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Dress to Impress, Dress for Success, Dress for…Psoriasis

When living with psoriasis a dress does matter. Read this story from one of our bloggers and how there is a lot more to it than rummaging through your closet.

Admin Page Merritt

Merritt is one of our community writers and currently lives with psoriasis. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts where she works as a public relations specialist, and hopes her personal stories will help uplift and empower others in the psoriasis community.

Merritt Ward is one of our community writers and currently lives with psoriasis. She resides in Boston, Massachusetts where she works as a public relations specialist, and she hopes her personal stories will help uplift and empower others in the psoriasis community.

I was completely ecstatic when I received an invite to my friend’s wedding. But then I thought, “Wearing a dress in December’s cold weather… how bad will my psoriasis be?”

Unfortunately, winter means my psoriasis flare ups can be difficult and often unsightly. The good news? I’m nearly covered from the tip of my nose to the tip of my toes during the irritating months with pants, sweaters and scarfs. Except for those special occasions when I’m in formal attire… just like the wedding I was fretting over.

My quest to find the perfect dress for a December wedding landed me in the fitting room with every length of dress you could imagine: above the knee, full-length and everything in between.

Since we’re sharing, my psoriasis is (currently) on my chest, torso and both legs – and it loves to really flare on my shins. During a recent dermatologist appointment, my doctor said post-examination, “Fortunately for you, you’re in the majority, and your psoriasis only covers about 5%1 of your body—or the size of one hand.” I quipped in my head, “But sometimes it feels like 95%!”

Back in the fitting room, the mid-calf and floor length dresses fell at odd angles or somehow made me look shorter than I am (aren’t they supposed to lengthening?!). I was frustrated. But then I tried a below-the-knee dress, eggplant with silver and blush peonies pattern. It was a GREAT fit. Flattering in all the right places for my body type, and it had pockets. I was hooked. In a bout of wishful thinking, I bought the dress. 

Seizing the day

The day of the wedding was uncharacteristically warm for Buffalo. My friends and I snapped/shared/screenshotted pictures back and forth, comparing our ensembles for the evening. I had planned to wear opaque tights since my skin wasn’t cooperating, but my best friend and fashion consultant told me, “Tights aren’t black tie enough, and it’s so warm anyways!” She was right.

My anxiety did an uptick when I thought about the two professional photographers and videographer who’d be documenting the entire evening. I didn’t want my psoriasis to hold me back from jumping into the group photos, posing with the beautiful bride or enjoying myself during this very special occasion. In an act of desperation, I sent my boyfriend across the street to the drug store while I finished getting ready. I asked him to find me leg makeup in a “light” tone. I knew a few of my friends had tried similar products before but for other cosmetic reasons—to add a golden bronze or cover sports-related bumps and bruises. I figured it was worth a shot. I sprayed the misty gold product over my legs and waited the recommended 60 seconds.

To my surprise, it was working. While the flaky, red patches weren’t totally gone, the spray helped camouflage them a little bit —as if it was August and not December outside (I don’t typically cover up my psoriasis). With time running out, I slid my black pumps on and plumped my lips with the vibrant, bright red lipstick I pull out for special occasions. I walked into the ceremony hall, and a good friend stopped me, exclaiming, “You look beautiful! I LOVE the dress.”

  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Psoriasis. 2015. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/psoriasis

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