Most stockings are made with a combination of Spandex and Nylon, which can take 30 to 40 years to decompose in a landfill. This durable fabric is great for making stockings, but not great for the environment. Luckily, there are some clever ways to reuse your stockings and help save the earth! We’ve been keeping a running list of ways to re-use and re-purpose your old compression stockings and socks on our website. Here are a few of our favorites:
Super Duper Duster
Old stockings are great for collect dust and pet hair, especially in those hard to reach corners and nooks. (Now you can even get those spots under fridge too!) You can use nylon to scrub sinks and porcelain with scratching it.
Hold Gauze or Bandages In Place
Cut a circular strip from the stocking to keep bandages or gauze secure.
Weave A Rag Rug
Cut your old stockings into strips and weave them together to make a rug! Look on Pinterest or Etsy for inspiration and tutorials.
Let Those Shoes Shine!
Use old pantyhose as a polishing cloth to shine your shoes.
Cut your old compression socks up to make soft, comfortable hand warmers. You could also go the other route and cut your socks to use as drink cozies to prevent your hands from freezing.
Make A Cat Toy
Cats have a way of sneaking off with our new clothes or ribbon. Give them your old hosiery to play with and keep them out of real trouble!
Read more of our reusable hosiery ideas here, or comment below to share other ways you reuse old hosiery.
Hooked on recycling?
While researching, I actually discovered a lot of innovative recycling programs for items that I had no idea could be recycled (and I’ve admittedly been throwing away myself!). Check out my finds below:
Wine Corks – ReCork is grinding up corks and reusing them for all kinds of new products. A lot of Whole Foods locations have also added drop off stations for wine corks, so check to see if your local store has one!
Running Shoes – Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program grinds down old shoes and turns them into playgrounds
Cigarette Butts – Collect the ends of your cigarettes and send them off to TerraCycle.
Greeting Cards – If you’re not keeping the cards you receive for sentimental purposes, you should be sending them to St. Judes.
Broken Holiday Lights – Lights not turning on? Send them Christmas Light Source and they’ll send you a coupon for your next purchase.
Nespresso Capsules – Don’t throw out your daily source of caffeine! Check the Nespresso website to find a drop-off point for your capsules.
Toner & Printer Cartridges – Check with the printer manufacturer. HP and Brother will both pay for the shipping on returns to their company. Staples will also take back most printer and toner cartridges.
Some of us don’t have the option to go sock-less when the weather heats up. We HAVE to wear compression socks or stockings all year long. So, what are the best options for staying cool and comfortable in compression socks during the summer months? We think fabric choice is the most important decision in selecting summer compression socks and stockings. Here’s what we suggest if you’re looking for breathable socks and stockings for summer:
1. Cotton is a natural fiber that’s ideal for hot months. It lets air in and quickly wicks away any moisture on your skin. It’s also perfect for anyone who has sensitive skin. A few cotton options to explore:
Sigvaris Sea Island Cotton socks for Men and Women are available in 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. These Sigvaris socks are great for spring and summer because they are made with a soft and breathable cotton fabric.
For more stylish cotton options, check out these Vim & Vigr compression socks in camo, argyle, polka dots in a variety of colors in 15-20 mmHg. You can also rock these Vim & Vigr polka dot socks in 20-30 mmHg.
2. Microfiber is another great summer fabric for socks. It’s soft, stretchy and breathable. It also wicks away moisture from the skin to keep you cool and comfortable. Some people will choose microfiber over cotton because it’s a thinner fabric, which can be better for dress shoes.
The Allegro Microfiber collection includes socks, thigh highs, and pantyhose to meet all your compression needs at an affordable price! Choose from 8-15, 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg compression levels. Made from a soft, comfortable fabric.
Sigvaris Midtown Microfiber for Men is a collection of men’s knee high socks in 15-20, 20-30 and 30-40 mmHg. These latex-free socks are super stretchy and durable. Looking for stripes? Try Sigvaris Shades for men and women, available in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg in a variety of striped patterns and heather colors.
