Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fashion Forward: The Face of a Latex Allergy Thrifter

What does someone with a severe latex allergy look like when they are shopping? This:
Fashion-forward, baby!
Fashion-forward, baby!
Lovely, eh? This was obviously over a year ago, and my hair has since grown out, but I still wear that same bright pink mask!
The mask doesn't just go everywhere with me, I WEAR it everywhere. I never know when I may run into an area of road construction (rubber tires = death), an accident (more latex), or if I'll end up breathing in exhaust from a truck. The last time I tried to get gas I wore my mask and gloves and ended up debating between throwing up inside my mask or taking off the mask, getting sick, and risking a worse reaction. Fun choices, eh?
I combine the lovely pink colored mask with bright blue nitrile gloves. While I avoid touching anything with latex that I can see, sometimes there is latex hidden behind a handle or such. Plus, latex particles can transfer from a person's hand to a surface, so I have to wear gloves just to open a store door.  Sometimes I wear PJ pants, other times a dress.
Why the PJ pants? Latex is in almost all women's clothing. Yes, you heard that right. My professional wardrobe is gone (along with my extensive shoe collection) and I either wear clothing I modified by removing the elastic and replacing with a drawstring or clothes I make myself. Latex-free clothing costs an arm a leg to order commercially! Since I'm trying to scratch out a living, my sewing gets put on the backburner.
Many stores and other places of business are strictly off limits. Luckily, though, thrifts thus far are generally safe. Garage sales, on the other hand, often have balloons outside to draw attention. I can't even drive by without risking a reaction.
So the next time you say "I have nothing to wear!" just think.... what if you really had few options as to what to wear?

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