder is taking all the strain which can lead to pain or more serious injuries. Try to cut down the weight of your handbag by only taking the essentials with you, keep an umbrella in your car and use an eco friendly shopper if you have lots to carry as this will split the load.

What’s Lurking in Your Wardrobe?

The final health horror I come across for a lot of ladies is in their wardrobes! Dust, moths, dry-cleaning bags (full of harmful chemicals) and even old bits of food! Look after your wardrobes and their contents and not only will you be creating a healthier environment but you will find your clothes look better and last longer too!