How to Dress with Lipedema: Bathing Suits, Jeans, and More

Summer is on the way! But while everyone else is peeling off their layers and glowing in the sun, you might be wondering how to dress with lipedema? In this post I’ll share my three tips for finding clothes for lipedema and some of my favorite lipedema fashion-friendly brands. Yes, you can find cute plus size lipedema bathing suits, shorts, and jeans. And, yes, you can take them out of your closet and wear them. You deserve to feel wonderful and look fabulous! Stop hiding your lipedema legs and get out there to enjoy the summer weather.

  • Tip #1 You Can’t Hide Spoiler alert! Harry Potter isn’t real and invisibility cloaks don’t exist. No matter how many long-sleeve black turtlenecks you layer on, people can see you. They already know what your body looks like. Sure, that’s terrifying but it’s also freeing. You can drop the charade because you’re the only one who has been playing. If they’re in your life, they probably love and care about you for a million reasons that have nothing to do with your legs. (Unless you are a leg model and you met your partner at a leg modeling competition. In which case, call me! I have questions!) It’s going to feel scary, but do an experiment and see what happens if you show a little more of your body or your shape. You might just be surprised what does (or rather doesn’t) happen.
  • Tip #2 Balance Your Proportions This applies to everyone, not just those of us with lipedema legs and lipedema arms. The basic principle of this is that you want to use color, pattern, etc. to make the upper and lower halves of your body look roughly the same size while accentuating the smallest part of your waist. Since you can’t hide your legs (re-read #1 above), your best next move is to draw attention away from them toward other parts of your body you are more comfortable with. Got some nice collarbones, eyes, or smile? Flaunt it! I’ve written more about this (and shared outfit ideas) in my previous posts How Pear Shapes Wear Black and Accessorizing Your Pear Shape.
  • Tip #3 Get Ready to be Noticed! Once you stop hiding and start dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and beautiful, people around you will start to take notice. Get ready! Don’t be surprised when you get new opportunities at work or strangers start hitting on you. Beautiful is not a size, but it does get some extra sparkles from confidence. People around you are going to start appreciating you and, Sturdy Woman, you deserve it. (If you need a physical reminder of your awesomeness, check out Sturdy Woman’s body positive tote bags.)

Now that you are armed with my three tips, it’s time to go out into the world and find outfits that balance your proportions and make you feel fabulous. Here are some popular brands to shop for clothes for lipedema. (I don’t have relationships with any of these brands, other than being a customer and fan!)

Torrid If you don’t know what Torrid is yet, drop everything and click over to their website. It’s my favorite place for skinny jeans and wide shoes. My favorite jeans are the Bombshell Skinny Jeans and the Luxe Skinny Jeans which both work well with my favorite CZ Salus compression leggings and are also office appropriate with a blazer or other professional top. They carry sizes 10 through 30 and are also a great source of lipedema bathing suits. If you are looking for something that offers more coverage, check out the swim leggings, shorts, skirts, dresses. Love. More of a shorts woman? They have a wide range of lengths, colors, and styles of shorts too.

Lands’ End is another great place to shop for plus size swimming suits. In addition to a good selection of lipedema-friendly swim leggings and board shorts, they also have a good selection of plus size rash guards for those of you who prefer some coverage on your lipedema arms. They carry sizes 16 through 26 in all their clothing, including tall and petite cuts.

Eloquii has a wide selection of lipedema pants in bright colors and prints that will turn heads for all the right reasons. Not ready to step out in skinny jeans yet? Not a problem! They carry sizes 14-32 and also have a bridal shop!

At the FDRS conference last month a lot of women were talking about Cato. They carry wide shoes and a wide selection of affordable clothes in sizes 14-36. Depending on where you are in the US, you might also live near one where you can go and try things on.

Speaking of trying things on, have you heard the Old Navy now carries up to size 30 or 4x in the store?! That’s right, we are gradually seeing the end of the days where stores carry our sizes but ask us to stay home and wait for them to come in the mail. It’s a great place to stop for basics like work-out tees or yoga pants.

Then, of course, there is Lane Bryant. Growing up in Missouri pre-internet shopping, this was the only plus size store I had access to. Thank you for being there, Lane Bryant! Head over there for great lipedema-friendly jeans, crops/shorts, and bathing suits in sizes 12 through 40.

By this point in the list, you might be wondering how you are going to afford all the beautiful new clothes you just discovered. I have a solution for that too! Once you know that you want to try, whether a brand or a size or a style, head over to ThredUp and look for it used. That’s right, I said used, but many of the clothes are actually brand new with tags still attached and you’ll pay a fraction of the regular store price. You’ll find great options that might be discontinued (like LOFT plus size clothes) and can also sell your clothes that no longer fit. Last year I sold most of my office clothes and made nearly $600. That’s no joke! Clean out your closet and fill it with bright new things that fit and that you love. You can also use ThredUp to discover new brands that carry your size. Just create a saved search for something like “5x, blue, sleeveless, maxi dress, with metallic details” and see what pops up. You can even save searches like that and they will notify when new items arrive. What’s easier than that?

What’s your favorite summer style for lipedema fashion? Where do you shop for your lipedema clothes? Let us know in the comments!

I’m not affiliated with any of these brands, but if you purchase through one of the Amazon links in this post I might earn a small commission.

Author: Rebekah

Vibrant, creative, thirty-something living life to the fullest with chronic disease.

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