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We’ve all heard the cliché that beauty is pain, but a recent Wall Street Journal article takes TLC’s “What Not to Wear to the Extreme” and forces women to question whether squeezing into skinny jeans is worth risking a pulmonary embolism. Seen on every catwalk, magazine, model, and celebrity, skinny jeans dominate the denim market. But did you know this fashion favorite can cause blood clots to form in your legs? This condition, called deep vein thrombosis, can lead to serious health issues, including pulmonary embolism — a blood clot that often forms in the legs before traveling to the lungs. Tight jeans also cause digestion problems, lower back pain, yeast infections, and a rare condition known as lipotrophia semicircularis, horizontal lesions around the thighs.

Next up – literally – is high heels. Fashion experts say a pair of heels makes legs look longer and prevents bad posture, but medical experts suggest that a heel higher than two inches can cause bunions, hammer toe, ankle sprains, and stress fractures.

Interestingly, flats fare no better. Ballet slippers and other shoes that lack a supportive arch can cause plantar fasciitis, an inflammation in the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Uggs and other fleece-lined boots trap sweat and breed both Athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

Cinch belts and Spanx give a woman a Man Men character-like figure, but they can also cause nerve damage, digestive problems, and welts – which are never sexy.

And now we turn to lingerie. According to the Wall Street Journal article, lingerie experts say three-quarters of women wear the wrong size bra. Women are advised to get sized every six months. Why? Our bodies change constantly. Wearing a bra that is too big doesn’t provide enough support, which can lead to back problems. Inversely, wearing a bra that is too tight can cut into the flesh. A number of retail stores, including Victoria’s Secret, are happy to measure you.

Piercings continue to grow in popularity as people continue to get more creative with places to put them. But improper aftercare can cause bacterial infections, and jewelry that contains nickel can cause allergic reactions, so always listen to your piercing artist’s directions, and consider hypoallergenic earrings.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been asked, “What’s in that thing? A brick?” Although it seems like a good idea to carry your life everywhere you go inside your purse, lugging around too much weight can shift your back out of line. The American Chiropractic Association suggests that a woman never carry more than 10 percent of her weight inside of a purse.

Don’t become a fashion victim. Think before you buy – and wear.

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