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Your Zara Purchase Is Not a Waste of Money

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I Wear Winter Gloves All Year Round

For the last week or so, I haven’t been able to feel a few of my toes. Well, except for when I shower; then it feels like someone has covered those toes with gasoline and set them on fire. They’re a funny color, too — a mottled bluish-white that gradually fades back to normal flesh color where toes meet foot. It happens to my fingers, too, though not as badly; I can wear gloves and be just fine. But my toes — lately I’ve been wearing two pairs of socks plus thick wool slippers, and I still can’t feel my feet.

Twenty-eight million of you can relate. We have a condition called Raynaud’s Syndrome. It’s a phenomenon where fingers and toes turn delightfully colorful shades of freezing white, then numb blue, and then painful red in the cold, during emotional stress, or just for fun. Essentially, blood vessels in our extremities start to spasm for some reason, cutting off circulation and leaving us more susceptible to frostbite, swelling, pain, and even ulcerations and gangrene. Air conditioning, stress, even just holding a cold glass can trigger a Raynaud's attack. In the middle of summer, Frosties (as we call ourselves) sometimes have to wear gloves and two pairs of socks just to keep our blood vessels under control.

This most recent episode is the longest I’ve ever experienced. Normally the feeling comes back after a few hours, but I’ve been alternating between numb and shocking pain for a week now.

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You can imagine that deciding what to wear with this syndrome is generally a nightmare. Even when it’s 85 degrees out, I have to be aware of where I’m going and what I’ll be doing. Will the breeze at the beach be chilly or warm? How many layers do I need to wear if someone’s heat isn’t high enough in the winter? And what if I need to take my shoes off to enter their home — how many pairs of socks will fit into my boots?

Shopping, too, is a frustrating experience. If a store has its AC blasting because it’s the summer, I usually can’t try on shoes. And if a shop is just a little hotter than normal in the winter, I can’t stay — I’m used to being chilled and the “excessive” heat makes me feel awful. Deciding to go to the store sends me into temperature-based turmoil.

When I do go, I look at clothes through a lens of excess, always buying more than a normal person should because I actually need it. I look for thin long-sleeved shirts that I can wear all year, light gloves that can be layered depending on the severity of my Raynaud’s attack (current or expected), cardigans to go over tank tops because I can’t just wear a tank top, thick wool socks that won’t overheat me. And I never, ever wear shorts. Not because I don’t like how I look in them, but because I need to have my legs covered, either by jeans or tights or leggings or tall boots or something, because otherwise it could trigger an attack.

Getting dressed in the morning is a similar ordeal. People sometimes tease me because by the time I figure out what to wear, almost all my clothes are strewn about the room or on a heap on the bed. I try on probably 10 outfits before deciding on one. There’s just too much to consider. It has a negative affect emotionally on me, too. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes; I want to feel like I look decent when I go out. But I have an entire closet of jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies. I feel frumpy and gross, and weirdly half-sweaty and half-freezing. I’m in a constant state of heavy sweatshirts, two pairs of socks, and light gloves. Of looking like I don’t care how I look, to myself or anyone. Granted, I think not caring how someone perceives you or your clothing is a great mindset to have. Sometimes, though, I just want to feel confident in classy clothes — but I have to suffer to do so.

As far as treatment, my options are limited. My doctor prescribed calcium channel blockers that made me start to lose my hearing, so I stopped taking them on his advice. Closing my eyes and imagining myself somewhere warm does little to help. Supposedly magnesium supplements are an option, but that has mixed results. So for now, I’m going to stick with my routine: wearing layers and several pairs of socks, and continuing to buy winter gloves all year long. —Jennifer Billock, contributing writer

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Deal of the Day

Anthropologie’s sale section is now an additional 25% off, which puts everything at a price that’s much more digestible than what you’d pay at retail. This really pretty lace top is now $90 (from $168), and this beachy mini dress is now just $39.95. Neither of those your speed? Here’s a pair of M.I.H. high-rise jeans in a perfect vintage blue wash for $149.95 that just might do the trick.

Send this deal to a friend!

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In the News
That Zara Purchase May Have Helped Screen Women for Breast Cancer

Since the election, a deluge of brands have started donating a portion of their sales or profits to organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Designer Kaelen Haworth told me that she urgently felt the need to combat the incoming administration, and giving 100 percent of sales (the full sticker price) to the nonprofit of each customer’s choice for a week in November seemed like the fastest, easiest way to do so. While it wasn't necessarily awesome for her business to give away a week’s worth of sales, she wound up raising roughly $20,000.

That's a good chunk of money, especially for a small business, but it pales in comparison to the $344 million that the charitable foundation run by Zara’s owner just pledged to put breast cancer screening technology in public hospitals throughout Spain. Amancio Ortega is the richest man in Europe, so he could fully give that much of his own money if he wanted to, but his foundation is largely funded by the money he makes from Zara — which means your casual purchases could be helping to screen women for breast cancer without your knowing.

This isn't to say we should blindly applaud global megacorps, nor is it a knock on brands that give a few dollars from the sale of a T-shirt to charity, but it is a nice reminder that sometimes good work happens even without a special promotion or a feminist slogan. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

Ad from our sponsor
5 Baseball Superfans on the Gear They Won't Watch a Game Without
Baseball fans and their lucky gear

Story by Cam Wolf. Photography by Cole Wilson.

It's no secret that baseball is a particularly superstitious game, so we spoke to five diehard fans about the lucky gear they re-wear, don’t wash, and rub to activate. What we found is that these items are about so much more than just sports. "The jersey really became a sentimental item for me when I was in the Navy," says Chicago Cubs fan Brian Korpalski. "About seven years ago, I brought it with me onto the ship because it reminded me of home." Get ready for Opening Day with even more photos and stories right here.

Keep reading >>
Where to Buy ‘Nude’ Underwear When You’re Not White
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Shopping for so-called “nude” items has long been a source of incredible frustration for me. Most items labeled nude are in fact a specific kind of peachy light beige, a.k.a. the skin color of some white people. I’m mixed-race, so this tone doesn’t work for me (or for the majority of the humans on this planet).

But over the past few years, many brands have started making a concerted effort to bring more skin tone options to women of color. Black-owned beauty brands continue to provide more options for women of varying skin tones, and mainstream makeup companies have been steadily upping their selections of nude nail polishes, foundations, concealers, and more. Savvy businesspeople and fed-up shoppers have created their own lines of diverse hosiery and dancewear.

And thankfully, there’s been a huge push to provide more underwear options for women of color, too; here, I’m sharing 12 places to shop for nude underwear that come in more shades than just light beige. Underwear is notoriously hard to shop for in any color, so having this many nude options online — and in this many size ranges — is a win. 

Shop the full list of brands here >>
What We're Talking About
wait, what's that about a Levi's Gift Card?

Yep, we're still giving away five $100 Levi's gift cards as a thank you to our new menswear newsletter subscribers. Sign up for your chance to win one! (See here for Official Rules and complete details.)

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