Ladies, what do you wear when your knees are bad?

Hi ladies, I haven't been diagnosed with anything yet, but my knees are painful, unstable and swollen at the backs. When I'm just at home then pyjamas or tracky bottoms are fine. But what do you wear if you go out and you want to look nice? Yesterday had my first outing for weeks, only to Wyevale for a coffee, but it was nice to be out in the world! Really struggled with clothes. I'm a fairly trendy 46 year old and my wardrobe mainly consists of skinny jeans and leggings. Skinny jeans , even stretchy ones, hurt my knees, leggings provide a degree of support but feel too restrictive, and im not sure if the support element is good or not. In the end resorted to my one pair of baggy white linen trousers that you can only wear once and then they need washing and ironing! Think I may need to do some online clothes shopping. What works for you?

22 Replies

  • I wear leggings with my knee braces over the top. If I wanted to hide them I suppose I could wear very loose trousers or a long skirt.

  • I more or less live in jeans, all sorts of colours but always boot cut as even though I'm slim I'm quite hippy so the slight flare balances it. They're comfy around my knees as the cut naturally doesn't fit to the knee area. Similarly with my "going out" trousers, alway loose around the knee. Maybe you could look online for some loose fitting trousers, similar to your linen ones but in an easy care fabric? M & S have some nice palazzo pants in just now, they should be comfy for the summer being so loose.

  • Long skirts? with layering over can look really nice.

  • Hi interested in replies as I had to have my husband cut me out of a pair of a pair skinny jeans when my knees swelled up. ☺️ Sticking to maxi skirts now. At least they look kinda ok with my docs.

  • A corticosteroid shot or rooster combs in the knees can eliminate that problem for months and can be repeated. I am all for boot cut jeans with a pair of ugg boots. They are easy on the knees.

  • When i am going out I wear elasticated knee supports (from Boots) under my favourite trousers usually loose fitting straight style. The supports give me more confidence in walking as I too get swelling behind the knee .They are skin tight and very discreet.. Palazzo pants as suggested above are good and I use them for rheumy appointments so knees can be examined without having to take them off!

  • Thanks for all your replies. So is it good to support the knees then? I wasn't sure if it restricts the blood flow. Leggings do feel more supportive, just wasn't sure if I should be supporting knees or not.

  • I don't think currently they recommend wearing supports all the time if you can help it because of the effect on your muscles rather than blood flow.

    I tend to wear M&S cotton rich straight leg trousers as there is plenty of room when the knee swells and generally I can pull them over the knee for appointments or for summer bermuda type shorts that come just over the knee - perhaps not a pretty look as slightly!! overweight. Farm

  • Wide leg trousers are fashionable. I wear boot cut trousers too. Long skirts are lovely but then I have to think about shoes. Trainers, which suit my feet perfectly, don't really go? But, again, I have seen fashion models wearing plimsols or trainers with a skirt. Young people can wear almost anything and look good.....I am old so can't get away with much!

  • Magg, I think that once you hit 'too old' you're allowed to be 'charmingly eclectic' instead :D That means you can get away with anything and have fun with it.

  • You are right! I shall be 80 yrs this summer and really should stop worrying about what people think!!

  • Yes. But its nice to feel you look good no matter your age! X

  • Gosh, just came back to this post. I must admit the knee supports were my own idea and have not checked it out with the doctor which will do now when I see him next. As you were then. Must admit my knees do feel rather odd when I take the supports off, a bit like release from a tight corset and they never did anyone any good.

  • I just wasn't sure, as I read somewhere that even having a cushion that's too firm underneath your knee for too long can interrupt the blood flow. I'm new to all these symptoms so am being really cautious until I know what's wrong with me. X

  • Thanks Wineandlattes, having the same thoughts myself. I've managed to keep my weight at 14/16 on the top (never changes due to boobs like full utters, sorry its the only way to describe them!) and 12 on the bottom. Being 5ft can make things even more difficult. My knees are like skin coloured turnips! Ugly, really ugly. I feel uncomfortable in anything below the knee though and I refuse to wear horizontal stripes due to the utters. I don't think I have a dress in my entire wardrobe that isn't worn with leggins or tights and long boots. People haven't seen my actual legs in many years tbh.

    I have a family thing coming up in June that I would really like to look nice for. I was thinking about a nice white trouser suit.......I recently bought a stunning black and white clutch bag (can't carry a hand bag or shoulder bag as they both hurt) and a pair of gorgeous Poetic Licence peep toe shoes that don't hurt!! . So I have the accessories now all I need is an outfit to go with them. Watch this space........

  • A white suit sounds perfect, make sure you post a photo. X

  • I'll see what I can do.....X

  • I have straight-cut slacks in mid-weight fabrics for fall and winter, but I'm looking at getting some palazzo pants for the summer. I'd say if leggings feel good, go for it - they're my more casual staple right now. I'm a whole YEAR (or possibly six months) younger than you, so I get the desire to still look trendy.


  • Hi Bat, Yes, I think I'll try leggings again tomorrow, I've got some thinnish ones which may be more comfortable. I miss wearing my skinny jeans and boots and feeling young and attractive. Im going to try and make more effort tomorrow, it does make me feel better. It just seems to take so long now and its so tiring to shower, get dressed, do hair and makeup but ive always done it, even when i had newborn babies to look after. Its just so not me to be lying around looking a mess all day. My husband and kids feel happier if im looking nice because that s just what they're used to and I think they think I'm not so poorly if I look ok.

    I think one of my friends might be coming to visit tomorrow. Haven't seen any of my friends since I've been ill, i dont want to be different from how I normally am. Bit surprised that no friends have been round to see me yet. X

  • A lot of sartorial chatter, but what struck me most was your last sentence. You sound really hurt, which I am sure I would be. I understand that help in a crisis is very different from ongoing support. Did some friends ask you to let them know if they could help? If so, perhaps you could take them up on that. I find asking for help difficult, but I am learning. I hope the visit tomorrow goes well and that whatever you wear, you feel good about yourself. Night night. J

  • I wear trousers suitable for active use - walking trousers that are also suitable for fairly smart wear. They have some sort of elastic material so are comfortable whatever shape I happen to be.

  • Thankyou, another really good idea for me to try. Navy or light cream would look really nice . x

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