Sigvaris Soft Opaque for Women is a line of stylish compression wear that comes in a wide variety of colors. It features an advanced moisture management system that keeps legs cool and dry.
The EASE Microfiber Collection by Therafirm comes in knee highs, thigh highs and pantyhose in a variety of colors and compression levels. EASE by Therafirm is available in microfiber, opaque and sheer fabrics with a closed or open toe style.
3. Silver and Copper infused fabrics are another great addition to your summer wardrobe. Silver and copper will eliminate any dangers of stinky, sweaty summer feet because it kills the bacteria around your feet. Additionally, the fibers in these socks have thermodynamic properties so you will stay cooler in the summer.
Juzo Silver Socks are the best of the best. Socks are available in anklets, crew length, knee highs, and thigh highs. Compression options range from zero to 30-40 mmHg.
Solidea Silver Wave Products are all infused with bacteria-killing silver! Check out the knee highs, anklets and calf sleeves. They’re also very stylish and contain a unique 3D micro massage fabric which is great for relieving fatigue and stimulating lymph flow. Solidea offers micro-massage compression garments as well as sheer stockings.
Allegro Athletic Copper Support Socks has copper, (which kills 99.9% of bacteria), embedded in the foot bed. This soft, ribbed sock is made with a heavily padded foot and features a fitted toe to prevent blisters and irritation. This durable sock is affordable and is great for summer runs!
4. Sheer stockings are great for summer! We offer a wide variety of sheer, open toe stockings for those of you who want stockings that are less visible for summertime. Customer favorites for warm, humid climates are:
Mediven Sheer and Soft: Available in 4 different compression levels and a wide variety of sizing, both male and female customers love this line of breathable sheers. A customer in Georgia said, “Living in the south, the summer is very hot and humid but I don’t like to go without hose to work. Compression hose are often uncomfortable hot on a humid day but these are terrific. I can’t say enough about the comfort.”
Allegro Essential Sheers: Available in 3 compression levels, with many open toe and wide calf options, these stockings are a great affordable option for summer-time wear. Even our customers in Santa Fe are raving about them, “With it being summer, I wanted something I could still wear sandals with. These open-toe stockings are the answer! And they are sheer…I have had several people comment that they couldn’t even notice I was wearing them.”
Additional Options: The compression experts have been creating their own technologies and materials to keep you cool. Check out these additional, moisture-wicking and skin-cooling fabric options:
Mediven Comfort for Women: Medi’s patented Climafresh and Clima-Comfort systems allow for high breathability, reliable temperature control and the prevention of odor formation.
Therafirm Ease: Made of high stretch, moisture wicking CoolMax fibers to provide all-day dry, comfortable coolness. Available in knee high, thigh high, and pantyhose. This line is also available with open toes and an even thinner sheer fabric.
Go for a run or hit the gym in Jobst Active compression socks, available in black and white. Wear 20-30 mmHg to enhance performance or wear 15-20 mmHg to speed up muscle recovery or help relieve fatigue and swelling after your workout. Now available in full-calf sizes!
Core-Spun Patterned Compression Socks come in a variety of stylish patterns in 4 compression levels for men and women. These socks are made with an ultra stretchy fabric and CoolMax polyester to make them nice and cool!
Early last week, I saw a segment on the Today Show about a 90-second shower routine that will increase circulation and alertness in the morning. Since BrightLife Direct is all about healthy circulation, I thought it warranted an investigation.
The idea is simple. Follow your normal cleansing routine in the shower, but instead of jumping out after your final rinse, stay in for an extra 90 seconds and adjust your faucet to the following:
30 Seconds: COLD 30 Seconds: HOT 30 Seconds: COLD
Then get out of the shower!
Sound terrible? I have to admit the first time it was! A few of us in the office experimented with this showering technique and reported back about a screaming 30-second countdown, dancing in circles and screaming, or simply standing and screaming. The cold water is a real shock, but each of us reported feeling some immediate effects. Hearts were pounding, blood was flowing and we all reported feeling wide awake!
