What to wear when your hot flushes take over
"I felt an overwhelming heat that spreads through my whole body. I remember stripping off layers of clothing and being desperate to open the window during my hot flushes. Of course, you end up having to apologise to those around you who are all freezing!"
Many women who are approaching menopause suffer with hot flushes. For some they are mild and infrequent. For others they are intense and embarrassing – particularly when we are at work. There we are, trying our best to look professional, when all the while coping with an unpredictable wave of heat and the redness and sweating that may accompany it.
There are many things we can do to relieve from the discomfort of hot flushes and perhaps the simplest is to think carefully about the clothes we wear.
It’s always good to reinvent our personal style and as our approach to menopause is great time to do just that. Now I’m not talk a complete dowdy makeover designed to make us look old – after all we’ve spent years honing in on the things we like and we look damn good! I am, however, talking about making a few minor adjustments to what we wear that will help in those uncomfortable moments.
Read any menopause blog about what to wear to survive hot flushes and they will say layers, layers, layers. But what does that mean? If you’re in a business, professional or administrative role, then jackets and scarves are your new best friend. Great to keep warm, great to pull off in a hot moment. In the winter, you could add a cardigan or jumper underneath so you still have room to manoeuvre after the jacket or scarf has come off.
Another common piece of ‘advice’ touted around is loose clothing. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not really a baggy, shapeless clothing sort of a woman so how can we best incorporate this into our wardrobe?
Well, there are a few key areas of the body that it’s worth trying to help soothe. The first our necks – think low (ish) cut, no collar blouses for that cool, sexy look! If you’re used to wearing big chunky necklaces, why try a removable silk scarf option for a more versatile look. Another is our wrists, so short or three-quarter length sleeves are a great buy.
Skirts and dresses are another great option to stay chilled. Not only do they allow some airflow around the parts that need it most, they also allow quick access to the parts that might need a little attention if you are prone to heavy bleeding and flooding. If skirts aren’t your style then maybe try some wide leg trousers.
What about fabrics?
Not all fabrics are equal when it comes to surviving a hot flush. As a rule of thumb, natural is best but there are a few notable exceptions.
Cotton is a great, reasonably priced fabric and more importantly, it’s very cool. When buying anything cotton take a look at the label to make sure it’s a high percentage or 100% cotton as some clothes say they are cotton but have less than 50% cotton in them.
Linen is another great option for cool clothing but perhaps a little less versatile as it can crease. Still it’s worth bearing in mind.
Wool is a tricky one. Pure wool is great to keep you warm but when it comes hot flush time, it’s one to strip off. However, there are some lovely cotton / wool mixed fibres so it’s worth considering…. With caution!
Rayon is man-made fibre but it is made from purified cellulose (frequently from wood pulp). Though it doesn’t really fit into the natural fibres rule, it will make some very cool and, more importantly, stylish clothes. Definitely one to keep a look out for.
Take the wardrobe challenge
Our transition into menopause doesn’t last forever and neither do our symptoms so there really is no need to completely overhaul our wardrobes.
But knowledge is power, as they say, so why not have a look through your clothing collection and read the labels. Pick out some clothes that are going to be good to wear when you’re having a hot flush and pack away those you will need avoid. And if there are any gaps then it’s a great excuse for a shopping trip!
If you’ve enjoyed this blog then you might like my free menopause survival guide “Hot Women at Work” – it’s filled with great tips on how to get through both work and menopause! Download it for free here.