Thursday, October 23

the beige pantyhose decision

Photo by Mark Shaw, 1953

I like old buildings, gardens, light rooms, special book editions, people watching, photographs, intriguing artwork, concerts, fashion. An old Singer sewing machine stood in the lounge I grew up in, elegant and unusable, but not purposeless. I remember dabbing raw blisters with methylated spirits after ballet, but it was a sacrifice I made gladly for dancing en pointe. Ben and I drive to a further suburb to walk Wolfie amongst the villas and gardens, for the visual pleasure of those streets. Aesthetics enrich life, and I lean on the side of favouring them over practicalities on occasion.

It is ironic that I now exist in a state of aesthetic normality and functional disarray, and I despise it. You would think this is the way around I would have things. I have lost count of how many people have commented on my healthy looks and youthful externals. I may look fine, but what would I give to have a functional body instead? Would I give up my outward normality for energy and vitality?

A related question has arisen since my diagnosis of POTS. My stretchy blood vessels facilitate such good pool parties down in my legs and feet that the blood is slow to return to higher regions, leaving me with a dizzy head and malaise, soo much malaise. According to my specialist, I’d be better on all fours, like some kind of less evolved human.  All the exercise, and salt, and medications have improved me, but far from fixed me.

When compression stockings were mentioned a couple of years ago as a way to improve my quality of life, I put them in the not-ever-doing-that basket. I’m not eighty, with protruding veins. I’m not wearing thick nasty stockings throughout summer and forgoing dresses and shorts. I’ve changed my occupation, diet, social life, future dreams – I think I will just keep my freedom to wear whatever I like, thankyou very much.

But currently shipping from America is a pair of hideous beige medical compression pantyhose.

In the end, I would rather stand and more than exist, than lie around with bare legs on a summer day. In my wardrobe there is no skirt or dress that reaches below my knees. Assuming the tights improve my functionality, I will have to change the way I dress radically, and I find the thought distressing. But that’s just my aesthetic nature holding on tight. If I really do feel more alive when I wear compression, I don’t think I’ll be lamenting my maxi skirt, because on occasion, function wins hands down.

Also: Audrey Hepburn. Radiant in long. 


  1. I know exactly how you feel. Looking well can bring some normality, if only outwardly. It's so hard when people constantly tell you that you look so well, for me that oftern comes with suspicion that I am healthy. I get the questions like, "Your're not still ill are you?" "but you look so well". People find it hard to see that we live with invisable illness. But giving up and taking help in form of unsightly aids is hard, but it gets easier. I have to use support bandges on my arms a lot, whcih make any outfit look silly! It's been a few years since I've used them and I'm not bothered so much now.
    I hope you feel as well as you can today.

    Emma Xx

    1. Oh I know! My mum says they're trying to say something positive, but I do think it calls in to question the validity of our illness claims. Do they want an inside photo of our organs?! I am so glad to know you wear support too - do you wear outfits to cover it, or just roll with it? I am thinking because these will look like thick tights and a major fashion faux pas as opposed to a medical thing, I'll go the cover way. I guess I will adjust to it, like all the other changes. Take care! Xx

  2. Aha! This is a new fashion item you are hoping to get started? I'm just not sure Dee? But I'll wear them with you in cold days maybe...
    Haha, this is new and this is why you are maxi-shopping-sewing... It's a good plan to try them, and a good way to cover your lovely legs so that they are only Ben's to enjoy!? X

  3. :) :)

    I wear 'normal' stockings over mine when I wear skirts or dresses, to preserve some sense of looking "normal" (haha). A bit hot in summer, but still oh so worth it. I even brave skinner jeans with comp pantyhose these days - if any peeks over the top, it's always a good conversation opener :)

    1. I like the normal stockings over-the-top idea for winter - that's what I was thinking would be good about getting beige. I suppose in summer I could do the same, but then I would be stuck in my heavier dresses that suit dark stockings, and I will miss my summer ones! Now, I have to try skinny jeans with compression :-) I got Sigvaris based on your recommendation and I'm very happy so far. Thanks for all the advice and pushing me to take the leap!

  4. For many yearsI have bought most of my pantyhose from . This is a mail order service that sends supplies on a regular basis.