My Go-To Outfit For When I Just Can’t Even

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Since joining The TME Insiders Facebook Group I’ve learned two things: We have a penchant for ridiculous things (ie: sequined dusters) and many of us suffer from autoimmune diseases. Despite how common they are — especially among women — they aren’t discussed. Because we feel like we’re the only one who doesn’t have the energy to get dolled up for a selfie or participate in a style challenge. Because we live in a society that rewards a stiff upper lip and not vulnerability.

I hear you. I’ve been there. I am there, currently, typing this out while I plan how to sneak an afternoon nap. Not because I want to nap; I have to nap.

Top (Medium – If between sizes, size down) | Jeans (TTS – 30) | Flats (similar)

My "I can't deal w/ makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans" outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has "those kind of days."
Just a girl, sitting in front of a bed, wishing for a nap.

See I have Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed with plain ‘ol Hypothyroidism after having my first child and after convincing my GP that my fatigue extended well past “the newborn stage.” It took two more years, many tests, and different doctors to finally get the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, which basically means my immune system is a confused bish who attacks my thyroid (my immune system is not a team player). That was five years ago. Since then I have been on a journey to get my condition under control and figure out what “normal” looks and feels like for me.

I spend a lot of my life playacting what I think a normal person is able to accomplish. But, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning and need an extensive nap 2 hours later. Or lack the energy to brush my hair. Or make dinner. I have to carefully schedule my days because if I overdo it, I will pay for it. There are days where a midday reprieve is not an option. Days where I can’t afford the fatigue and brain fog that plagues so many of us with autoimmune diseases. Days where sweatpants, even the stupid pants, will not cut it.

So this is my “take on the world” outfit. My “fake it till you make it” outfit. My “feel normal even when I’m definitely not” outfit. My “I can’t deal with makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans” outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has “those kind of days.”

Comfy Jeans + Nice(ish) Top + Earrings = Cosplaying a Functioning Adult

My "I can't deal w/ makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans" outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has "those kind of days."
My "I can't deal w/ makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans" outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has "those kind of days."
My "I can't deal w/ makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans" outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has "those kind of days."

Top (Medium – If between sizes, size down -) | Jeans (TTS – 30) | Flats (similar) | Earrings (similar)

My go-to jeans are my MOTHER Denim The Weekender Fray in Bazaars Adventures (find a few more sizes here). They make me feel hella cute but are stretchy enough that I don’t have to unbutton after eating #allthesnacks. My tried and true favorite “top that’s not a graphic tee or a campaign shirt” is this Soft Rayon Jersey Slouchy Pullover Top from Daily Ritual. It is slouchy, comfy, and timeless. You can dress it up or down. Paired with some fun earrings like my Garden Print ones from BR Design Co. (you can see all of my favs here) and flats (similar) and I can take on the world (armed with lots of coffee of course).

My "I can't deal w/ makeup, but I can pull on a pair of jeans" outfit. An autoimmune disease is not a requirement. Everyone has "those kind of days."
Mom Life amirite?

The “getting dressed so you don’t feel sleepy” is only one of my tricks. I have other things I employ on days where “I just can’t even.” This has been a trial and error process. Maybe it’ll work for you, maybe it won’t. Remember, you have a “limited number of spoons” so use them wisely. Obviously none of this is a replacement for seeing an actual doctor, which I am not. I don’t even play one on T.V. although — Shonda — if you’re looking I can send you my very impressive CV with acting credits such as “Background Actor #23523532423 in one episode of ‘Rescue Me.'”

Find your new uniform!

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x, Meredith

11 COMMENTS

  1. First of all, thank you for talking about autoimmune disorders. I was just diagnosed with IBD last year and have been suffering all week. It’s important to keep advocating for yourself to get the best treatment you can, something I need to do this week. Secondly, great outfit and I’m going to look for that top.. I don’t love turtlenecks but the drape is lovely. Thank you again for this great article and your honesty; it takes courage to publicize it! All the hearts to you! Hang in there!

  2. Thank you for bringing light to autoimmune disorder fatigue! I have ITP(Idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura), diagnosed when I was 16 months old and currently 33 years old. The fatigue is no joke. And I am right there with you when “i just can’t”. A long day of teaching, a 2 year old with the energy of a million suns, thats enough to wear anyone out. I have my go to formula for outfits to fall asleep in during naptime and they are not nearly as fancy as yours on this post. I need to up my game lol!

  3. We all are carrying some kind of spiritual/psychological/medical load, and need to allow ourselves some grace. The short or long sleeve black turtleneck is like a bridge over troubled water (🎵I will lay me down!🎵). Peace, lady!

