Whether we notice it or not, our clothes play a part in how we feel. We use clothes to make us feel better, to define us, to comfort us. But what if we cant take this clothing therapy for granted?
One of the most heartbreaking things is not letting my daughter wear whatever she wants. That full nylon Minnie Mouse costume? That heat-inducing fluffy hat with Mickey Mouse ears? That heavy rough-wool pullover with a big mouse on it? (Yes, there is a theme here) I’m sorry baby you cant wear that because you suffer from chronic urticaria, meaning your blood vessels open up once the skin is aggravated, so you will become all red, patchy, itchy, and bloated all over for a couple days (hopefully). Mega tantrum ensues.
Clothing can be a great healer, it can be used to mask, repair and protect our physical ailments. In the way it can reflect what we are feeling when we are down (physically or emotionally), it can also be used to make us feel (and look) better. When I’m wearing my staple mommy joggers and sweaters, (if I’m not exhausted and moody) I am comfortable and content; when I make a little effort and put some makeup with it, I feel like a normal human being; when I can be bothered to put on socks and put on a nice top (still with joggers), I manage to feel quite heroic. However when it comes to my daughter and her sensitive skin, we need to make an extra effort, so when we achieve the moment when my daughter is wearing something that she has chosen, something she loves the design of, which is additionally comfortable and great for her skin: we both feel great!
I will not exaggerate to say that clothing can kill, but it surely can harm your health, especially so for those with sensitive skin and- consciously or unconsciously- I believe we all choose the clothing that is best for our health and mind when we dress daily.
The connection of the mind and skin is a thing: you know how you blush when you are embarrassed? how your skin breaks out when you are stressed? Our skin health can reflect our inner health, and I believe it is our business to take care of ourselves from outside-in, and clothing plays a big part in our physical and emotional state. For more complicated words and explanations of this I will leave to the professionals (Harvard Health: Recognizing the mind-skin connection), the most I can do at the moment is share some general (non-medical) brands, websites and cosmetics that I have found to be friendly to sensitive skin.
As with all non-mass-produced clothing nowadays, specialty clothing is not cheap- I have also listed affordable brands, but all the brands below we have tried and have found to be comfortable, stylish and also durable (important for kids!). If anything, their individual styling is refreshing, showing that sensitive clothing doesn’t have to all look the same.
I have tried to include international brands that have international shipping, as we live in Holland I don’t think sharing the local brands could be useful to all, however if you also live in Holland and would like to exchange details of brands here please do get in touch!
Please note that I do realise different conditions need different care, the items below I have found to work for us, and some seem promising with medical background and trials: however, please do consider your own condition and check with your health professionals if you are unsure and choose to try them for yourselves.
Clothing/Brands (Children): The following brands are the most consistent and reliable that I have come across, of course there are many other brands that carry suitable clothing for sensitive skin, but I have found that even the styles of the below are not hindered by their quality.
Caramel (London) In the words of the owner, who was trained as a lawyer and went on to design the clothes herself: Just because children’s clothes had a relaxed quality, there was no reason why they shouldn’t also feel modern. Just because they had some of the formality of continental Europe, why shouldn’t they also have a little laid back Englishness? They also have a journal that shares clothing and styling information, including features of on children, parenting and lifestyle.
H&M Conscious (Baby/Kids) All our staples come from H&M, but their Conscious selection is our favourites. Not only conscious of the environment, but also conscious of material, style and price. Although pricier than the normal collection, it is the brands commitment to making sustainable, good-quality clothing available to everyone. They additionally always have a disney/characters section which is wonderful for younger kids!
Mango Baby Mango released its first baby collection in 2015, and I discovered it while shopping for a friends newborn baby girl. The materials were wonderful, soft, pure and the designs were loose-fitting, simple and elegant: the best was that it was super affordable! My daughter is only 2, and she still fits in some of the baby collection, will be checking out the kids area soon…
Il Gufo (Italy) This brand is an Italian institution, and it is the only brand of wool products that my daughter could wear! I initially thought that all wool was out of limits, but as our allergist explained that it is not a direct allergy, it seems that only the best wool would do for her. Il Gufo is not as expensive as the big Italian luxury brands, but it’s style, tailoring and materials are undeniably one of the best.
Jacadi (Paris) Jacadi has a wide choice of clothes and shows for newborns, toddlers and children. I have found the shoes to be soft and durable (also waterproof, which matters in this rainy part of the world!). They have a history of being known for choosing quality fabrics that are comfortable, the style is very French but updated every season- all items also stand the wash very well. Their collection includes baby, kids and nursery items.
Petit Bateau (Paris) I don’t know any mommy in Europe who does not know of this brand. Extremely affordable considering its quality of materials and timeless style, even their vintage prints are always loved. They also make clothes for Women and men, using the finest cotton and soft knitwear to create classic staples. Their famous yellow raincoat has been dressing and protecting people from the rain for 120 years!
Rosalba (Milano) Rosalba is a unique brand dedicated to baby and toddlers, all pieces are tailored, some embroidered and every item is as functional as it is beautiful. Listening attentively to customers needs, it has historically been completely Made In Italy, and the quality attention to materials, craftsmanship and design are reflected in each piece.
There are a few online stores that I have yet to explore, each dedicated to sensitive skin. Would love to hear if any of you already have experience, and I will be updating you all as I discover them:
Clothing/Brands (Adults): Adult clothing is harder to share, as I think we all have our personal style and needs. However, I share a few sites here that I have found to carry clothing suitable for sensitive clothing. Some of the brands above (Petit Bateau, Cotton Mill, Yoli & Otis, Caramel and H&M Conscious) also carry adult collections so I will not repeat them here.
Jewellery: Here are some sites I found that cater to jewellery allergies, and sensitive skin.