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These Fashion Trends Are Making You Sick -- Literally

by Maressa Brown on February 21, 2012 at 3:55 PM

high heelsRapper Fabolous wasn't kidding when he called it "shoe-icide." We ladies are totally wrecking our feet and more when we put on heels over two inches high. But those lovely, sky-high Louboutins aren't the only problem. You could also be wearing Spanx or superskinny jeans, and out of the blue, you're suffering from acid reflux ... or numbness in your leg!? We've all experienced it: That moment in which you kick yourself for ever wearing such impractical, health-compromising clothes or accessories. But then, for the love of fashion, or looking slimmer or appearing taller, you rinse, repeat, and take the risk that you'll end up in pain. Guh!

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal explored some of the common sartorial missteps women make that turn them into fashion victims. Apparently, we need to be warned against apparel and accessories that are too tight, too loose, too heavy, too high, or too floppy. 

Because these items can take a serious toll on our health ... duh.

Sure, it's interesting -- and freaky! -- to know that too tight belts or control-top pantyhose can actually compress a major nerve, the lateral, femoral cutaneous nerve, that runs from the abdomen to the outer thigh and trigger a condition called meralgia paresthetica (or numbness, burning, tingling). But at the same time, shouldn't we ladies know better than to be wearing clothes that inflict even moderate discomfort? But it almost seems as if we can't shake the idea that beauty and fashion equal pain. Even if it's not old-fashioned girdles or Chinese foot binding we're subjecting ourselves to, we're still thinking we need to put ourselves through misery to look presentable. What a disaster!

I admit: I've had my share of fashion roadkill moments. In September, I fell down cobblestone steps in four-inch heels and twisted my ankle. It's been healing ever since, and I've had to pass on any footwear featuring more than a kitten heel or a small wedge. And I've had my share of disasters during which shapewear has inflicted debilitating digestive issues. In retrospect, it sounds so stupid to sacrifice my wellness for style.

When it comes down to it, you have to wonder: What's more important? Our appearance or our health? Fashion or feeling well? If we're wise, we'll choose the latter every time.

What fashion "don'ts" are you guilty of that harm your health?


Image via meesh/Flickr

Filed Under: general health, shoes, shapewear


  • Loref...


    February 21, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    All of those shapewear things can also cause infections if the lady region! Anything too tight and not breathable is no good.

  • Stacey.


    February 21, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I live in flip flops at home and heels at work which are both no no's and has caused a mild case of plantars faschiatis (I guessed at spelling).

  • emmas...


    February 21, 2012 at 4:25 PM
    I wear 4" heels 1-3 times a month, I live in my reeboks during the week for work, and go barefoot at home. I have worn shapewear in the past for special occassions, not anymore though, I started hitting the gym instead.
  • Amy...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Amy DiFrisco

    February 21, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    I couldn't agree more. The no pain, no gain fashion mentality is not worth sacrificing health and comfort. Being fashionable does not mean having to compromise oneself.

    I recently started a blog about this pain = fashion mindset - - hope you check it.

  • mande...


    February 21, 2012 at 9:51 PM
    I have never worn any heels higher than 1/2 inch and reserve the spanx for very special occasions only.
    I've seen what years of wearing heels (and pointy toe shoes) can do - my grandma worked for 30+ years as a secretary and dressed the part... Her feet paid the price, resulting in horribly misshapen toes, surgical pins placed, corns and bunions... She still complains to this day at 84 years old. It may look cute now, but someday you will be an old woman cursing the idea that 4 inch heels were ever the trend.
  • the4m...


    February 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM
    Never. I wear heels, and even own 1 pair of 4 inch vera wangs. But they are reserved for the few and far between "fancy nights". Also, I will not buy shoes that are too tight, pinchy, or whatever.
    I wear spanx when I work out, to keep from jiggling. Nothing vanity based though, my thighs rub if I don't, and chafe, which is what hurts. Not the spanx.
    Idk, I've never understood why anyone would choose to be uncomfortable, or even in pain, for the sake of appearance.
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