  4. Kari, I have IBD too and I’m just here to tell you you will be OK. Please just always take your meds. It’s a lifelong condition but it’s been 27 years since my diagnosis and I have only ever flared twice— once before the diagnosis and once when I went off meds to breastfeed, which turned out to be a big mistake and not even necessary. You can get a grip on this and you will. I wish you all the best.

  5. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to rest after taking a shower! 🙋‍♀️ Or gotten in the car at night only realize you can’t remember the last time you drove at night because you’re usually just 100% DONE by 5:30pm. 🙋‍♀️
    I have a neuro-cardiovascular condition called POTS, plus some other issues. It’s taken me a long time to admit I can’t just suck it up and fake it til I make it; I’m not serving anyone when I push myself too hard and take days to recover. It doesn’t make me a better mom and I’m not setting a good example. My “I just can’t even” outfit isn’t really an outfit, it’s doing my hair. I have fun, fashion colored hair and if it is not “on-point” then you know I’m really feeling bad.
    Be kind to yourself, Meredith. Take that nap, leave those dishes for your partner, and keep those words coming.

    • My SIL’s SIL (say that 5 times fast) has POTS. I give you all the gold stars because POTS is not easy. At all. I love that you’ve found something that perks you up and helps you feel “normal.” Also, thank you for the encouragement to write. Sometimes you feel like you’re just shouting into the void 🙂

  6. Love the top: I have it and find it a super easy way to chic-up a pair of jeans. I have hashimoto’s as well. If medicated properly, you should not be feeling long term and consistent fatigue because proper hormone levels equal proper energy. Explore other doctors (often you have to go beyond an endocrinologist to a functional medicine dr or an integrative medicine doctor) who will run FULL panels and explore options beyond synthroid. Options such as desiccated tyroid medication or singular t3 (the active form of what the thyroid produces – not everyone converts the t4 from synthroid to t3 thus rendering the t4 from the medication ineffective.) You may know this already but just wanted to say that if you have hashimoto’s and feel terrible all the time you are not getting treated properly.

    • Chris, you are 100% correct. I didn’t get into the nitty gritty in the blog, but I do see someone who works with integrative medicine. I do a ton of different protcols, full blood panels, etc. I’m trending in the right direction, but getting those antibodies where they need to be just takes time and trial & error. It’s been especially challenging post-baby and all the stress that put my body under. I’m glad you said this because I agree that anyone with thyroid issues should consider finding an integrative medicine doctor to do a full workup if their GP won’t.

  7. Meredith, thanks so much for the amazing share! I’m pretty sure I have Celiac–though, since I would have to eat gluten for a month before getting tested, I will probably never get diagnosed; the last of the six gastroenterologists that I’ve seen since 1998 said that it really doesn’t matter because I’m already doing everything that they would recommend for someone who is–I eat dairy, soy and gluten free, and avoid nightshades, red meat, ferments and FODMAPS, among other things, to keep my gut happy and my med doses low. I’ve also been diagnosed with hypothyroid disease, and three years ago I had a hysterectomy because of fibroids on my uterus, which is also an autoimmune issue; I’ve also learned that the anxiety and attentional issues I’ve dealt with all my life are likely autoimmune-related. I’m now 51, and am still figuring out how to eat and take care of myself, and let me just say, it is a journey–learning my limitations and finding the right professionals to help is a lifelong process! Really appreciate your bringing attention to it here, and love the whole post!

  8. My husband is the one with an autoimmune issue in our household … and I’m just so thankful to you for talking about it. We live in a hustle culture. In a ‘what-do-you-DO’ culture. And for women it’s so much worse. This is the only fashion blog I read because it is authentic and real. It’s because of brave posts like yours. I don’t have hours in a month to spend on my hair and nails. I didn’t before the pandemic and don’t now. I can’t stand the Kardashian knock off look — not because I find fault with those women but because I see their self-loathing and self-hatred. Let’s work to love ourselves and accept aging. Women carry so many burdens in our society – this article is everything we need. How to dress without exhausting ourselves and failing our families who do need us as well. I agree – whether you have an auto immune issue or not we carry so many burdens but we deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin. Thank you for sharing your story. I for one will always read anything you write!

  9. Thanks Meredith for sharing your story. Your honesty voice and perspective is so appreciated. I’m another TME reader with IBD, Crohn’s disease diagnosed right before the shut down. My mother passed away from the same disease at my same age so it’s been a lot. But with my family history and personal health history, not unexpected. Anyway, I’m not on FB because you know, FB!, but glad to know there is a community here.

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