While we all love a good OOTD, there are some pieces of clothing in your closet that could be making you hurt more than making you look haute. From something as basic as a bra to a more stylish halter top, your fashion choices might be causing some health problems.
Before you put on those skinny jeans and ballet slippers, here’s what you need to know about what’s really hanging in your closet.
Your bra is a staple, but if it’s not the right size, it could be weighing you down. “If your bra doesn’t fit you properly, it can cause a variety of frankly shocking ailments, including shoulder, neck and back pain; unhealthy changes to posture; and skin lesions from chafing or rubbing,” Jinny Lee, owner and senior buyer of Trend Notes, tells SheKnows.
Research backs this up. Studies have showed that an ill-fitting bra can also cause stretch marks and neck and back pain (according to research published in the journal Clinical Biomechanics) and possible skin abrasions from chafing (according to research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences). Additionally, research published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health showed the wrong size bra can make women reluctant to exercise since it can be painful and embarrassing.
See a bra-fitting expert and get one that’s the right size.
While the Kardashians might have ushered in the comeback of the corset for a slimmer silhouette, these “waist trainers” are anything but good news for your health, especially when worn for long periods of time.
“The whole idea with exercise is to strengthen muscles, not to inhibit them by squeezing them with unnecessary pressure in an effort to increase your sweat production,” Dr. Lisa N. Folden, licensed physical therapist, tells SheKnows. “Inhibiting these muscles like so results in a weaker core, less abdominal definition and an increased chance of experiencing low back injuries and pain.”
Additionally, Net Doctor warns, wearing a waist trainer can cause indents and pressure on the skin as well as bruise your bones, with your ribs being particularly susceptible to damage. Not to mention your blood flow will be limited by compression, resulting in numbness, and the restriction on your diaphragm could reduce the amount of oxygen you receive.
Stick to a nutritious diet and regular exercise regime to help trim your core.
Your leggings might be your go-to choice for relaxing and/or working out, but beware: They might be a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if they’re worn too long after exercising.
“Moisture is a great environment for yeast and bacteria to grow. With excess bacteria, there is a higher chance that the bacteria can travel into the urethra and potentially cause a [urinary tract infection] to develop,” OB-GYN Dr. Yvonne Bohn tells SheKnows. “Excess yeast and bacteria can also cause vaginal infections.”
Bohn suggests that you change out of sweaty clothes and shower as soon as possible to prevent bacteria from forming.
They might make your legs look leaner, but your pumps are also seriously hurting your feet. A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that prolonged use of heels eventually weakens ankle muscles, causing an imbalance, which could result in ankle injury. According to the Spine Health Institute, in order to maintain balance while wearing heels, the calf, hip and back muscles become tense. As a result, the lower back is pushed forward, taking the hips and spine out of alignment.
Lee suggests wearing a lower and wider heel that fits properly for better comfort and support.
Speaking of shoes, your ballet slippers might look cute, but if they’re not offering much arch support, then they’re not supporting your body either. “If you look inside a shoe and there’s no ‘rise’ for the arch, you are in a world of trouble as it relates to taking care of your feet,” says Folden. “We all need arch support, from the flattest foot to the most cavernous arch.” As a result, wearing very flat shoes on a regular basis can cause fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, as well as cause problems with knees, hips, and back, says the Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre.
Folden recommends wearing flat shoes in moderation, wearing customized orthotics and opting for “good, firm, supportive athletic shoes if you will be walking any real distances or standing for long periods of time.”
Squeezing yourself into those skinny jeans could result in compressing nerves in the groin and legs, reducing blood flow to the lower legs, according to a 2015 study by Australia’s Royal Adelaide Hospital. As a result, you could develop muscle damage and numbness. In addition, a study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association found that wearing skinny jeans can also contribute to back pain.
Everything in moderation. Opt to wear looser clothing (Lee suggests a flowy jumpsuit) and save the skinny jeans for special occasions.
We all love a good halter top, but according to Folden, if you have anything more than a B cup and your halter ties behind your neck, you are potentially causing injury to your cervical spine (neck).
“The consistent downward force on your vertebrae may result in shifting at worst and poor posture (forward head) at best,” she says. “Either way, you are at a higher risk of developing neck pain as well as numbness and tingling in the hands and arms.”
Find a supportive halter top for your size, and when in doubt, go for a stylish tank or cami.
We have enough to worry about without our clothing making us less comfortable and healthy, so whenever possible, try to choose items that work with, and not against, your body.