High heels have made Susan Juarez's feet ache to their soles, and she even
sprained her ankle once while dancing in stiletto boots. But soaring, slimming
heels remain the 24-year-old Californian's favorite fashion vice. "I like
that they make me taller, and they just look a lot sleeker," she says.
Like Juarez, legions of women have suffered in the name of painful fashion.
How many of us have endured strappy sandals that cut into our feet, oversize
designer bags that hurt our shoulders, too-tight...
Dressing stylishly -- but sensibly -- is easier this summer than ever
before. For starters, it makes sense to choose clothing with a tight weave or
knit, which deliver a higher SPF. Here's how to tell: Hold the material up to a
window or lamp and see how much light gets through. Darker clothes also
generally have a higher SPF.
Remember that your average light-colored cotton shirts provide an SPF of
only about 4 -- and they're practically useless once they get wet. All garments
lose about a third of their sun-protective ability when drenched with
To make your summer clothing as protective as possible, Audrey Kunin, MD, a
dermatologist in Kansas City, Mo., suggests throwing a packet of RIT sun guard
in with your laundry to increase UV protection in clothing. "This way you
can wash SPF 30 into all your washable clothing," she says.
But that's not all. Smart clothing that has UV protection already built in
is now readily available. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation based in New
York City, such clothing contains colorless compounds, fluorescent brighteners,
or specially treated resins that absorb UV rays. As a result, the clothing
often provides an SPF of 30 or higher.
And there may be more in the way of functional clothing this summer. You may
have read about "magical" anti-cellulite clothing including pantyhose,
shorts, pants and shoes that will get rid of cottage-cheese buttocks and thighs
But buyer beware. "This is sort of the emperor wearing no clothes except
in this variation, the emperor is wearing cellulite panties," says Bruce E.
Katz, MD, medical director of the JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York City.
"It just doesn't do anything. You can't see any difference. But if you want
to wear them, go right ahead.
"Basically these clothing items contain creams and by wearing the pants,
you build up heat, which may increase penetration of the creams. The shoes were
originally designed as orthopaedic shoes and are meant to re-create the natural
gait of folks who walk barefoot for distances on uneven surface. As such, they
have a curved sole that forces you to use muscles you probably didn't know you
had. Bottom line: "caveat emptor," Katz says.