Personally, having lived in Russia, I know that hot-cold therapy is an ingrained part of many cultures including Nordic countries. Russians consider going to the bath house (or banya) an important part of their weekly routine. There they sit in a incredibly hot sauna, jump into a cold pool of water or snow, and then head back to the sauna.
So, why do they do it? A myriad of health benefits! Entrepreneur.com did a full analysis and found that cold showers can help reduce stress, burn fat and improve both the vascular and immune systems!
Not enough to convince you to get under the icy water?
A journalist at the New York Times also experimented with cold morning showers and found that it increased his productivity during the day. He says that turning the shower to COLD every morning is a real struggle for him, but that “…the point is that starting your morning by tackling challenges head-on will help encourage similar behavior throughout the day.” And there’s plenty of research to back that up as well! When people tackle difficult situations first thing in the morning, they’re less likely to procrastinate throughout the day.
Your last piece of trivia on cold showers? Kathryn Hepburn was a huge proponent of them!
After a week of showers, our company’s founder is a full convert! He says that the experiment is “life-changing.” While I’m not a morning shower person, I plan to keep it up on the weekends. How can I skip out on all of the potential health benefits? If you’re a bit nervous to go full throttle on the cold water, ease yourself into it by going a bit colder (in the same short spurts) every day. You can work your way up to ice cold after a few days.
Try it out and let us know what you think!
Disclaimer: Many of the articles I read warned that people with heart conditions should check with their physician before experimenting with cold water therapy! So, please check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Ruth Buzzi’s Old Lady offered an extreme example of wrinkled stockings, but even small wrinkles in compression stockings can be very uncomfortable. We often have customers tell us that their compression stockings hurt – that wrinkles in the fabric are digging into their skin. This is usually a problem with the size of the stocking and/or the type of fabric. If sized correctly, and knit from the right type of yarns for your condition, compression socks should not be painful, and there should not be wrinkles in the fabric.
Eliminating wrinkles can be a matter of putting the socks on correctly or finding the correct size. Check the list below to figure out why your compression socks have wrinkles, and what you can do to get rid of them. Whatever you do – don’t give up on wearing compression – once you find the right style and size, the medical benefits will far outweigh the effort spent hunting for the best sock.
Did you smooth out the stockings with the palms of your hands? Sometimes it can be difficult to get compression stockings on your leg properly. You might think you’re done once you pull the sock over your foot and up to its proper place on your leg, but it’s very important to run your hands over the entire stocking to make sure the fabric is straight, and there are no wrinkles or bunching of the fabric. Wearing a pair of rubber donning gloves will make this job much easier. Donning gloves give you get a better grip on the fabric and ensure the stocking is evenly distributed from your toes to the top of the stockings. Need more instruction? You can find tons of videos online that demonstrate the best way to put compression socks on – like this one.
If you have the stocking on correctly, and still see wrinkles around your ankles, the stocking is probably too large for your leg. Too much fabric will cause wrinkles at the ankle, or behind the knee for thigh highs and pantyhose. Check these two measurements to see if you’re in the correct size:
Length: First, check the length of the stocking. Many companies offer short or petite sizing, in addition to regular lengths, so you can get the perfect fit. For example, Juzo Soft Knee Highs come in three different lengths: Regular, Short and Petite. Measure from the floor to just below the crease behind your knee and compare your length to the size chart. In this Juzo sock, a Regular length fits a lower leg length from 15.75″ to 18.25″. The Short is for 13″ – 15.75″ and the Petite fits lower legs less than 13″ in length. Thigh highs and pantyhose also come in different lengths. For these styles, measure your leg from the floor to the crease of your buttocks. For most brands, over 28” is a regular length, and under 28” is a short. (Hint – If the knee high stockings you’re looking at don’t offer a length option, they are regular length only. Your leg should measure 15″ or longer. If your lower leg is shorter than 15″, look for a stocking available in a short length.)
