Comfort is underrated

I wanted to write this post now more than ever because there is a misconception that tighter clothing is worn mainly in warmer seasons, which isn’t the case. When it’s colder outside people actually tend to move towards one of two methods to stay warm: One, wear multiple thinner layers. Or two, wear less but thicker, bigger jackets, sweatpants, socks, etc. What’s concerning to us at Gotapparel is that the people that wear thinner layers usually have tighter base layers and have more weight from their clothes on them. By tight, I mean not necessarily that a person is unable to move or breathe, but that they are uncomfortable enough to notice that there is something that feels constricted.

We believe that comfort is not an added bonus. It’s not for your lazy days or when you feel too ‘something’ to put in the effort. Comfort is a necessity. It is absolutely vital to your health. Skinny Jeans, spanx, compression tops, tight ties and cuffs are all seriously setting you up for health issues. And I’m not just talking about the trauma of embarrassing outfits; I’m talking permanent nerve damage, digestion problems, poor circulation, reproductive issues and skin infections.

You might think, “But REALLY, how likely is it that these things actually happen? What proof do you have that this happens, and if it does, how common is it?”

Well, according to multiple doctors and countless medical reports, this is actually pretty common. So much so that in the American Medical Association journal, Dr. Octavio Bessa, a gastroenterologist at Stanford, said that 80% of patients

The perils of a button down are no joke.
The perils of a button down are no joke.

that came in with abdominal pain or heartburn wore pants that were at least 3 inches smaller than their waist. He also warned that too tight pants may aggravate an “otherwise silent abdominal hernia”. There has been a significant rise with the trend of skinny jeans in the diagnosis of Meralgia Paresthetica, which is compression of the nerve running from the pelvis to the outer thigh. This generally causes sensations of numbness, burning and tingling in your legs. Many people, myself included, notice that their feet and legs below their knees get cold very easily. In time, this could result in permanent nerve damage and impact your walking ability.

And those extra fitted tops meant to accentuate and/or minimize your physique? According to a study at Cornell University, 7 in 10 men buy dress shirts with collars too small for them. What does this affect? In the British Journal of Ophthalmology, tight collars and ties can increase the risk of serious eye disease. Because of the constriction, blood flow to the brain is restricted, resulting in headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and tension in the back and shoulders. Research shows that this type of constriction variably can increase the chances of a stroke.

Do you know how common it is for people with breasts to have back and shoulder pain? VERY. And it’s not even people with bigger sizes anymore, albeit they are generally more affected, it’s smaller sizes too! The lack of support, the too small band sizes, the too large cup sizes, all impact the amount of stress put on the spine. The fabric and mismatched sizes often also result in scarring, bruising and tenderness, accelerated sagging and stretch marks. Because your skin is forced to stretch and stay that way for extended amounts of time, it becomes increasingly more sensitive.

I mean, think about your own experiences! How many times have you all worn pants, bras, shirts, dresses, or even socks that were too tight? And what happened? You felt uncomfortable didn’t you? Sometimes the pain lasted way after you changed out of those clothes too, right? Why is it that there are so many jokes about being ‘done for the day’ when you change out of your clothes into your ‘home clothes’. Why are so many of us uncomfortable in the clothes we wear?

Disclaimer: We don’t mean to rain on anyone’s fashion choices or instigate irrelevant discussions about why a certain ‘type’ of dressing is better than the other. That’s not what this post is about.

Just that as thread connoisseurs, it comes as no surprise to us how impactful the size of your clothes can be. The multiple factors that clothing plays in your health, both mental and physical are real. Clothing that is too fitted or too unsupportive has risks and negative impacts, which is why I wanted to write this post because mainstream knowledge about health hardly mentions clothes. The fact that a huge number of people feel uncomfortable in the clothes they wear because of the fit is a huge concern. We are critical of the fact that ‘standard sizes’ are designed for a certain body type and that the idea that nothing feels as good as looking good. We believe that the two can and should go together. At Gotapparel we believe you deserve to know everything there is to know about your clothes, and we are dedicated to bringing you honest, insightful and relevant information that will help you make informed choices.

So please, disassociate yourself from all the clothes in your closet that make you feel stifled and uncomfortable. Like our last blog post detailed, there are (some) methods you can use to find the style you like, with the fit you need at prices your wallet can appreciate. We will continue to share the things we’ve learned following the yellow knit road and hopefully, you all will stay threaded comfortably because of it.

Standard sizes–According to who?

Muffin tops are not real

Ever noticed someone so put together it’s overwhelming? They might not be the best looking person, they might not be the most outgoing, they might not even have on the nicest clothes—but there’s still something going on that you can’t pinpoint, just that whatever they’re wearing, they’re wearing it well. The reason this is a big deal is because you can get in on this

A few things—I am not a fan of standard sizes. I’m not a fan because ‘standard sizes’ vary from store to store, vary depending on the material, and honestly when it fits in one place, it doesn’t in the other. If you are of the blessed few that ‘standard sizes’ generally work out for—great, but there are so many of us whom standard sizes don’t fit or don’t fit like you want them to.

