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A Crohn's Closet: 5 Tips for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...errh... Flaring!

I've been struggling with my closet lately.  That's right, my closet!

Not how many of the latest fashions are in there, or how unorganized it looks.  No, I'm struggling with the vast array of sizes, styles, and cuts I need living with Crohn's Disease.

For the first time in almost a decade, I've made it past the two-year mark without a flare, praise God! However, that also means that the past couple of years I've been swaying between a regular size and my Crohn's flare size of clothing.  Given how much weight I lose during a severe flare, and how long it takes to gain it back, I'll end up in one size for a year or more.  As I become healthier I gain back to my regular weight and size.  It ends up being a multi-year roller coaster in sizes!

Like most, I even go over a few pounds here and there to my favorite stretchy leggings that are more forgiving.  But I never worry about those few extra pounds - to me, they are a reminder of my health and lack of living in a constant Crohn's struggle with flares.

How do you manage your closet and sizes pre-flare, flaring, and post-flare?

The struggle is real.

Image thanks to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and khongkitwiriyachan! 

1. Keep a few pieces of clothing from flares

I used to think it was wrong to keep flaring sizes around because it implied I would get sick again. But what about that gorgeous Ann Taylor suit I had bought for a job interview while flaring?  Or the nice slacks I love so much?

Don't get me wrong, I donate tons of clothes every year.  I have just started holding on to a few really nice pieces of clothing for flares.  Unfortunately a flare is inevitable.  Instead of drowning in too large clothes during a flare, at least I'll have a handful of items that fit well, particularly for work.

2.  Donate the rest!

As an act of defiance to my flare, I then donate the majority of clothes I have bought during a flare or those post-flare months when I am uber-skinny.  I don't need to question myself or my self-worth.  I simply give them to the less fortunate.  It's like throwing the big one at the flare, saying you can eat away at my body but I will not allow you to stick around!  I will get healthy again!

3.  Love the Squish!

Be sure and have enough squishy clothes, as I like to call them.   Like I wrote about in my popular Pearls & PJ's blog, sometimes at the end of a long day with a bloated belly and stressed out body I like to slip on pj's and relax.   My favorite clothing for Crohn's are leggings, as they are stretchy and comf.  Loose tunics, yoga pants, and dresses are all go-to's!

4. Buy a few items over-size - yes, over-size!

I encourage you to buy a few items of clothing a size up. No, not to indulge in that Venti Caramel Brownie Mocha Frap!  But to have something to wear when you are feeling bloated, which for me is often, particularly when I am traveling and can't control my diet as much.  For my suits, which let's face it are not the most comfortable, I opt for a tailored jacket to balance out a size-up in the pants. When I am spending long hours in a rental car or have a sub-par lunch on the go and feel like I just ate a can of beans, I can rest assured I won't feel bound in my clothes.

The bloat is real, people!  :)

5.  Be true to thyself

Only you know how to best manage your Crohn's - and your attitude towards the disease.  For you, it may mean keeping all your flare clothes.  For others, you may donate all of them, never to be seen again.  Follow your own path, and let's all support one another.

Until then, join me in my mish-mash closet that looks like it's for two people, but nope, just me and my Crohn's! :)


  1. nicole.lascurain@healthline.comMay 18, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    Hi Jamie,

    Congratulations! Your blog has made Healthline's list of the Best Crohn's Disease Blogs of 2016! Healthline's editors selected each winner based on their reach to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high quality information. We created a badge to help you publicize your achievement, and I encourage you to embed the badge on your site and share your 2016 status with your followers.

    Winners list: http://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/best-blogs
    Badge to embed: www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/best-blogs-badge-2015

    Thanks for providing a great resource to the Crohn's Disease community. I will be happy to answer any questions and assist you with embedding the badge on your site.

    King Regards,

    Nicole Lascurain [ Assistant Marketing Manager ]
    t: 415-281-3100 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline Media, Inc.
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    www.healthline.com – @healthline – @HealthlineAdLab

    About Us: www.healthline.com/health/about-us


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