Fashion tips for recently-glutened women
I write about gluten-free food. I choose to eat only gluten-free meals and snacks. So why am I writing about what to wear when you’ve been glutened?
Because sometimes glutening happens accidentally, like it did to me the other night. If you eat out, you may find yourself the unwilling victim of accidental glutening. Same deal if you misread the ingredients on the back of a new food you’re trying, or if something in your kitchen got cross-contaminated by a family member’s glutenous food.
When I get glutened, it takes about 24 hours for the symptoms to appear. But when they appear, they certainly make themselves noticeable. People seem to experience a wide range of symptoms when they’ve been glutened, but for me the most apparent and annoying one is what I like to call Instant Preggo Syndrome.
I’m not pregnant. But if gluten gets into my system, 24 hours later I look like I’m about 7 months pregnant. It’ll take a few days for me to deflate and get back down to my normal size. But in the meantime, it’s really tough to figure out what to wear. I get totally embarrassed by my larger-than-usual belly, and I’ve always tried to find stylish ways to hide it so that I can leave the house and still feel like I look good in my clothes. Based on my own experiences, here are my suggestions:
- Anything with a stretchy (read: expandable) waistband. Instant Preggos like me and those deflating from Instant Preggo status can both use pants with stretchy waistbands. If you’re chilling out at home or running errands, consider soft cotton yoga-style pants, which can be both stylish and comfortable. If you’re going to work, pull-on-style pants in black or gray (New York & Company has an affordable and fashionable selection) can help you achieve a professional look. Your size may fluctuate a lot when you’ve been glutened, so a stretchy waistband can be a big help!
- Tops that run a little longer. You’ll likely feel the least self-conscious if you cover up that cranky, glutened tummy. If your tops tend to not be all that long in the front, consider layering. Wear a longer tank top under a shorter shirt to ensure that your trouble spots stay under cover. When all else fails, go for tops that are patterned or solid black; both of these can help you make your trouble spots look less troublesome.
- Stylish accessories. Feeling poochy due to gluten? Accessorize with a long scarf that’s tied in the front so that the ends of the scarf dangle down the middle of your body, ending at or close to your waistline. Or try wearing a poncho-style sweater. Both of these accessories can help hide the Instant Preggo effect—plus it’s a great excuse to wear some fun, seasonal accessories.
- Anything that makes you feel good. You’ve just been glutened. It stinks. You deserve to wear stuff that makes you feel good, happy, and comfortable. For me, that’s a Phillies shirt layered over a tank top, or one of the Muse shirts I got at a concert, paired with yoga pants and super-comfy flip-flops. Do what feels right for you and what helps you feel good.
- Jeans. Oh, please, no jeans! Trust me, you don’t want to do this. Their waistband is not forgiving. And it hurts when said waistband digs into a freshly glutened belly. I guarantee if you get glutened, get bloated, and then wear jeans, every time you sit down you’ll be unbuttoning the top button for a little reprieve. Save yourself the trouble by skipping the jeans in favor of something more comfy.
- Tops that cling to your middle. Sadly, many longer tops tend to cling to glutened bellies. You may want to save your solid-color sweater tunic for another day.
- Anything uncomfortable. This includes too-tight clothing and high-heeled shoes. Besides, if you’re like me, when your belly is Instant Preggo-like, you’ll barely be able to see your feet anyway, so it doesn’t much matter how cute your shoes are. So don’t wear the cute stilettos that you’ve secretly nicknamed Faceplant; this is a time to break out sneakers, comfortable flats, or kitten heels.
Of course, the most important thing to do once you’ve been glutened is—if you can—figure out how you got glutened and avoid having that happen again. It’s not always possible, but at least narrowing down the possibilities can help you avoid a future glutening—and a future week of wearing nothin’ but yoga pants.
I first published this article on Examiner.com.