How chronic illness has shaped my fashion identity

“As my confidence grows, I feel more comfortable trying different trends to find my own unique style. The amount of time I’ve spent housebound due to chronic illness over the past 6 and a half years has left me with a lot of anxiety – especially when it comes to what I’m wearing. It’s easy for me to hide behind a pair of black jeans and a big hoodie or coat. I’m determined to make up for lost time by pushing myself out of my comfort zone… and it turns out this look is actually a lot more “me” than I originally thought.”

I sometimes wonder whether my personality and journey comes across enough on my social media, so I thought I’d expand this Instagram caption on here… 


For the past six and a half years, I’ve been battling M.E and Fibromyalgia. During periods of that time, I have been housebound or unable to walk without an aid. There have been times where getting dressed has been a rare occurrence. Because of this, day wear has always been function over fashion. My wardrobe consisted of bralets, joggers, cosy hoodies and lots of black – I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or my walking stick so bright colours were a big no!

Most others would have spent their teenage years trying on different styles and finding their identity using fashion. So, at 23, I feel like I’m playing catch up. For me personally, stress is a massive trigger for my symptoms and piecing together outfits that made me feel comfortable AND confident is not easy. (Cue that scene from The Grinch multiplied by 1000!) The rise of athleisure wear has been my saviour and I’m now able to put together outfits that are exciting, on trend and really comfortable.

I’ve paired my favourite sports bra (no nasty underwire for me today!) with this extreme crop hoodie and these gorgeous popper joggers. The joggers are so comfortable, really versatile and the poppers are great if your body is prone to fluctuates in temperature! I’ve got a bit of a thing for boot heels at the minute so I decided to dress them up to achieve more of a street luxe look, but they’d look great with trainers too. I’ve also discovered that sunglasses are a fab way to hide tired eyes, so will be wearing them more often no matter the weather.

All in all, yes – there are still some days that I don’t get dressed.. but, now, on the days that I do, I feel damn good about how I look! I’m definitely well on my way to discovering my own unique fashion identity and I’m so glad you’re joining me on the ride! 


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Ali Hemsley
Ali Hemsley

Ali is a 24 year old lifestyle blogger. She combines her advocacy and awareness work for chronic illness and mental health with her love for fashion. You can follow Ali on social media @alihemsley

Leave a comment

  1. Hannah
    January 22, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    Ali you look stunning in these images and this outfit is absolutely stunning! Also, sunglasses have become my go to now when shooting to hide my bags and tired looking face haha xx

  2. Beckie
    January 22, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    You look so good in these photos and what you wear! You pull off athleisure wear so well, I love the popper trousers xxx

  3. January 22, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    You look gorgeous! You should be so proud of yourself as well lovely! xxx

  4. January 29, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    Ali I love this post so so much. You look amazing <3

  5. February 11, 2018 / 10:42 pm

    you look incredible! I definitely think yellow is your colour! I think your cute and casual style is the best! Always makes me want to go shopping x

  6. Abby
    April 10, 2018 / 2:05 am

    Hey I have just been checking out your blog and want to say that it is amazing! I also have ME and this post is SO relatable! I also have been thinking about starting a blog just like yours for a few months now but didn’t know if it would work, with ME being a very unknown illness people may not want to read about it, but this has shown me that it can be done and inspired me to get on to it! So thank you for sharing your story xx

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