Circumference: If you have wrinkles at the ankle and length is not a problem, you still may be in the wrong size. Most compression stockings are sized by ankle circumference, and the extra fabric at the ankle could be caused by an incorrect circumference measurement. Remember to measure your legs first thing in the morning, and measure the narrowest part of your ankle, right above the bone. As the day wears on, your legs will swell – giving you an incorrect measurement in the afternoon or evening. Correct measurements are the key to comfortably fitting compression garments.
Lastly, you need to confirm that you’re in the best fabric for your condition. If you swell during the day, and have a good deal of soft, fleshy tissue on your legs, you may not be able to wear sheer fabrics. Sheers don’t offer enough containment for the swelling. Generally, the thicker the fabric, the better it is at containing swelling. “Surgical” weight or opaque fabrics are the strongest and provide the most containment. Try Allegro Surgical Weight or Juzo Dynamic Varin. Remember, the level of containment of a fabric has nothing to do with compression level. Always stick to the compression level your doctor recommended, but try different fabrics to find the right strength and containment your condition.
Finding the right size and style of stocking for your legs can be a trying task, but it’s worth it! Customers write to us every day with stories about how compression garments have made a huge positive impact on their lives. Ask a medical provider or a friend to help you measure your leg, so you have the correct measurements from the start. Our certified fitters are available to consult on sizing, style, and fabric choices Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm, ET at 1-877-545-8585 – so never hesitate to call and speak with us.
We frequently suggest wool socks to our customers (because we love them!), but our recommendations are often rebuffed. Too hot! Too Scratchy! We get it – wool socks have a terrible reputation, but we’d like to change that.
So, what are our favorite wool socks?
Allegro Wool Compression Socks 15-20 mmHg For Men and Women
Sockwell Wool and Bamboo Blend Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg Men’s and Women’s Styles
Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg For Men and Women
Sigvaris Merino Wool Compression Socks 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg Men’s and Women’s Styles
This blog was originally posted in July of 2014, but it’s a question we are asked often at this time of year, so we felt a refresh and re-post was in order.
It’s summertime, which means pools are open, and people are fleeing to the beach every weekend to escape the heat. For those of us that have to wear compression stockings from morning to night, this can be a difficult time of year.
I was excited to see one of my favorite lymphedema bloggers, Monique at LymphedemaRunner.com, addressing the issue in a blog post. Monique admits to being self conscious about wearing her stockings to the beach and pool at first, but found strength and inspiration in watching CrossFit Athlete Deborah Cordner Carsen proudly rocking her Elvarex stockings during a Triathlon.
Definitely check out the blog above to read more about Monique’s experience wearing compression to the beach and pool. Here are the basic FAQs on compression and water activities:
1. You CAN wear your compression stockings in the ocean, lake, pool or other water source. But, all of these environments will be hard on your stockings – causing them to deteriorate more quickly than regular daily use. We recommend setting aside a set of stockings or armsleeves specifically for water activities. These could be an older pair that you’re not worried about destroying, or a less expensive garment that won’t be a huge monetary loss (like Allegro).
2. If you will be submerged completely in water for most of your water excursion, you don’t need your stockings or sleeves. The pressure on your body underwater actually replicates what your compression garment does outside of water. If you go without your compression garment, do make sure your affected limb will be under water and put the garment back on quickly after leaving the water. If your affected limb is not submerged in the water, you should be wearing your compression garments.
3. As always – stay hydrated. Being in the sun at the beach or pool may leave you dehydrated. Pack plenty of water!
Some additional information on water activities and lymphedema can be found on LymphNotes.
Lastly – a few product recommendations. If you have just one affected leg, you might try the Juzo Varin 3511 Thigh w/Hip Attachment and Open Toe – available in 20-30 or 30-40 or 40-50 mmHg. Sigvaris offers a similar option in 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg in the 862 line.
CrossFit superstar Deborah Cordner Carsen recommends the Jobst Elvarex, which is a custom order product.
