Monday, Oct 15th

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Flashing Your Inner Fashionista

Night sweats present a difficult enough challenge, interrupting your sleep and leaving your nightclothes and bedding soaked.  But if you have hot flashes at your workplace or during a night on the town, the challenge is all the more complicated. How does that carefully planned outfit stay fresh looking?  What do you do if it happens during a meeting with management and coworkers?  What if it happens while you’re making a presentation? Or at your mate’s dinner with the boss?

If you have your own cubicle or office, Lady Luck is shining down on you.  You can probably have a fan (battery or plug in), and you can sweat more or less in private.  But for the rest of us, we need to be creative.

HFN FashionNo matter what your work situation is, you’ve heard this before: Layer!  Choose your outfit with layers in mind.  You’ll need to be cool when perspiration drenches you, and then you might need a wrap of some sort when you’re chilled afterward. If you live in a tropical climate you’re probably used to air-conditioning everywhere, so you still need layers.  If you live further north and it’s winter, the challenge can be daunting.

Choosing a Fabric
Some women swear by cotton because it’s a light fabric, but unfortunately it keeps moisture next to your skin, and the fabric itself doesn’t stay fresh looking.  Cotton is great for lounging at home, but depending on your job, you might want something more fashionable at work.

More recently women experiencing hot flashes have been turning to clothing made of wicking (quick drying) material—the same fabric that good athletic wear is made of.  Some look like cotton but are more “breathable.” Instead of keeping perspiration on your skin, moisture is captured on the surface of the fabric.  Look for tops and sleepwear made with either Coolmax or Intera.  They cost more but do the job of keeping moisture away from your skin.  You can even find shorts and capris made out of wicking fabric.

Looking Good, Feeling Good
Start with a few tops—some tanks and some with sleeves—in different colors.  If you plan to wear them at the office, keep in mind a professional neckline—most workplaces are not appropriate for décolleté. There are also blouses made with wicking fabrics; check stores and websites that cater to outdoor enthusiasts.  Add a lightweight suit or slacks and either a jacket, sweater, or shawl (easy on, easy off).  If your workplace is very casual, look for blousy tunics to wear over slacks, or a sundress with a light sweater over it.

Here’s where your fashion sense kicks in.  Think accessories, think color, think prints.  Jewelry, scarves, and belts can make an ordinary outfit extraordinary.  A feminine scarf doesn’t have to be worn around your neck to soak up perspiration; you can drape it under the collar of your blouse or jacket and let it flow freely—or wear it as a belt!  There are even many “cooling” scarves that are worn around your neck and reduce the discomfort of hot flashes.  

When your hot flashes begin, don’t feel that your days of feeling and looking good are over.  With the right clothing you can minimize the effects and face the world with confidence. ♀

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