Drawings of a pair of pants, dress, skirt, and a woman bathing suit surrounded by plaques on a person of color's skin.

What Does Fashion Have to Do with Psoriasis?

Last updated: April 2020

"What does fashion have to do with psoriasis?" This was a question I overheard while attending an event on World Psoriasis Day back in October 2016.

I would consider myself a psoriasis fashionista, and while some may have taken offense to the above question, I took it as an opportunity to educate others on the unique effects psoriasis has on my everyday life.

How psoriasis impacts fashion choices

Psoriasis has played an intricate role in every aspect of my life since the very beginning and my fashion was one of the most significant areas impacted. When I was ten years old, I wanted to wear shorts in the summer, but I didn't want my neighborhood friends to see my spotted brown legs.

Frequently I would wear knee socks or thigh-high socks, but I was still uncomfortable with the amount of skin that showed, so I regressed back to pants. I'm sure a night on the town is not as simple for me as it is for my friends without psoriasis.

Insecurities and comments about psoriasis

It comes to a point with this disease where you may not necessarily be ashamed of it, but you don't want to deal with the nuances that accompany the condition, such as the staring and questions you receive. I always feared to go to a night club with my plaques of psoriasis exposed.

The reactions, stares, and whispers from possible bystanders ruminated in my mind. The negative attitudes I encountered caused me to camouflage my disease, so it would not be noticeable to others.

The anxiety that come with psoriasis fashion

When my legs were covered, and I wanted to wear a dress, I would wear a couple of pair of flesh tone stockings to mask my thick, raised, and inflamed plaques of psoriasis on my skin. When I was 16, I almost didn't go to prom, mainly because of my psoriasis.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to find a long sleeve dress, and I knew I didn't want to attend prom with my psoriasis showing. Someone asked me at the last minute to attend prom as their date, so I decided to go.

When I went dress shopping, I  had an anxiety attack in the dressing room and became extremely irritable. I was irritated that I couldn't find a pretty dress to wear to prom that would make me feel comfortable.

The unpredictability of psoriasis

Another time I was hesitant to be formal, was when I was asked to be in a wedding. The dress chosen for the bridesmaids were sleeveless. At that time, I wasn't flared, so I was ecstatic about being a part of the wedding.

Three months before the big deal, my treatment started to fail, and my skin was covered with spots. I broke down in tears with the realization I would have to be in my friend's wedding with my spots exposed potentially distracting attention away from her.

I fixed the issue with body makeup and a shawl. But it was another nuance I had to experience that wouldn't have been there if it wasn't due to psoriasis.

The connection between psoriasis and fashion

As you can see, psoriasis and fashion correlate very closely. In addition to the stigma of showing your skin and covering up, you must find materials that work well for your skin, such as light and cotton fabrics.

For many of us with psoriasis, we are continually thinking about how those around us will view our skin and what we can do to make it less noticeable. I talk to men and women living with psoriasis who all have their horror stories when it comes to clothes and living with psoriasis, and as you just read, I've faced my own.

So, what does psoriasis have to do with fashion? As you can see, quite a bit.

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