If you’ve watched all the videos on properly putting on your compression socks and you’re still having trouble, this blog is for you. Let’s face it – pulling on compression stockings is a challenge. Before you spend another 30 minutes fighting to get your socks on, try out some of these tips, tricks and tools to help you get your socks on fast and easy.
This video demonstrates three different ways to put your compression stockings on – the heel pocket method, wearing donning gloves, and using a stocking donner:
The heel pocket method is a great way to get on stockings made from a thick fabric or socks that provide a high level of compression (over 20 mmHg). Don sheer or less firm compression socks with donning gloves to protect delicate fabric from snags and runs. Donning gloves are great for anyone with limited hand mobility, arthritis, or have weak hands or fingers to get a better grip on the fabric. These gloves are the easiest, cheapest and most effective tool available to help you put your compression socks on.
The Jobst donning glove is unique because it is actually a cotton mitt with the palm and fingers dipped in a latex solution to grip onto support hose. It is a loose fitting glove which can be easier to put on for people with limited hand mobility. On the downside, there are no ridges or nubs on the latex which limits it’s ability to move stockings up the leg. We have heard from customers that this glove wears out too quickly.
If you are sensitive or allergic to rubber (latex), try the latex free Juzo donning gloves. These gloves work excellent for protecting the fabric, but do not have any nubs to help grip the garment. If you want something that will get a strong hold on the sock, try these:
The Medi glove has textured fingers and palms for additional gripping power to help you get the compression stocking over your foot and heel. Then you can use your palms to slide the hose up your legs rather than pulling. The Sigvaris glove is our highest-rated glove and features very pronounced ridges that makes it easy to don stockings and armsleeves. Here’s what our customer’s have to say about Sigvaris gloves:
“These are the best donning gloves that I and/or my patients have found for compression stockings of all materials and compression amount. I have been working with patients who have Lymphedema and are required to wear high amounts of compression. It’s a struggle to get them on even when you have the strength and mobility, so these gloves are a great aide for everyone. The price is very reasonable compared to other compression stockings manufacturers.”
If you have trouble bending over or crossing your legs, stocking donners do the work for you. Donners come in regular and wide-calf sizes, as well as some for putting on armsleeves and pantyhose. Long story short – there’s a donning device to make anyone’s life easier! Stocking donners require patience and practice, and are most useful for individuals who have trouble bending at the waist. Since there a lot of donners to choose from, we’ll cover our customer’s favorites.
The Jobst and Medi stocking donners make it easy for people who have a hard time bending at the waist. Simply stretch the stocking over the frame and step into the sock until your foot is on the floor. Slowly lift the handles to work the stocking up your leg. Both Jobst and Medi offer donners designed specifically for larger calves. Here’s how it works:
The Doff N’ Donner is an amazing tool! This can be used to get your stockings on and to take them off. This cool device works with open or closed toe knee highs and thigh highs. Watch this video for a better understanding:
Once you master using the Juzo Slippie Gator, you’ll be incredibly happy with it. This tool is especially useful for customers who have a lot of trouble bending over to touch their feet. Using a leg sleeve with handles and a rubber foot pad, you’ll be able to quickly and comfortably pull your stocking on in minutes. Like the Doff ‘n Donner, the Gator can be used to put stockings on and take them off.
A healthcare worker told us, “I bought the Juzo Slippy Gator to try with some of my clients. Most people I work on can’t bend over, much less pull compression socks up. The Gator is a great tool and has moved two of my clients to independently donning their socks.”
Watch this video to learn how to use the Juzo Slippie Gator:
The Easy-Slide for Open-Toe Stockings is only available for open toe socks and stockings, but it is simple to use and makes putting open-toe socks on a breeze. It’s getting rave reviews from customers and therapists alike.
“This device makes placing compression stockings on my patients a breeze. No more pinching, no more struggling to place the stockings on the patient. Saves me quite a bit of time in my busy day.”
