Wearing skinny jeans, cross-body bags and even oversized sleeves can have a detrimental impact on posture and health, experts have warned.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) said women’s fashion choices could be causing back pain, with cross-body bags, skinny jeans, large fluffy hoods, statement necklaces and bell sleeves to blame.
BCA chiropractor Tim Hutchful said: “I am always surprised at how many of my patients are unaware that their clothing and accessories can affect their back health and their posture, and equally how many decide their outfit-choice outweighs their pain.
“Some of the most popular items of clothing can have a hidden health impact.”
Hutchful added: “While overloaded and heavy handbags are a common culprit, some more unexpected items like skinny jeans can also wreak havoc – they restrict free movement in areas such as the hips and knees, affecting the way we hold our bodies.
“New trends such as asymmetric hemlines, oversized sleeves and hoods and heavy jewellery can also create problems.”
Hutchful said any item of clothing that restricts movement, or which leads people to stand or walk unnaturally, can have a negative impact on their posture, back or neck.
He added: “Large hoods can mean you strain your neck in order to see, and asymmetric hemlines, especially if tight-fitting, can restrict your movement and cause you to walk differently.”
He said skinny jeans reduce your mobility “even if it’s just walking that you’re doing”.
Hutchful added: “Restrictive clothing can lead to a loss of ‘bounce’ in your stride and the natural shock-absorbing qualities in your walk, causing pressure in your joints.
“Oversized sleeves can cause you to hold your arms in a different or unusual way, so once again your body will be compensating for your fashion choices.”
The BCA also issued a warning over high heels and backless shoes such as mules, which can affect how women walk.
Its poll of 1,062 people found 73% had suffered back pain. More than a quarter (28%) were aware clothing could affect their back, neck or posture, while 33% were not.
Hutchful said: “While we are certainly not saying stop wearing your favourite clothes altogether, like most things in life, moderation is best and there are easy ways you can reduce the impact on your posture and overall health.
“For example, try and limit the number of times you wear skinny jeans or high heels every week so you’re giving your body a break, or try investing in a backpack for days when you have a lot to carry around.”