 Much our initial self-image came from how we fit into the ‘standard’ size. That standard is often limited to a select few body types…and there are 7+ billion bodies currently living on this earth. It’s no surprise then that looking for something that fits, that you feel represents you well and that doesn’t break the bank—is hard to come by. It’s even harder to come by if you are disabled, plus sized, gender non-conforming, follow certain religious guidelines for clothing, or are cash poor. The ways that ill-fitting clothes disservice us include, but are not limited to:

Focus—I accidently pulled out my little sister’s sweatpants from the dryer and realized it once I was putting them on at the gym. I had committed to the turbo kickboxing class with a friend that day, so I didn’t have time to rush back to get a pair that actually fit. Needless to say, I was very conscious throughout…and my friend made sure to let me know how much she enjoyed the show.

Safety—I know I’m not the only one that’s face-planted because of my too-long-but-perfect-everywhere-else jeans.

Health—Breathing is generally required to stay alive, although I’ve managed for a few minutes without it in the struggle of trying to making an outfit work. I could do without the dizziness though.

Style—The clothes staying on/maintaining form are definitely goals worth having. Usually, baggy or ripped clothes have appeal, but their ‘look’ is deliberate…not unfortunate.

Jokes aside, finding clothes that you fall in love with and that fall in love with you, is a process and a necessary one. We celebrate and feel better when we have those ‘special’ pair of jeans or that ‘one shirt’ on. But we need to have more than that ‘one’ in order to feel comfortable with ourselves and look it. This is not to say that you can’t be comfortable with yourself regardless of what you’re wearing—rather, that coupling that existing confidence with clothes that feel and look good on you is just going to boost all that goodness.

So how do you begin finding/creating these gloriously transformative clothes I’ve been going on about?

Well, we start with at the basics—

(Sometimes) It’s about how you shop and less about where, and for those times, here are a few things to stay wary of.

Larger tops

-Broad shouldered and people with larger chest sizes should keep in mind the length of the tops will not look the same on their bodies—so make sure to look for tops with slightly longer lengths in casual wear.

-Built-in waist belts/waist cinchers on tops can go two ways–either they fall perfectly below your chest/slightly above your waist, or they’re too short and it ends up being a struggle to continually push it lower and stop smushing your chest. Be sure to try it on and make sure it falls below your chest.

– Chest darts—these give you more room in the chest/bust area but maintain form in the rest of the top.

-Comfortable stretchability is always a good thing to have.

**V-neck shirts (or any non-high necks) are generally more flattering to your body type, they play up your shoulders while detracting slightly from the fullness of your chest. They usually add a little balance to how your weight is distributed. **

Larger bottoms

-High rises are your friend; they’ll balance out your figure and save you from the dreaded plumber’s crack

-Wider leg/bootcut/flare styles will keep your legs comfortable **they shouldn’t look baggy/unshapely on you—unless the size is too big**

-Bootcut styles generally give you more room in the crotch area. Look for bottoms that give you that room. Low-rises, hipster jeans or low-riders are going to be a struggle to keep on or not spill out of. Look out for the boxy straight-leg trap though, that style does no one any favors.

-Look for comfortable stretchability.

**Comfortable stretchability is something I always look for in clothes. It should have enough elasticity to hug your body in all the right ways, give you freedom of movement and maintain form throughout the day and after several washes. For all of us that can’t afford to buy custom tailored clothes or pay for a tailor to customize our clothes as we’d like, stretchability is always a good thing. For all your weight up and downs, budget situations, special occasions, daily routines, whatever—stretchability works with ya.**

So when all of you are searching for new additions to your wardrobe, I hope these tips come in handy. Remember that standard sizes were never made with diversity in mind. Remember that there is nothing wrong with your body if you don’t fit ‘right’ or comfortably in the majority of ‘standard’ clothes available. Stay threaded, Gotapparel has you covered.

Bumps in your fibers?

Bacne post

Considering that your skin is the largest organ in your body—it should come as no surprise that the things you put on it affect its health and appearance. Majority of societies globally consider clothes a requirement or at least a norm—s/o to the communities that don’t 😀 —but how many of us actually think about what goes into making the clothes we’re wearing? Do you know what’s in the shirt you’re wearing right now? Do you have different types of clothes for different occasions? What makes them look and feel different from the rest of your clothes? What clothes are you most comfortable in? Least comfortable? And most importantly, WHY ARE THOSE STUPID TAGS AT THE BACK ALWAYS SO ITCHY?!

The materials that make up our clothing, the processes that transform them from their raw states into something wearable, the combinations, the dyeing processes, the thread patterns—all of these are necessary to understand how our clothes come to be, come to flatter (or don’t) our bodies, come to affect our self-perceptions and feelings, and end up speaking languages we struggle to fully understand. There is so much coded between the threads that we don’t know or understand yet. What we do know—is that it’s important.

So where does that leave us?

Well, here at Gotapparel—we like to fancy ourselves as ‘Thread connoisseurs’. What we mean by that is, we dig deep into the fibers of American cultures—we take interest in which fabrics, colors, patterns, sizes, styles are popular, unique or have and study them. Through our studies we have compiled some SERIOUS threads knowledge—and are now really looking forward to sharing it with all of you! So in case you were worried earlier about all the things you suddenly realized you don’t know, it’s okay—stick with us and you’ll realize soon enough–we got you covered.