The Juzo Slippie and the Easy-Slides for open and closed toe use slippery and durable “parachute” nylon fabric that you put on your leg and pull the stocking over. Using your new favorite donning gloves, work the stocking up the leg and pull the donning aid out from the top of the stocking or through the open toe. If you wear closed toe stockings, make sure you are using a donning aid designed specifically for closed toe style stockings.
Tips and Tricks:
Once the stocking is in the right position, use the palms of your hands to smooth out any wrinkles. Your stocking is applied correctly if the toe is in the toe box, the heel in the heel box and their are no wrinkles around the ankles or leg. Ideally, your knee-high should end about one inch below the crease in your knee. Never pull the stocking up the calf or thigh by just the top of the garment.
If you have swelling or edema, it is best to don your stockings early in the morning when you get out of bed. Our legs start to swell while we are standing and the compression stockings applied early will keep the swelling down throughout the day.
Before you put your compression socks on, apply baby powder, corn starch or Alps Fitting Lotion to help the stocking glide up your leg more easily. As an added bonus, this lotion protects sensitive skin and makes dry, chapped skin feel silky and smooth.
I’ve been wearing compression hose for 5-6 years now and they used to be a major nightmare to put them on! As soon as I tried the ALPS Fitting Lotion everything changed. Now putting on the hose is as easy as putting on a pair of socks–they just slide right on smooth as silk. ALPS has no odor and seems to protect my skin from some of the dryness and irritation that continuous wear of compression stockings have caused me in the past and a little goes a long long way. It’s an awesome product… a definite buy buy buy! Also BrightLife Direct is a great company with which to work. I can’t recommend them highly enough! You can’t go wrong.
Compression Assist Donning Aide is great if you have no problem bending over to reach your feet but still have a lot of trouble pulling the sock up. Spray your legs with the lubricant before putting on your socks or stockings, and see how easily you are able to pull the sock up! Compression Assist is hypoallergenic and it won’t harm the compression sock fabric. Plus, it reduces wrinkles and creases, all while keeping you comfortable. Here’s what our customers are saying:
“I was somewhat leery of ordering “Compression Assist”. I was starting to get accustomed to taking 15 plus minutes to don each sock. I was pleasantly surprised. It now takes just a few minutes and much of that time is smoothing the sock.”
Do you have another tool that helps? Let us know in the “Comments” section. And, check out all of our donning aides at BrightLife Direct.
Compression wraps are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to compression socks and stockings. Why? Because with simple velcro straps, they can be much easier to get on than strong compression stockings. Many customers find them to be more comfortable on sensitive or ulcerated skin, and better at controlling moderate to severe edema and lymphedema. But, until recently, many of the popular wrap brands did not allow returns – so trying a wrap for the first time involved a bit of financial risk. In the last few weeks, this has happily changed!
Now Farrow Medical and Solaris will be allowing customers to return the compression wraps for any reason. We understand that buying compression products is a tricky process because everyone’s body is shaped differently, and everyone’s personal taste is different. That’s why we’ve always had an easy return/exchange process for compression stockings. The addition of these brands to our “No Questions Asked Return Policy” gives customers more options to find the most comfortable fit.
Have you been wanting to try a Solaris ReadyWrap or FarrowWrap? Now’s the time! See what customers are saying about these great products:
“I love my wrap. It is light weight and easy to use. I have a hard time with my grip so this wrap was the way to go.” – ReadyWrap Calf Unit
“This is the best device I’ve found so far for treatment of my wife’s lymphedema in her lower leg. Her leg got very large to the point that compression stockings were almost impossible to get on especially over her calf. The stockings were, also, very uncomfortable as the cut into the creases at the top of her foot near the ankle. The FarrowWrap let’s you adjust the amount of compression you want to use and she says is very comfortable. I usually put it on for her but she can also don it herself with a little effort. I would recommend this product to anyone, any age, and just about any strength level. I just purchased a second one for her.” –FarrowWrap Basic Leg Piece
“My father has very swollen feet and regular compression socks are so difficult to put on. This wrap work really well and helped reduces the swelling in his feet.” –ReadyWrap Foot Unit
“Thank you, FarrowWrap, for designing a comfortable wrap for sleeping…it is light, feels good, and is really easy and fast to wrap and unwrap…it almost makes the lymphedema in my arm fun (only kidding!).” –FarrowWrap Arm Sleeve
In addition to Farrow and Solaris, CircAid and Juzo also offer an open return policy on their compression wraps.
A few weeks ago, we got an exciting package in the mail – the newest product line from one of our favorite brands, Therafirm. It was a sneak peak at the new line of EASE Sheers which feature some of the latest technology in knit compression wear. This week, the new line is launching in a variety of colors, styles and compression levels – and we’re excited to finally share our review!
Right out of the package, you can tell that these sheers are different. They’re incredibly smooth and soft to the touch. The 360 degree stretch is obvious with just a gentle pull.
I got a chance to try the 20-30 mmHg pantyhose in Sand. I don’t normally wear this compression level, so I was interested to see how difficult donning them would be. Using the traditional method of donning, I was able to pull the stockings on without too much difficulty. No compression stockings are easy to get on, but these were definitely easier. The extra stretch really helps in getting the stockings up and properly adjusted. The color gives my legs a nice tan, and there is a bit of a shine to the fabric. This gives them a silky look, but might not be appropriate for all occasions. The heel and toe areas are reinforced for durability – as you can see in the picture below.
I especially liked the knit waistband. It’s much smoother than a lot of the stockings on the market. The top of the waistband sits high on the waist so there’s no muffin top to worry about!
All of the stockings – knee high, thigh high and pantyhose – are available in 2 lengths, short and long. I found them to be incredibly comfortable and perfect for work or a night out!
Uniforms and dress codes exist for a wide variety of reasons, whether it’s to encourage team unity, protect the wearer from job hazards, or make it easier for customers to identify employees. The drawback, however, is that this can detract from your ability to express your unique personality. Having everyone wear the same outfit each day can be tiresome for employees who like to express themselves through their clothing. We’ve got some tips for fun ways you can still show off your sense of style, even if you have a specific uniform or dress code to work around.
Though not quite as iconic as the classic apron and cap, modern nursing uniforms (typically scrubs) are a quick way to identify hospital staff. Some hospitals even use color-coded scrubs to help distinguish between nursing specialties. While scrubs can make hospitals more efficient, they don’t provide a lot of opportunity for personal expression. Luckily, there are still some ways nurses can be unique:
Scrubs – Depending on the hospital, nurses may actually have a significant amount of freedom with the color or style of their scrubs. While there’s some debate about perceived professionalism, many nurses go with print-based scrubs, like this Tinker Bell one – prints are especially popular with nurses who work with children. If your hospital allows you to choose your own scrubs, experiment with bright colors and prints that show off your sense of fashion.
Jewelry/Accessories – Excessive jewelry can make a nurse’s job difficult, but finding the right necklace or pair of earrings can add a subtle, but fun twist to any look. Furthermore, a watch is a necessity for just about every nurse, opening up plenty of stylish options. This adorable nurse-themed watch is a fun choice and for nurses who want something light and functional, but still stylish – Swatch watches are a great option.
Stockings – Having the right pair of socks can mean the difference between healthy and aching legs for nurses. Choosing a fun pair of socks can be a great way to subtly inject your personality into your nursing scrubs. As a bonus, you can use compression socks for the added health benefits, like preventing your legs from swelling during your shift. Looking for a cute pair? Try these polka dot compression socks from BrightLife Go.
Please note: Always defer to your hospital’s specific uniform-restrictions, as there may be health or legal reasons for specific requirements.
Wait Staff/Server Uniforms
Whether you work in a five-star restaurant or your local diner, you likely have a very specific dress code you need to follow. Restaurants often use their uniforms as a form of branding, so the tone of the outfit will typically match the tone of the restaurant. Serving guests in suits and fancy dresses? Expect to be dressy. If you work in a kid-oriented restaurant, you’ll probably be wearing brighter colors. Here’s how you can make your server clothes more fun:
Hairstyle – This depends heavily on the type of restaurant you work at, but experimenting with cute or cool hairstyles can be a great way to express yourself. As long as you maintain a well-groomed appearance, most employers are lenient with hair. Just do a quick search on YouTube or Pinterest and you’ll find tons of tutorials for hair of all lengths.
Jewelry/Accessories – Most restaurants are fine with tasteful jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, and sometimes subtle rings – just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your ability to do your job. Watches are also a great way to show off some style, if your boss will allow you to wear one.
Socks – Since you spend most of your shift on your feet anyway, you might as well make them a focal point of your personality. Unless specific socks are part of your uniform, most employers won’t mind you donning a whimsical patterned or printed pair. For added health benefits, you could even choose a fun pair of compression socks – being on your feet for hours can lead to all sorts of leg-related issues that compression socks help alleviate.
Please note: For health reasons, certain uniform requirements or restrictions may be mandated by law.
Office Dress Codes
While few office-based businesses have an official uniform, many offices do have a dress code that employees are expected to follow. This can range from business casual all the way to a suit and tie, but most offices fall somewhere in between. Dress codes, luckily, provide more freedom than full uniforms, but you’ll still want to make sure you appear professional while you’re on the clock. Here are a few safe ways to spruce up your work outfit:
Neckwear – For men, ties are the easiest and most obvious way to accessorize. Unless your business has a very conservative dress code, you can usually get away with colorful patterns or interesting prints (like a unique paisley tie). You could even cap it off with a classy tie bar. If your office allows it, you can also mix in a bowtie every once in a while. Women can experiment with neckwear – try out scarves in a variety of knots (especially during colder months).
Watches/Bracelets/Necklaces – Flashy accessories are probably best suited for off-work hours, but while you’re in the office you can use subtle jewelry like bracelets, necklaces, and earrings to add flair to your outfit. With the help of stores like J. Crew, statement necklaces have become a stylish part of office-fashion. You could also wear a classy watch to make your outfit more unique.
Desk Decorations – Okay, this isn’t technically related to dress codes, but it’s still a great way to express yourself at work. Most offices will allow at least some personalization of your work area, whether it’s family photos, art, or fun trinkets. This is a great chance to show off your interests, which could even help you make connections with co-workers. Try a clever coffee mug or personalized art print from Etsy.
Socks – Like with most other uniforms, office dress codes rarely restrict what kind of socks you can wear. Mix it up with a fun pair of argyle or striped socks. If you’re really confident, go with even bolder prints. And since you’re likely sitting at a desk most of your day, why not consider getting a pair of colorful compression socks to help alleviate achy legs and ward off varicose veins? We’ve got a lovely pair of Italian wool socks with a subtle dot over the ankle that are a great way to start testing patterns.
School Uniform/Dress Codes
Most school districts will at least enforce a minimum dress code, but schools (especially private institutions) are increasingly requiring full uniforms for students in an attempt to minimize distractions and, in some cases, even bullying. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are still plenty of ways to express yourself within your school’s guidelines:
Backpacks/Bags – Dress codes usually only determine the clothes you can and can’t wear, but most schools are fairly lenient with backpacks. This presents a wide variety of options, whether it’s with a pre-designed backpack from a store or one you’ve decorated yourself. As long as it’s not offensive or overly distracting, you shouldn’t have any issues – so feel free to show off your favorite show or even your favorite animal!
Notebooks/School Supplies – Even the strictest dress codes rarely require specific school supplies. This provides a great opportunity to express yourself, whether it’s notebooks with designs from your favorite bands or television shows, pencils with cute patterns or phrases, or even just a cool water bottle.
Socks – Sensing a trend here? Though some schools will have specific socks for students to wear, most dress codes allow for at least some variation in stockings. Try out bright colors or quirky patterns to add some pop to your outfit.